Did you guess Hello Kitty World for the Famicom? I'll bet you didn't!
I see those side-eyes some of you are shooting in my general direction, by the way. I understand. Hello Kitty World probably seems like a strange choice for an off-the-cuff pick-up if you've never heard of the game.
Actually, I shouldn't call this purchase "off the cuff," as I've had my eye on Hello Kitty World for some time now. Still, I wasn't planning to add it to my Famicom collection anytime soon.
That changed pretty quickly, though, when I saw a complete-in-box copy of the game on eBay a few days ago. Long story short (I know, too late), I ended up getting it for a song.
Anyway, back to Hello Kitty World and why I was so keen to acquire it: Have you ever played Balloon Kid, Nintendo's Balloon Fight follow-up for the GameBoy? If not, it's a forced-scrolling platformer that hit store shelves in North America in 1990.
A zoomed-in view of Hello Kitty World
The game feels a lot like a much-expanded version of Balloon Fight's "Balloon Trip" mode, to tell you the truth, as it tasks players with collecting the balloons left behind by the protagonist's kid brother (who was accidentally sent airborne while attempting to create a "balloon rainbow" that would cross the sky) while avoiding birds, fish and other obstacles that will cause her to plummet to the ground. (She grabs a couple of balloons and uses them to chase after her little bro, you see.)
Now, if you took the game described above, replaced Nintendo's characters with Sanrio's main claim to fame and then re-released it as a Famciom cart, you'd have Hello Kitty World.
My interest in said game makes sense now, doesn't it? If not, please take a minute to watch this video (which shows both Balloon Kid and Hello Kitty World in action).
As for Xenoblade Chronicles: Don't worry, I still plan to pick up a copy of this highly regarded Wii title--although I likely won't do so until after my birthday. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to acquaint myself with the above-mentioned Character Soft creation.