In a captivating YouTube video, Masahiro Sakurai, the renowned Japanese video game director and designer, delves into the fascinating story of how a modest 2000KB RAM machine, known as Family Basic, played a pivotal role in the creation of two iconic Nintendo franchises: Kirby and Super Smash Bros.

Sakurai’s revelation provides insight into the early days of game development and showcases the ingenious simplicity behind these beloved titles.

Unleashing the Power of Family Basic


Article continues below this ad

Sakurai’s journey into the world of game development began with Family Basic, a peripheral that transformed the Famicom console into a rudimentary game PC. Released in June 1984, the Famicom had already been on the market for a year when Sakurai discovered the potential of Family Basic. Despite its unassuming appearance, this small keyboard opened up a world of possibilities for the aspiring game creator.

The initial impression of the Family Basic keyboard was its diminutive size, which belied its immense significance. With a program size of only 2KB, equivalent to approximately 2000 characters or 0.002MB, the machine seems minuscule by today’s standards. However, this limited capacity forced Sakurai to exercise his creativity within tight constraints, pushing the boundaries of what was achievable with such meager resources.

Family Basic’s Functionality and Impact

While modest in size, Family Basic harbored impressive capabilities. It allowed Sakurai to code and manipulate sprites, the graphical representations of characters and objects within a game. With just a 6-line program, he could bring these sprites to life, enabling them to move and interact with their environment. The simplicity of the move command facilitated the creation of fluid character animations, while the inclusion of various sprite presets offered a degree of control and versatility previously unseen in early game development.

One key advantage of Family Basic was its ease of use. Unlike other platforms of the time, which often yielded jerky movements and limited functionality, the Famicom empowered Sakurai to create smooth, responsive sprites that moved with precision and grace. This newfound level of control and the ability to develop intricate character behaviors laid the foundation for Sakurai’s later work on Kirby and Super Smash Bros.

The Birth of Legendary Franchises


Article continues below this ad

Sakurai’s experience with Family Basic and the insights gained from its usage became instrumental in the creation of two enduring Nintendo franchises. The whimsical character of Kirby, known for his ability to inhale enemies and assume their powers, and the crossover fighting game sensation Super Smash Bros owe their existence, in part, to Sakurai’s early experiments with Family Basic. The invaluable lessons and techniques learned during this formative period helped shape the mechanics, animations, and overall appeal of these iconic games.

Read More: Super Smash Bros. Director Gives a Fun Fact About Exciting Pokemon Reveal Trailer

Masahiro Sakurai’s revelation regarding the significance of Family Basic in the development of Kirby and Super Smash Bros sheds light on the humble origins of these beloved franchises. The 2000KB RAM machine, with its limited resources and compact keyboard, challenged Sakurai to push the boundaries of game development, ultimately leading to the creation of characters and gameplay mechanics that continue to captivate players to this day.


Article continues below this ad

Family Basic exemplifies the importance of embracing constraints and harnessing creativity to achieve remarkable results. Sakurai’s story serves as an inspiration to aspiring game developers, emphasizing the value of starting small, thinking innovatively, and taking the first step towards realizing their game creation dreams.

Watch this Story:  Ranking The Highest Selling Pokemon Video Games of All-Time