Kirby Air Ride was the first game I fell in love with. I played the one-button racer with other kids sitting too close to tiny CRT TVs after school. There’s a cool menu screen, but of three modes I only played one — City Trial, the proto battle royale where a rainbow of Kirby’s are dropped in an open world. As the timer ticked closer to the summary race, we would hunt for upgrades, fight on the rooftops, dive for legendary machines, and always jump back in, again and again, until time was up and we had to go home.

Autumn Wright is an essayist and critic. They write about games, sex, and other things you love on the internet.