Throwback Thursday: Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe Was a Bundled Blast

Feeding your friends cutlery was never so much fun

In the early 90s, my family purchased our first home computer. My sister and I had played around with our dad’s work computer before, finding way too much amusement in generating pie charts on DOS software. But the home computer was different — it was a “multimedia machine,” a popular term at the time to sell consumers on PCs not just as dry technical tools, but as windows into other worlds. The popularization of CD-ROM technology meant that higher-resolution images, audio, and video clips were becoming easier to work with, resulting in software like Encarta Encyclopedia. This was the era of the bundle, when you could hardly buy a new PC without getting a dozen different sampler discs, demos, and software packages designed to show off the potential of your new investment. One such piece of bundled software that came with our computer was Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe.

Developed by Big Top Productions (whose site weirdly still exists), the program apparently contained four separate features: an interactive piano, a shape recognition and counting game, a basic art package, and an interactive storytelling mode. We might have just had the demo of the software, because the only one of these I remember is the storytelling feature. Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe would present you with a scenario — a friend coming over to Hello Kitty’s house for dinner — and ask you to fill in the blanks. Depending on your choices, things play out a little differently.

Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe

For instance, you can choose what to put in the soup that Hello Kitty makes for dinner. Put in some vegetables and other normal ingredients, and her friend will tell you that it tastes delicious. Use the wrong selections, and they’ll tell you it’s not so great. And, as my sister and I discovered to our delight, the game’s interface even let you put utensils in the soup. Do that, and Hello Kitty’s friend will tell you the soup tastes disgusting — and will probably have to go to the hospital.

It was a simple little piece of software, but I credit Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe with inspiring an interest in interactive narratives in me. Up until that point, my main exposure to games had been action games like Mario titles. The concept of a story that changed depending on your choices was a novel one back then, and the appeal stuck with me — even if we got tired of feeding forks to Hello Kitty’s friend pretty quickly and moved onto other things.

Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe

Hello Kitty Big Fun Deluxe was distributed as a part of a bigger package that included a basic organizer/calendar program starring fellow Sanrio character Keroppi, as well as a Felix the Cat-themed animation program. Together, these three pieces of software showed me and my sister what computers could do. Big Top Productions went on to make a few other titles in the 90s, but I can’t find any information on them beyond then, so they were presumably a victim of the tech bubble popping in the early 2000s. Whether the people who worked there realized it or not, their work was likely responsible for introducing a lot of kids to the infinite possibilities of computing — one fork at a time.

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