Memory Card: Banjo-Kazooie

Sam Blackburn returns to the nostalgic world of Rare’s bear and bird

Sam Blackburn
8th May 2017
Credit: RARE

With the recent release of Yooka-Laylee being the closest thing to Banjo-Threeie we’ll ever see (cheers Microsoft), I feel now is the best time to go back to the N64 classic. Funny that I mention it being on the N64, because I never actually owned this for said system. I remember going to my friend’s house back in 2001 - such great times: Newcastle United were a half decent team, WWE was still WWF, and the N64 was the only console me and my friends cared about.

I didn’t own one at that point, so going around my friend’s house was the best time to both watch and play, but mostly watch them playing great games like Goldeneye and Ocarina of Time.

There was one day I headed there, probably after school or on a weekend, to see them playing this marvellously colourful game oozing with charm and personality. Said game was Banjo-Kazooie. I always used to get a true sense of wonder watching them play this game, I don’t know what it was. Maybe the excellent score by Grant Kirkhope, the colourful graphics (games used to have colour, for those who are too young to remember) or the eerie vibe Gruntilda gave off, taunting the player whilst creeping through her lair.

Fast forward to 2008, and after making a brilliant decision to get a Wii instead of a proper console, I was in the midst of deciding on what to get between both the awful hardware of the Xbox 360 and expensive online subscription, or the pristine classy concave beast of a machine, the Playstation 3. I was sold on the PS3 until one fateful day when I bought an Xbox 360 magazine. This was the day I found out that there was a Banjo-Kazooie 3 (later to be renamed Nuts and Bolts) in development, and that both Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie would be coming out for on Xbox Live Arcade. I decided that despite wanting a PS3 for months on end, finally being able to play that wonderfully colourful platforming game would be so much better than playing amazing titles like Lair, Haze and Folklore.

“this marvellously colourful game oozing with charm and personality [...] I always used to get a true sense of wonder”

So what do I think of the game? I got my Xbox 360 around November 2008, just over a week before Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts and Banjo-Kazooie would come out. I enjoyed Nuts and Bolts, but as soon as the XBLA rerelease came out, I didn’t give that game any attention. I remember sitting on Banjo-Kazooie, collecting jiggies, notes and jinjos in amazingly well-crafted worlds like Treasure Trove Cove, Rusty Bucket Bay and Click Clock Woods for months on end. I remember every Saturday night, my 14 year old self would sit up in the gaze of a bright TV screen playing Banjo-Kazooie. This was at the time when people were getting in trouble with the police outside of school for underage drinking, yet the school were on my back for enjoying a little bit too much B and K…

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