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Happy 15th Birthday, Banjo-Kazooie!

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Guh-huh!

It’s hard to believe now, but before 31st May, 1998, no one believed that a bear in yellow shorts and a bird in a backpack could ever make an effective team. A spunky little Twycross-based company called Rare, however, set out to prove the world wrong, and did so with quite admirable results.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the North American release of Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64, a milestone welcomed by game composer Grant Kirkhope on Twitter:

Banjo-Kazooie was sometimes considered a clone of Super Mario 64 upon its debut, but also widely regarded by critics as one that did many things just as well or even better than its groundbreaking predecessor. An additional emphasis on exploration and collection as well as Rare’s unique brands of style and humour helped it stand out further as a distinctly memorable N64 3D platformer.

The successful game spawned a sequel, Banjo Tooie, on the N64, and the GBA game Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge. After Rare was taken up by Microsoft, the series continued with Nuts & Bolts on the Xbox 360, with the original title appearing on Xbox Live Arcade.

The Synthetic Orchestra has released The Banjo-Kazooie Symphony on iTunes today for those who wish to celebrate the anniversary with their ears; we gave the album a lot of praise in our recent review.

Also, why not share your favourite memories from the series below? Is it Mumbo Jumbo? The mysterious Ice Key? Or that one day you got curious and googled the majestic breegull?

[via twitter.com]

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User Comments (47)

Funny_Moblin

#1

Funny_Moblin said:

Happy birthday Banjo-Kazooie, make a wish! (I have a feeling Banjo and Kazooie wanna come to Wii U)
But wow, have I been startled for one second again, I thought Banjo-Kazooie or some sequel was coming to we U! Nintendolife, I fall for it every time...

Romeo

#6

Romeo said:

i hate you for destroying rare, microsoft
and i always will

useless company with so many stupid fail products
windows 8, bing (rofl), surface rt, surface pro, windows phone, windows media player, silverlight, skydrive, kinect, malware/virus os #1, embarassing "scroogled"-campaign... trying to convince people that their useless products are superior to premium products from apple/google

then the worst of all: destroying rare

  • their pathetic excuse for a CEO Steve Ballmer
    and now there's the xbox one

this company should die already

ULTRA-64

#8

ULTRA-64 said:

Really miss this game.....rare are still the only company to ever match nintendo on their own consoles. So many classics but this is my favourite.

Pichuka97

#9

Pichuka97 said:

I love the N64 games. Though I am at Clankers Cavern and I'm not playing it right now because I detest all the swimming in that level. I'll do it eventually though. I think everyone should buy the original games though so they can experience the magic these games possess. Let me be the first to say "let's get Jiggy".

Nintex

#10

Nintex said:

15 years ago today my friend and I were hardcore into some Banjo-Kazooie. Such a classic game and era. Happy Birth-Day Banjo!

Honelith

#11

Honelith said:

One of the best games on the N64 and quite easily the best looking game on the N64. I loved it more than Super Mario 64, ah happy times. :D

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#12

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

I have a feeling that what is left of Rare (basically only the name) will be making a Banjo-Kazooie title for the XBOX One in an attempt to draw some Nintendo fans to their "The Only Box You'll Ever Need!" machine. I find that horrifically sad and hope that said fans don't bite the bait.

Happy Birthday Banjo! I sure wish you could come home now that you are nearly a man, or man-bear thingy :(

gefflt

#14

gefflt said:

Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie were both amazing games and still hold their own today, that's quite a feat, 15 years later!

Happy birthday! :D

Birthday_Boy

#15

Birthday_Boy said:

I have a feeling Rare will make another Banjo & Kazooie. And I would be happy, as long as the developers know what they're doing, and how many people love them. Microsoft needs to give us Nintendo fans a reason to envy the Xbox One.

Marakuto

#17

Marakuto said:

Banjo Kazooie and Tooie game was really special to me and my sister because it was one of the few games that we used to fight over on my Nintendo 64. I would've been thrilled if more Banjo Kazooie games were made on Nintendo consoles, if it weren't for RARE ending up with Microsoft...

Great memories... :)

NintyMan

#18

NintyMan said:

I have good memories with both Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie. The good music, witty humor, rhyming Grunty, and all the exploring really made for a charming game. It felt strangely satisfying to bash a creepy enemy with a bird's beak!

Excuse me for parroting what many already feel, but I sure wish Rare would've stayed with Nintendo, or at least Nintendo still would've had the rights to publish a Banjo-Kazooie game on their consoles. It reminds me of a rumor I've read by someone who claims to work for Nintendo stating that Nintendo tried to regain Banjo-Kazooie, but failed. Rumors are rumors, but I can see Nintendo try such a feat considering people still have feelings for the series. I haven't played Nuts & Bolts and I'm not interested to, so it's sad that Banjo's seen better days. At least those days will be long remembered.

quino711

#19

quino711 said:

I have such great memories with Banjo, even with Diddy Kong's Racing. Even though Banjo was a collectathon it was and stil is a great game. Too bad Rare sold their soul.

Somewhere deep inside myself, I still hope for Banjo- Threeie ....

Zombie_Barioth

#20

Zombie_Barioth said:

Man do I miss this series, and all this talk lately about Rare and Banjo-Kazooie is making me really nostalgic. A happy "guh-huh" day indeed.:D

Peachy

#21

Peachy said:

Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie were awesome games. I have fond memories of being turned into a pumpkin and getting flushed down Grunty's toilet and flinging dirty underwear at enemies as a washing machine.

On DKCR3D, the crab that appears from the ship when you are selecting which file to play makes sounds that remind me of Kazooie.

MrWalkieTalkie

#23

MrWalkieTalkie said:

With some Rare employees working on Tengami for Wii U, that "spiritual successor" to Banjo-Kazooie being worked on by other former members on Wii U, the creator of Conker working on something for Wii U, and Grant Kirkhope saying on Game Grumps how he wishes he could get the gang back together and work for Nintendo again on Banjo-Threeie on Wii U, I just have some weird feeling Banjo will return one day. I dunno.

Wolfgabe

#25

Wolfgabe said:

Happy B Day Banjo. Nintendo really needs to negotiate and get Banjo on Wii VC ASAP!

StephenYap3

#29

StephenYap3 said:

Happy B-day, Banjo! And ngamer155 is right, even though Rare lost its key developers, they have to return to Nintendo (...or at least give the Banjo IP or others to them since Microsoft nor Rare aren't doing anything with them). And not to bash or anything...Rare and Microsoft do not go together.

Imagine23

#31

Imagine23 said:

I don't know whether I should be happy or sad:

Happy because the game has aged so well or sad because there will probably never be another outstanding entry in the series again

Dpullam

#32

Dpullam said:

I absolutely loved playing Banjo Kazooie as a kid. I would endlessly ask my parents to rent that game for me since it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I had on the Nintendo 64. Thankfully, after renting it multiple times my parents bought it for me and that was certainly a great moment. I have played through the Banjo Kazooie series again lately, and I can say without a doubt, that they still hold all of the charm and fun I remember as a kid.

Dpishere

#33

Dpishere said:

The Banjo-Kazooie series holds a lot of great memories for me, and I agree with others that it is a shame that we likely won't see another Banjo game again.Since I really liked Nuts and Bolts, I would at least take a sequel to that game should a traditional Banjo game never be made.

dadajo

#34

dadajo said:

If Microsoft does let Rare make another Banjo then I hope that Rare would know what it is doing. Ever since Rare got bought by Microsoft they were permently changed. As in there were no stand out titles that people will talk about for years on the xbox or 360. And that is one of my concerns. Rare is not the same Rare from the 80's and 90's. Perfect Dark Zero and Banjo Kazzoie Nuts and Bolts both show us that. I hope Rare the best of luck, and hopefully the creative people at Rare will make anything that we will talk about for years. New or classic ip. It is to good of a company to continue making the xboxlive stuff they have been doing. (Please give us a new Killer Instinct)

ShanaUnite

#35

ShanaUnite said:

Best n64 game ever :) Ive played through banjo kazooie a couple times in my life. Really great game and wish another game would come after banjo tooie but alas :(

EpicGamer

#36

EpicGamer said:

Wait everyone! Don't think that Banjo and Kazooie's days are over! Remember the rumor that the ex-Rare employees are making a spiritual successor to Banjo and kazooie? Although, yeah it's not "technically" a banjo kazooie game buuut, it's close enough, right?

bassoongoon

#37

bassoongoon said:

Heck yeah! These games were my childhood. I am buying the B-K symphony CD today, super excited!

GamerZack87

#38

GamerZack87 said:

I still remember hearing Kazooie's shrill voice when I was playing as Banjo in Diddy Kong Racing and either crashed or got hit by a rocket! I didn't realise it was her until years later, when the Internet told me about it! :D

Moose_4

#42

Moose_4 said:

Surely this could be on the eShop, and just split the profits with microsoft?
If only it was that simple!

Henmii

#43

Henmii said:

Happy birthday bear and bird!! Wouldn't it be great If Nintendo honored them by letting Retro working on a new Banjo, maybe with some old Rareware staff thrown in for that typical british humor (and awesome music)!!

Luffymcduck

#45

Luffymcduck said:

I finally had a chance to play trough Kazooie and Tooie and Conker´s Bad Fur Day on my cousin's N64 this spring. Those games made me miss Rare SO MUCH. Banjo Tooie is propably my favourite 3D platforming adventure of all time. Rare was best in every genre. 2D platform (DKC 1-3) 3D platform (Banjo, DK, Conker) FPS (Goldeneye, Perfect Dark). As for fighting genre they have Killer Instinct which seems to have lot of fans too. And then there´s Battletoads and... so many great games!

Props for Grant Kirkhope´s Banjo soundtracks. Tooie has one of my favourite game soundtracks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1h3Pr6fdNM

Whopper744

#46

Whopper744 said:

I wouldn't even know where to begin with my favorite memories of these games. I guess something noteworthy but be the fact that my mawmaw made me a Mumbo Jumbo costume in third grade. It was really cool,

smashbrolink

#47

smashbrolink said:

I wish Banjo were free of Microsoft's clutches.
In fact, I'd say I would be extremely happy if someone like WayForward purchased them, if not Nintendo themselves.

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