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:
Well, it's Banjo's 15th birthday .... Feels like just yesterday, a happy "Guh-Huh" day to you all!!!!— Grant Kirkhope (@grantkirkhope) May 31, 2013
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?