The official logo of the series
|Platforms||Nintendo 64 / Game Boy Advance / Xbox 360 / XBLA|
|First release||Banjo-Kazooie (1998)|
|Latest release||Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (2008)|
Banjo-Kazooie is a series of video games created by Rare in 1998. The game stars a honey bear named Banjo and his friend, a large red bird - of the fictional Breegull species - named Kazooie, who are both controlled by the player, and a witch named Gruntilda as the primary antagonist. Throughout the various games they are tasked with thwarting Gruntilda's various evil schemes. There are currently three main games in the series.
The first game in the series, Banjo-Kazooie, was released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and re-released in 2008 for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade. In Spiral Mountain, Banjo's sister, Tooty, has been kidnapped by the witch known as Gruntilda who wants Tooty's beauty and is willing to turn her into a hag for it. It is up to Banjo and Kazooie to save her. The goal is to progress through the witch's lair and the various worlds within it, collect items including jiggys which are golden jigsaw pieces which are needed to unlock new worlds and music notes that open up certain doors to help Banjo and Kazooie along their quest, and defeat Gruntilda.
Banjo-Tooie is the second game in the series, and was released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64 and re-released in 2009 for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade. Two years after Banjo and Kazooie defeat Gruntilda, Gruntilda is freed from her grave and revived by her two sisters using a drilling machine and their magic spell. Using a machine named B.O.B., she proceeds to wreak havoc on the Isle O' Hags, sucking the life force out of the land and its inhabitants to gain power to restore her body to its former state. After she kills Bottles, Banjo and Kazooie go to stop her. Tooie is famous for being significantly harder than its predecessor; jigsaw pieces are almost never in visible places or easily accessed, and abilities, powers, and items obtained from some worlds need to be used in others to complete tasks. Many new features were added to the game, such as bosses in each dungeon. Backtracking was also a feature, where the player needed to travel to previous dungeons as a result of abilities learned from Jam-Jars in the latter worlds.
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge
Grunty's Revenge was released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. It takes place two months after Banjo-Kazooie. While Gruntilda is still trapped under the boulder that fell on top of her, Klungo decides to make a robot for Gruntilda's spirit to dwell inside. During the game, Gruntilda transfers her spirit into the robot and travels back in time to prevent the first meeting of Banjo and Kazooie. In the end, Gruntilda tells Klungo to go try to get her sisters, thereby setting the events of Banjo-Tooie into motion. A mobile version of the game was also released.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Nuts & Bolts was released in 2008 for the Xbox 360. The ending sequence in Banjo-Tooie suggested the title would be Banjo-Threeie, with early press releases tentatively calling it Banjo-Kazooie 3. The original trailer sported a more angular artistic design for the characters and complete fur and feather detailing on Banjo and Kazooie. The game's release on 12 November 2008 marked the tenth anniversary of the series. It is the first original Banjo-Kazooie game released on a non-Nintendo system. The gameplay is a departure from the previous games in that, rather than learning new moves in order to continue, the player must instead build vehicles of all shapes and sizes to complete challenges. These challenges include races, transporting objects, fighting enemies, and a variety of other tasks. Gruntilda is still the main antagonist, but this time the Lord of Games (L.O.G.) has swept Banjo, Kazooie, and most of the cast into an all new world.
Prior to Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo's first appearance was as a playable racer in Diddy Kong Racing, released for Nintendo 64 in 1997. In Conker's Bad Fur Day & Conker: Live & Reloaded, Banjo's head can be seen, disembodied, above the fireplace in the main menu. Additionally, Kazooie's head can be found on the end of an umbrella in the chapter select screen for both games. In Grabbed by the Ghoulies, pictures are seen throughout the game as well as scenes from the levels. Also monster versions of Banjo and Kazooie's heads are seen. Following Microsoft's purchase of Rare, Banjo was absent from the Nintendo DS remake, Diddy Kong Racing DS. Banjo and Kazooie also appear in the Xbox 360 version of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
- Jiggie - The games' main collectibles. Jiggies are golden jigsaw puzzle pieces with magical properties. They can assume any image and are all exactly the same shape and can hook together infinitely unless required otherwise. They allow worlds to be accessed when assembled to form an image of said world. In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, they are instead banked and used to purchase doorways to new worlds. Despite being made of gold, Jiggies apparently float on the surface of water.
- Notes - The games' currency. They are pairs of golden eighth notes that can be collected and used as money (to a certain extent). In Banjo-Kazooie, Notes are required to complete the game. Notes gathered in a level add to the total amount of Notes in the game. Every stage had 100 notes. Should a player exit a level without collecting all the notes, their current level total will be added to their overall total and won't raise until all of the notes are recollected and the remaining ones are collected as well. Notes are used to enter Note Doors which conceal the different districts of the game with over 800 notes being needed to open the final Note Door. In Banjo-Tooie, Notes have a completely different behavior. They are still required to complete the game, but in a completely different way. There are no longer 100 individual notes in each stage, but rather a random multiple of 5. A standard note is now worth 5 notes and a rare Treble Cleft is worth 20. Notes are used to purchase new moves, but instead of losing notes for every move, you keep the same amount and are tasked with finding more for the next move. These moves are required for further progression in the game. In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, they are no longer required to beat the game and now come in three varieties: Copper (Worth 1 Note), Silver (worth 5), and the traditional gold (worth 10). They serve as direct currency in this game and are consumed upon purchases.
Stop 'N' Swop
Of all the mysteries and easter eggs of the series, Stop 'N' Swop is the most notorious and mind-boggling, as while it was a feature in Banjo-Kazooie, evidence suggests that the feature was never fully implemented due to the Nintendo 64 revisions completed in 1999 that kept the feature from being practical. The feature was widely publicized through a column published by Nintendo Power. Rare announced that special areas and items in the game could only be reached by completing certain tasks in its sequel, Banjo-Tooie. It was later discovered that Banjo-Kazooie contains seven special items which can be accessed using lengthy in-game cheat codes or by using a cheat cartridge. Once collected, these items would be viewable in a menu titled "Stop 'N' Swop". Even if the game is reset, all of the items will remain permanently.
An ending sequence in Banjo-Kazooie, should the player collect all 100 Jiggies in the game, indicated that two colored eggs in the game would be put to use in the sequel Banjo-Tooie. There was also an inaccessible ice key shown in the sequence, which induced gamers to search for a way to get it. While only two eggs were shown in the sequence, hackers Alan "Ice Mario" Pierce and Mitchell "SubDrag" Kleiman of the Rare Witch Project fansite discovered in-game cheat codes to unlock a total of six different eggs and the ice key. Other ways of getting the six eggs and key were previously discovered via the use of a cheat cartridge. Once acquired, these items would be viewable by all three game files, and would remain after erasing the files.
In the years between the two Banjo-Kazooie games, Rare representatives were questioned on "Stop 'N' Swop" and how it would be implemented. Ken Lobb was reportedly unwilling to discuss how the connection would be made between the games.
Banjo-Tooie was released in 2000 and offered a way to retrieve the items without the need to acquire Banjo-Kazooie. The player would attain them by destroying in-game Banjo-Kazooie Game Paks. These eggs could then be brought to Heggy the hen to hatch. There were three eggs in total (i.e. the pink, yellow, and blue eggs), one of which was already with the hen, but which Kazooie had to hatch herself. The ice key, however, was to be used to obtain an item locked in an ice vault, containing a Mega Glowbo, which could turn Kazooie into a dragon. No explanation for "Stop 'N' Swop" was revealed in the game. Nintendo released a statement on the matter expressing that the feature "was not implemented in the game, and although we know there is a code that opens this menu, it does not do anything at all. And as much as I would like to be able to answer your question about why it was not implemented in the game, this is not information that our Consumer Service Department has access to."
A reference to Stop 'N' Swop was included in the 2003 video game Grabbed by the Ghoulies. On one of the chalkboards in the schoolroom is a mathematical equation, stating: "[egg] + [egg] + [egg] + [egg] + [key] = ?".
In 2004, a patent filed by Rare was published which suggests that Stop 'N' Swop involved swapping cartridges with the power off to transfer data. The information would be momentarily retained by utilizing the Rambus memory in the Nintendo 64. As a result of changes done to the Nintendo 64 systems produced in 1999, the system could no longer do this effectively.
Another Stop 'N' Swop reference appeared in 2005's Banjo-Pilot. After completing most of the game, Cheato sells an item called "STOP 'N' SWOP" for 999 Cheato Pages. The only result of buying is Cheato saying: "So you want to know about Stop 'N' Swop, eh? I hope you're ready. Here goes...Why don't you stop annoying me and swop this game for a nice book or something?"
In a 2007 interview with Retro Gamer, Rare employees told the magazine reporters that they may have to wait until the release of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts for the details of Stop 'N' Swop to be revealed. In March 2008, a new website appeared with an animation of the ice key rotating, the eggs, and the words "the answers are coming." On April 1, however this was revealed to be an April Fool's joke created by The Rare Witch Project.
In 2008 MTV conducted an interview with Salvatore Fileccia, lead software engineer at Rare. Fileccia cited that the abandonment of Stop 'N' Swop was due to revisions made to the Nintendo 64 circuitry. He stated that older versions of the system would have given the player 10 seconds to swap cartridges, while newer iterations of the console reduced this time to one second.
At Microsoft's E3 press conference on 14 July 2008, it was announced that the original Banjo-Kazooie would be made available through the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and feature Stop 'N' Swop connectivity with Nuts & Bolts to unlock new features. In both the demo version and full version of Nuts & Bolts, Bottles also offers a "Stop 'N' Swop Truth" for 6,000 music notes. The Rare Witch Project extracted the demo's text string, which revealed that when Bottles is paid 6,000 notes he says "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, and we couldn't show that in a game with this rating. Put it out of your mind and think happy thoughts! Thanks for the notes!".
On 27 January 2009, Rare announced that Banjo-Tooie would be released in April on XBLA and that the "original plan" for Stop 'N' Swop would be implemented. It was revealed that the eggs and key in the XBLA version of Banjo-Kazooie would unlock bonus vehicle parts in Nuts & Bolts such as fuzzy dice. In Nuts & Bolts there is an imprint of the ice key on top of Boggy's gym and drawings of the eggs throughout Showdown Town. When a Stop 'N' Swop item is collected in Banjo-Kazooie, a corresponding crate appears at each drawing. Banjo and Kazooie can take them to Mumbo to get the special vehicle parts. The level BanjoLand (a museum-like level that contains various artifacts from the first two games) also features large fake Stop 'N' Swop eggs that contain Gruntbots.
In the XBLA port of Banjo-Tooie, the six eggs and key from Banjo-Kazooie unlock the bonuses included in the original N64 version, as well as new content related to the Xbox 360. In place of the three preexisting eggs are gold, silver and bronze eggs. The three unlock achievements listed under a "Stop 'N' Swop II" submenu. Additional Stop 'N' Swop II achievements can be unlocked by completing specific objectives in the game. Like the original Stop 'N' Swop before it, the items and criteria to be met in Stop 'n' Swop II are to be used in a future Banjo game.
- "Microsoft’s Shane Kim On Fable 2. Why Marvel MMO Was Canceled And More".
- Tristan Oliver. "FIRST @ TSSZ: It’s Real…Banjo-Kazooie in ASR".
- Xbox 360 Skin Pack 1 Hits Xbox Live
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- Why I Finally Accept What Happened To That "Banjo-Kazooie" Stop N Swop Thing. multiplayerblog.mtv.com. Retrieved on 28 May 2008.
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- Banjo-Kazooie to be released on Xbox Live Arcade Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
- Official Banjo-Kazooie website
- Donkey Kong 64 Stop 'n' Swop Special – includes a brief introduction to Stop 'N' Swop