Jeremy Kratka’s Favorite Games of All Time: Banjo-Kazooie (N64)

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Words for how much I love Banjo-Kazooie and how much it influenced my view on gaming and ultimately my life is really hard to find. If I had to pinpoint some games that defined me as a gamer, this would easily be one of them. Made in a time when the company Rare was considered one of the best game developers in the industry, they once again took the spotlight with this amazing game. Having given a choice between this game and another Nintendo 64 game in exchange for one game I just did not like, I picked Banjo-Kazooie out of curiosity. My choice was not a bad one either. From the opening before the menu when they played that musical bit I was instantly enjoying the game. All these years later I can still go back and pop this game in and easily enjoy it without disappointment.

There isn’t much in the game that I didn’t enjoy with this game. The platforming is tight, and for me, easily beat out Mario 64, which even back then I liked, but never to the level most people raised it too. It controlled very well. The humor in the game was hilarious, even as a kid. I highly enjoyed the dynamic between Banjo and his bird companion Kazooie. Grunty the witch kept taunting you in the hub world of Witch Mountain with terrible puns. The levels in the game were simple and just really well designed; Mad Monster Mansion easily being my favorite. It always felt like I was transported somewhere else and was immersive. Even the snow and water level that I typically cringe when I know one is coming up weren’t all that bad. Mumbo, easily my favorite character, had cool transformations for you in most levels. From a bumblebee to a pumpkin, there was always something to look forward too when you saw his hut in the level for the first time. This game was so memorable, and somehow Rare created magic and perfected it on the first try. This game affected me in so many ways and will always be cemented in my favorites forever.

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