Banjo-Kazooie is one of those franchises that was a household name back over a decade ago, and with two huge hits on the Nintendo 64, that was rightfully earned.
I used to play the heck out of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie back in my wee adolescence days. I was 100% petrified of Gruntilda the witch, but the fear was always overshadowed by my love for the bouncy ear-bugs by Grant Kirkhope. As we start to close out on the one-year celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the franchise, let’s take a look back at Banjo-Kazooie cameos in other video games!
Also, play this while you read. It’s totally worth it.
Diddy Kong Racing
This is actually a trick one because Diddy Kong Racing release before the initial release of Banjo-Kazooie! Also for the Nintendo 64, this charming racing game feature Diddy Kong and his friends as they helped their pal Timber the Tiger fend off Wizpig, a nefarious pig wizard who was wreaking havoc on Timber’s island.
This is Banjo’s debut appearance (along side Conker, who went on to star in his own game called Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Tiptup, who also made an appearance in Banjo-Kazooie). He was a playable racer who had a heavy-weight’s stats (great top speed and slow acceleration). He also appeared in this game without Kazooie, which feels super wrong when you look back.
Side note, Diddy Kong Racing was the first video game that I had ever owned for myself. Before that I’d just play all my dad’s games. Needless to say, this game holds a special place in my heart and I’ll never forget the vastly different and charming characters, including that goofy honey bear.
Donkey Kong 64
I bet you noticed the trend of Donkey Kong-related games in this list. That’s because Rareware was the development company that was in charge of development for both the Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong titles back then (before they were bought up by Microsoft). But that’s another story for another blog post.
But I digress. This one is a little easy to miss, but when you go into Candy Kong’s music store to purchase an instrument, take a look around. If you know your stuff, you’ll notice a certain xylophone used by Mumbo Jumbo in the opening of Banjo-Kazooie!
There is another minor reference in the Creepy Castle level of Donkey Kong 64: the floating book has a striking resemblance to Cheato, the floating book that belongs to the main antagonist of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise, Gruntilda.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
This one is a tad morbid, but what else would you expect in Conker’s Bad Fur Day? Conker took a turn down in interesting road after his sweet debut in Diddy Kong Racing. Did Wizpig really mess him up that badly?
Anyways! In the game’s tavern of an inappropriate name (Google is your friend), you can find Banjo’s head mounted proudly on the wall for all to see. It’s kinda sad (and hilarious). Kazooie also makes a short appearance as the handle of an umbrella. I don’t know what Banjo and Kazooie did to Conker to deserve this, but it must’ve been pretty bad!