Banjo-Kazooie | The Game That Defines LividLightning

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This is one fun and funky soundtrack!



The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 


Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Today’s blogger needs no introduction.

Anyway, we’re ready for the next chapter of The Games That… Just kidding, I would never miss an opportunity to talk about one of my favorite bloggers! We’ve been graced with Ellen from LividLightning, returning after writing a wonderful piece for the Hyrule collab! She’s one of the most entertaining bloggers I’ve ever met, and she’s in fine form for this post with her playful, quirky writing style. After you’re done here, be sure to check out these amazing posts:

T-minus three, two, one. We’re launching the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings




Ellen @ LividLightning 

Twitter: @LightningEllen

For silly animal noises…


Game: Banjo-Kazooie
System: Nintendo 64
Release Date: June 29, 1998

1P Start

Gah-huk! Ahem. I’ll try to keep the spelling of silly noises to a minimum for this article, but that’s a large part of the what make Banjo-Kazooie so darn special.

One my personal Top 13 list of all-time favourite video games, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time would be #1, the entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy would be #2 (yes, I know that’s 3 games… my list, my rules), and just edging out Diddy Kong Racing for the coveted #3 spot would be none other than Banjo-Kazooie!


Gah-huk! Ahem. I’ll try to keep the spelling of silly noises to a minimum for this article, but dammit, that’s a large part of the what make Banjo-Kazooie so darn special.

Anyway, the cranky bear and sarcastic bird were a large and wonderful part of my childhood. Yep. I was bullied relentlessly in the school system here, and had to go through many a scary medical issue while growing into the somewhat mature adult I am today. Along with many other video games, Banjo-Kazooie’s wacky and whimsical world drew me in, distracting little me from a lot of life’s miserable moments. I’ll never forget the first time I made Banjo punch an adorable bouncing googly-eyed carrot at the base of Spiral Mountain. I was instantly in love with the game after that. I had a blast helping the duo fulfill their ultimate mission: save Banjo’s little sister Tooty from the clutches of the evil witch Gruntilda Winkybunion.

Whoa… wait. Banjo likes punching things and he’d do anything to save his little sister… wow! I can see me turning this into a Banjo-Kazooie and Final Fantasy XIII narrative comparison essay now so I’m gonna stop myself there. Let’s take a trip through 13 of my favourite things about this game instead (I’ll compromise with my inner obsessive Lightning Farron fan).


I) Banjo-Kazooie is essentially a big collect-a-thon that leads you across various themed worlds hunting down Jiggies, Musical Notes, helpless Jinjos, and Extra Honeycomb Pieces. I had so much fun tracking everything down, and I’ve done it countless times. To inspire me for writing this article (and refresh my terrible memory), I dug out the ol’ N64 and gave the game a very brief revisit. It seems I was able to collect everything in 10 hours the last time I played. I’m impressed with past me!

II) I remember being captivated by the box art as a kid. A big ugly witch looming in the distance, an action shot of our sarcastic heroes grabbing a shiny Jiggy in the foreground, and the game’s title is a super cute font. There’s a reason I tracked down a mint complete in box copy on eBay a few years ago.

III) The mighty Mumbo Jumbo’s magnificent transformations always made me grin from ear to ear. The sorta scary Mad Monster Mansion world was a lot less intimidating when you’re bouncing around as an adorably tiny pumpkin with yellow shorts and a blue backpack, let me tell you. There was also a cheat code that turned Banjo into a washing machine, of all things. Nope! Sorry Mumbo, I’m not washing your underwear.

IV) I mentioned Mumbo Jumbo in my last point, right? Well, as soon as I think of Mr. Mumbo, my brain goes “Eekum Bokum!”, the amusing sound effect my favourite skull-headed shaman friend makes. Kazooie’s “Bree!!” sound effect also comes to mind when I picture the red breegull. All the NPCs make their own silly sounds as the dialog scrolls on the screen too. Those cute sounds really struck a chord with young me. I have to admit, they do annoy adult me a tad these days.

V) The hella whimsical melodies that play in all the worlds are really something special and always get me right in the feelz whenever I listen to the game’s soundtrack today. Each tune just fit the theme of the world so perfectly. Great job in the audio department, Grant Kirkhope!


VI) Kazooie’s ability to fly was fabulous, even though it was kinda annoying that it cost you a consumable item called Red Feathers. I’ll always remember soaring over the gorgeous island world of Treasure Trove Cove. Especially useful since swimming isn’t advised due to an angry shark…

VII) The invincibility ability was another fun thing to play with. For the cost of Gold Feathers, Kazooie shielded Banjo with her wings, giving you the ability to charge through anything, and also not get shredded to pieces by various things in Clanker’s Cavern.

VIII) If you wanted to really have fun with flying and being invincible, you can totally cheat to get infinite Red and Gold feathers. In certain secret areas of the witch’s lair, you stumble upon Gruntilda’s disgruntled spell book, aptly named Cheato. He’s upset Grunty lost him and will willingly give the bear and bird cheat codes to enter on the sandcastle floor of Treasure Trove Cove.


IX) When you failed and got that dreaded Game Over screen, the game actually showed you poor Tooty’s fate. I remember laughing in sadness as poor Tooty emerged from Grunty’s machine as an ugly green monster, while a hyper-sexified version of Gruntilda walked away to likely go sign a modeling contract.

X) Click Clock Wood, the game’s final place, was one of my favourite worlds. It was so cool how the area went through four different seasons. It was so much fun just discovering what changed between seasons. I also remember helping a very cranky squirrel there. Conker’s cousin, maybe? Oh and the Banjo Bumblebee transformation was amazing.

XI) Egyptian themes are a thing that has always fascinated me so Gobi’s Valley is another high point in my memory. Traversing the scorching sands, entering the pyramids, and exploring ancient tombs was so exciting!

XII) There were secrets and Easter eggs aplenty in this game. I’m not sure how much time young me spent trying unsuccessfully to get at that mysterious ice key, just out of reach in an area of Freezeezy Peak.


XIII) Some of the minigames Banjo had to endure for Jiggies were quite entertaining. The biggest, baddest, and best of all minigames, however, was a trivia board game style showdown with Gruntilda before the final boss fight, amusingly named Grunty’s Furnace Fun. I learned so much about the game answering the usually unfair questions Grunty asked of the bear and bird during the event. It took me quite a while to beat it my first time through, but I’ll never forget the feeling of accomplishment when I finally survived.

And there you have it! Writing this has made me realize the nostalgia is heavy with this one. I think all of us gamers have a soft spot for the first games we ever played. Those first moments when we wrapped our hands around a controller, gasping in amazement as the characters on the screen moved when we pressed buttons. Video games will always give us something other forms of media never can: the ability to almost physically interact with other worlds, and to feel like we’re living out the stories of the characters we control. Once that final boss has been crushed, we walk away feeling like the brave hero who just saved their world. For me, Banjo-Kazooie will always be one of those special first-time gaming experiences and I’ll always treasure the many hours I spent playing as the bear and bird.

adventure map

WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form. 


This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!

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  1. One of the biggest laughs my wife and I ever shared together was me trying to explain the concept of this game to her.
    “Okay, so there’s this evil witch, and she hates your sister for being the cutest bear in all the land-”
    Lots of fun memories with this one, and your article captures so much of what made it special!

    Liked by 3 people

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