Conker and Banjo Could Bring Bank for Nintendo (Part 1)
While Nintendo is steadily starting to release more titles, they are still falling a bit short of the expectations of many. Despite how wel-loved many of their franchises are, sometimes it feels like it may not be enough to keep everyone happy. It may not be a sinking ship, but Nintendo could use a hero or two to throw a little more weight behind it’s systems, mainly the Wii U. Rare brought many good games to Nintendo, but it was purchased from them by Microsoft in 2001. Rare has still developed titles for the handheld Nintendo systems, since Microsoft has no handhelds to make games for, but two of their highly unused titles could provide the weight Nintendo needs. These two characters/titles are none other than Conker and Banjo.
Conker and Banjo: Who, Exactly, are They?
Both Conker and Banjo are platforming legends from the Nintendo 64 era. They have both starred in a couple of games, and are well loved by children of the 90’s and gamers today.
During his time with Nintendo, Conker statred in two titles. The first of which was a smaller game, called Conker’s Pocket Tales (1999), which was on the GameBoy Color. This game showcased a friendlier Conker, who was simply on an adventure to save his girlfriend Berri. From there, he moved to the Nintendo 64 in Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001). This title was where Conker became the drunken, crass squirrel that everyone knows today. The hilarious and fun-filled platforming title saw Conker lost in a strange world after a night of heavy drinking. Out on a quest to return home to his girlfriend, you will help Conker fight giant poo monsters, slaughter numerous enemies, and even chat with the grim reaper. Over the years, the game has become such a hit that it is hard for find the game for less than $90.
Banjo on the other had has always been cheery and friendly for kids of all ages. His first two games, Banjo-Kazooie (1998) and Banjo-Tooie (2000), were released on the Nintendo 64. These were platforming titles, the first of which had you travel with Banjo and his bird friend Kazooie in order to rescue Banjo’s sister from the evil witch Gruntilda. The second game happens two years after, and sees Gruntilda resurrected and out wrecking havoc on the land. You, of course, have to help Banjo and Kazooie stop her plans. Banjo saw two other releases with Nintendo on the Gameboy Advance. First, in Grunty’s Revenge (2003), you had to help Banjo and Kazooie take on a robot Gruntilda which was housing her spirit. The game acted as the bridge between the two N64 titles. The other GBA title, Banjo Pilot (2005) was a racing title that did not tie into the main story line of the franchise.
What are Banjo and Conker Doing at Microsoft?
In all honesty, not much. Rare developers talked about how they had a whole Conker sequel, where Conker got thrown into jail and would go on another epic adventure with players. They told members of Microsoft about this and that it was ready to go whenever, but instead Microsoft had them re-master Conker’s Bad Fur Day (dubbed Conker Live and Reloaded) for the Xbox instead. Conker Live and Reloaded (2005) was made with impressive graphics at the time, but greatly toned down the crass nature that players expected from the crude squirrel. Aside from the re-master, not much has come from Conker. He was teased as a part of Project Spark during E3 2014, but was not seen until this year. This April, players got to see Conker for the first time in ten years, which is incidentally the same amount of time that has passed in game. Known as Conker’s Big Reunion, the game is an episodic campaign for Project Spark. Conker goes for a reunion, only to find out that his friends are missing and his tab hasn’t been paid. The game as not been overly impressive lately, as it only focuses on the Tediz as enemies and the levels are short and mostly combat centered so far.
Banjo has been up to even less than Conker has. Both characters have their original titles out on the online shop for Xbox systems, and aside from that Banjo has had only one game. It is not very well loved in the eyes of many gamers who have played it as fans of Banjo Kazooie. This game, Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts (2008), is an action game based around vehicle customization. Developers have claimed that only 20% of the game is actual platforming, the rest requires you to travel the world in the vehicles that you customize. It centers around the return of Gruntilda, who wishes to destroy Banjo and Kazooie once and for all. However; the Lord of Video Games gets in the way and proposes a challenge to the two in order to settle their differences.
Conker and Banjo: Until Next Time
Banjo has his acclaim and love given to him almost right off the bat, and that fan loyalty has remained strong and true for many who played his titles as kids. Conker did not have as big of a following initially but, over the years, a large selection of 90s gamers have fallen in love with the red squirrel and the race is on to get the remaining copies of his hit N64 title.
Now that you know a bit about these two iconic characters, you are prepared for our second part of why Conker and Banjo would be incredible re-additions to the Nintendo family. There is much they can lend to the company, both in terms of their own titles and as additions to already well known games. If any of you have fond memories of Banjo and Conker, please share them in the comments section below.