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Banjo Tooie released 20 years ago today.

Content of the article: "Banjo Tooie released 20 years ago today."

Banjo Tooie released on November 20, 2000 in North America for the Nintendo 64, so I thought 20 years on it'd be good to reflect on this successful but somewhat controversial sequel. The game is much bigger and longer than its predecessor – worlds are interconnected and some jiggies are multi-step missions that span multiple worlds and are typically gated by your available move-set at the time. There are more moves, more characters to play as, and more backtracking compared to its predecessor. While I can certainly see some of its shortcomings looking through a modern lens, it offered an experience pretty unique to the Nintendo 64 and wasn't just a retread of the original. Its gated progression and interconnected worlds lend it some Metroidvania qualities (though it's still not an exact fit) while still retaining many of the qualities of the original: the great soundtrack, funny cast of characters, large worlds, and (at the time) amazing graphics. Critics of the sequel thought the worlds were overly difficult to navigate and scarified the simplicity of the original in favor of a more drawn out and needlessly convoluted adventure. Even so, it achieved a 90% critic average on Metacritic and was loved far more than hated.

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It received an updated Xbox Live Arcade release on the Xbox 360 on April 29, 2009 that updated the game to HD, eliminated the frame-rate issues the original version had, increased draw distance, enabled Stop 'N' Swap capabilities, added online leaderboards, and added a number of other quality of life improvements. Plus, you can play it with a wireless controller.

I'm going to share some videos about the game to generate some discussion around it:

  • – The creators behind Banjo Tooie reflect on the game nearly two decades after its initial release.

  • – 10 interesting facts about Banjo Tooie.

  • – A video discussing the history of Stop 'N' Swap, a feature that was meant to pair the two Nintendo 64 Banjo games together but was ultimately dropped, until the Xbox 360 version brought it back in some form.

  • – Bottles Revenge was a canceled multiplayer mode that would've allowed the second player to control nearby enemies, including bosses. Apparently Rare had Old King Coal working, but it was scrapped (due to time I believe). It can still be hacked back into the game, but its functionality is limited.

  • – Funny commercial I'm sure some of you remember from back in the day.

  • – This is an Any % Banjo Tooie speedrun from SGDQ 2018. 100% completion speedruns are over 4 hours long.

How did you feel about the game when you first played it, and how do you feel about it now? What are some memories you have of it? How does it compare to its predecessor?


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