On June 30th, 1998 (U.S.), the world was introduced to an unlikely and absurd partnership between a bear and a bird. The bear was gullible and goofy, the bird smart-mouthed and cruel. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different, and yet they were the ultimate team, on an epic quest against an unforgiving foe. They were called Banjo and Kazooie.
Banjo and Kazooie are like bread and butter, fish and chips, ham and cheese, peanut butter and… You get the picture. You can’t really have one without the other. Sure, there are instances where the two are temporarily separated and must be in order to accomplish specific tasks, but in those instances the two are significantly weakened and less capable of defending themselves against their foes. Together, they work in sync perfectly with one another to perform moves and abilities that would otherwise be impossible. Moves such as the Rat-a-Tat-Rap, the Flattery Flip, Beak Barge and Breegull Bash.
Their different personalities allows them to maintain a charming and entertaining partnership to not only themselves but to the characters they meet in their quests. Kazooie will often ridicule without sympathy and Banjo will comfort with genuine remorse. This makes them approachable and helpful to any of the characters that requires their assistance and they always assist them in whatever way they can. This makes their personalities, just like their moves and special abilities, a perfect harmony that plays off each other. It’s far different and unique than other familiar gaming “duos”.
Throughout the history of gaming, there have been many teams that have worked together such as Mario and Luigi, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, Jak and Daxter, and many more. While each of them worked well with one another, they could have essentially finished their adventures without their team mates’ aid and in many occasions they have. This is one of the key things that sets them apart from Banjo and Kazooie. They’re team mates, working with one another temporarily to finish their quest whereas the bear and bird duo are partners and absolutely rely on each other.
“It really does seem quite absurd adventure of a bear and bird!” That’s one of the many rhymes Gruntilda Winkybunion is quoted saying throughout Banjo-Kazooie. She is absolutely right. It really is absurd. But despite the absurdity of a bear working with a bird, Banjo and Kazooie are proven to be the penultimate partnership of gaming. A partnership that has seen them through many adventures and will hopefully see them through many more.