6 examples of weird logic in Banjo-Kazooie

22nd September 2019




Banjo-Kazooie has been well loved by fans ever since its initial release in the summer of 1998, and for good reason. With its colourful worlds, tight controls and infectious soundtrack, it quickly took up residence in the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide - and has stayed there for over twenty years.

However, we might be stretching a point if we try to assert that the game has always made perfect sense. Today, we’re going to look at six major moments of “wait, what?” logic from Rare’s N64 classic...

1. The mysteries of breegull biology

I’m no expert on avian anatomy, but Kazooie’s talents at egg-firing seem a bit suspect. Is she laying eggs, or pooping them out? How come said eggs can burst from her beak just as easily as from her bottom? Is she essentially just a feathered tube full of eggs?

As an aside, I wonder if somebody ought to have pointed out to Rare that birds don’t actually spit eggs from their mouths - as this unlikely ability was also possessed by Squawks the parrot in the earlier Donkey Kong Country games.

There’s also the slightly ambiguous animation that plays when Banjo collects a Jiggy. It’s not clear if Kazooie takes the prize into her mouth in order to transport it into the backpack for storage (which prompts its own questions, but never mind) - in fact, it rather looks as though she simply eats it.

Kazooie eating a Jiggy

Yum yum?

2. Have Banjo and Bottles met before, or not?

You’d think something this basic would be established pretty unambiguously in Banjo lore, but sadly that’s not the case.

The intro cutscene establishes one possibility. Bottles greets Banjo's sister, Tooty, by name (“Hi there Tooty, what are you going to do today?”), but implies that he may not know Banjo personally (he points at the distant figure of Gruntilda in the sky and says, “Is that your brother?”).

However, the game’s instruction manual outright contradicts this interpretation, suggesting pretty clearly that Bottles is as well acquainted with Banjo and his sassy Breegull friend as he is Tooty:

Bottles in B-K Manual

This is further supported by the fact that Banjo has a framed portrait of Bottles over the fireplace in his cottage, which would be a strange thing to do for some guy you don’t know.

But then again, when the player begins their training in Spiral Mountain, the first cutscene begins with Bottles introducing himself by name to Banjo and Kazooie (and vice-versa):

Bottles' introduction

So... answers on a postcard...?

3. Miracle molehills

Speaking of Bottles the mole, we need to talk about molehills and how they get there.

We know how moles work. They live underground, tunneling around in the soil and eating worms; from time to time, they push soil upwards to form a molehill (either deliberately to pop out and have a look around, or just as an accidental consequence of burrowing around down below).

Right? Makes sense. So how does this happen, then:

Bottles' impossible molehill

I mean… that’s quite a feat, isn’t it?

This isn't even the only time he does this. How exactly does the myopic mole manage to burrow and create a soil mound inside Clanker - an entirely metal environment which is itself surrounded on all sides by deep water?

I’m telling you - that mole’s keeping secrets.

4. Dim thinking from the Twinklies

Even though we traditionally associate lightbulbs with bright ideas and smart thinking, the Twinklies - the hapless Christmas lights found on Freezeezy Peak - are literally too dumb to survive without Banjo’s intervention.

Consider the scenario:

Twinklies

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that this entire set-piece could be avoided entirely if the Twinklies would run very slightly to the side of the track full of monsters whose entire raison d'être is to eat them.

It's like that one bit in Prometheus, isn’t it?

In my head, this minigame is titled “Christmas Lightbulb Suicide Watch”, because your entire job is to prevent the Twinklies from immediately killing themselves en masse for no reason.

5. Tanktup’s suspicious secret

For the life of me I can’t figure out why nobody in Banjo-Kazooie seems to think it’s at all suspect that Tanktup, the giant turtle of Bubblegloop Swamp, turns out to have an entire children’s choir in his stomach.

Tanktup and the Tiptup Choir

I mean, help me out here. What exactly are they doing in there? Possible candidates for solutions might include:

  • The choirmaster, Tiptup, has rented the space inside Tanktup’s body as a practice hall for his students (which raises further questions about how Tanktup manages to function with no discernable internal organs, but there we go).
  • Tanktup has knowingly imprisoned them inside his cavernous body, perhaps due to a dislike of choral music. However, the choirmaster doesn’t express any dissatisfaction with his environment - so either this is not the answer, or we’re looking at a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Perhaps the most obvious and inescapable conclusion: Tanktup has eaten them, and they will eventually be absorbed into an incredibly slow, Sarlacc-pit-style digestive process.
With this in mind, is it strictly appropriate for our hero Banjo to go around jumping on these young turtles’ heads with the sole aim of acquiring a Jiggy for his collection - only to then abandon them to their dubious fate in the stomach of a colossal swamp turtle? I don’t know if I feel good about how this scenario pans out.

6. The Jinjo enigma

Poor old Jinjos. They’re found all over the game, waving and crying for help from their various imprisonments on awkward ledges, platforms and surfaces throughout the world of Banjo-Kazooie.

Jinjo

That is, until you walk over and touch one - at which point it decides to use its latent power for flight and soar homewards without a care. Many scholars have wondered what it is about the Jinjo nature that makes them want to do this, noting that it would save a lot of time for everybody if they would just fly home by themselves.

I think the simplest explanation is probably the best - that being that Jinjos are just bloody awkward and like making work for people.

Of course, this and the other riddles we’ve pondered in this post are far from being the only examples of baffling logic in the Banjo universe.

How does Grunty’s beauty machine manage to take the inputs of ‘ugly green witch’ and ‘small, blonde bear wearing jodhpurs’ and combine them into Posh Spice? How come Banjo and Gruntilda have the only two houses in Spiral Mountain, but it’s never occurred to the bear and bird that the big sinister witch face built into the cliff might be a problem? How does farting an egg into a plant pot in Mad Monster Mansion result in the instantaneous growth of flowers?

We may never know.




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