Banjo is a bear at the heart of many peoples’ first video game experiences. He and his bird sidekick Kazooie have recently made a comeback in the public consciousness with Banjo-Kazooie’s inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. Now the duo is getting their own amiibo.
The first Banjo-Kazooie game released in 1998, and was widely adored by critics and the public. After this, Rare followed up with Banjo-Tooie, which also performed very well. In 2008 the company released Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts; however, it fell flat with the public and critics alike. Many blamed this failure on the team behind the initial Banjo games having left Rare. In 2015 Playtonic Studios, which is comprised of many former Rare employees, broke Kickstarter records with Yooka-Laylee., a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie.
Since then, Banjo-Kazooie has made a comeback and now the duo has their own amiibo. This is official amiibo number 85, following Dragon Quest’s “Hero” and preceding “Terry Bogard.” The Banjo-Kazooie amiibo is out now and has features in several games, including Smash Bros. In Smash Bros., where it allows Banjo to appear in-game as an NPC fighter. In Super Mario Party the amiibo only gives “party points,” and in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker it gives the player an extra life. While compatibility is listed for several other games, there is no functionality listed for these yet.
The near-field-communication toy promotion has worked for both Skylanders and Disney Infinity. The same seems to be true for Nintendo, as in 2018 it reported 50 million units had been sold. Though most amiibo are not worth much, some misprint ones can be worth absurd amounts. One of the most expensive amiibo the coveted legless Peach, which sold for $25,000 USD in 2014.
Banjo-Kazooie fans are no doubt glad their community is receiving more attention. The introduction of Banjo-Kazooie to Smash proved to be an incredibly popular decision for Nintendo. The character has wide appeal, drawing admiration from those who are in their 30s and played the game as a child, as well as kids who are just now discovering the character.
However, Banjo-Kazooie fans may be feeling restless. While many are sure to see any attention as good attention, some are no doubt upset that there has still been no new Banjo game in some time. The renewed attention experienced by the franchise has certainly boosted hopes that there will one day be a true third installment.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now on Nintendo Switch.