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A Belated Plea For Beleaguered Banjo

I just can't do this anymore, but luckily Stephen Totilo's still got some fight left in him.

 See what you've done? SEE?
It's been months since I ceased extolling the quality of my favorite game from 2008, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, because I don't handle disappointment well, and I couldn't bear (pun not intended) one more note of rejection or passive dismissal from all those people who needed to play it. To understand it, grasp its brilliance
 
I am still not joking here. What? Fine, forget it. Forget you.

Good thing intrepid reporter Stephen Totilo is still out there, singing the praises of the most important little budget-priced game that 2008 forgot. He's still here, at the turn of the new decade, writing about why Banjo finally grabbed him, albeit late in the game, and after nearly dismissing it himself.

The old way you play games — the way I first attempted to play Nuts & Bolts for a few hours — is that you try a level or a mission and, if you fail, you try it again. Maybe you gain experience points, your character levels up and it gets easier. Maybe, more often, you just try it and try it and get better, learn the intricacies of the mission or level, and finally you get it. That's how it normally works. That's how I've approached Mario games. That's how I've approached Banjo games. That's how I've approached racing games.

In Nuts & Bolts, however, in one mission, I kept failing. I couldn't win a race. The other racers passed me every time. I messed up the same turns. And I probably could have overcome all that by trying and trying and trying again. But the lightbulb went on. I went into the Nuts & Bolts garage. I started rebuilding my vehicle. You construct these vehicles as if you're making Lego builds, bolting on cubes and cones, latching one part to the next. I was having trouble making a turn? I'd reshape the fender. A guy was passing me on the sides? I'd add a gun on the side to shoot him away. I was falling behind? I added an extra engine, some extra fuel and then lightened the chassis so I was still swift enough.

I didn't get better at the game. I made myself better at the game — by making something better for myself.


Totilo eloquently sums up what made the game so meaningful to me, too. Heed his words. Savor them. Then play the game. 
 
Hey, now's as good a chance as any to mention that Nuts & Bolts is now on the Games On Demand service for a mere $20 (at least in the U.S.). Now you can enjoy this phenomenal, groundbreaking game without even leaving your house. Is there any way they could make it easier for you?   
 
In case you forgot, here's why I liked Banjo so much at the time.  

 
Brad Shoemaker on Google+
130 Comments
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Posted by Centimani

I rented this game and enjoyed every second of it. In fact, I've been planning to the store and buy it for about a week now.

Posted by DrRandle

That game really is incredible, I honestly need to stop forgetting about it. :/ It's just so massive that it's an easy game to put down and come back too, then play it for a small marathon session because I forgot how brilliant it was.

Posted by sandwich_adjustment

if its not on steam I dont want it

Posted by Chocobo_Blitzer

 I loved the first two games back in the N64 days, but I was really disappointed by this game. It isn't even the gameplay that I object to, it's the way they presented it. All the worlds were sterile and lifeless, they just acted as challenge rooms. There were no characters living in them, no collectibles to find,  puzzles to mess with, nothing. If they had meshed the challenges with more interesting worlds to explore I might have cared, but all the worlds are just these bizzare voids. Hell, you'd think the vehicle concept would have encouraged exploration, but there's nothing to explore. 
 
I'll admit creating stuff was a really wonderful concept, and it was cute when it paid off, but the format was so rigid it just took the fun out of it for me.

Posted by FlipperDesert

You have no excuse for not buying this game. Go. Game shop. Now.

Posted by Rowr
@Zabant said:
" @Rowr: you didnt have to click on the link, read the article, then proceed to comment on the article if you didnt want to read about it. it said "BANJO NUTS AND BOLTS" in the header. Jackass. "
Its on GB im obliged to read it. Sorry im just a little tired of the "We think this game is sooo good, everyone else should."
 
Well sorry i didnt.
Posted by Anviltongue

Gah! I just added it to my Gamefly que, Brad. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!  ARE YOU?!

Posted by mrsmiley

One of the best games of 2008. It's the game that forced me to play the two original N64 titles that came out on XBL. Those games are amazing, but nothing beats the hours I spent tinkering in the garage!

Posted by Hammerjelly

I asked for and got this for Xmas last year. Mostly based on all the hype it was getting here at GB. To date I've probably only played it for about 5 hours. It just never clicked for me. Maybe I'll give it another spin.

Posted by AvD

I'm with you Brad, I thoroughly enjoyed N&B.

Edited by Bartman3010

For some reason, I kind of wish there was a bigger focus on multiplayer, because I think that would be where the strength in the game really lies.
 
I kind of wish they'd port it to the PC, that way I can play on Live without having to pay for any service.
 
Er, anyway. I honestly see this is a successor to Diddy Kong Racing moreso than the next Banjo game. Why? Because of the emphasis of using vehicles in an open world setting, but you get more objectives than just racing. So why is this game being hated on so much? If you dont feel like building vehicles, the game has plenty of preset ones you can utilize that can do the job just fine. I made a vehicle myself that was used for multiple purposes, and that got me through a good chunk of the game. 
 
Seriously, people. If you liked Diddy Kong Racing, this really is THE true sequel. Not Diddy Kong/Banjo Pilot. Not Mario Kart Wii. This is the game that takes the kart racing genre for one player (and adding in the ability to create your own vehicles) and made something different. 
 
Maybe it just feels a bit slower in terms of progression? I dont know. People just need to accept the fact that its not the next Banjo platformer...although if they do make another one, perhaps they can utilize player creativity as a new means of exploration and puzzle solving.

Posted by clubsandwich

I was just playing this game yesterday! :D very cute game. n.n

Posted by Peanut

I bought it for $20 and liked it enough, but my main problem is that it was Banjo Kazooie, and not some other property. The entire time I could think of nothing but how much I wanted a traditional 3D platforming collect-a-thon. There hasn't been a good, or even decent one, in a long long time. 

Posted by twhalen
@Peanut said:
" I bought it for $20 and liked it enough, but my main problem is that it was Banjo Kazooie, and not some other property. The entire time I could think of nothing but how much I wanted a traditional 3D platforming collect-a-thon. There hasn't been a good, or even decent one, in a long long time.  "
Me too. I was a huge Banjo fan back in the day, and went crazy when a new Banjo-Kazooie game was announced. But what I wanted was an evolution of the gameplay I loved so much back in the N64 era, and so never loved the vehicle/platformer style this game had. Thanks to its soundtrack and all the characters returning, it was a great nostalgia trip, but man what I would've done for a traditional platformer.
Posted by Rowr

Only 70 dollars on Australian XBLA games on demand!

Posted by twelve1784

I bought this game in early 2009 when it was bundled with a wireless controller and Viva Pinata: TIP.  I encourage everyone I know to buy it but honestly most of them don't like to think, they just like to do.  It doesn't help that the first three hours or so go by excruciatingly slow and don't appropriately give the player a glimpse of how crazy and deep the game gets later on.
 
Nuts and Bolts is one of my favorite games that I have played in 2009 and having played both it and Viva Pinata I will slap anyone who says Rare doesn't know how to make good fun games anymore.

Posted by ShadowKing7

Considering I don't have a 360, I can't try this game out.  That sucks, too, as I'm a big fan of the two games on the N64 and would at least wanna check out the vehicle stuff in this one, even though I am partial to the platformer style. 
Posted by Princess_Isabela

Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts is a Masterpiece, one if not the most important games we got this generation. 
You really must buy it, there is no other option, 
a dirty shame Brad haven't fought hard enough to convince others bombcasters that this is the truly deserving game of 2008. 
Now all the bombcasters - go and play Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie - they're both on XBLA, absolute pinnacle of gaming you'll ever have a chance to play. 

Posted by Tuggah

Just bought it after this reminder by Brad.

Posted by Zaapp1

Loved it when it first came out, just bought it on XBL.

Posted by escapenguin

I almost forgot I need to pick this up.  Thanks for the reminder, Brad.  At first I actually didn't like it because I expected it to be a continuation of the series.  Then, it clicked, and I played the demo for hours.  This game is a work of art, and you can just feel that thousands of hours went into creating it.  If all developers put out games of this quality I'd never get any rest.

Posted by Faint

if this hadnt been a xbox360 exclusive i would have played this :(

Posted by MattyFTM

Nuts & Bolts is an amazing game. It's absolutely fantastic. It deserves every bit of praise it gets. And more people should buy it and play it.

Moderator Online
Edited by robatw

I just bought the game via Ebay - due to Brads incredible persistence.
 
It was 13€ inclusive shipping. That's a nobrainer, i guess.

Posted by ax3m4hn

this game had so much potential but what really frustrated me to no end was the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE physics. seriously, theres no recovering from hitting a tree, you spin out like its nobodys buisness
Posted by garc4475

terrible game GLAD it sold like shit.

Posted by StarFoxA

Love this game. I got 1250/1250G in it as well.

Posted by Generiko
Best game of the generation
 
So nice
 
C_C
Posted by ouenwoof

Quite an old article, but I just recently started playing this game and I absolutely adore it. I almost glazed right over it like everyone else did, but I started watching the currently ongoing "Let's Play" of the game currently in progress on the SomethingAwful forums, and bought it at the first chance I got. Many thanks to Brad for really trying to get the word out about how fantastic this game is!

Posted by durden77

Had it since day one, mainly cause I've been a Banjo fan forever. I just put it in yesterday, and every time I do I'm kind of amazed it's as underrated as it is.  
 
While there's no denying how much I love the originals, I love this game on it's own merits. Plus they nailed the style that gave those games a unique presence.