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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+
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Posted by Brad
 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.  

 
Staff
Posted by Jost1

Nuts and Bolts is an incredible, amazing game and if people are only discovering that NOW, then they are way too late and partly guilty that 90% of games are so unoriginal. 
 
Here comes a game that is TRULY original, humorous, colourful, everything your average Unreal Engine 3 game is NOT. And people don't buy it. For shame.

Posted by Muttinus_Rump

People need to buy this game.

Posted by dhuff

well played Totilo

Posted by Hot_Karl

Yeah still need to get on this game. But then again, I have a ton of crap to play for my 360.
 
Let me know when I can get it for $15 or less on Amazon, then I'll bite. I think I'll enjoy it though.

Posted by Icil

Awesome game. My only regret is no vehicle destruction in multiplayer, but everything else was top notch. Once I bought stupid shit like springs, balloons, jets, etc, I was having way more fun making ridiculous vehicles with no practical use.
 
Man, if anyone wants to hop online for some Banjo I am down. No competition; I'd rather just fly around and go crazy.

Edited by MattBodega

When I read that article, I just threw up my arms and shouted, "OF COURSE IT'S BRILLIANT, YOU DOLT!" before I remembered that he was agreeing with me, and decided that a convert to the cause was better than a hater any day,
Man, I love Nuts and Bolts so much. I applauded Giant Bomb's decision to name the game the best 360 release of 2008, beating out the also excellent and more popular front runner Gears of War 2. I thought the game was brilliant, a terrific satire of the game industry, a strong indictment of the old platformers that made the bear and bird "famous", and the ultimate counterpoint to LittleBigPlanet, showing that letting a user create their own tools was far more potent and powerful than letting a user create boxes for other people to play in. 
 Seeing people criticize the game for being unfamiliar or,even worse, for not being those totally obsolete old 3D platformers broke my heart.  I thought Nuts and Bolts was one of the best games I have ever played. It's one of the few games I will happily champion to others.
Also, this article is a victory for Klungo, who, in case you forgot, saved the world.

Posted by AlmostSwedish

Alright Brad, you win. I will buy the stupid game.

Posted by sixpin

If it makes you feel better Brad, your enthusiasm for Nuts & Bolts is what made me finally pick it up last year... that and the $20 sale price at Best Buy. :)

Posted by JeffGoldblum

Damn. I thought this would be information about a sequel.

Posted by Jost1

People moan and moan about lack of originality and then proceed to flock around the latest unoriginal brown FPS of the season. It's so disappointing that Nuts and Bolts was ignored, it's a 5 star game if I ever played one.

Posted by Olimar_91

Nuts & Bolts should be classified (at  least imo) as a spin-off. I think that's what threw people so much. They wanted Banjo 3, but this isn't it. 
 
The game is good though, and that's why I don't understand the hate. It has that rare, having fun while not doing anything, appeal to it. I don't think I've had as much fun screwing around in a hubworld since Super Mario 64. 
 
Honestly, one of my favorite 360 games.

Posted by TheYear20XX

I will defend this game until my dying breath.

Posted by Novyx

I'll admit it. I liked the demo, but I cannot stand the whole cartoon bear deal. I grew up in the 90s, and cannot handle any more cartoon animals. That's the only thing I didn't like, but it's why I'll never play the game.

Posted by TheSmilingDude

This is seriously one of the best games out there and I'm glad I got it when I did, and got the Jiggillionaire achievement. It's still really odd to see Rare carry this stigma when they've brought great original games this generation (Kameo, Viva Pinata, and Banjo). 

Posted by Dylabaloo

If the Shoemaker is "Calling it!" then I i'm gonna have to pick up this game sometime soon.

Posted by Trilogy

There are many other games that I still haven't played from 09 yet so banjo gets a major back seat. Sorry Bradly.

Posted by Symphony

I just purchased this recently and enjoyed it for about 3 hours... and then it became really repetitive. The sense of humor was great, but doing the same sort of races over and over just got tiresome. Sure, creating a massive bulldozer machine to push blocks off a ledge in one fell swoop was a fun "Aha, I'll show the game who's boss!" moment, but those sorts of moments lost their luster once practically every event required going back to the garage and building a machine designed exclusively for one thing.
 
But the game has a great premise, sense of humor, and certainly offers loads of fun for anyone interested. It just wasn't something that held my own interest, but I'd still recommend the game to anyone with a 360 who likes having fun.

Posted by oldjack327

I agree, Brad, Nut's and Bolts was the best game of 2008. Sadly, lots of people just dismissed it because it was "too different" from the original games. Their loss.

Posted by Death_Unicorn

My game of the year of 2008. I'm trying to get my friends to buy it to not avail...

Posted by TheGreatGuero

I still need to finish it. Heh, I bought the DLC, but uhh... then I couldn't find out how to get to it. I guess it's behind Mumbo's Motors? In the garage or something? I don't know. I'll get back to it. I'm far enough so that I can face off against Grunty, but I want to get more jiggies before I try that.

Posted by mracoon

Sorry Brad, I spent all my money on the Steam sale. What little I have left I'm saving for ME2 so Banjo's going to have to wait indefinitely.

Moderator
Posted by toorima

I bought this two days before the game came out on games on demand, and I am loving every moment of playing it.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

Definitely one of my favourite games this generation.  Very unique, challenging, requires a lot of thought and creativity, it's gorgeous and just a lot of fun to play.
It even had a lot of laugh out loud gags, if nothing else, it still had the same great Banjo characters and humour. 

I do understand why many of the old school Banjo fans were disappointed by the radical departure, and if they ever do a sequel I do think they at least need to strike a better mixture between classic platforming and vehicle design challenges, but I still loved the game a lot, and it's a shame that so many people either ignored it or completely dismissed it for being so different.  It's nice to see this game finally getting some recognition on websites, people like to bash Rare these days and claim they haven't put out anything good in years..  while completely ignoring classics like this, Kameo and Viva Pinata.
 
Easily on par with anything they've done in the past.

Posted by MrKlorox

Wow. When did it go up? I swear I looked at the list the other day and noted the lack of this while the N64 ones were still in the arcade.

Posted by MikkaQ

I guess I'm in the clear, I convinced like 3 people to buy this game. Well the one guy was a major Banjo nerd, but the rest? Magic... a whole lotta magic.  
 
Now I should really buy the DLC.

Posted by ShadowMountain

I tried the demo but didn't like it; mainly the controls didn't feel right. Reading this though I think I'll give it another chance, just for you Brad!
Edited by lilarchie232

After hearing everyone at the offices praise for the game I picked it up.  I was pleased and the game met my relatively high expectations that came from the offices praising of the title, and brought back a lot of lego building childhood memories.  I showed it off to my friend who was a much bigger Banjo fan than I and he loved it!  Which I was surprised at considering the fact he had his serious doubts about it after trying the demo.
 
So yes this game is under appreciated, just wanted to give my two cents on the matter.

Posted by Sathan

Buy or rent this game, don't judge it on it's demo. I hated the demo, but loved the full game. Once you quit relying on the preset vehicles and get on grip on building your own, you are only limited by your imagination.

Posted by Whisperkill

One of my favorite 360 games.

Posted by Crono
@Sathan said:
" Buy or rent this game, don't judge it on it's demo. I hated the demo, but loved the full game. Once you quit relying on the preset vehicles and get on grip on building your own, you are only limited by your imagination. "
This quote perfectly articulates the game.  I know I am only repeating Sathan here, but I do it for the sake of stressing just how good the game is; don't judge the game on the demo.  I too was not impressed by the game based on its demo, but after hearing many good things about the game, and wanting a new kind of game, I broke down and bought it and do not regret it in the least.  The game has a lot of depth and, as stated by Sathan and many others who have the game, it is only limited by your creativity.  Oh, and the humor is pretty good in the storyline - the game doesn't take itself too seriously and it is all just a really good time.  Highly recommended.
Posted by EthanML

I fucking love this game.

Posted by ptc

Fantastic game.  In short: buy it and play it immediately.  No excuses!  Unless, of course, you don't own a 360...

Posted by MeatSim

When are we gonna see more quality games like this from Rare again?

Posted by FunExplosions

When I buy my 360 I'm definitely getting this. Don't think I even read the review when it was posted last year. Fuck me.

Posted by Godlovesugly

Ugh Kotaku, shame considering how good Totilo is.

Posted by Jeffsekai

This game is good, but god damn about half way though you lose any incentive to actually keep making cars. Even on the bombcast I remember Brad/Jeff saying the same thing. o well

Edited by Relys

I don't get who they were trying to appeal too.
 
Fans were very disappointed, that is no secret. But I hated the first two in the series and I hated Nuts and Bolts.
 
How can you like this game?

Posted by dankempster

Thanks for reminding me that I still need to get around to playing this, Brad. I think I'll promote it to the next game in the queue, as soon as I'm done with Chinatown Wars on my PSP.

Posted by Babble

Passing this game over should be a crime, it remains one of my favorite games from 2008.

Posted by spiceninja

Perhaps Rare can make a tradition platformer to shut the whiny bitch fans up and then make a Nuts and Bolts fans for those who can see why change is good.

Posted by TheHBK

for 10 dollars i will pick it up

Posted by Rayfield

I bought this game in early 2009 when it was on special for $29 (Australian). I wouldn't have gone near if it weren't for Brad singing its praises because I had zero interest in the previous Banjo games. And he's right. So many aspects of this game is just pure genius. Fantastic game. Anyone who doesn't get deep into the HOW DO I MAKE THIS VEHICLE MORE AWESOME aspect is just denying themselves one of the most innovative and enjoyable games of this generation.
Posted by iAmJohn

It being put on Games on Demand got me to go back to the game for the first time in a year yesterday.  I've spent something like five or six hours playing the game over the past two days, and I've basically remembered why I stopped playing the game in the first place - I stopped making progress because I spent all my time exploring Showdown Town and tinkering with vehicles in Mumbo's Garage.  In fact, I had to force myself to stop playing the game because of all the time i was putting into it.  I love this game so much. 
 
I'm with you, Brad.  This is one of the best games to come out in 2008, and I feel like it does the "creation" aspect way better than LittleBigPlanet does.  Banjo is second only to Persona 4 in 2008 games that captured my heart .

Posted by TripMasterMunky

Poor Rare. They just can't please anyone nowadays.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

This game is awesome. Admittedly, some of the later challenges are frustrating as all hell, but by that time I had already beaten the witch and didn't care.

Online
Posted by AndrewB

I own the game, but I just never really got into it. It's a little too janky in a lot of places, and I never felt the drive to design my own vehicles when the templates they gave me were serviceable enough (I'd just take those designs and slap a better engine/seat/whatever I'd find later onto it). When I tried to make my own, they just wouldn't function like I wanted them to. It was either misbalanced or too fragile or too bulky. I guess I'm just not a vehicle designer.

Posted by hinderk

I love this game. It is probably in my top ten games of this generation. Everyone should at least rent it and give it a chance.

Posted by ADTR_ZERO
@Trilogy said:
"There are many other games that I still haven't played from 09 yet so banjo gets a major back seat. Sorry Bradly. "

*Gasp*
Posted by Grilledcheez

If I were you guys who haven't played it, I'd go buy it for as much as humanly possible...don't play that "I have too many games from 09' to play".  This is a gem that you all need to play.

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