The Banjo-Kazooie Name Has an Interesting Origin

Banjo and Kazooie are some of the most memorable characters to come from the Nintendo 64 era, and part of the reason for that can be attributed to the characters' fairly unique names. While the bird and bear pair have been around for more than two decades at this point, the origin of their names had never been revealed. That is, until now! Two pivotal members of the original Banjo-Kazooie's development team, Greg Mayles and Grant Kirkhope, have confirmed a rumor that the characters were actually named after relatives of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi. Yamauchi's son is named Katsuhito Yamauchi, but is often shortened as "Katsuhi," while his grandson is named Banjo Yamauchi!

The history of gaming is filled with unique anecdotes and origins such as these. For example, Nintendo's mustachioed mascot Mario was named after one of Nintendo's landlords in the '80s. Unfortunately, given the industry's struggles with preserving its own history, all too often stories such as these remain unconfirmed, and are eventually forgotten. Getting confirmation from Mayles and Kirkhope is certainly a win for video game historians!

Of course, Banjo-Kazooie fans have been worried about Rare's bird and bear being forgotten for quite some time. While the characters had a major moment in the spotlight when they were revealed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the duo haven't had their own game since 2008's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, a title many fans would rather forget, quite frankly. Fans had hoped the increased interest might result in a new game, but Rare seems far more interested in developing new IPs, rather than focusing on existing franchises.

Regardless of whether or not Banjo and Kazooie appear in a new game anytime soon, the characters will long be remembered for the games they did appear in. There are an awful lot of video game characters from that same era that have not been remembered quite as fondly! While Nintendo has not made any official announcements just yet, fans should expect the characters to receive their own Amiibo figure, possibly later this year. It's not as good as a new game, but fans will just have to take what they can get, for now. With characters as beloved as Banjo and Kazooie, it doesn't seem likely they'll be gone for long.

Are you a fan of Banjo and Kazooie? What's your favorite anecdote about video game history? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!

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