Gay representation in Banjo-Tooie

banjo tooie


Banjo Kazooie is a game that was created in 1998 by a company called Rare. The main character is a bear called Banjo and a large red bird called Kazooie. The game was held up high and was highly praised for being complex enough for adults to enjoy, yet, simplistic enough for children to play.  The game sold well and was announced a success by Rares parent company, Nintendo. After much demand, Rare released a follow up to Banjo Kazooie, which became known as Banjo Tooie. This too starred the lovable bear and bird duo on a quest to kill the evil Gruntilda and her sister. The game was released in 2000 and was meet with the same praise as the first game.  Eventually, the game were re-released on Xbox Live Arcade and were continued to be meet with high praise.

The game is filled with very unique and memorable characters. When i played through it, as a child, i remember a character known as Jolly Roger.  Jolly Roger is the mayor of Jolly Roger’s Lagoon and he was gay.  He is seem to be smart because he owns and operates a bar. Banjo and Kazooie first meet him and he is depressed because he lost his friend, Merry Maggie. Resistant representation is present in the game because, even though Jolly Rogers is gay, he is a profitable business man who needs Banjos help like another resident in the game. If anything, it shows the respect that was showed for the gay community and how they are like anyone else in the game with problems that other people may face.  All this in 2000, were being the gay community was very receiving no recognition from the media.

Today the game is still high praised. Playing Banjo Kazooie as a child is consider similar to watching Disney movies as a child because it is something the majority of people do in society. The game is very nostalgic based on the comment stream from any video game related blogs. The game shows to not judge each person equally and  to work with everyone in the community to make the world a better place. Gay people being represented in video games, like Jolly Rogers, is not something unique to the Banjo Kazooie series.  In a lot of games it gives the user the choice to be whatever sexually orientation of their choice.  My guess as to why video games do not get criticized for this is that video games are seen as more of a childish thing and can be disregarded. Which allows more diverse characters due to a lack of criticism.


One thought on “Gay representation in Banjo-Tooie

  1. I’m sorry I had not read this before our discussion yesterday! Your thought about children’s video games is an intriguing–with children’s literature, for example, there are parts of society that seek to keep certain ideas and books out of the hands of children (e.g., Harry Potter). Similarly, there is often protest over particular movies geared toward children. I would think video games would also fall into this–you might consider blogging about this more.

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