Sunday, July 6, 2014

"Banjo Kazooie", Nintendo 64, 1998. plus a random craigslist tangent

OK, so here's the drill: in order to keep at least nominally on-track, I'll be busting my hump to include at least one video game ad post between posts pertaining to my wider missions of garage sale mining and curating vintage ANSI artwork. Today, I make up for past infidelities by posting three ads for the same game: The N64's Banjo-Kazooie.

You Could Win instantly a NINTENDO 64 Home Entertainment Center!

"Dudes! Banjo and Kazooie, of N64 game fame, have cruised by the Keebler Hollow Tree hoping to snag their missing magic puzzle piece. They've bagged some honeycombs, music notes and feathers, but no puzzle piece."

Ernest J. Keebler: "Gracious, I saw Fast Eddie with a puzzle piece that fits that description. / I'd invite you in for a look, but ...

... right now you're too big for the door."

Banjo: (???)

EJK: "unless I use a little...

Elfin magic."


EJK: Much better, come in.

Meanwhile... Fast Eddie was wrapping Keebler packages at lightning speed.

"Is that it?" "No!" "Over there!" "Over where?"


EJK: Mercy!

EJK: "Fast Eddie wrapped the puzzle piece in a package!"

And before he could be stopped, Fast Eddie bolted out the door to deliver the cookies and sandwich crackes.


EJK: "Wait!"

"OK, dudes!

If you help Banjo and Kazooie find their missing stuff, you could win one of a bunch of rad prizes instantly."

Ahh, sweepstakes. No, I'm not going to type in the small print. Only through the magic of advertising can we enjoy a mash-up of the disparate worlds of 1998's Banjo-Kazooie and the Keebler Elves from 1968. I get a kick out of how the chief elf is prone to making exclamations like a Southern schoolmarm: "Gracious!" "Mercy!" "Heavens to Betsy!" Fast Eddie is actually a previously-existing in canon with the long-running ad campaign, so you'll appreciate how they went to lengths to incorporate the existing canon of the rich Keebler universe into this ad. I appreciate the stylistic decision to keep the elves in 2D and present Banjo-Kazooie in 3D, but having them both in-panel at the same time is challenging. And if this rich melange wasn't already enough for you, they've upped the ante by adding a new character of a hip youth narrator to set the scene, call the reader "dude" and describe the prizes as "rad". If you look at the prizes, the grand prize appears to be B-K in an N64 with a TV set and a big pile of speakers and that's basically what it was: I raised my eyes at its description as an "entertainment centre" with the cartridge-using N64 unique among its generational cohorts in being unable to play CD media, but it turns out they were describing a TV set with Surround Sound! Hence the pile of speakers.

Yes, a bear has been through here (on the back of a small bird).  Things like that happen in Banjo-Kaooie on N64.  A bear and a bird team up for an enormous adventure through nine amazing 3-D levels.  They run, they climb, they fly, they talk to rodents.  But they've got to work together to overcome the evil witch.  Confused?  You will be.
This ad borrowed from the incredible Retro Gaming Australia. It's a conceptual ad that has one trick: You see bird footprints, but we describe them as bear footprints. If Chewbacca the Wookiee lives with the Ewoks on Endor then you must acquit, supposed ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Cognitive dissonance as sales technique: nonsense! Now that we've baffled you, please open your wallet. (I do get a kick out of the climax of the description of the game's action: "They run, they climb, they fly, they talk to rodents." Gives the Wayne's World tagline a run for its money!)
Nintendo 64
You Will Believe A Bear Can Fly
Fly like a Bear and climb like a Bird? This dynamic duo open a stunning new world of tag team game play that prove that two heads are better than one.  And with a game this big you'll need all the help you can get.
5/5 C&VG
"This is a brilliant game."

Not a lot to add about this one: using the tagline of a movie from 1978 (Superman) to advertise a game in 1998. Guess they're angling to tickle the nostalgia of the parents with the pocketbooks, because it just wouldn't make any sense to the kids at that time! (Then another DC superhero setup is evoked with "dynamic duo" for unclear reasons.) This generation must have been the last time Nintendo could try to get away with bold claims about its hardware like the one at the bottom. (For what it's worth, I don't care about hardware horsepower and feel that a good understanding of "Withered Technology" as Nintendo has helps to focus attention back on fun gameplay and away from distracting expensive "because it's there" benchmark one-upmanship.

Now the real reason I had to make this post, besides the fact that the game ads are few and far between these days and I was, after all, sitting on the ads for quite some time with the intention of posting them...

At some point my partner lined up a Craigslist purchase of a play kitchen for our toddler daughter. Exercising due diligence (so as to ensure that we wouldn't be bitten by a dog or chopped up into small pieces upon entering the alleged site of sale... OK, that rarely happens, but we have ducked two otherwise-promising rental suites after Google turned up police reports on activities going on at the properties -- research that apparently is now going to be off the menu in Europe!), upon learning the identity of the seller we Googled him to find he was a schoolteacher who taught music. Demonstrating his gentle art, we dug up the following awesome video clip of his students performing an arrangement he had made of music from Banjo-Kazooie's sequel, Banjo Tooie. a) This song is great, the arrangement is inspired and the performances enthusiastic, and b) where was this repertoire when I was in high school band class? Alas. We sat on the play kitchen for months waiting for my daughter's birthday, but she's now had it for over a month and so it's time for you also to enjoy!

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