Banjo is one of the two protagonists of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise, along with his best friend, Kazooie. However, his first appearance is in Diddy Kong Racing, in which he is a playable character. His inclusion was to promote his then-upcoming title, Banjo-Kazooie. Banjo has light-brown fur, and he wears a shark-tooth necklace, yellow shorts, and a blue backpack that houses Kazooie.
Donkey Kong franchise
Diddy Kong Racing
In Diddy Kong Racing, when Wizpig invaded Timber's Island, Timber calls for Diddy Kong's assistance. In turn, he sends Squawks to contact his friends, one of whom is Banjo. All the characters compete in a variety of racing challenges to liberate the island and decide who would race Wizpig. Eventually, the eight racers, with the help of Taj and T.T., drove Wizpig back to his home planet, Future Fun Land. However, Wizpig returns, and the racers go to his homeworld. At the end of the world, the winning character races Wizpig again, who rides on a rocket missile for the rematch.
On the character selection screen, Banjo's theme instrument is the banjo. The menu's theme is re-composed in a banjo when the player highlights him. Like the other characters, Banjo says his name when he is selected.
As a heavyweight racer, Banjo has slow acceleration, which is compensated for a high top speed. His handling lies below average, but it remains an improvement over Krunch's. Banjo's has a top speed of 57mph without Bananas.
Since Microsoft had direct ownership over Banjo and Conker, both of them do not appear in Diddy Kong Racing DS. Instead, they were respectively replaced with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong. Banjo's theme instrument was left intact, and it plays both the character selection and the game's introduction sequence. Banjo's statistics were also retained for Tiny Kong, who was likely redesigned for Banjo's heavyweight feature.
Donkey Kong 64
"N-Gang vs. Nintendo"
Banjo appeared in the 2000 N-Gang comic, "N-Gang vs. Nintendo", where he played on the same soccer camp team with Kazooie, Wario, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, and Lanky Kong. Mario refereed the match.
"Die Hexe lacht um Mitternacht"
Banjo makes an appearance in the N-Gang comic "Die Hexe lacht um Mitternacht". After Gruntilda transformed Toni and VIP into hot dogs and leaves to reek havoc into the city, Big B. and Gecko arrives and devise a plan to defeat Gruntilda. They then use VIP's machine to bring Banjo into the real world, and then launches eggs at the witch to defeat her. After that, they all celebrate.
Mario Artist: Paint Studio
Banjo appears in some Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing-based artwork in Mario Artist: Paint Studio along with other characters from those games.
Originally exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of the game, Banjo and a few other Microsoft-exclusive characters (including Conker) appear as playable skins in the Wii U and Nintendo Switch versions of Minecraft through an update on January 30, 2018. This technically marks Banjo's first appearance on a Nintendo console since Banjo-Pilot on the Game Boy Advance, and additionally, technically his first appearance alongside Diddy Kong since his debut.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Banjo and Kazooie appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the third downloadable fighter for the Fighters Pass (and the fourth downloadable fighter overall), marking their first non-cameo appearance in a new game since Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie, which was released for the Xbox 360 in 2010. They were announced in the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct broadcast on June 11, and are set to be released in the fall of 2019 (PST) as part of Challenger Pack 3.
The reveal trailer for the duo heavily references King K. Rool's original reveal trailer, with Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and King K. Rool looking outside the window of DK's Treehouse and seeing a silhouette of Banjo and Kazooie. It is then revealed to be Duck Hunt playing a prank, much like how the K. Rool reveal trailer had King Dedede pretending to be King K. Rool. Banjo and Kazooie then appear from the sky and knock Duck Hunt out of frame, with Banjo holding his namesake instrument. The trailer references Banjo's heavy connection and roots to the Donkey Kong franchise as both were owned by Rareware (now called Rare Ltd.) in the 1990s, and Banjo's first appearance was in Diddy Kong Racing.
Their moveset and appearance is directly pulled from their two Nintendo 64 titles, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. Spiral Mountain, the location of their home, serves as the representation for their stage.
Diddy Kong Racing
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Names in other languages