Banjo-Kazooie: Rated E?, many people have seen and still remember it after 14+ years. What those people don’t know about is the beginning of it’s existence, and it’s a strange one. I made Banjo innuendo videos a year before Rated E? called Subliminal Messages, which replicated how anyone would play the game without the joke being explained to them. And the “jokes”, they were just forum posts in a GameFAQs thread. I was a teenager, quite astounded, so I quickly grabbed my newly purchased digital camera and snapped pictures of the funniest jokes for my friends and I to laugh at. One adult joke that couldn’t be a picture was Jolly’s “unmanly” voice, so I made it a video. I also included the other jokes that I took pictures of to extend the video’s time. It was simply titled “Jolly Roger’s Lagoon“, and didn’t get many views, but it was the first Banjo-Kazooie video at YouTube. I remember searching for “Banjo-Kazooie” at the time and finding one Super Mario 64 video.

The True Beginning
So it was back to school, Christmas vacation just ended, and I was part of a group video project for my English class. It went over well with the teacher and classmates, which motivated me to establish my own presence at YouTube. In 2006, there was a video site called Putfile with a Terrydactyland joke video already there by someone else, which I believe was recorded from an emulator. It didn’t include text and was a short video of Kazooie flying up towards the rock formation, possibly to show friends too. For my Terrydactyland video, I recorded walking into the level and showing the viewer were exactly this rock formation was. At the end of the video, I replayed the joke, which was the first instance of interaction. “Watch it again in slow motion” was displayed on the screen thanks to my amazing video editing skills with Windows Movie Maker. Without me knowing, that simple interaction with the viewer was the true beginning of my YouTube personality and channel. Terrydactyland was shared on several websites outside of YouTube, giving it 40K views and me even more motivation to continue the series.

A New Beginning
The videos that followed were exactly what I wanted them to be, but there was a problem, and that was them being subliminal. Perhaps too cryptic. I wanted to replicate the experience playing without any editing. This was before watch retention, so growth was by views and subscribers only. The lack of restrictiveness in editing arguably lead to more creativity, although, editing in such a way caused many people to “skip ahead to the good part”. I had the subliminal jokes appear at any frame in the video, so the viewer needed to catch the joke themselves. The problem was not many people were understanding or catching the jokes, leading to confusion in the comments and people not reading other comments, so I began to add text. I also tried new techniques to immediately get the viewer’s attention.

I still tried to keep the same style by guiding the viewer along the way, like “let’s go here“, which was inspired by the How Not To Play Hitman series. I scrapped that idea and started using Sony Vegas. The first video I decided to make on it was a compilation of my videos from yesteryear along with other ones I wanted to do. It was possible because Vegas was and still is a much better video editor than Movie Maker. The last video I made on Movie Maker was my Rareware Tribute, notorious for always crashing while being worked on, and the first video made on Vegas was, yes, the one-and-only original Banjo-Kazooie Rated E?. Instead of an entire gameplay clip for one video, I did multiple, and instead of guiding the viewer, I faded in and out. This style, along with the new intro by my friend, Banjo-Paste, provided me with a time I dubbed “a new beginning”, and it truly was. One downside though, the thumbnail YouTube generated was just a black screen because of the fade outs! How I wish we had custom thumbnails…

The Internet
After that video, I’d say the rest is history, or blogs for another day. I will go over one more thing though. Despite all the drama that ensued after it’s upload, I never removed it. Rated E? itself remained on top, defeating Terrydactyland, and half a year later, got a sequel. This time though, I made sure I sourced every scene. An assumption people had about me was I came up with the jokes myself, which would’ve been awesome, but far from the truth. On the other side, people didn’t understood the irony with the song choice (Wavebreaker by Children of the Monkey Machine, a remix of a Chrono Trigger song), and thought I was complaining. Video game mystery videos like Bigfoot in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas were popular, so the song choice is a response to the mystery videos people were taking seriously. And on the other side of that side, people claim none of those jokes are intentional, which is like a mix of the last two. I don’t believe some of the jokes were intentional until it’s said straight from the horse’s mouth, and that horse being Rare. Well, actually, they did a Rare Revealed video detailing some innuendo along with more inside jokes. So, that’s interesting. I like to think I had something to deal with this. Many floods of emails maybe.

Final Thoughts
I was just creating. I just turned 15 years old, and my mindset was ready to take on the world. Those were my last years in high school, before college in 2009 and moving out in 2012. A lot happened at once after the Bush years – unsureness that I’m glad I’m not going through anymore. But during the last 8 years or so, a lot has slowly changed, yet changed nonetheless. I’m not the same as I was before, yet I’m happy where I’m at. I don’t need to exert myself into extreme conditions of emotional explosions resulting in beautiful chaotic works of art like Banjo-Kazooie Rated E?. Maybe someday, I will be in that mood again, to enter a place I don’t know I’m ready for. To take everything into perspective, to render it all meaningless, no matter how important I think they are, and create something entirely different.

I think the things we create are more than just creations. They create responses within people, which in turn, defines our own direction. Something great, like a movie, could have a huge impact on people and influence culture, so just being apart of something as grand as the early days of YouTube is special to me. It’s legacy, at least, will always be around. Our current form of video sharing should be conserved and maintained. For now, I know what I like and I’m currently in a good place. Truly, thank you all!

– JO