I think all gamers have a soft spot for the first games we ever played. Those first moments when we wrapped our hands around a controller, and gasped in amazement as the characters on the screen moved when we pressed buttons. Video Games will always give us something other forms of media never can, the ability to almost physically interact with other worlds, and to feel like we’re living out the stories of the characters we control. Once that final boss has been crushed, we walk away feeling like the brave hero who just saved their world.
One game I will always hold close to my heart is Banjo-Kazooie. It’s the most memorable game from my childhood. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that wondrous feeling I got when I first made the bear in yellow shorts punch an aggressively bouncing carrot, with the cute googly eyes. I was amused by the silly sounds the characters made as their witty dialog emerged on the bottom of the screen. I was captivated by beautiful environments I was given to explore, and I enjoyed helping the colourful cast of misfit NPCs I ran into during the journey. I couldn’t wait to get to the evil witch at the top of her lair, and help the bear and sarcastic bird save Banjo’s beloved little sister from her horrible fate.
When I heard Playtonic, the company composed of the brilliant people responsible for Banjo-Kazooie, had put up a Kickstarter for a new project based on my childhood obsession, I was ecstatic. Suddenly, I fully understood the phrase “Shut up and take my money!”, and promptly funded my first ever Kickstarter project. I kicked in enough money to get some cool swag, and to be granted access to the pre-alpha demo, called the “Toybox”. My name will also be in the credits in the final product. I know my name will just be flashing by with a blur of others, but it’s something that this gamer can happily check off her bucket list.
Playtonic released the Toybox demo this week, and I was finally able to download and play it today. As soon as I took my first steps in the demo, I was hit with a pleasant tidal wave of nostalgia. I was greeted by a sarcastic security drone, who made silly sounds as his dialogue flowed by. A whimsical xylophone melody echoed through the area while I started exploring the bright landscape. As I played, I couldn’t stop a wide wondrous grin from emerging on my mouth, and that’s something that rarely happens to the cranky adult I have become. Here are some highlights of my time playing with Yooka-Laylee, in their glorious little toybox.
Obviously, my nostalgia is heavily influencing my opinion of this game. I was immensely entertained by the demo, and there was actually a lot to explore in the relatively small area. I did find the controls difficult to get use to, but that’s my fault for not owning a PC gamepad. I’m highly impressed with what Playtonic has shown me, and the countdown to Q1 2017 is on!