Track of the Week: Inside the Christmas Tree (Banjo-Kazooie)

This week’s track comes devoid of messy pine needles!

By Kevin Knezevic. Posted 12/24/2014 14:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

For most video games, snow is synonymous with Christmas. Many of the themes we’ve highlighted in this column have, to some degree, evoked the spirit of the holiday, and the stages from which they are drawn are often dressed with colorful lights and other trimmings typically associated with Christmas. It seems only fitting, then, that we share a tune with more literal ties to Christmas as our final Track of the Week before the holiday.

During the ’90s and early aughts, few developers were as apt at creating snow levels as Rare. From the treacherous snow stages in Donkey Kong Country to the yin-and-yang structure of Hailfire Peaks in Banjo-Tooie, Rare’s snow levels were equal parts inventive and challenging. My personal favorite, however, was Freezeezy Peak from Banjo-Kazooie. Unlike the rather sparse snow stages of Super Mario 64, Freezeezy Peak felt like a Dr. Seuss story come to life. The level was home to a charming cast of wintry characters, while a clutch of tiny houses, roofs covered with snow, rested beneath the watchful (and slightly unnerving) gaze of a giant snowman.

One of the stage’s most distinctive landmarks, however, was the enormous Christmas tree tucked away in one of its corners. Players were tasked with guiding a series of lights safely to the tree to illuminate it. Once lit, they could climb up the tree’s trunk and roam around among its branches, where they’d hear this week’s track, a playful rendition of the main Freezeezy Peak melody. The original theme was already a fun wintry tune, but this particular version gives it a “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy”-like air, which makes it the perfect song to listen to on the night before Christmas.

From all of us here at Nintendojo, we wish you a safe and warm holiday season!

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