Spooptober: Clanker

My Virtual Bastion cohorts and I have lots in common when it comes to gaming. A sweet spot we all share is a fondness for one of the best duos in 3D platforming: Banjo and Kazooie. Personally, the duo’s first outing, Banjo-Kazooie, was a formative game, one that helped me through a memorably awful stretch of real-life woes. The game’s colorful action, positive vibes, and snarky attitude (thanks to Kazooie, mostly) all clicked with me at a time when what I needed most was to just feel upbeat about something.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: That’s a nice story, but where’s the spoopy-ness?!  Well, don’t many creepy stories begin with idyllic scenes depicting comfort and safety? My first time through Banjo-Kazooie was just that – it felt comfortable and safe, until…

…I met Clanker!

Video from YouTube user Virtual Bastion.

Upon first encountering Clanker, Grunty the Witch’s garbage disposal unit, all I saw was huge eyes and a big set of sharp teeth, which was more than enough to make me think twice about going any further. But once he started speaking, it became clear that he was no enemy. Still, the sight of Clanker’s full form – that of a giant mechanical shark – was something to behold! I’m not much of a fan of underwater levels in any game, as the whole “hey, you could drown” scenario gives me butterflies. Add to that visions of a scary-looking if somewhat depressed aquatic creature with pointy choppers, and you’ve got a recipe of which I want no part. It certainly didn’t help that upon further inspection, one could see that Clanker was not fully mechanical, as small bits of his own skin could be seen through his metal sheathing. What a terrible fate for any creature! (It certainly hit home the fact that Grunty was a very mean ol’ witch, for sure!)

Sympathetically, Banjo and Kazooie rose to the occasion, for seeing Clanker nearly abandoned in filthy water, would set any good soul on a path to helping him. One goal of the level was to free Clanker from a series of chain that kept him submerged. Do so, and he’ll rise to the surface, grateful to be free. So grateful, in fact, that Clanker will let Banjo and Kazooie explore and “clean out” his insides, which was…weird, but also necessary in order to progress. Honestly, Clanker’s insides were much scarier than his exterior. Since he was a garbage disposal, among his bright red and remarkably eerie organic innards (giant rib cage and all!) were metal bits and giant spinning blades that slice up anything in their wake. While Clanker is spoopy, his guts are spooky!

Banjo-Kazooie is a timeless classic and fantastic 3D platformer from a bygone era in gaming. It’s not a game that immediately conjures up images that verge on creepy, but, with characters like Clanker, it definitely has its spoopy/spooky moments. Clanker is proof that not all scary-looking creatures in games immediately want to fight and bite. Sometimes, they just need a little help, and then they’ll become a friend forever. And sometimes a friend with a spiky grin, menacing eyes, and hazardous entrails is a good friend to have.


  1. Saiagirl says:

    I feel your pain, Dearest Cary!! Lol. That’s how I felt about The Nihilanth,
    the final boss of Half-life!! Just so creepy and off putting! Creepy design, creepy manner of speaking! Creepy voice. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Yes! It’s strange feeling both nervous around and okay with any sort of creepy character, especially the ones that don’t mean you any harm. However, it’s still pretty unsettling!


  2. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    More #Spooptober fun from Virtual Bastion! This time round, my pick went to a character who might not have the nicest appearance (outside and in) but is a nice “guy” anyway. It’s Clanker from Banjo-Kazooie!


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