It's the stupid Rare letters page! Send us your mail! And your money! And your salt 'n' vinegar Discos!

MARCH 2, 2004

Dear Scribes,
     It's the night before Christmas, and I'm frustrated as all hell. Challenge 21 in Grabbed by the Ghoulies - what were you THINKING? Over the course of the last three days (pausing my Xbox because there's no save feature, you heartless cretins) I've managed to worm my way up to Baron von Ghoul's showdown. Sweet Birthday Boy, whatever prize I get better be worth it. I don't mean an extra gallery page. At this point, I'm expecting either some amazing ULTRA-HARD mode where I play as Ted the Boatbuilder from Conker's Pocket Tales, or my Xbox's bottom panel breaking open to revealing an oral sex port.
     Kameo looks far too much like Blinx the Timesweeper. I demand you rename it Blinx Adventures and take a further two years on development so it can be on Xbox 2. If you were to release the game on time with an original protagonist, I would enjoy it too much, and might even herald it as a masterpiece which would take far too much attention away from Microsoft's other games. Yes, I think you need to take a good look at Kameo and be forc- er, agree to take the path trodden to death.
     I've got your back,
     Chad McCanna
     P.S. So with that new logo, what happens to the term "Rareware" now? You can't abandon it entirely. When your company makes the natural progression into textiles, nobody will understand the punned brilliance behind your Rarewear line.

"Cretins we may be, but heartless?" protests the Ghoulies team leader. "I think you'll find that the game generously saves automatically as you progress, even in Challenge 21 - you conclusion-jumping fool. You do get a gallery page at the end, but it's a real good one. It moves and everything.
     "I suggest you email Microsoft and ask them about secret Xbox ports, but I doubt it was high on their list of 'must have' features - probably only just above 'controller electrocutes player if they say a bad word about Bill'.
     "Kameo looks like Blinx? You may have our back, but who's got your eyes? It looks nothing like Blinx, as Kameo is a girl and Blinx isn't (I think). Surely that's enough difference." (A representative from the Kameo team had much the same response here:
"Do you mean the characters look the same? In which case 'are you mad?' Or do you mean the games look the same? In which case 'are you mad?' Nice idea - I'll file it in my (b)IN TRAY.")
     "P.S. The Rareware logo is currently up for grabs at Measham car boot sale - along with knocked-off DVDs, broken 70s furniture and dead men's clothes."

     I know that you said that Banjo and friends are a little outdated, but I think that you should really stick with what works. I bought a Gamecube initially, and owning it for over a year now, Nintendo have tried to change what made the N64 so successful. Their games are too short, they've changed all the winning formulas for a game and tried do something new, like with Mario's backpack and Zelda's design, and overall their games are far too easy. The 'Nintendo Difference' obviously wasn't very successful for a lot of gamers. Back to you though, I think that even if you changed the bad gal Grunty to another character, but kept the same puzzles, weird speaking objects, and same humour, millions of people would buy it as they already know that it's worth it. I really do think that you should let BK come back and produce another great game for us, and not lead yourself into the same trap Nintendo did...
     John 'Lucky' Luckhurst

Straight back to the head of the Ghoulies/Banjo team with this one, then:
     "We hear what you (and many others, judging by the number of e-mails we get) are saying and you make a good point. You have to bear in mind that contrary to most other websites, ours is written in a mostly light-hearted and seldom serious way, so much of what we say is for our readers' amusement rather than boring you with corporate fact and intentions. Even so, as a company we have to be aware of what today's (and indeed, tomorrow's) gamers want and where the market is heading, so if any particular type of game is proved to be 'outdated' or 'unpopular' it would be unwise to work on one. But don't give up on old Banjo yet, you never know when and where he may turn up! Look at Sabreman - he's gone over 15 years between games!"

Mr. Rareware Reply Guy,
     It has come to my attention lately how much Donkey Konga will suck. Are you happy about this level of suckage? Are you ashamed that the game has even been SPAWNED? Seriously, man. If I was Namco I'd be kicking my own ass. Also...
     1) Will Diddy King ever have his own game on the X-Box?
     2) Are you ever going to make Diddy Kong Racing for a portable such as the GBA?
     3) When will Tiptup be back? I MEES HEEM.
     4) How are you, Mr. Pants?
     Mikola Shadow, Insomnia Hedgehog, or whatever I am to be called

Haven't played it myself, but by all accounts Donkey Konga sounds like a pretty good laugh. So stop trying to provoke us into libellous comments. We're way too Zen for that.
     1) Diddy King? Is he like a miniature replica of Don King, with a monkey tail to counter the overbalancing effects of his comedy hair? Or am I giving you more character design credit than you deserve?
     2) Couldn't say. What, Mickey's Racing Adventure not good enough for you?
     3) The Banjo team seem to have some kind of twisted affection for Tiptup, so perhaps he'll turn up in their next game. But don't quote me on it.
     4) Mr. Pants is fine. He's been very busy lately trying to decide how many yachts and exotic villas he's going to buy with the profits from his upcoming GBA game. The poor deluded fool.

Dear Scribes,
     Hello to you and a happy new year and all that. Now I think that the ability to create your own soundtrack on the Xbox is a pretty good idea... but there are very few games that actually support this feature... now... as you are in the "industry"... could you tell me why this feature isn't used more?? Or guess?? I can't imagine that it should be that difficult to put in a game... even with my superb programming skills.
     10 Print "shut up and go away"
     20 Goto 10 (you can use this in a game if you want... I won't be cross)
     Or is it a question about the musician's ego?? Haven't bought Grabbed yet... but I will... I have just gotten a new console called a "girlfriend" and she's pretty expensive.. so I can't buy every new game like before... well I have to go now... have a nice day!
     Erling Hansen

Wow... you like your thoughtful... pauses... don't you...? Let's ask Grant... what he... think... s.
     "Yeah, what a fantastic idea! People with absolutely no idea of how to string two notes together could compose an entire game soundtrack, I think you'd better hurry up and patent this idea, you're on to a winner Erling.
     "You wanna watch those 'girlfriend' console things, they look great from the outside but the electronics are all messed up!"
     Actually, I've noticed that we haven't had much mail from the ladies recently - that little comment should bring some in.

Big Up the GbtG team,
     (1) Did any of the artists sneakily animate a segment of Ricky Gervais' Office dance...? I coulda sworn I saw a zombie doing it...
     (2) Has Rare/MS considered publishing a 'making of' book...? Yes, I know I send an email every week about this (The Shawshank Redemption theory), but playing some of the bonus games and unlocking the gallery... well the concept art is very stylish, ties in directly with the actual game and looks as though it would lend itself to this type of art/making of style book.
     (3) Did you call the main character Cooper so that FAQs all over the world would have to refer to the mini-me power ups as 'Mini Coopers'? :)
     (4) Just what *are* Mr Pants' Chocolate Treats dare I ask...?
     (5) Be honest, did Tom Arnold *reallllly* test GbtG? :P
     (6) Finally, and most importantly... is Mumbo Jumbo the long-lost leader of the Ninja Imps?
     Martin "Alf-Life" Badowsky

More for the team! Look at the length of that response - must have caught them on a good day.
     "1) The artist who animated the Zombie's sad shuffling is indeed an Office fan, but having seen his booze-fuelled disco grooving down at the real Embassy I'd have to say he based it on his own.
     "2) The 'behind the scenes' or 'making of' a game aren't as glamorous as you may think. Artists moaning that their animations haven't been put in, software types moaning that the artists are using too much memory, musicians moaning that there's a barely audible click in one tune that no-one else can hear, designers moaning that their ideas haven't been implemented properly and worst of all, Mr. Kirkhope moaning that it's not his turn to make the tea (when it is really) - hardly makes for a riveting read, does it? Alternatively, we could tell you that it's all plain sailing and the game virtually creates itself - leaving us to take it easy all day, playing cards and organising parties with celebrities and Page 3 models. I'll leave you to believe which one is nearer the truth.
     "3) The miniature Coopers were indeed called Mini Coopers in the game at one point, but Microsoft's friendly legal department pointed out that the car name owners might not be best pleased - so we changed it. The power-ups were included in the game long after the main character was named, so I'm afraid it's a resounding 'NO' to this one.
     "4) Obviously they are chocolate confectionery that he makes when not starring on our website or in his quality new game. What did you think they were - turds? You're disgusting. We can't believe such an innocent product conjures up such innuendo in people who play our games. Next you'll be telling us that you think Soupswill's Homemade Ass Brownies aren't tasty 'cakes' made by the highly skilled stable of donkeys that she keeps at home.
     "5) Yes, Tom did get his hands dirty along with the rest of us and play the game." (If you're asking whether or not it was the Tom Arnold, then no, it wasn't, you fool. - Ed)
     "6) No, I'd have thought it pretty obvious that King Jingaling is, as just about everyone claims the Jinjos and Imps are one and the same."

Dear Scribes,
     I have read many rumors about pdo and calle dmany video game shops and no one seems to know a bloody thing about when this game is coming out so i email you know asking you to please let me know when i can excpet this game i have been waiting for this game ever since i was still playing pd and it would be nice to play the game before before robots start playing them for us.

Not big on punctuation, are you, Joe? Listen closely now: we have not at this moment in time settled on a release date for PD0. When we have done so, we will tell you. We could just make one up, but then it wouldn't actually be released on that date and you'd get all stream-of-consciousness on us again.

Dear Scribes,
     Now the title of the upcoming Conker game is Conker: Live and Uncut. Is it truly uncut, or will it be like the N64 one with bleeps when the words get too upsetting for little peopleses' parents? I'm kind of torn as to which I'd prefer, but I believe that if it is truly uncut, it may make parents start to pay attention to the rating system set up by the ESRB. They'll think twice before buying their kid an M rated game next time. I think the gaming world needs a game like this to make parents realize the importance of the rating system. It's almost more important than movies! Movies, they'll watch a few times, but games they play every day for weeks and weeks, over and over. I don't know what the point of my letter is, really. I was just curious whether it would be like the original Conker or actually "uncut" for the Xbox crowd and then I ended up typing what I was thinking in my head. I've given you too much information... I'm sorry.
P.S. More information for you: I work at a video game retailer. That might explain what I was thinking. Oh yeah! Being that I work at a video game retailer, I'd like you to give retailers lots of freebies, demos, and merchandise. I know, I know. It's not up to you to make merchandise. But I'm just trying to add to the number of people who are demanding Conker merchandise (and whatever else they want... I'm all for it. I just want Conker things). But seriously, I want free stuff.

The team are working towards a certain resolution of the bleeped/unbleeped issue at the moment, but it's not common knowledge so I can't really say. Besides, there's plenty of time before the final version in which things could change completely. I just wanted to include your letter so that Conker actually gets namedropped amidst all these Ghoulies questions, and so that people don't take the temporary lack of mentions as 100% UNDENIABLE PROOF that the game's been scrapped...
     As for the merchandise, don't talk to us, talk to Microsoft. Unless by asking the developers for 'freebies' and samples of 'merchandise' you were actually suggesting something dirtier.

lease forgive me Leigh,
     *sigh* Well, anything to speed the return of Tusk. This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, probably because it will hurt me writing it, and then hurt more when Tusk sodomizes me with his sword.
     1.) Why are there schoolgirls spread though the mansion in GBG? 2.) Is that girl with pink hair in love with Carver? 3.) Are they going to get married? 4.) Why is her hair pink? Is it because she's in love? 5.) I can't beat the second level. Why do I suck? 6.) Can I have some pushbutton codes or something for this game?
     I hope the other readers appreciate my sacrifice. Oh, I suppose I should make a few obscure "in jokes" to keep my word. Hmm... speedo-clad seafood.
     Dave Roscoe

You can't coerce me into bringing Tusk back with asinine questions, man. Don't you think I've developed a certain numbness to asinine questions by this point? Not to mention asinine answers: Amber's hair is pink because she still can't get the blood out from that time she beat five nuns to death with a cricket bat.

Dear Scribes,
     Purchased GBTG yesterday. I am currently about 90 mins into the game and after another slow start (SFA) things are becoming insanely difficult. Bravo! At the introduction of the game there is a Banjo-Kazooie Xbox game in the desk drawer and then there is a tantalising flick through a Rare and then Microsoft engraved book. Are these glimpses of your future offerings? Do you get to look through the books as a reward if you complete the game? By the way when is the release date of...? Jesting Jesting.
     All the best,

"Anyone can look through these books by simply recording the sequence and playing it back really slowly," advises the designer waggishly. "Our testing department (and probably Microsoft's legal crew) have already done this, checking to see if the over-enthusiastic development team added anything they shouldn't. As if!
     "Much as we'd like to tell you what our future offerings are, I'm afraid we can't - as the rest of the world would think it highly unfair if only you knew."

Dear Baron von Ghoul,
     You are my new hero. Never before have I seen a character with such charisma, such grace, such wit, such a fantastic laugh, such wonderful headgear! I'm with you all the way on your decision to kidnap that prat Cooper's girlfriend. I mean, honestly. Calling you a creep? How dare he! Here you are, innocently minding your own business as you recreate the exciting scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Sean Connery scares the seagulls to the Nazi plane (complete with machine gun sound effects!) and then all of a sudden, this nobody in an (admittedly handsome) blue and green hand-knitted jumper goes and insults you for no reason! In front of your own home! If that's not treason, then I don't know what is.
     I've also taken a liking to Mr. Ribs (doodely-doo!). The poor innocent soul is just trying to help. I'm sure that Cookie finds him handy around the kitchen, Baron - I mean, you won't be getting any hairs in your soup if he's cooking it, and it's pretty pointless for him to be doing taste testing. Well done in your staff choice.
     Also, may I congratulate you in your choice of Reaper. The silent, floaty black clothed menace with the eerie glowing finger does the job splendidly. And he does a wicked air guitar. Must be difficult to pay him though, with the whole touch-him-and-you're-dead thing, and all.
     Can we expect to see you and Mr. Ribs in upcoming titles? I'd enjoy a game where you're in the front of a dogfighting plane and Mr. Ribs is in the back, and whenever he shoots the machine gun, you can hear his bones rattle. And naturally, you'd both have to wear your fantastic headgear.
     If this reaches you before Christmas, Merry Christmas 2003! If not, absolve your sins, the apocalypse is coming.
     Aussie Ben

The Baron himself (no, really) responds: "Did you know that I started out life as a very sinister Baron, who was going to turn into a fiery demon at the end? One of our artists thought I was a bit clichéd, so sketched a picture of me with a home-made plane instead. Stupid boy, as from then on I was destined to be a complete buffoon."
     And over to the team leader for the rest of your answers: "Mr. Ribs is also the work of the same 'cute' artist - a bit worrying to be honest. But even he's not quite as worrying as your bone-rattling dogfight fantasy with Ribs shooting from behind. That's just scary. We were thinking more along the lines of an overly dramatic cooking contest game presented like a boxing bout with hilarious dodgy voiceovers. Hang on, though - that's the Iron Chef."

Dear Scribes... yeah, that felt weird to type.
     Hi. I'm a first time reader, no wait... first time writer, last time read... whatever. Look, I never thought I'd like another game as much what you guys accomplished in 4 player mayhem of Goldeneye, then comes along a little game called Conker's BFD and it blew everything out the water. As I've gotten older as a gamer, Conker filled that spot of hilarious humor and excellent gameplay quite well in my heart, and is probably my favorite game ever. I let friends borrow it, and they loved it of course. Which leads me to a conversation that happened recently-
     Me- Yeah, man. Conker Live and Uncut is coming out on Xbox. That's the only reason I bought an Xbox, is so I can play Conker again. That and Perfect Dark of course.
     Friend- (Drops hideously designed PS2 controller on the concrete floor) The old Conker is going to be on there... uncut?
     Me- Yup. How was the multi-player on Conker, by the way?
     Friend- It was awesome... think Nazi Teddy bears. The multi play was amazing, and I played it on two players.
     Me- Whoa. It's gonna have over 15 players on Xbox Live, yaknow.
     Right after that, my friend had a seizure on the floor and was humped in the face by a German Shepherd named 'Geraldo'. But that still didn't remove the smile from his face. My Xbox is ready to be dusted off, and I speak for a bunch of other people when I say that when Rare goes LIVE... so shall we.
     The extra Battletoad,
     Chase DuRousseau Houston, TX Via Satellite

Well, cheers. Good name, by the way: the sort of name that makes you shout "nobody's called that!" when it turns up as the name of a maverick cop turned ladykilling private investigator in some arse-brained Hollywood explosion-fest. But anyway. The Live element is definitely the main focus of Conker's upcoming Xbox outing, as you'd expect, so you can rest assured that a lot of effort is being poured into making it worthwhile. Give Geraldo a pat on the head from us - ideally from a standing position.

     I have recently rediscovered Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. An absolutely fantastic Jump & Run (one of my all-time favorites)! Since it seems to be abandonware, would it be possible to offer the game on the Rareware website?
     There are many very popular (and extremely easy-to-use and mature!) SNES emulators available for multiple platforms.
     One of those + a USB-Gamepad bring back those beautiful old memories... It is very sad that many excellent games simply fade into history.
     Best regards,

Abandonware? Eh? We retooled DKC for the GBC in 2000 and again for the GBA last year, with a handheld version of the sequel (sequels?) also on the way. Either you didn't know that, or your definition of 'abandonware' is radically different to mine.
     When faced with this interesting hypothesis, the designer of the game came up with the idea that "we should tell Lars that his bank account is also abandonware and we are claiming its contents for our drinking fund".

Dear Scribes,
     I recently bought the GBA version of DKC. I'd say it's a mixed bag. The graphics look good on the GBA, but on the GBP, not quite. More importantly, I like the new scrapbook, the DK Attack mode, the mini-games, etc. The new features make the game better. Oh, and don't think I haven't noticed that you've made Expresso actually worth something by giving it the "small enemies don't hurt me" superpower, which it didn't have in its former worthless Clark Kent persona. Good. So, overall, the game's worth owning, but then again, maybe not. Why? Because you've done the unthinkable. The unforgivable. You have changed Krusha's "Argh!" sound, that is, the best sound byte there ever was and ever will be.
     Now, I know you are currently porting DKC2, my favorite game, and I beg of you, please do not change the classic "Krusha Argh! Sound", which in this game belongs to any and all Kremlings, as it would be a tragedy of epic proportions. I SWEAR I would not buy the game. Well, actually, I still would, but I'd write an e-mail threatening not to buy the DKC3 port if you changed the "Kremling Argh! Sound"... which would still be a lie. I swear I would... but I won't, since you'll leave it intact and as best-sound-everesque as ever.
     Thanks for your time,
     P.S. I want games which are not ten-hour-long tutorials, so stop making such... things, please. Yes, I'm talking about Banjo. I want 2D, impossibly hard to beat, swear-inducing madness. I want a Battletoads GBA game, port or not.

This calls for a couple of quotes from the hardened monkey handlers on our GBA team.
     "DKC was made to be played on the GBA, the palettes were adjusted to suit the dark screen. We didn't get the GBA SP or the GB Player until after DKC was finished. As you will soon see, the palettes in DKC2 are much better suited to all systems.
     "Krusha's 'Argh' sound was changed along with all the other sound effects. I personally like the new one more, but I'm sure the musician will take your comments to heart."

Dear Scrib
     In the last edition of Scribes you accidentally pointed out that the Banjo team had finished GBTG and had started work on a new project. (As in they are not helping the other teams but are making their own game.) So therefore I just wondered what game that might be. I think the clue is in the name "Banjo team" but I cannot quite work it out. Congratulations on Ghoulies by the way. In my opinion it was the most enjoyable game on the Xbox so far, although it did not have the epic feel of a few of your past successes. But then not all games should be epics and I think the reviewers should understand that. (Although it was also too easy. Yes I did all the challenges and got all the platinum medals.)
     I find it somewhat amusing that you are including a special edition of the N64 Conker in his latest adventure yet this will retail for less than the original. The local GAME still has the original valued at £60 and sadly the money grabbing b******s have the only copy I have seen. Please include Banjo-Tooie as a hidden feature on a future "Banjo team" title as my mother broke my N64 before I had chance to experience its delights. (She also broke my Megadrive. So the moral of the story is, do not give old consoles to your parents.)
     Guess I should beg for updates of old games. Sorry but I cannot be bothered. I understand the development teams should make the games they want. I think that people put more effort into innovation as opposed to simply updating existing ideas. Therefore please make lots of new games and spread into new genres. (The traditional Japanese turn based RPG needs a Chewit up the arse.)
     Keep up the good work,

I didn't 'accidentally' point out anything, you madman - it's no secret that Ghoulies is finished, and it's much more common for a team to just start another project than to split up and scatter onto various other teams. Consequently, I rate the level of corporate secrecy destroyed 1/10. Let's see how the team reacts to your other comments:
"Thanks for liking Ghoulies - we have our first official fan! If we get two more we can start a club.
     "Well, if the big N can take their iconic ape platform star and get him to play some drums, then I don't see why we can't get our favourite backpack-wearing bear to entertain you all by playing tunes on his Banjo (full size Banjo instrument controller sold separately at $299). So now you know what the Banjo team is up to. Don't tell anyone, though."

     BFD at £60? Now? Good old Game. Oh, er, what I mean is buy it immediately, you'll never spend a better £60, etc. Alternatively, the head of the GbtG team has some helpful advice for you here too:
     "As I mentioned earlier, I reckon you could get a 'slightly used' copy of Conker from Measham car boot sale. It's usually held in a field on Sundays, but not at the moment as it's too cold. I guess it gives the sellers a chance to stockpile their dog-eared Mills & Boon books, rusty pre-war tools and old George Formby LPs." (But everyone knows it relocates to Swadlincote indoor market during the winter months... apparently. - Ed)
     "That last comment was almost inspirational Pazza, until you mentioned Chewits. I hate the fruit salad flavoured ones."

Dear Scribes,
     So many people are having a go at Rare lately - all they can seem to say about BKGR is that "it's too short" and GbtG is "it's too repetitive" - why focus on minor flaws? It's because they're still angry about the Nintendo split, like I was for the first couple of months and then I thought - get over it, life goes on...
     OK, I've been hearing some worrying rumours going around on forums and the like that "Rare is in ruins" and games like Kameo are "abandoned". So I guess I'm writting for reassurance, those rumours aren't true, right? Kameo is still coming, right? Just yes, that's all I need to know, I don't care about "when" just "yes".
     Well, keep up the good work - you're not going to print this but so long as you've read it that's the main thing. Of course you could make me look a fool and post it anyway. In fact, do what you like - make me look a complete and utter idiot in response to this so long as you post it.
     Yours Sincerely,
     Fred "no-one writes their real name on Scribes so why bother making up a believable one" Neshin-san

Of course Kameo's still coming, just as PD0 is still coming. If it wasn't then we'd tell you, but generally we're not in the habit of cancelling games that are far enough along to have been announced. We're not blind to the fact that the Rare name lost some of its lustre to many people after the move to Xbox, and while that's sad, it doesn't automatically make us a sinking ship. If criticism of our games is justified, then we're fine with that, hopefully we can learn from it; but if it's just the product of knee-jerk reactions or mindless bandwagon-jumping, then obviously we won't be in such a rush to take it to heart.


     If Goldeneye push-button codes exist, even in a test form, then certainly Perfect Dark push-button codes exist...
     Some of the criteria for getting codes on that game are insanely hard, and I want the cheats without beating hard levels on hard difficulties.
     P.S. Were you joking when you put on your site the following?
     "It's the stupid Rare letters page! Send us your mail! We'll release the PD push-button codes as a festive treat!"
     That's just mean.
     Levi Tyler

Not again. Ye gods. Well, if I've got to suffer, so has GoldenEye/PD's designer.
     "Perfect Dark and GoldenEye are two different games. It was a human and as I said before, external decision to place the push button codes into GoldenEye, since the method of unlocking levels made it difficult for NOA and Rare to test quickly. The method of progression between levels in Perfect Dark was subtly different, and so the codes were not needed. We are under no obligation to use anything from previous games, and we will always try to improve on what we have done before, as well as reacting to changes in technology.
     "Check out the FAQ websites for advice on how to approach each level. I can't give you the cheats you want because there are no push button codes in Perfect Dark. All of the cheats can be unlocked by playing the game. You have the potential to do that yourself. You don't spend the time, you don't get the cheats, which sounds perfectly reasonable to me."
     PS Yes. It was a joke - a very obvious one - and it's only mean to anyone who's still clinging to a desperate, groundless belief that we're lying about the poxy things.

Dear Scribes,
     It took me three-THREE-months to finally have enough spare money to get around to buying Ghoulies, and I must say that after much doubt, I'm pleasantly surprised. The game is a lot of fun to play, and a terrific challenge (as opposed to the breeze-through I expected). If I do have a problem, it's the lack of speech. Any reason for this? The nitty-gritty:
     1. What special tasks have the Banjo team done to be mentioned so much? I don't even know what other teams there are nowadays. The Conker team? The PD team? Wha?
     2. Even though sales have been sluggish in the States, would you ever consider adding another game to the Ghoulies saga?
     3. Either I'm stupid, or in recent times the Scribes archives have vanished altogether. What? Am I supposed to be content with only the current one? Madness.
     4. One more thing about voice-acting: It's a no-brainer that, being a remake, Conker: Live and Uncut will have dialogue at least in single-player mode, but what about Kameo? English or Banjo-ish?
     That's all I can squeeze out of my brain for the moment. Now give us some new Kameo info, for the love of Pete.

1) One more for the team: "I guess we get mentioned a far bit because we're gullible enough to answer all these questions Leigh keeps sending us. As for teams - we've got THE BANJO TEAM, the Kameo Team, the GBA Team, THE BANJO TEAM, the Conker Team, the PD Team, THE BANJO TEAM, the secret team and the even more secret team that are so secret they don't even know their fellow super-secret teammates. Oh, and THE BANJO TEAM of course."
     2) And another one: "We'd love to try another Ghoulies game, but as you pointed out it would have to make financial sense. How about we just flog our franchises until they crawl to the knacker's yard and churn out some half-baked tragedies based on unheard of B-movie licenses from now on, instead?"
Hey - sounds good to me.
     3) See that button at the top of the Scribes page? The one that says 'Previous Scribes'? Go on, go mad
, give it a click.
     4) Sorry, you've already received your full quota of useful information. It wouldn't do for us to come across as a genuinely useful point of contact. But here's some new Kameo info direct from the team for you to take away with you: "It's coming, it'll be great, it'll be nothing like Blinx the Timesweeper, start saving."

ear Scribes,
     I am a 16 year old male gamer who enjoys the odd game of Donkey Kong Country 2. After spending hundreds of dollars on your games surely you can answer my little question. Does DKC2 end at 102%? Everyone says it does but there are many reasons why they are a pack of liars. Just look at this damning evidence...
     1) On the title screen there is this big chest full of treasure. In the 184 times I have completed the game not once have I come across this chest. You'll no doubt try and pull wool over my eyes and say there are hundreds of these chests in the game that hold coins, lives and bananas. However on further inspection the chest on the title screen is about one Diddy high and three Dixies wide meaning this is WAAAAAAAAY out of proportion compared to the standard little chests you get in the levels. Where can I find the "Master" chest like on the title screen?
     2) On the original DKC and DKC3 you get an asterix next to the percentage rate once you've completed the game. In DKC2 at 102% there is no asterix! How do I get the '*'?
     3) On the game select screen there is a treasure map. There is a big arrow pointing to the level Stronghold Showdown labelled 'Treasure'. This is so stupid. According to you guys and the manual we're saving DK not collecting treasure. Stronghold Showdown is basically just a stupid little cut scene. No treasure or anything.

Conveniently, the loquacious Ghoulies team leader was also the designer of the first couple of DKCs, so let's prod him for answers.
     "102% is your lot, I'm afraid. How about I reveal a consolation snippet of information concerning your fixation with Diddy's glittering chest instead? Did you know (I can hardly believe you can, as we've never told anyone) that originally the chest started shut and sprang open magnificently when the tune reached its crescendo, lighting up the monkeys in a golden radiance? Looked good for 1995 it did, but we ran out of memory and it had to go.
     "Can't remember about the asterisks, sorry.
     "Being a family guy, Donkey Kong IS the treasure in Diddy's eyes, although the 'nephew' link was always a bit tenuous with him being a monkey and DK a gorilla..."

ear Scribes,
     First... the obligatory. When is the next KI3/Banjo Threeie/Gamecube game coming out? What are the PD push button codes? and Mr. Pants is the 1337 r0><0rZ!!!1!
     Back to sanity... Later this semester I will be traveling to the UK for a short studying stint. I'll have several free days to do whatever I feel necessary. So after visiting a few pubs, I was thinking about paying a very inebriated visit to my favorite video game company. So I will pose my queries in list form.
     1. Where about in the UK are your offices located, or more importantly, how far from London?
     2. If I were to stumble drunkenly into your lobby, would I be able to meet with any one of your brilliant staff members? Take a tour? See unreleased footage? Steal beta copies of C:L&U; and PD0? Basically, if I showed up, would it be worth my time?
     3. Any suggestions for places to eat during my stay in the UK?
     4. That's it. I'm done.

1) We're slap bang in the middle of the country, about 100 miles from London.
     2) If you were planning to stumble directly up from London, this place would probably be home to a national biscuit consortium or something by the time you got here. Otherwise, you might be shown around the toilets if we happened to be in a good mood, and Andy down the corridor might try to dump you in my room for the afternoon because he seems to find that kind of thing funny, but I'd probably have found out in advance and booked the day off (nothing personal, you understand). More likely, though, we'd probably just turf you out, or not even let you through our big, black, spiked, bloodstained, scorched, skull-topped iron gates in the first place.
     3) What are we, the Rough Guide? You'll probably be disappointed with our national cuisine wherever you go - most tourists are. The 'local chippy' culture seems to be a very British thing.

Dear Scribes,
     I was just reminiscing about the only adventure/kart racing game ever to be made, Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64, and I was wondering about the characters in that cast. Diddy Kong continues to live in video game land, as seen in two recent GameCube games, as does Conker, who starred in the awesome Conker's Bad Fur Day, along with a sequel soon for Xbox, as I have heard. Also, Banjo has had games for Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Advance, all which have been successes, plus future projects. Tiptup has had cameos in some Rare games too.
     This leaves us with the rest of the cast: Bumper the Badger, Timber the Tiger, Krunch the Crocodile, Pipsy the Mouse, Drumstick the Rooster, and Taj the Elephant Genie.
     None of these guys have been in any video games (that I know of) since the age of DKR. So what's the deal?
     Andrew Citrin

I took this one straight to some of the people behind DKR, and was given the following shocking exclusives:
     "Bumper has joined a circus, Timber turned into a spoilt brat and so his mother ate him, Krunch went back to DK Land never to be seen again, Pipsy has become a promiscuous teenager with twins on the way, Drumstick ended up on someone's plate and Taj lost his genie powers and got trapped in Tim The Enchanter's Genie Trapping Bottle. Maybe one day they'll get sick of enjoying their new lives and come back to Rare to star in another game (even the dead ones). Or maybe you're just 7 years too late in asking this question. TipTup rules!! Yeah!!"

Dear Scribes,
     I am hoping you can clarify something for me. It is a matter concerning the first DKC. You see, I was very fond of the game and played it a whole lot when it came out on SNES. I knew it by heart, down to the last detail. One night, playing at my friend's place, when we reached the level Trick Trak Trek, I was baffled. Something was wrong. On my cartridge, when reaching the end of its path, the platform would always stop and stay there. But on my friend's cartridge, when reaching the end of its path, the platform fell off the screen! I replayed the level to make sure it wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime bug that I had triggered. Sure enough, the platform fell every time. Next day, I tried my cartridge again, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Nope, platform stops and stays.
     No doubt more than one version of DKC were made and this was probably changed for a reason. What is the reason? Why did you make that change to the game? Were other subtle changes like these ever made to other Rare games? And why don't you inform the public of such changes, no matter how minor they are? PC game companies always list what changed between versions of games, so why don't console game companies? It's like the matter of the red blood in Ocarina of Time which was later changed to green blood. Please answer as much as you can. It's alright if you don't answer them all, but please try.
     Greetings to all of Rare,
     Jean-Marc "made the Bumper Festive Scribes twice" Goulet

Conveniently, the loquacious Ghoulies team leader was also the designer of the first couple of DKCs, so let's... whoa, flashback.
     "Well spotted Jean-Marc, you win absolutely nothing! It does sound like one of the alterations we made between production versions - usually to fix a bug. Due to the longer time it took to build cartridges, we often supplied different versions for each production run if any problems surfaced. In a very early version the platform dropped off screen and then boosted you up to a secret simian nightclub level with a cocktail bar and monkey chicks. Actually I just made that last bit up to try and spice up this rubbish reply."

ear Scribes-writing-type-person,
     You seem to have got a bit confused. In the last Scribes, you said there wasn't enough swearing. Yet all the semi-swearwords had asterisks randomly dotted inside them. Is your keyboard broken? Or are people afraid to send in emails with REAL swearwords just in case Uncle Tusk comes out of nowhere and castrates them with nothing more than a copy of the Fame Academy CD? If the latter, I fear not, and I am here to fill in your swear-word requirements. T*ts arse w*nk f*ck p*ss scrot flange.
     Lots of non-bumsexual love,

You misunderstand: it's not our readers' reluctance to indulge in vile profanity that prevents me from strewing such filth across the website, it's a question of appropriate self-censorship. I don't really think the Rare/MS management would appreciate the absence of those nice wholesome asterisks. And anyway, it's not 'scrot', it's 'scrote'. I think we can get away with that one, at least.

Dear Scribes,
     Hello. I was just wondering about something... In the old-goldy, Perfect Dark, my player name once changed to Skedar King (SkedarKing?) after playing a multiplayer match. This name does not fit the player-name editbox normally; I felt silly after I deleted it, haha. Then I couldn't get it back. I searched around recently to see if I could find out more about that occurrence and I found nothing. I was wondering if someone around there knew anything about easter eggs of PD not yet discovered or not widely known.
     I could just be really crazy, too... Heh, that's probably it.

Our semicolon-happy designer says: "I don't know why this happened; it's not anything we'd have done because it seems to have no real purpose; it doesn't seem to be one of the normal multiplayer awards; it's more likely to be a bug than an Easter egg; he could be crazy but I have no real way of confirming that at this time; to be honest I think people found everything in PD a long time ago; the only thing they wouldn't have found are the push button codes, which (and I don't know if I mentioned this before) are not in the game."
     And the lead programmer adds: "I'm pretty sure that 'Skedar King' or 'SkedarKing' was the string used to refer to the Skedar King model in the game, so somehow it ended up in the player name." Oh no - TEh tECnHN1CaL#.

Dear Scribes,
     First off, hats off to the Ghoulies team for a job well done. I've got a few questions to ask Mr. Kirkhope about his music:
     1. Is the sound quality of the music/synth patches a bit of preview of what the music for the next Banjo-Kazooie game will sound like? (We all know the next BK will come out sooner or later!)
     2. How much memory was allotted for the sound and music in Ghoulies? I have to guess a lot more than what you had available for BK, since the quality is a quantum leap from the N64.
     3. Could you please tell me what kind of synthesizer (or sampler CD?) has those great orchestra sounds you guys at Rare use? I'm in the market for something to replace the ancient patches I currently use... (Roland SRJV-80 expansion boards to be precise).
     Thanks very much,
     Kenny B.

Kirky-boy! Get over here and tend to our mate Kenneth.
     "1) Hello Kenny...
Banjo who? Never heard of him.
     "2) It was 1.14 GB in total, slightly larger than 4 MB for Banjo-Tooie!
     "3) Ah ha, a muso question! The soundtrack was composed entirely using Gigastudio 160 (which is a software sampler). The orchestral sounds are all from the 'Vienna Symphonic Library' which is an umpteen disk set of real orchestral samples with no loops at all. The samples get streamed in real time from the hard drive on my PC, this means I can use huge samples e.g. the piano sample is 1GB in size by itself! It's a bit pricey mind..."

Dear Scribes,
     I've got one question that is driving me mad. Is Donkey Kong Racing still coming out? Some websites such as (where I downloaded the movie of Donkey Kong Racing) say "it's hanging in the limbo" which I think means could be, could not. Other websites say it's been cancelled or canned because of your move to Microsoft. And one website which I've forgotten the site says it's still coming out and will be out by the end of 2004. Please tell me if it's still coming or not as ever since I saw the screenshot on my Gamecube box I've been looking forward to it and it would definitely outsell Mario Kart Double Dash!! as Diddy Kong Racing outsold Mario Kart 64. Please let me know.

Well, yes and no. It's not called Donkey Kong Racing any more, it's not for the GameCube any more and by this point I'd imagine so little of the original art and code remains that it's barely even the same game any more, but yes, it's still coming out. In some form. Wait and see, if you haven't already picked up on the new title that's been unofficially floating around the electrical interweb for months now.

ear Northern Monkeys (or is it Southern Fairies? I can't find Twycross on my 1989 Road Atlas of England),
     It's time for my bi-monthly rant at you lot. I will now number my questions so that you won't be able to dodge any answers and ultimately will decide not to print my letter at all.
     1. Can you create a mascot racing game, but instead of the seemingly unavoidable go-carts substitute some bling bling convertibles? It could star Banjo and crew and could be called The Fast and the Furry-ios.
     2. Will there be a Twycross building level in PD Zero? That would be extremely entertaining and help me in planning my inevitable post-delay announcement guntoting rampage within the real building.
     3. Will Mr. Pants get a 3-D action adventure on Xbox? I think that a semi-naked eggshaped protaganist with a moustache, bowler and Black Adder accent thrown in with some Monty Python-like elements could revolutionize the world of platforming action games. British humor must be disseminated worldwide!
     4. I request, no I demand a Rare-style knock-off of Grand Theft Auto. Think of it, a Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels style romp through London or some unreasonable facsimile. Genius!
     5. Finally, I renew my request for a military strategy game depicting the glorious battles of the British Empire, despite its appeal namely to beardy historians. I shall have you know sir, I aspire to be counted among the extremely rarified ranks of beardy military historians!
     That's all, I think I've bothered you lot enough for one day. I'm afraid there'll be no rubbish picture attachments, Arse or such in my correspondence, I have far too great a respect for the dignity of your fine organization... yes and... ARSE ARSE ARSE!
     Lord Bran the 3rd, Earl of Stinkmoor

1) Yeah, co-starring our great new character - wait for it - Vin Weasel. Ha ha ha.
     2) Twycross building? Which one? The tractor showroom? The garden centre? The giraffe enclosure down at the zoo? Actually, they all sound like fantastic FPS level settings...
     3) "British humor", ach! If you're such a fan you could at least follow the proper rules of vowel usage, not like those heathens out in the colonies.
     4) You mean The Getaway?
     5) Sounds horrifically boring, and very beardy indeed. How about elaborately staged reconstructions of the glorious battles of the British Empire - STARRING JINJOS? Now that's more like it.
     I hope you noticed that your contempt for the RPA tradition was matched with the least helpful and informative answers I could come up with.

     I have been a fan of Rare for quite some time... but a recent event in your game Grabbed by the Ghoulies has me worried.
     In this game, if you smash one of the vases next to the door that leads to the last boss, do you know what comes out?
     A smaller vase.
     That's right. The Baron apparently uses large purple vases to store his collection of slightly smaller vases. I wondered if there might be an even smaller vase within this vase... but I was terrified to find out, lest the vases turn out to be infinite, something which would shatter my already fragile mind. While I'd normally be content to pin this one on the Baron, *someone* in Rare had to design it... someone had to consciously make the choice of putting a vase inside of a slightly larger vase.
     I can only imagine what sort of depraved mind would think to do such a thing... certainly no-one I want my children talking to, so STAY AWAY FROM MY KIDS!
     ...I don't have any just yet, but when I do, stay away from them!
     Bob Averill

"Calm down Bob," soothes the game's designer. "Have you never heard of the famous Matryoshka dolls? (I had to look up that one on the internet.) They're famous for it, so why not a vase in a vase? Better than eBay's 'ghost in a jar' in my opinion - and cheaper. You'll just have to blame the vase situation on the housekeeper Babs Buffbrass, as she thought she could avoid excess vase cleaning duties by hiding one inside another. The workshy, Marigold-clad slapper."

Dear person who strings words together in interesting ways,
     In a recent, scintillating episode of Scribes, you took a moment to explain some of Rare's in-jokes to the Xbox newbies. However, you missed a few. Since I'm sure you can't be bothered, allow me to take the time to explain the rest:
     --Sean Williamson was the name of a psychotic fan obsessed with getting a copy of the beta version of Goldeneye. When he stormed into Rareware's Twycross offices, he was informed by the receptionist that the sole copy had been donated to National Museum of Science & Industry long ago. Enraged, he sat around the lobby and produced all manner of gaseous emissions in protest. Sadly, he had to be clubbed to death with an oar, but an enterprising sound engineer managed to record a few of his eruptions for inclusion in future games. So, whenever you hear a burp in a Rareware game it's not bathroom humor, it's a somber memorial to that black day.
     --Uncle Tusk is a character named after British slang for an act so foul it can't possibly be described in a family-friendly website, even if said family is vastly dysfunctional.
     --"Arse," on the other hand, isn't after the British slang. Rather, it refers to a rather amusing anecdote during the creation of Conker's Bad Fur Day. Its director conducted a lot of research to make the gun-toting, cursing squirrel as scientifically accurate as possible, so for the segments in which Conker extinguishes fire demons by p*ssing on them he went to a local pub and drank heavily. While wearing a squirrel outfit. Unfortunately, after his ninth Harvey Wallbanger he attempted to set some rugby players on fire rather than the Rareware volunteer. When the dust settled and the volunteer came across the director's bruised and bleeding body crumpled on the ground, he asked if everything was all right. "Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrssse," he replied, which is of course the sound someone makes while throwing up on himself.
     --Taboo is the best game ever. It's 100 times better than whatever your favorite game is. Go buy it. Now.

You've summed everything up so well that not only can I not be bothered contradicting you, I might actually adopt your version of events as the truth. I was disappointed to hear that Williamson's "gaseous emissions" were only burps, though. Perhaps he was trying to fart but couldn't work out how.
     (Dysfunctional families: while we're on the subject, I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has had experiences similar to the humiliation I routinely suffer at the hands of my four- and five-year-old offspring in Mario Kart: Double Dash. It shouldn't be allowed.)
     Here's a couple more in-joke clarifications for the masses:
     - Yellow Shirt Guy: Not, a many have suspected, a tribute to the Shy Guys from the Mario line of games, YSG is actually based on the dapper, diminutive Frenchman Didier Partouche who
won the hearts of everybody at Rare during his run on epoch-making 80s Euro gameshow Going For Gold. However, we have nothing to say to reports that he's to star in a trio of almost-identical GBA games due out later this year (Yellow Shirt Guy, Red Shirt Guy and Blue Shirt Guy) - that's a rumour and we don't comment on rumours. Well, we do, but not that one.
     - All Bonds Mode: An anagram of 'Don Balls Mode', the strategic renaming necessary to avoid the legal wrath of Miami Vice star Don Johnson, whose disproportionately massive* testicles were adopted by up to four players in this disorientating slow-motion multiplayer setting hidden deep within the
GoldenEye source code.
     (* Allegedly)

Hey tusk Have you got any info for me on your new game "Rolling" as I'm very interested in it. Just cool stuff like screen shots etc. PLEASE

Wrong page, wrong game, wrong company - but apart from that you're doing really well.

I'm a big banjo fan , but i'm a bit worried : Have you (or THQ) planed a japan release for Banjo-Kazooie Grunty's revenge ? Thanks and continue to make so gooood games.
The Banjo

Direct from the team: "No Japanese version has been done, so it looks unlikely."

Hello, If Banjo pilet doesent come out in the next5 minets i will kill all

How are you going to do that? With your spelling?

Do you remeber Conker's Bad Fur Day? Well I was wondering if you could make a second one for nintendo game cube and mabe call it Conker's Bad Fur Day 2 (Revenge Or the tediz) and on the box say (This time, Ther'e ciborgs).PLEASE!

"This time, Ther'e ciborgs" does have a certain ring to it. You know - IN STUPID LAND.

I agree with the Banjo team that Banjo-Threeie is an overused name. I say it's time Kazooie got the solo title, so bring on Three-o Kazooie! Or not. That might scare people.

It'll probably end up being called Banjo-Kazooie 3, just to irritate people.

public class LaughAtYou
{  public static void main(String[] args)
   {   System.out.println("Ha!");
Olpus Bonzo

Run! It's a robot that tells half-jokes! Like some of the people I go out drinking with.

Does this comment from last edition seem familiar? "'GameSauce'? You're clearly making that up... " Oh I am, am I?

I was trying to give you an opt-out clause from citizenship of a land that shows 'GameSauce'.

Don't you think it's about time for another edition of The Tepid Seat? It's been awhile since your last update of it, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's cooled off and gone for good.
Stephen A. Barrow

It's back, just for you! Even though you sent this after we'd decided.

I think the end boss in Perfect Dark Zero should definitely appear before just the last level (unlike the Skedar King). He should also smash Joanna's violin to show the audience how mean he is.
Martin "Alf-Life" Badowsky

Is that a Derailed reference? It is, isn't it? Cut that out.

I have to confess I'm a Mr. Pants fanatic. So what if JFG wasn't the greatest game ever? It's got Mr. Pants, so I'm happy. I will definitely buy It's Mister Pants, maybe multiple copies, regardless of quality. Mr. Pants is my hero.

Mr. Pants is everyone's hero. You know - IN STUPID LAND.

Pet my Piglet! Put simply, Cooper looks like he's been pumping up on steroids in the 'Ghoulies boxart. What on earth happened there?
Edmund King

Something called 'non-Ghoulies team artists' happened there.

My name is Garry Haywood and right now I'm drooling over Kameo's massive pair of lovely boots.
Garry Haywood

What's this? Heterosexual innuendo? You're the worst impostor ever!

I'd like to understand better about the PD festive treat, what does it means ?? will you send the codes of Perfect Dark for the peoples who ask u about it by e-mail??? If so ... please send me the codes, i almost cant wait for it !!!!

I think all it means is that sarcasm doesn't cross the language barrier very well.

Is it true that you are still developing games for the Playboy Advance? If so, give me teh URLs!!!~!!

We're thinking of developing for the Playboy DS - tEh pR0N x 2!!#!!!1

Have you got any New idea's featuring New Caracters?

That's like asking UB40 if they've got any new songs.

You bought an N-Gage, didn't you?

I'd need to have seen one on sale somewhere first.

Hi, my name is Garry Haywood and right now I'm making a custom screensaver featuring the rim of Sabreman's large, round... hat.
Garry Haywood

Now that's more like it. Keep it up.

I've got the perfect name for the third Banjo game! Instead of Banjo-Threeie, how about Thranjo-Kazooie? GENIUS!
Nick Flavor

If by "GENIUS" you mean "worst name since G.A.S.P.!! Fighters NEXTream", then yes.

Grabbed by the Ghoulies is awesome. Guybrush Threepwood now has a run for his money. LucasArts, I found the funny bone you lost, Rare has the funny bone. Take care, and tell Mr. Pants I said it is in your pants, and it is anything you want it to be.
Rare Newcomer

I told him, he looked guilty, and I decided I didn't want to know.

I think Mr. Pants' moustache in the Please Leave pic makes him look more like he has a beak of sorts. Am I a freak?
Mickelly Mikelly

No, you only said "a beak of sorts". It could be "a beak that looks like a moustache".

ay will conker live and uncut means that you can play live in xbox and uncut means that is the cnker game in 64 but with more graphics and more mature like a little of adult.......................... hey that will be cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Antonio F. Fernandez

Thank you... for your interest... in Rare?