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Bonk is a video game character from NEC's TurboGrafx-16 console. Known in Japan as "PC-Genjin" (ＰＣ原人, PC-Caveman, a pun on "PC Engine") and as "BC Kid" in PAL territories, Bonk was a mascot for NEC's console, though some Bonk games eventually saw releases on other consoles as well. A large-headed, bald caveman, his favored form of attack is the headbutt. The "PC" part of his Japanese name stands for "Pithecanthropus Computerurus", a fictitious species name for Bonk.
Origin[edit | edit source]
As stated on Hudson Soft's website, in their "The Definitive Bonk" article, Bonk was originally created as a comic character, PC Caveman(Genjin), in a magazine for the PC Engine. So many people liked the character that there were talks held on giving him a game of his own. In addition to this, many people even mistook him for an upcoming game character even before his game was in development, because the magazine frequently featured comics of upcoming games. Some reputable sources confirm that this character was based on an individual named Tasos; specifically due to the large nature of his head in comparison to the rest of his body.
Games[edit | edit source]
Bonk's Adventure was the first game starring Bonk and was released for the TurboGrafx-16 and a variation of the original on the NES. Another variation of Bonk's Adventure was released for the Amiga and was called BC Kid. A complete new game, with 2 player co-op, was released for the arcades, while another new game going under the same name was released for the Game Boy. A remake of the original was released in Japan on the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube.
Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure was released for the TurboGrafx-16 as 2 versions: a Turbochip version and a Super CD-ROM version.
Chō Genjin 2 (translated as "Super Bonk 2") was the sequel to Super Bonk for the Super Famicom, and was released only in Japan.
GB Genjin Land: Viva! Chikkun Kingdom was a collection of mini games starring Bonk, released for the Game Boy.
Genjin Collection, a collection of the 3 Game Boy titles, was released for the Game Boy.
RPG Genjin was planned for the PC Engine, but was never released.
Bonk's Return, a Bonk game released for Mobile phones, plays a lot like the first two Bonk games but offers very little diversity in the level design.
The TurboGrafx-16 version of Bonk's Adventure was released for the Virtual Console service at its launch on November 21, 2006. Bonk's Revenge was released on April 16, 2007 and Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure was released on September 3, 2007 in the United States. Super Bonk for the SNES has yet to appear on the service.
History[edit | edit source]
His first game, Bonk's Adventure, was released in 1990/1989, published by Hudson Soft in Japan and by NEC Electronics in the United States, and developed by Atlus Software and Red Company. The game was a side-scrolling platformer, a genre that was very popular at the time, especially for mascots (Sonic The Hedgehog and Mario both vaulted to mascot status via this genre). Bonk's Adventure was very well received by critics outside of Japan, winning several awards in 1990: "Turbografx-16 Game of the Year" by Game Player’s Magazine, "Most Exciting New Theme of 1990" by Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine, "Special Achievement Award" from OMNI Magazine, and "Best Action Video Game of 1990" by Video Games & Computer Entertainment Magazine. Despite this, the TurboGrafx suffered from poor sales, and the Bonk mascot was eventually retired in 1992 (with the launch of TTi's new TurboDuo console), replaced by Air Zonk (the official mascot of the DUO). Not surprisingly, Zonk—a "future descendant of Bonk", according to the mythos—bears a strong likeness to his predecessor, Bonk. Zonk, who was featured prominently in all of TTi's branding efforts, was the only mascot for the TurboDuo.
Kaneko published an arcade version of Bonk's Adventure (released as B.C. Kid in Europe) in 1994. This version offered more enemies per screen than the standard Bonk game and included a variety of other strange tasks for the player to accomplish. Other unique features included two-player simultaneous play and the only female Bonk in the series.
Bonk also appeared in the Sega Saturn game "Saturn Bomberman" as a playable character in multiplayer mode. This was his only appearance ever on a SEGA console.
Regional differences[edit | edit source]
In the original game, the second power-up stage turns Bonk into a caveman, but in the Japanese versions of the second and third games, he becomes a cavewoman. The caveman transformation was re-used for the western entries in the series, as the gender transformation may have been considered inappropriate for the target demographic outside Japan.
In the Japanese version of the second game, the ending sequence opens with karaoke-style theme song subtitles. This song was completely absent from foreign releases. Also, the drawing of Bonk during the credits is completely different between both versions.
[edit | edit source]
- The Bonk Compendium (Covering all games and references to Bonk)
- The Definitive Bonk, an article at Hudson Entertainment on the history of Bonk and his various appearances, spin-offs, and names.
- Hudson Selection Vol. 3: PC Genjin (Bonk's Adventure remake for Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2)