Bonk's Adventure

Bonk's Adventure is a scrolling platform game developed by Red Company and Atlus and released in 1989 in Japan and 1990 in North America for the TurboGrafx-16. In Japan it was titled PC Genjin (PC原人), a play on the Japanese name for the system, PC Engine. The first game in the Bonk series, it was followed by two more games for the TurboGrafx-16 before branching out to other platforms.

Bonk's Adventure
Developer(s)Red Company/Atlus
Factor 5 (Amiga)
A.I Company Ltd. (NES)
Composer(s)Tsukasa Masuko
Kunio Komatsu (NES)
Platform(s)TurboGrafx-16, NES, Game Boy, Amiga, Arcade
  • NA: 1990
  • JP: December 15, 1989

Bonk's Adventure was ported to the NES and Amiga, as well as being released as a coin-operated arcade game, under different titles (FC Genjin and BC Genjin). A completely different game with the same name appeared on the Game Boy (under the title GB Genjin in Japan).


The game's protagonist is Bonk, a strong and bald caveboy who battles anthropomorphic dinosaurs and other prehistoric enemies. Bonk's mission is to rescue Princess Za (a small pink Pleisiosaur-type reptile) who has been kidnapped by the evil King Drool (a large, green, Tyrannosaurus-type dinosaur).[1] In the arcade version, Bonk is also assisted by a female version of himself.[2]


Screenshot of the TurboGrafx-16 version

Bonk attacks enemies by "bonking" them with his large, invincible forehead. Bonk starts the game with three hearts' worth of health, which are depleted to blue as Bonk takes damage, and three extra lives. Bonk's health can be restored in increments by collecting fruits and vegetables.

Bonk can also collect pieces of meat as power-ups; these lend him special abilities and make him stronger. There are three stages of a power-up: his normal self, a second stage during which he can stun enemies by pounding on the ground, and a third stage where he becomes temporarily invulnerable. Meat can be found in two varieties: big meat and small meat. The effects of meat are additive but wear off over time. A small meat gives Bonk the second stage of meat power and a large one takes him to stage three. Eating a small meat while in stage two will also put Bonk into the third, invincible stage of meat power. When the third stage effect wears off he returns to the second state and remains there for a while before turning back to the regular Bonk. Eating either size of meat while in the third stage of meat power-up will reset the timer on Bonk's meat power.

Bonk can occasionally collect red heart power-ups that refill an entire heart worth of health, or even more rarely, a large red heart, which restores all of Bonk's missing health. There are also two rare, blue heart power-ups in the game which will increase Bonk's maximum health by one heart.

Bonking an enemy will typically knock it backward and slightly into the air. Defeating an enemy yields points and also releases a small "smiley" power-up. Bonk's smileys are totaled at the end of each stage after defeating the boss of that stage. The player is given additional points and a caveman-type congratulation based on how many smileys were collected.

The arcade version is much different: at the beginning of the game, the player can choose from one of 28 different levels. Unlike the console versions, the levels are extremely short, and the goal is to get to the end as quickly as possible while trying to get a high score. There are various sports items in the stages, like basketballs and footballs. As long as Bonk continues to dribble these items, the player will get bonus points. Similarly to Super Mario World, there is a goal post at the end of each level, which grants more points if Bonk hits it at its apex. After completing three stages, the player gets to choose from one of seven boss battles. There are no power-ups in this version. Instead, there are smiley faces, which attach themselves to Bonk's head and can be used to absorb enemy projectiles or extend the length of Bonk's attacks. However, if Bonk gets hit once, he will lose all of his smiley faces and he will have to pick them up again. This version of the game also includes a two-player mode, where player 2 plays as a female Bonk. The game can be set up to dispense tickets, and the ticket payouts can be adjusted by the operator.


The Japanese name for the original game for the PC-Engine is PC-Genjin (PC原人, in English: PC-Caveman). In Japanese, PC-Genjin sounds like PC-Engine, and the PC stands for Pithecanthropus Computerus, a pun on Pithecanthropus erectus. It is generally called PC-Kid in English, as he was meant to be NEC's mascot at the time. Later, when the game was ported (or given different versions) for other platforms, it was renamed accordingly, like FC-Kid (after Family Computer, the original Japanese name for the NES, and the FC stood for Freakthoropus Computerus), GB-Kid (after the Game Boy), or the more generic name BC-Kid in some other versions, including Amiga. In North America, this was scrapped, as the game name is always Bonk's Adventure or something similar.


Entertainment Weekly picked the game as the #3 greatest game available in 1991, saying: "Cute, cartoony, and highly imaginative, this is one of the rare games that’s as much fun to watch as it is to play."[3] In 1997 Electronic Gaming Monthly editors ranked the TurboGrafx-16 version as number 85 on their "100 Best Games of All Time", citing its imaginative level designs and hilarious player character.[4]


In 2003 Hudson Soft included a 3D remake of Bonk's Adventure in their Hudson Selection series of games released exclusively in Japan for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles.[5]

Factor 5, developers of the Amiga port, have made the Amiga version of BC-Kid available for free through their company website.[6]

The TurboGrafx-16 version was released for Wii's Virtual Console on November 22, 2006, and according to informal surveys it has been one of the most purchased games.[7][8]

In March 2008, a version for mobile phones was released in Japan.

Hudson was developing a reboot of the franchise entitled "Bonk: Brink of Extinction" for WiiWare and PlayStation Network. With the closure of Hudson the status and future of this title is uncertain.

On October 19, 2015, it was announced that Bonk's Adventure was given a rating on the Virtual Console for Wii U for a future release.[9][10] After months of rumors, the game finally saw a Wii U release in its TurboGrafx-16 form on July 14, 2016.[11] The PC Engine version of the game (fully in Japanese) will be included on every regional variant of the TurboGrafx-16 Mini set to release exclusively through Amazon on March 19, 2020.


  1. ^ "Bonk's Adventure". The Bonk Compendium. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Bonk's Adventure - Arcade Version". The Bonk Compendium. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  3. ^ Strauss, Bob (November 22, 1991). "Video Games Guide". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  4. ^ "100 Best Games of All Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. November 1997. p. 107. Note: Contrary to the title, the intro to the article explicitly states that the list covers console video games only, meaning PC games and arcade games were not eligible.
  5. ^ Shoemaker, Brad (2003-09-27). "TGS 2003: Bonk's Adventure Impressions". GameSpot. CNet. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  6. ^ "Factor 5 Classics page". Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  7. ^ "Nintendo - Official Site - Video Game Consoles, Games".
  8. ^ Snow, Blake (2006-12-06). "TurboGrafx the most downloaded Virtual Console games? (sic)". Joystiq. Weblogs, Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  9. ^ Doolan, Liam (October 19, 2015). "Bonk's Adventure Has Been Rated By The ESRB For Wii U". Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  10. ^ ESRB (October 19, 2015). "ESRB Rating (Bonk's Adventure)". Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Headbutt Your Way to Victory!". Retrieved 1 March 2020.

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