Bonk, known as PC Genjin in Japan and BC Kid in Europe, started life as a comic series in a magazine promoting Hudson Soft's PC Engine (or the TurboGrafx-16, as it was sold in North America). Many people liked the comic so much, Hudson decided to make a game based off it and even made Bonk the mascot for the system. The games follow the story of a big headed caveman named Bonk as he protects his land from the evil King Drool.
Bonk's Adventure was released in 1990, and is one of the most well known TurboGrafx games. In the U.S. Bonk was marketed as a Mascot with Attitude against Mario, one year before Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog.
It was followed by Bonk's Revenge in 1991. It was a general improvement of every aspect of the previous game.
Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure came out in 1993, and introduced the concept of size-changing candies that would let Bonk take multiple pathways.
The next major title of the series came on the Super NES. Titled Super Bonk (Chō Genjin in Japan, Super BC Kid in Europe), it followed Bonk's attempt to return to the past after King Drool sent him to the future.
Outside of a playable cameo in Saturn Bomberman, a remake of the first game for sixth-generation consoles, and re-releases on the Wii's Virtual Console service, Bonk has yet to re-appear anytime soon. He was slated to have a new game titled Bonk: Brink of Extinction, but it was unfortunately canceled when Konami bought Hudson.
The Bonk series contains examples of:
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The U.S. box art for the first two Bonk games. An in-game example occurs in Bonk's Revenge, where a image of Bonk in the credits was altered to resemble how he looked in the U.S. artwork.
- Anachronism Stew: Various enemies use cars, flying pirate ships, and mechas, mostly prominent in Bonk 3. Inverted in Super Bonk, which takes place in modern times with elements from the prehistoric era.
- Angry Eyebrows: Bonk every time he eats meat, especially his second transformations. He looks incredibly demented in this state in Super Bonk.
- Bad Future: In Super Bonk, Bonk is captured in King Drool's trap and is sent to what appears to be this, with King Drool having conquered the world. Bonk has to find a way back to his own time period to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Bald of Awesome: Bonk, oh so much.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: In Super Bonk not only do you enter the brain of a massive dinosaur, dealing with threats and maze obstacles as they come, but you also have to fight his inner demons too.
- Bowdlerise: In the sequels, Bonk's feminine form was replaced with his angry forms from the first game. It wasn't removed from Bonk's idle animations in Super Bonk though.
- Binomium ridiculus: Ostensibly, the "PC" in "PC Genjin" stands for Pitecanthropus Computerurus.
- Book-Ends: Super Bonk begins with Bonk falling into a trap by King Drool and being sent into the future, the game also ends this way, only with King Drool in his own trap while Bonk watches him get teleported into the future.
- Boss Rush: The last level in most of the Bonk games involve fighting all of the game's previous bosses before fighting King Drool.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The bosses in Bonk's Adventure are in this state due to mind control eggshells on their heads.
- This applies to the Hatchets too, which actually are brainwashed little dinosaurs living in Bonk's world.
- Captain Ersatz: Bonk resembles Krillin from the Dragon Ball series, especially in the 2003 remake. The mobile phone game and the cancelled Brink of Extinction redesigned Bonk, primarily his eyes, to lessen the similarities.
- It's unclear if this was the case with BoE or if it was just Art Evolution. Leaked gameplay footage showed the original Bonk sprite was used as a save icon, in addition to a map icon.
- Punchy Pedro from Bonk's Adventure is basically a dinosaur Joe Yabuki. It becomes blatantly obvious when you destroy the eggshell on his head.
- Chest Monster: Some pink/red flowers (which normally award minor prizes) will become black flowers with large grins and attack Bonk when he jumps on them instead of giving him items.
- Chromatic Arrangement: In Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's normal form wears red, his second form wears blue, and his third form wears green.
- Contemporary Caveman: Subverted in Super Bonk, where King Drool uses a time machine to send Bonk into the future. Although he visits a city and a space station, they also have some structures made out of bone frames. This might be because the Hatchets have pretty much taken over the world.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: Bonk 3 and the Arcade Game had another player play as a Palette Swap of Bonk.
- Deface of the Moon: King Drool takes over the moon and splits it in two. While Bonk liberates the half still in space, he has to retrieve the other half in Bonk's Revenge and Bonk 3.
- Degraded Boss: Smaller versions of the bosses from Bonk's Revenge reappear in Bonk 3 as enemies in the sixth stage.
- Denser and Wackier: Bonk's Adventure was just a simple lighthearted romp through a dinosaur land in order to save a princess from an evil T-Rex. Bonk's Revenge went a little further, while still keeping the setting intact, Bonk 3 is where the series went completely overboard, with completely random stage design, and entire mini-stages taking place inside of enemies, the weirdness only continued in Super Bonk, though this time it was actually justified, as the game was about Bonk travelling through time.
- Difficulty by Region: In Super Genjin, the Japanese version of Super Bonk, if you go off the top of the screen in the space stages, you'll be sent to a "penalty game" in which you must build up speed while running around the Earth and then jump back into space. In the international versions, this was removed, and Bonk simply bounces off the top of the screen in those stages.
- Diminishing Villain Threat: King Drool started out as a rather dark and monstrous foe, but beginning with Bonk 3 he was portrayed as a smaller, more cartoony villain who relied on machines to attack Bonk.
- Every 10,000 Points: You get an extra life at 10,000 points, 20,000 points and then for every 20,000 points thereafter.
- Evil Is Bigger: The Bosses in this game are huge.
- Eyes Always Shut: "PC Enjin", Bonk's second form in Adventure and the international versions of III.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Super Bonk has one of the bosses inside the body of a T-Rex, and Bonk has to enter the beast and travel its innards to defeat it.
- Freeware Game: The Amiga port of B.C. Kid, developed by Factor 5, is available for download at the company's website. It requires an Amiga emulator, however.
- Gender Bender: In the Japanese releases of Revenge and III, Bonk's first transformation after eating meat inverted his gender and gave him big eyes and prancing movement. The U.S. and PAL releases altered this so it resembles one of the transformation levels from Adventure, with Revenge using the second transformation and III using the first.
- Super Bonk 2 has Pink Meat, which not only inverts his gender with the big eyes listed above, but also gives him a ballerina dress.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Most of the bizarre bosses in Super Bonk appear without any explanation.
- Interspecies Romance: A weird case involving Bonk and Princess Za. The latter is a non-anthropomorphic (but cute and Bonk-sized) plesiosaur. In the 2003 remake, Princess Za has been given a complete redesign, now she's anthropomorphic and wears a royal dress.
- King Koopa Copy: Bonk's nemesis King Drool is a massive, green, monstrous, T-Rexpy with wings who kidnaps and brainwashes Princess Za in Bonk's Adventure. He just settles for world domination afterwards, though.
- Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: Bonk III: Bonk's Big Adventure has co-op multiplayer that makes the game Nintendo Hard. Both players share the same health bar and lives, and when one person gets hit, the other does not get Mercy Invincibility, which can result in players dying twice as fast. Also, while bonking another player doesn't hurt them, it does stun them, either leaving them open to an enemy or knocking them below the screen. Should a player get knocked out of view, the other player can't progress further without either going down and rejoining the off-screen player, or have the off-screen player teleport back to the other one, at the cost of some health.
- Mook: The Hatchets, small dinosaurs that wear eggshells as helmets.
- Mythology Gag: In Super Bonk, some of Bonk's idle animations are all of his transformations from the previous games.
- Notzilla: In Super Bonk, the second stage transformation (combined with Big Candy) turns Bonk into a bizarre-looking Godzilla-esque monster.
- Oddball in the Series: Super Genjin 2 (Super Bonk 2). The game is completely linear level structure, and there are numerous design choices that may alienate those familiar with the series: Insta-death Bottomless Pits (When prior Bonk games had none), Checkpoints (Where Bonk can be instantly revived upon dying in previous games, thus eliminating the need for checkpoints), and lots of Meat-based Power ups, many of which aren't designed well or so situational they're useless outside of the point where you'll need them. You could say Super Bonk 2 was an initial concept for a Mario title, but then the developers decided to turn it into a Bonk title instead at the last moment. Needless to say, Super Bonk 2 got No Export for You and sent the franchise into dormancy for a while.
- Opposite-Sex Clone: Bijin, who started out as a effeminate transformation of Bonk exclusive to Japan was later re-purposed into the female second player character for the co-operative entry in the series.
- Power-Up Food: Meat which seems to increase Bonk's rage/make him irritated by the spiciness of the meat, and candy which affects his size from the third game onwards.
- Punny Name: Bonk's Japanese name, PC Genjin (which is referred to as PC Kid by Japan's translation), is supposed to sound like PC Engine, the name of the system where the series began, combined with "genjin", Japanese for "caveman."
- This was played with in the ports, with his name becoming FC Genjin on the Famicom, and GB Genjin on the Game Boy.
- All of Bonk's seemingly random transformations make some sense in Japanese, as they are similar puns or cultural references, but these names were either changed or not mentioned at all in localization, leaving some to wonder why Bonk is now a chicken. PC Enjin ("Ape-man" Bonk's first level of transformation from the first game), PC Henjin ("Weirdo" Bonk's second level of transformation from the first game), PC Bijin ("Beautiful Man" and Bonk's Gender Bender or Distaff Counterpart depending on the game), PC Funjin ("Eruption Man", the form where Bonk spurts angry explosions from his noggin), PC Ganjin ("Rock Man", Where Bonk's head becomes a rock), PC Sakebujin ("Shout Man"), Golgo Genjin (as in Golgo 13 - Bonk's initial transformation in Super Bonk).
- Purposely Overpowered: After eating two pieces of meat or one huge chunk, Bonk gains brief invincibility, can do twice as much damage, and headbutting the ground damages all enemies on screen, including bosses! Would be a Game-Breaker if the power-up wasn't timed, lasting only 30 seconds at best. It also gets downgraded or is lost entirely if Bonk takes damage.
- Put on a Bus: Princess Za hasn't been seen in any game after Bonk's Revenge, not counting the Japanese-only remake of the first game.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Hatchet bosses in Super Bonk 2 are this.
- Recycled Soundtrack: About 1/3 of the music in Bonk's Revenge is reused music from Bonk's Adventure.
- Reformulated Game: The Game Boy and Arcade Game versions of Bonk's Adventure are not ports of the original game, but are in fact completely different games with unique levels and bosses.
- Schmuck Bait: Many of the red Floras (those flower things) are usually Venus Bonktraps, enemies that try to bounce on Bonk after he smacks them in their disguises. Another telltale sign is that the Bonktrap disguised as a Flora doesn't move, unlike the real ones.
- Shout-Out: Most of Bonk's transformations in Super Bonk are references to manga. "Fester Bonk" (Golgo Genjin) is a shout-out to Golgo 13. Shoichi Yoshikawa, one of the planners for Super Bonk worked on the first Golgo 13 video game. "Kronk Bonk" (Nyohhe Genjin) seems to be a reference to an incredibly obscure Japanesse gag manga known as Unoken no Bakuhatsu Ugyā, which starred a character named Nyohhe and featured lewd jokes and outrageous facial expressions.
- Sizeshifter: Beginning with Bonk 3, eating candy will either make Bonk huge or make him tiny.
- Swallowed Whole: Recurring in the series, Bonk always ends up inside an enormous dinosaur at some point. Revenge is the only game to avert this, as it lacks any sort of Womb Level.
- Updated Re-release: A remake of the first game was released for the GameCube and PlayStation 2 in 2003. In addition to an Art Shift, the levels are overall shorter, the bosses are completely different, and the fruit have been made collectables, in addition to the new golden wheels.
- Use Your Head: Bonk's primary method of attacking is via hitting enemies with his head, be it simple headbutts, head-slams or spinning in the air.
- We Will Meet Again: King Drool says "I'll be back!" at the end of each game, and every time he is defeated in Bonk 3. It more or less become his Catchphrase.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Princess Za never appeared after the two first games, save for her appearances in Air Zonk.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Bonk's meat-induced transformations come off as this.
- Womb Level: Bonk (with one exception) can't spend a game without becoming dino chow at least once. In Bonk's Adventure, it is an entire level, while in all future games save Bonk's Revenge, a (much) smaller enemy would have to snatch up and swallow Bonk whole, leading to a fleshy Mini-Dungeon with some bonus pickups for grabs before exiting through its intestines.
- Super Bonk has both forms of Womb Levels, the second half of Round 2 is inside a giant T-Rex. Appropriately, it is larger than Bonk.
- Super Bonk 2 perhaps has the strangest of all the Womb Levels in the series. The blue pterodactyl that eats you leads to a short bonus room with a fully functioning slot machine inside its stomach before you exit.
- Your Size May Vary: King Drool is about four times as big as Bonk in the first game, and slightly smaller in Bonk's Revenge. In Bonk 3 and Super Bonk, he frequently changes size, going from the size of a fly to an incredibly gigantic form in the final boss fight in the former and being large in-game yet small in the intro and ending in the latter. In Super Bonk 2, he's barely as big as Bonk himself.