What if Bonk were cool?

Would he be Zonk?

Out of all the frustrating decisions Konami’s made in the past few years, its shelving of the Bonk series hurt me the most.

For those who don’t know, Bonk was the first “radical” console wars rival to Mario, pre-dating Sonic by about 2 years. Created by Hudson for NEC’s PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 console, Bonk (know as ‘PC Genjin’ in Japan and ‘B.C. Kid’ in Europe) had all the tools needed to become a mainstay in the pantheon of gaming mascots.

Weaponizing his baby-shaped body allowed him to combine cuteness and destruction into one cohesive whole. For a while, it seemed to work. The P.C. Engine managed to outsell the NES for a brief period of time, but once we hit the SNES-era, Bonk‘s makers seemed to lose faith in the little baby-shaped breaker of worlds.

He tried to hang on into the late 2000s with a new game (featuring a soundtrack from Fez composer Disasterpeace) and a PS2/GameCube remake of his original adventure, but the new game was canceled and the remake never left Japan. It’s a shame, too, as the remake is one of my all-time favorite 2D platformers. It could definitely find an audience on modern consoles if Konami were to release on today’s digital storefronts. 

In the meantime, we’re left to wonder what could have been had Bonk managed to stay alive into 2015. John-Charles Holmes, producer of the new Rhythm Heaven fan magazine Rhythm Zinegoku (featuring art from yours truly and former Dtoid writers Colette Bennett and Ashley Davis), has one possible answer to this question.

While this might not be the evolution that many would hope to see for our top heavy caveman hero, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see today’s Konami take him in this direction. 

Jonathan Holmes
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1 "I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes