Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bonk's Adventure on the Virtual Console: Give his Big Melon a Chance

When it comes to video game mascots of the fourth gen consoles, why does Bonk always seem to get the shaft? All you ever hear about is Sonic and Mario. Are the Geico commercials right and the world is prejudiced against large headed cave boys just like hairy cave men?

Alright, quick synopsis, Princess Za was kidnapped by the evil King Drool very similar to the Princess being kidnapped by Bowser - a bit unoriginal. Bonk has to go and save her by using his meteorite sized head clocking dinosaurs and other bad guys with it - a little bit more original. He didn't have the speed of Sonic and couldn't jump on enemies like Mario but c'mon, he had a huge freaking head!

Bonk's Adventure was, to a certain extent, doomed from the start being released to the TurboGrafx-16. I bought the TG-16 when it came out and was happy with it as a whole. Legendary Axe, Blazing Lazers, and Alien Crush are all pretty good games but the console didn’t have the necessary iconic game until Bonk's Adventure. And, if you think Keith Courage qualified, pour me a shot of whatever it is you are drinking.

The problem wasn't the game, the game was awesome. The problem was no one had a TG-16. Poor Bonk never was played much because the TG-16 was a marketing disaster and really never stood much of a chance. Originally, since the PC Engine was an enormous hit in Japan, it made perfect sense for an American release to compete with the NES.

However, that never really happened. Everyone had an NES. Switching to another console was a tough decision after forking over the dollars for the NES and investing in its library. The TG-16 showed off some impressive graphics but it never wooed gamers like the Genesis would eventually do. In a lot of ways I think of the NES like Facebook, people got real comfortable with it and even the thought of something else never sat well with them. It was the layman's console.

The Genesis would eventually be considered the gamer's console while the part-timers kept their NES and eventually would move onto the Super NES leaving the poor TG-16 to fall into obscurity. Even after the CD-ROM showed the potential of what the system could do, the HUGE price tag turned people off even more. It was as if it were born to fail.

But, what does that do for my cave boy with the impenetrable melon? Will he ever have his day in the sun? Bonk's Adventure hosts strong game play, good graphics, and some of my favorite gaming scenery of that era (swimming in the intestine is a personal favorite). But would gamers who are hesitant to play retrogames in the first place give up the time and Wii Virtual Console credits on Bonk?

My recommendation as a teen during the fourth gen days, take advantage of Bonk and his head banging style and give him a try. I put him on my 'Classic Game Console Curriculum – Through 1995 -' for a reason and my recommendation, give him a chance. Spend the credits and get this poor head butting soul a home - I think you will be happy you did.

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