Well, I hope over Christmas you guys all got the TurboGrafx-16 you were wanting. I know I didn’t get one. And nobody got one back in 1989 when it was first unleashed upon an unsuspecting America as a part of (and promptly a loser of) the console wars. But that’s OK because I went and got one, back in September.
As the wildly uneducated might not know, the TurboGrafx-16 was originally released as the PC Engine in Japan and other countries, but when it hit the US market it sadly never achieved the popularity of Nintendo or Sega systems.
Luckily, for you, I became obsessed with this particular unwanted console and, recently, some like-minded loonies and I made a pilgrimage to the ever-so-extravagant Cleveland Game Expo, where I, at long last, purchased my very own TurboGrafx-16!
Now, you may be wondering why I wanted one if almost NOBODY else in America ever did.
Allow me to elaborate:
My obsession started when I once saw what is now an EXTREMELY rare commercial with someone dressed as the TurboGrafx-16 mascot Bonk.
Before I go on, I feel it’s important that I explain the importance of Bonk. Bonk is a cave dude. He has an obscenely large head. He used his unusual handicap to head bang his way through many an adventure, thwarting dastardly dinos, and the evil King Drool, to rescue a Moon Princess or something, who might have also been some kind of a dinosaur.
For some reason he was never as popular as Mario or Sonic in the gaming mascot community, so don’t expect to see him in the next Smash Bros. or anything.
Still, once upon a time, they released some of his games on NES and Gameboy, and SNES, which is where I played them first, after the Turbo failed commercially.
And back when they were still promoting the TurboGrafX-16 they had this weird commercial for it being sold at… I think it was Toys R Us? Or maybe KB Toys? In the commercial, some guy in a foam rubber Bonk costume was answering a Flintstones-style phone in his cave lair, to talk to other toy mascots about the deals at the toy store. (If you ever find this commercial, alert the Lost Media Wiki immediately!)
Anyway, I wanted to play some of his games on his original system, so I bought the only TurboGrafx-16 that was at the Cleveland Classic Game Expo. And, since we went there specifically for this purpose, I’m glad someone there actually had one.
And I got that one. Here are some of the games I’ve acquired for it:
VIGILANTE : You know you’re gonna love a game that opens with the text: “The Skinheads have taken Madonna Hostage! Take the Power into your own hands!” I don’t think this means the actual Madonna is being taken hostage. It’s not like the Aerosmith arcade game Revolution X, where you are actually rescuing Aerosmith. I think this Madonna is just your girlfriend, who happens to be named Madonna. Other than that it’s pretty much just your standard Beat ’em Up, like Street Fighter, where you walk from left to right and hit people.
If that sounds boring to you, wait ’til you hear about the next game!:
VICTORY RUN: Victory run is like a flight simulator with a race car. Or as my friend described it, “a screen saver.” The thing is, this was the only game the guy who sold me the TurboGrafx-16 had. He had no Bonk, no Air Zonk. But he had this thing, which is just a game where you drive a car. And then you drive a car more. And then you keep driving the car. I don’t think you win it. You just drive and drive and drive until you take it out and play Keith Courage instead. (I’m getting to Keith Courage next.) Yes, I BOUGHT Victory Run from him, but Kieth Courage came with the system, which was probably a good idea, because if the only game you had was Victory Run you would probably just unplug the thing and go and read a book or something. So, let’s just talk about Keith Courage instead!
KEITH CORAGE: Keith Courage was, I think, Turbo’s first attempt at having a mascot before Bonk, but it didn’t take. I played the game a couple of times, and I don’t remember anything about it, but it does PROGRESS! Things happen in it! Which is way more than I can say about Victory Run! There might be a goal of some sort in this game!
A BUNCH OF PC ENGINE GAMES I HAVE TO SELL BACK: As far as I can tell, you can’t play PC Engine games on a TurboGrafx-16. So, even though they look almost identical, don’t be fooled. You will be met with a gray screen. (Although, to be fair, that’s way more fun than Victory Run.)
Now let’s get to the really good stuff!
BONK’S ADVENTURE: The whole reason I bought this damn thing in the first place! As I said before, I have a long and storied history with Bonk. Bonk may be a “cavedude” and he looks a whole lot like Krillin from Dragon Ball. Unlike Mario, he does not jump on the heads of villains, he “bonks” them with with his own extra-large cranium.
You “bonk” on dinosaurs’ heads until you win a level. Pure bliss.
You can see how this is a great idea for a game already, but I will show you how it gets even better, in the next chapter of my TurboGrafx-16 reviews, when I talk about BONK’S REVENGE!! (Spoiler alert: more bonking!)
So, stay tuned to this very website for my review of BONK’S REVENGE and BLAZING LAZERS! I hear Blazing Lazers is Kanye West’s favorite game! (Make of that what you will! One way or the other, it’s a great game!) and other fun TurboGrafx-16 classics, whenever I do chapter 2 of LET’S GO TURBO!!