Sometimes censorship in videogame is weird. Other times it is probably for the best. While I personally have no problem with upside down crosses in a game like Splatterhouse, there are people that are. Concerned parents usually have more to be worried about in that game than some background sprites. Same thing for the positioning of the hands of the man in the trench coat in Street Fighter II. In the case of Bonk’s Revenge for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the censorship was probably in best taste.
When Hudson Soft released their flagship title, Bonk’s Revenge on the Nintendo Entertainment System they took the high road and edited out one thing- Bonk’s “thief” sprite. Anyone that has seen some of the older cartoons say from the 40’s you probably see the heavy resemblance here. It is something that could easily be taken as a racially charged graphic and probably, had the right people seen it, started more than a small rumble of trouble. More trouble than the whole Night Trap on Sega CD fiasco that got ole Senator Lieberman up in arms.
Bonk’s Revenge was originally a Turbo Grafx-16 title, the freaking mascot of that system, before Hudson Soft exercised their IP owning rights and took Bonk multiplatform. They released Bonk games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Game Boy and the Super Nintendo before basically abandoning the franchise till the iOS days.
Bonk was a popular character in the 16-Bit days and had Hudson Soft marketed him right they could have probably rode his bald head into at least the PS2/Dreamcast era. As they say though, it comes down to marketing and Hudson simply didn’t have much knowledge promoting video games. Game stores like Electronics Boutique and Software Etc just had no clue what to do with their selection of Turbo Grafx-16 games and systems. Most just put them in the back on a small shelf area.
Head over to ROMHacking.net to grab the patch. The actual game ROM is all on you though.