Why were there so many caveman games!?

This came up somewhere else, but there were so many caveman-oriented games in the late 80s/early 90s. Most of them weren't that good? (obviously bonk is the good one)

I know European computer devs liked to make the ugliest mascot possible for whatever reason, but that can't be the whole reason.

There was:
BC's Quest for Tires (and sequel)
Bonk (and sequels)
BC Racers
Chuck Rock (and son of chuck)
Caveman games
Tail of the Sun
Joe & Mac (and sequels)
Caveman Ughlympics
Big Nose the Cave Man
Prehistorik Man
BC Bill
Congo's Caper
Simple2000 Series Vol.99: The Genshijin

and the recent resurgence with far cry primal, ark, horizon zero dawn etc. Though those are different because they are basically all regular humans.

I feel like the Flintstones weren't so popular at this time, the dumb geico or whatever neanderthal wasn't there yet... what's the deal! Who wanted this!? Why were Europe and Japan especially so into it?

Oh and if you can think of more contemporary cave-person games I'll add them to the list.

Dinosaurs! Or at least dinosaur adjacent. While the Flintstones weren‘t quite as popular, they still had a hold on children’s vitamins and Fruity Pebbles (which had frequent commercials). But outside of that, dinosaurs were weirdly popular in the 90s, and maybe if we don‘t count things like Dinosaurs for Hire and Primal Rage, maybe the range of thinking was, "We wanna make a game with dinosaurs, but need something people can relate to that isn’t another animal mascot? Oh, cavemen! They're rude and crude and kids love rude and crude things."

That's my guess, anyway. You really couldn't turn around without tripping over some sort of dinosaur toy/advertisement/school decoration/cartoon set in the 90s, it felt like.

Hmm, that‘s a pretty good guess. I recently watched theodore rex (it’s very bad and took me four sittings), and for a movie like that to come out it must have been pretty popular. there was that dinosaurs tv show, mario is basically a dinosaur movie, primal rage… (I‘m surprised they didn’t put a cave person in primal rage somehow)

Those are all american properties though (well, the SMB movie is anyway). I wonder if Japan and Europe had so much dino-mania?

I guess my next question is why'd they want to make it all so ugly?

as a side thing about Primal Rage, that game was everywhere, and seemed to do quite well? But they canceled the sequel and it just drifted off into obscurity. They had originally planned to make a Jaguar version of Primal Rage II, which wouldn't have reversed the console's fortunes, but it would've helped a bit! and to bring it back round, the incomplete primal rage II had multiple(!) huge(!!) humans in it


in fact it looks like it's mostly humans!? why would they do that.


@exodus#1243 There was:

> BC’s Quest for Tires (and sequel)

> Bonk (and sequels)

> BC Racers

> Chuck Rock (and son of chuck)

> Caveman games

> Tail of the Sun

> Joe & Mac

Hey cowboy why you gotta disrespect my dude Prehistorik Man like that.



@exodus#1245 I wonder if Japan and Europe had so much dino-mania?

In France we had a very influential comics turned animated series called [Rahan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahan_(comics)) which probably had a big influence over Titus's Prehistorik series above (although Rahan was much more realistic in its depiction of prehistoric times). I am not sure how far the animated series travelled but back then almost all Western European countries shared most of their kids programs so I guess it was shown in other Euro countries. Excellent OP, too.


Written and produced by Nina Wolmark [who is a fucking legend.](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0938637/) Another trivia you'll like: the BD was published in a notoriously communist-friendly kids comics anthology, with direct ties to the French communist party, which led to some parents banning their kids from reading the magazine. I remember my grandmother expressing concerns whenever I bought it during the holidays!

Prehistorik Man has a really cool running animation on the SNES, and is that pre-Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Kazooie speak?

Rahan's theme is _really good_. I think I only know Wolmark through Ulysses 31, which also had a pretty rad opening theme. Interesting to hear about parents banning their kids from reading the magazine it was published in due to communist related concerns.

With Primal Rage, I remember first hearing about it through news over how violent it was, more so than Mortal Kombat, even! But this was also during a time where gross out/shock kids/teen products were in full swing. Jurassic Park was out, and at some point there were even toys where you could tear chunks of the dinosaurs off to reveal bones/muscle/organs underneath. Gross out and scare your family with dino parts and ooze. Always some kind of ooze with a play set.

I kinda want to blame the ugliness on the gross out era of the 90s, but the kind of ugly in these games is a little all over the place. Less Primal Rage/Dinosaurs for Hire "cool ugly" and more newspaper comic/hallmark card, not really that cool, ugly.

Very curious to know if Japan was also hit by dino-mania, too. I was actually playing Joe & Mac a few weeks ago and noticed a cameo of another Data East caveman in it. Congo, from Congo's Caper. A pretty cute caveman game.


Would Adventure Island also count? Meijin is kind of caveman like.


@JJSignal#1252 Very curious to know if Japan was also hit by dino-mania, too. I was actually playing Joe & Mac a few weeks ago and noticed a cameo of another Data East caveman in it. Congo, from Congo’s Caper. A pretty cute caveman game.

It is literally the same series! The US names tried to obfuscate it but...
**Joe & Mac** is titled **Joe&Mac Tatakae Genshijin** in Japan.
**Congo's Caper** is titled **Tatakae Genshijin 2** in Japan.
**Joe & Mac 2** is titled **Tatakae Genshijin 3** in Japan.

@chazumaru I love how you had to link two versions of prehistorik man - one that was “all versions” and one that had a version the all versions didn't have. that sure is the internet right there!

I'm enjoying this french italodisco Rahan. he god darn electrecuted that dinosaur! and the communist links are a plus.

I knew about joe & mac / caveman ninja, but not congo's caper - that's what happens when you don't release a genesis version!

So I wonder - obviously Bonk is the best of these, but where to the rest rank? I can't say I've played any of the rest through to completion.

I‘m a bit shocked at how many from that list I’ve already played.

I'm also really curious what drove the craze. The dinosaur stuff makes sense given Jurassic Park, but I'm not seeing any corresponding cause for cavemen. It looks like there were a couple of mid 90s fossil discoveries, but certainly nothing that would drive the huge cluster of games and other properties ([Bone Age](http://www.virtualtoychest.com/boneage/boneage.html) was only 87-88, but seriously, how cool were those?).

Honestly, it's an aesthetic I find a lot of fun in, though I don't get why they usually lean into ugly for no apparent reason.

Kids have always love dinosaurs but making movies starring dinosaurs was difficult

So if you wanna cash in on that love you just throw some faux leopard skins on some folks and shoot 80 minutes worth of cavemen footage followed by 5 minutes of rubber dinosaur fights and bam, you have a movie that leaves a huge imprint on every pre-pubescent who sees it. Years later those people grow up and make a lot of media starring ugly cavemen so they too can cash in on kids who love dinosaurs.

Then Jurassic Park happens and you no longer need the caveman angle cuz DNA is real, and most people believe in it. You don't need cavemen, or time travel, or hollow earth. You can just say "we cloned some dinosaurs" and then kill a ton of them in the modern day, or at some point in the future. Turns out no one ever liked cavemen. They were just an excuse to go on dino adventures. The end.

Then how do we explain the post-jurassic Park caveman games!? Maybe a legacy of the pre JP caveman genre?


@exodus#1271 @chazumaru I love how you had to link two versions of prehistorik man - one that was “all versions” and one that had a version the all versions didn’t have. that sure is the internet right there!

I like the quip so much I am tempted to leave it be, but intellectual honesty forces me to explain, in their defense, that Prehistorik Man on the Super Nintendo is in fact adapted from the sequel Prehistorik 2. What’s up with that console’s lack of commitment to proper numbering in cavemen-themed games?


oh!! that would get confusing.

and yeah, the bonk games got all mixed up when they reached the snes. maybe nintendo didn‘t want sequels to games that weren’t on their platforms at the time??

Thought of another one!

The Humans (1992) - It's on [Steam](https://store.steampowered.com/app/719320/The_Humans_Collection/) if you want to give it a go.
Also known as Dinolympics on the Atari Lynx and Evolution: Dino Dudes on the Atari Falcon and Atari Jaguar.
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/WBVaqtS.png]

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/Q5oW1kA.png]

and the [unreleased](https://segaretro.org/Dinobasher_Starring_Bignose_the_Caveman) Dinobasher Starring Bignose the Caveman:
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/iY5iyML.jpg]


I think Adventure Island counts. Just look at that guy.

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/7vz7xun.jpg]

oh yeah, I had that jaguar version briefly. Not the best.

Adventure island might count! technically mr. 16-shot was born in the current era though, so he's just cosplaying a caveman!?

The Flintstones was the most financially successful cartoon series until the Simpsons iirc. It’s success likely made it a good source for for designing a game wanting to capture the American audience.

also the arcade version of jungle hunt. [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/LCcGU5L.jpg]

I thought sure someone else would mention it, but there's also Toki, which was recently remade/remastered/whatever. Toki is more on the ape-end of things but if I recall correctly he was transformed into an ape from a caveman?

I always appreciated its weird aesthetic with lots of anachronistic tech stuff. I'm pretty sure it also got ported to a bunch of consoles and home computers!

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/r7pERNP.png]

@Karasu#1445 I was trying to find this. I misremembered the name as togi and couldn’t find anything

Oh, I always thought of Toki as an ape because of the “going ape spit” thing. And how on the cover he‘s eating a banana! So that’s why I didn't mention it.

I love that stage one music!


Did anyone here play that lovingly-rendered high res 2D remake? I really wondered why they made that... I guess I wonder about a lot of things in this area.

@exodus#1457 Same as the Windjammers remake: the rights were acquired by a French publisher because there is a very regional and disproportionate cult around the old Toki arcade machine in France, where it sold bonkers and could be found in any random countryside café you’d visit during the late ‘80s. I heard the remake also made most of its sales in France. Another example is the absurd number of Wonderboy III remakes, pastiches and pseudo-sequels from French indies, although one could have expected Brazil to also be a hotbed for this.

I had also discarded Toki as not fitting this topic because you play as a monkey, but your mileage may vary.