The history of Bomberman

history of bomberman

The history of Bomberman may be a mystery to many, but the name of this game is well-known to any video game player. Published for the first time in 1983, the game was an instant success whose popularity is yet to die down. Nowadays, it has spawned more than 80 games spread across different platforms. 

A brief history of Bomberman

The history of Bomberman begins in Japan where it was first released in July 1983. The game was originally called Bakudan Otoko (爆弾男) on its covers, although within the game itself it carried the name Bomberman.

It was still very simple but the distinctive mechanics of the franchise were already there. It featured a maze-like platform and the players had to drop bombs through the maze to blast walls and enemies. 

In the subsequent years, Bomberman experienced many designs and graphic alterations that were met with more or less success by the public. The big breakthrough of the game came in 1990 with the release of Bomberman (it carried the name of the original with no distinction) or Dyna Blasterin Europe. 

This was the first game of the franchise with a multiplayer mode, allowing up to five players to compete at the same time - an astonishing innovation for many at the time.

Since then, the game has spawned more than 80 games and new versions are still being released today. Along the way, Hudson Soft, the original software developer of Bomberman, ceased to exist and Konami took over. The characters of Bomberman also made incursions in other types of games, from playing tennis to featuring in a Tetris-like game. They even had their own cartoon TV series with the White Bomberman working as part of a space police force.

What was the first Bomberman?

The first Bomberman was released in July 1983 by Hudson Soft. It was available in the formats MSX, NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-6001, Sharp MZ-700, FM-7, and ZX Spectrum.

It was still a very primitive version of the game that became widely popular, but its basic structure was already there. It featured a maze-like setting and Bomberman had to drop bombs to destroy the walls of the maze and the enemies.

The game was released under the nameBakudan Otoko (爆弾男) in Japan, while in Europe it was calledEric and The Floaters. 

In this first version, Bomberman (or Eric) was a simple male character without the distinctive colors of subsequent Bomberman.

When was Bomberman created?

Although the first Bomberman was launched in 1983, the game as we know it today was created in December 1985.

Its graphics and designs were closer to the version more commonly known nowadays, including the character of Bomberman with its white helmet. It was also the first version to introduce the traditional power-ups of the game: one to increase the number of bombs the player can drop, one to increase the range of the explosions, and one to increase the character’s speed.

It was only released for the NES platform and marked the beginning of a long-lasting relationship between the franchise and Nintendo. Interestingly, it carried the simple name of Bomberman, with no distinction from the 1983 version’s name. 

The 1990 release of Bomberman (the third in the franchise with the same name) also deserves a special mention as it was the first to include the multiplayer battle mode that boosted the game’s popularity worldwide. In Europe, it was launched with the name Dyna Blaster.

Which company developed Bomberman?

Bomberman was initially developed by Hudson Soft, a Japanese software developer. The company was in charge of all releases of Bomberman games, with many hits and misses along the way.

In 2001, Konami entered the scene, buying several shares of Hudson Soft and becoming the main shareholder. The two companies became partners from then on, but Hudson Soft was still in control.

Four years later, in 2004, Konami increased its number of shares up to 53,99% and effectively took over Hudson Soft, becoming its parent company.

In December 2010, both companies worked together to publish Bomberman Live: Battlefest. It was the last game of the franchise released by Hudson Soft, with the company being officially dissolved in 2012.

What is the objective of Bomberman?

The objective of Bomberman depends on the version of the game. 

In the single-player mode of the classic versions, the goal is to blast all enemies and destroy the walls in search of the door that leads to the next level. The door only opens once all enemies have been eliminated. There are also some versions in which it is not necessary to destroy all enemies and others in which destroying them will lead immediately to the next level, without the need to find the door.

The multiplayer mode is also a battle mode in which the goal is to eliminate the other players to win.

How many Bomberman are there?

If we are talking about characters, there are eight Bomberman: White, Black, Pink, Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, and Aqua.

As for Bomberman games, there are over 80 games in this franchise, with the number being significantly higher when including mobile and special versions of the game published solely in Japan.

Parallel to the official franchise, there are also countless remakes and replicas of the classic versions of Bomberman. This is not only due to the popularity of the game itself but also because of the simplicity of its mechanics which are easy to reproduce.

Here at Reludi, we have Bombergirl, which follows the same gameplay as Bomberman but in a battle setting instead of a level-progressing one. Other popular alternatives to Bomberman include Bomber Blast, a 1-player game developed by KeeNPRo InfoTech, Bomber New, also a single-player game by Mini Games, and Chip’s Challenge which follows the same mechanics as Bomberman but with different goals and design.

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