Before this year is over I’d like to point out another anniversary that largely went by unnoticed — the 30th anniversary of Bomberman. This isn’t an anniversary post, just a lamentation at what happened to the franchise.
If you don’t know, Konami shut down Bomberman maker Hudson Soft a few years back. Bomberman was never a huge money-making franchise. It was probably never as popular as Mario or even Mega Man, but it stuck in people’s minds as a franchise that deserved to keep getting new releases. It never made AAA money but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth keeping alive.
The Bomberman adventure games were some of my favorite on the N64 and Gamecube despite how niche they became after Bomberman 64. Go ahead, try to think of another action adventure game with gameplay even similar to Bomberman Hero or Generations or Jetters. Its mix of demolition and semi-platforming gameplay was a unique thing.
The one that I played the most was probably Hero on the N64, ironically the only mainline Bomberman game I remember without the franchise’s trademark multiplayer. It was Hudson Soft’s major push to turn Bomberman into a legit action game. The cut scenes, pumped-up music, and various gameplay modes to me felt like a welcome step forward for the franchise that I guess the market didn’t fully accept. It’s one of the only games where I can remember getting a perfect score on every stage, back when doing that kind of thing actually unlocked real content.
Generation was a niche favorite of mine on the Gamecube. Taking Bomberman’s already unique concept and throwing in RPG elements created what I remember to be a surprisingly deep adventure. I still haven’t gotten the chance to play Bomberman 64 the Second Attack, and it’s one of the last N64 games I’m searching for. It’s sad trying to imagine what the singleplayer Bomberman mode’s brand of 3D isometric gameplay would look like running on today’s hardware.
Arguably the actual core of the game was always multiplayer, which itself is a unique game type that still holds up today as a well-balanced setup that’s really fun for local multiplayer. It’s what made sure Generation went into my Gamecube almost every time I had company for a period of several years. That nature of it is partly why I think Bomberman reached perhaps its logical conclusion on modern consoles.
The developed, singleplayer Bomberman campaigns were probably too niche for a publisher to support on today’s hardware, so what we’ve gotten for the last seven years (or more) has been digitally-released multiplayer modes on various platforms. All the franchise has had in that time frame is Bomberman Live on the Xbox 360, Ultra on the PS3, Blast on the Wii, and Blitz on DSiWare. With Konami’s closure of Hudson, that’s probably going to be it too. This especially hurt with the cancellation of the entry it was making on the 3DS, which was to be a return to the action adventure game. It was one of the original reasons I wanted a 3DS.
I’d at least like it Konami released some new multiplayer Bomberman for the PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and Steam, just to be able to play it on the new hardware. I wouldn’t even mind some kind of free-to-play Bomberman.
- I think I’ve finally met my first definitive case of buying something digitally purely out of convenience. I got tired of the process of installing and updating my disc copy of the first Crysis and just bought it on Steam for $5 so I could easily patch it and don’t have to worry about leaving the disc in my machine every time I want to play it. I’ll admit though Crysis is one of the more annoying PC games DRM-wise.
- Apparently Mercenary Kings is gonna be 2014. http://t.co/lFPjbyViou
- I’ve been trying to find the time to get back on Dragon’s Crown for a while, and this new free update might be the push I need. http://t.co/qG7H378iXD
- The guys at Platinum games say you should ask the publishers of their games if you want PC ports. https://twitter.com/PG_jp/status/413883658378805248
- Looks like Final Fantasy Tactics is on sale on iOS. https://t.co/fii8VDxnem