This July, it will be exactly 35 years since the first game starring Bomberman was released. The most famous version of the original game, the NES/Famicom one was programmed by a single man, Shinichi Nakamoto. That version was sold in more than one million copies worldwide. Today, three and a half decades and more than 70 games later, Bomberman is the thing of legends.
Here are some things that you might not know about the series and its protagonist:
1 – What’s in a name?
The lovable white Bomberman whom we all know and love wasn’t that lovable by his design. In fact, his look was directly ported from a Famicom title, Lode Runner, where the prototype Bomberman was one of the enemies. This all changed when the late Shoji Mizuno came onboard, as he is the one who made Bomberman look like the well-known hero of today. The name change came along with the changes in design – before that, he was known as Dyna Blaster or even Atomic Punk.
2 – You get a bomb, and you get a bomb and you…
According to the games, somewhere out there is a galaxy called Bomber Nebula, and in it there is a planet called Planet Bomber. There, a race of Bomber… uh… Bombermen? lives, and our hero, the White Bomberman is just one of the regular folks… Except for when he isn’t.
You see, there is one storyline that claims that White Bomberman was just a regular worker, making bombs (because what else?) in an underground factory, who leaves his job and goes to the surface in order to fight an evil robotic army. Going above ground somehow gives him super speed, which he then uses to quickly set up the bombs that he uses to blow up enemies. However, this plotline was created by Hudson Soft who was the original publisher of the games. Today, the brand is owned by Konami, and their story is a bit different.
3 – Megaman who?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: there is a kind, good-hearted scientist (named Dr. Ein) who creates a bomber robot whose mission is to secure peace in the galaxy. All is fine and dandy while he is making the prototype (who will become known as White Bomberman), but something goes awry while he is making the other one (Black Bomberman) and this other model turns out to be evil and a nemesis to our hero (until he – spoilers – turns good further down the line).
There is also a cyborg named Max, who is better than “our” Bomberman in almost any way imaginable, and who cares more about beating Bomberman than restoring the world peace. Oh, and just to differentiate this series from a certain Megaman a bit more, there are helper animals, called Karabon, who help Bomberman progress through the games.
On the enemy side, there is the evil Professor Bagura who just wants to see chaos reign all over Planet Bomber. By his side, he has small, disposable robots called Hige Hige Bandits, and a gang of Five Dastardly Bombers, who are always trying to get in the way of our hero. One of them is a girl, so her name is Pretty Bomber (because what else), and both Black and White have romantic feelings towards her.
Got all of that? Good.
4 – Never enough Bomberman
Even though the story is not, let’s put it lightly, incredibly original, it was good enough to inspire an anime series released in Japan back in 2002. It was called Bomberman Jetters and received well enough to spawn two manga series and an additional three video games. Prior to this, there was only an OVA film called Thanks for the Courage, Bomberman, that had a VHS release in 1997.
When it comes to manga, there were also two volumes in which Bomberman joined forces with B-Daman, which, in return, had its own anime spinoff, Bomberman B-Daman Bakugaiden Victory. (See the intro here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKwCPO2pleg but, keep in mind, the title song is highly addictive.)
In western animation, Bomberman was one of the video game characters that would help Captain N the Game Master on his journey across many video game inspired worlds. However, this Bomberman wears a green suit, keeps adding the word “mega” to almost anything he says and is, frankly, quite annoying.
Use all this knowledge wisely. Or, you know, you can just start one of many Bomberman games and get to blasting enemies without a single care in the world. The choice is yours.