The Horror of 3-D Bomberman
Over at Magweasel, Kevin Gifford posted up a neat video of the world’s very first Bomberman game (titled “Bomber Man”) for the MSX and PC-8801 home computer system.
Load up that video, and skip to the four-minute mark.
What you see is an MSX and Sharp X1 sequel called 3-D Bomberman. As Gifford notes — and I assure you he is not exaggerating — the game is god damn terrifying.
Imagine that you’re a Japanese kid in the early 1980s. You’ve saved up enough allowance money to buy a sequel to one of your favorite games, Bomber Man. You pay your 4,000 yen or whatever through mail order, and six to eight weeks later, it arrives in the mail late in the afternoon.
Your parents are insistent that you finish your homework before playing the game. But you’re so far behind on your work — possibly because you’ve spent the past six to eight weeks daydreaming in class about 3-D Bomberman — that it ends up taking you the rest of the day to complete your math worksheets. By the time you’re finished, you’ve already eaten dinner and it’s time for bed.
Late at night, unable to sleep, you sneak out of bed and quietly boot up your MSX to play 3-D Bomberman.
Instantly, your anticipation turns to dread. The spartan graphics and minimalist sound effects conspire to make you feel terror like you’ve never felt before in your young life.
The game’s mechanics are foreign and confusing. Walls surround you at every turn. You run through a long hallway, only to be trapped in a corner at the end. You place a bomb to destroy the wall and run several paces back, aware that any mistake will bring your life to a quick end.
Your computer monitor provides the only light in your room. The game’s inescapable mazes are all that you can see. Outside, the crickets have stopped chirping. You sense something is wrong. In the game, you hear a faint beeping noise, and then —
You are dead.