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Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Bomberman

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chris-littlechild - July 2, 2014

What does multiplayer gaming really mean? In this spangly new world of Interwebs, cloned sheep and the return of sideburns (c'mon, fashion trends, we need this shit), it means online play. Whupping the ass of/being heckled by a rude little punk from Zimbabwe from the comfort of your couch.

Before that became a thing, as us old dudes remember, we had couch co-op. It still exists (mostly around Nintendo way, with Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Mario Party and such), but is really dying on its ass at this point. But let's not cry manly tears of salty, salty sadness about that. Instead, let's celebrate one of the ol' champions of local multiplayer: Bomberman.

This crazy-ass pyromaniacal robo guy was introduced back in 1983. That first title hit the MSX, FM-7, Sharp MZ-700, ZX Spectrum and all kinds of other decrepit home computers you've never freaking heard of. Let's focus on 1985‘s Famicom/NES release, because we know what the eff that is.

The later, much sexier 'Atomic Bomberman.' So much of our youth was misspent with this one.

Anywho, Bomberman is a maze-cruisin', face-explodin' festival of funtimes. The eponymous character's design has changed very little from the off, and nor has his general purpose of wreaking shit. Without the need for plots, storylines or any of that BS, your objective is simply to explodinate your way through a maze. This uncovers routes upwards, and eventually brings you to the surface. Upon reaching it, you'll become a real boy, Pinnochio style (yup, really).

You know how this works. The maze is formed of both destructible and indestructible blocks, and you must tunnel your way through the former in suitably explosive fashion. Your bombs are just as doomtastically doomy to yourself, so you're going to need to haul ass to a safe distance away after you've placed each one.

In the singleplayer-only original version, this was the way. When it later became multi, this was also the way, but with the hilarious shitstorm level pumped up to ridiculous proportions. As with many arcade classics, its simple, bastardly, kill-or-be-killed concept is the key to its success. Sure, you can't throw bombs yet, or deftly kick them toward a fleeing opponent, but these power-ups came with time.


Bomberman
, like Worms, is a lasting formula. Both toontastic combat series have been steadily expanded on over the decades, but are still true to their roots. This lil' bombing bot just celebrated his thirtieth birthday, and looks set to continue ruining friendships as effectively as a Mario Kart blue shell for some time to come.

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