Hi-Ten Bomberman (Japanese: HI-TEN ボンバーマン, Haitenbonbāman) is a video game in the Bomberman series released in Summer 1993.
It was showcased and played exclusively at the Hudson Soft Super Caravan 1993 events in Japan.
Hi-Ten Bomberman is a multiplayer-only game developed to support up to 10 players at a time, and utilizes a large, landscape-style HDTV screen to display its vast battlefield.
There are five different gameplay modes featured in the game;
- Battle Royal: Battle Royal is a multiplayer battle between ten players, with the same tried-and-true gameplay formula as seen in previous games. The last Bomberman standing is the winner.
- 2 Group Battle: 2 Group Battle is a multiplayer mode where two teams of five players battle against each other.
- 3 Group Battle: 3 Group Battle is a nine-player-only battle mode in which three teams of three players each are pitted against one other.
- 5 Group Battle: In this mode, five two-player teams battle against each other.
- 1 VS 9 Battle: 1 VS 9 Battle is ten-player mode where one player must go up against a large team of nine other players.
Depending on which controller port that the player uses, the Bomberman that he/she controls will be one of ten different colors:
- White Bomberman
- Pink Bomberman
- Brown Bomberman
- Cyan Bomberman
- Purple Bomberman
- Yellow Bomberman
- Green Bomberman
- Blue Bomberman
- Red Bomberman
- Black Bomberman
Hi-Ten Bomberman is run on custom hardware, which consists of a joint effort between two PC Engine CoreGrafx game consoles with two 5-player Bomberman-themed multitaps for the basic hardware and controller input, respectively, and a computer system with special custom-made circuit boards for the high-definition video display and 16:9 resolution (three times as that of the PC Engine's native 4:3 resolution). The game itself is run from a hard drive, and the music is played off of a TDK CD-W12 audio CD.
Five of these units were produced for the 1993 Super Caravan events. According to Caravan legend Master Takahashi, each unit had cost 200,000,000 Japanese Yen (about $2,000,000 USD by 1993's transfer rates) to manufacture. This hardware configuration wasn't meant for home gaming in mind; Specifically, it was meant to demonstrate video gaming on the Japanese analog HDTV standards.
This hardware would eventually become the basis of the 32-bit HuC62 (A.K.A. Project Tetsujin) development system, on which the PC-FX game console was based.
Hudson Soft Super Caravan 1993
As mentioned before, Hi-Ten Bomberman was played exclusively at the Hudson Soft Super Caravan events in Summer of 1993. A tournament for the game was held at each of the forty-four venues (from July 19th, 1993 to August 31st, 1993), using the game's multiplayer modes. The winners at each venue were awarded a trophy, certificate, and a PC Engine DUO-R game console, the finalists a Bomberman staff t-shirt, semi-finalists the Hudson Super Shooting Watch, and all participants each received a copy of Deden no Den, a promotional version of Bomberman '94 based on the Far East of Eden RPG series.
NHK Studio Park
For a time, the original game was set up as an interactive exhibit, housed at the NHK Studio Park in Tokyo, Japan.
NEC PC-FX port rumor
At one point, there were rumors that Hi-Ten Bomberman was going to be released on the PC-FX video game console and that it was cancelled due to NEC's software publishing guidelines that emphasized on the system's FMV capabilities. These claims of such a port are unsubstantiated.
According to a Gamasutra.com interview with Master Takahashi, Hi-Ten Bomberman was never meant for the PC-FX console, and was only developed for use in HD. Another reason why Hi-Ten Bomberman was not released on the PC-FX, is because the console wasn't capable of running games in HD resolutions, even though it is based on the prototype Tetsujin board, which in turn was a development of Hi-Ten Bomberman's special custom hardware.
In 2019, Master Takahashi donated the audio CD containing the game's music tracks to the Game Preservation Society.
- The ten-player mechanic, along with the large, widescreen battlefield was carried over to Saturn Bomberman.
- "Hi-Ten" comes from "high-definition" and "ten-player".
- Hi-Ten Bomberman earned the Committee Chairman's Award at the 1993 High Vision Awards hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
- Being a title that demonstrates video games on HDTVs, Hi-Ten Bomberman could be seen as the very first high-definition video game.
- In 1994, an updated version of the game featuring characters from other Hudson Soft properties, Hi-Ten Chara-Bomb, was showcased and played at the 1994 Super Caravan events one year after the original.
- During the early 1990s, HDTV sets like those used in the Super Caravan events had price tags running up to millions in Japanese Yen.
- NHK, the Japanese national public broadcasting organization that helped to organize the Super Caravan events, were advocates of HDTV technologies for years.