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, and later as an interactive exhibit at NHK Studio Park.
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 was 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.
Between five and ten 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 currency exchange 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
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 found a number of discs containing the game's data. He had also 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. However, it was technically the first commercial game to be created for widescreen HDTVs, even though Namco's Homerun Contest preceded it five years earlier.
- 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.
- In fact, Hi-Ten Bomberman was developed in response to NHK's attempts to push the HDTV market in Japan.