Hi-Ten Bomberman

information

Title

ハイテンボンバーマン / Hi-Ten Bomberman

Console

unique circuitry (see below)

Genre

Battle (defeat all Bombermen)

Players

1 to 10

Developer

Hudson

Publisher

Hudson (Japan)

Releases

Summer 1993 (JP)

Hi-Ten Bomberman was made in Summer 1993. A multi-player-only game, it was developed to support up to 10 players at once and utilised a large widescreen/landscape-style screen to display the vast battlefield.

Hardware

Hi-Ten Bomberman was not created on a specific console or hardware board. Running the game was a joint effort between two PC Engine consoles (for controller input and basic hardware), and brand new circuit boards that handled the high-definition video display, allowing the 16:9 video resolution (rather than the PC Engine's native 4:3 display). [src: 16SHOT, Gamasultra]
This combination of hardware later became the "Tetsujin" board (鉄人 / "Iron Man"); it was not designed with home consoles in mind, but instead to showcase cutting-edge high-definition televisions. [src: Gamasultra]
Five units were made in total, though due to the cost of memory and components at that time, each unit cost around two hundred million yen (200,000,000¥), or approximately two million dollars (by 1993's transfer rate). [src: 16SHOT]

The PC-FX (one of the successors to the PC Engine) was based upon the Tetsujin board, but there were no plans for Hi-Ten to get a home release on the console. [src: Gamasultra]

Release

Hi-Ten Bomberman was never intended as a home console release, and was made exclusively for usage at the Hudson Caravan (ハドソンキャラバン) events.
During the 1993 Hudson Super Caravan (ハドソンスーパーキャラバン) event, the Hi-Ten Bomberman tournament was split into five different team battles:

The winner of each venue received a trophy, a certificate and a PC-Engine Duo-R console.
Finalists received a Bomberman staff t-shirt.
Semifinalists received a "Hudson Super Shooting Watch" (スーパーシューティングウォッチ).
And all participants received a copy of Deden no Den. [src: PAINT IT YELLOW]

There are rumours that a PC-FX release was planned, but was rejected for release due to NEC's publishing guidelines. As far as I can tell this is unsubstantiated crock.

Fate

A new game using the same hardware was released the following year (see below). I think both games remained in usage at a couple more Hudson Caravan events, though I can't cite a source to say for sure.

It's rumoured that Hi-Ten was eventually reworked into the multi-player mode of Saturn Bomberman. The comparison is understandable - both have widescreen displays with up to 10 players and feature cameos from other Hudson Soft characters. I've heard nothing official about the matter, though.

Title

HI-TENキャラBOM / Hi-Ten Chara Bomb

Console

unique circuitry

Genre

Battle (defeat all Bombermen)

Players

1 to 10

Developer

Hudson

Publisher

Hudson (Japan)

Releases

Summer 1994 (JP)

Development

In Summer 1994 an updated version was used - Hi-Ten Chara Bomb, which increased the size of the map a little further and introduced selectable characters, ranging from other Bombermen to characters from other Hudson properties.
Since you hear a lot less about this version, I can only assume it didn't pioneer any new hardware.

Release

This game was first shown off at the 1994 Hudson Super Caravan (ハドソンスーパーキャラバン) event.

The winner of each venue received a trophy, a certificate and a PC-Engine Duo-RX console.
Finalists received a Bomberman staff t-shirt and a Bomberman stationary set.
Semifinalists received a "Hudson Super Shooting Watch" (スーパーシューティングウォッチ).
Participants who first applied at the Caravan event in Osaka (not 100% sure on this one) received Super Bomberman 2 Gold Version (スーパーボンバーマン2・ゴールドバージョン).
And all participants received a Legend Of Hudson '94 (ハドソン伝説'94) video. [src: PAINT IT YELLOW]

Characters

Chara Bomb makes use of characters from other Hudson properties to fill the ten player slots.

An unmasked Pretty Bomber can be seen on the title screen, though I've no idea if she is playable or not.
Kabuki would later star in an exclusive remix of Bomberman '94, and all the guest Hudson characters (bar Yasha and Momotaro) would reappear in the battle mode of Saturn Bomberman.

Hudson Caravan promotional video

I figured this should get top billing because it's the closest we have to a primary source... but the stupid thing is damned elusive. ASSEMblerGames has included watermarked excerpts on YouTube, but finding out where exactly it came from or any other details is tricky. Was it on VHS? Was it a Laserdisc? Did it cover only one event or several years of events?
If anyone's got any info (heck, the video's runtime wouldn't hurt!), it'd be appreciated.

1995 Hudson Game Music Complete Works

Okay, it's not exactly a reference source, but it's worth nothing that the Battle theme from Hi-Ten Chara Bomb is included on this soundtrack.

Edge Magazine (issue 17)


[click to enlarge (approx. 800kb each)

Dated February 1995, this issue hosts a feature on Hudson, its partnership with Virgin and its various projects, including Hi-Ten Chara Bomb (referred to as Hi-Ten Bomberman). It mostly talks about the technological side of it, namely the high-definition display monitors. Big thanks to Rage Quitter 87 for the scans!
The relevant text can be read here.

Bomberman Maniax


[click to enlarge (approx. 230kb each)

This book dedicated to battle mode strategies (released May 1995) dips into Hi-Ten Bomberman for four pages. Until I get it translated, I can't tell if it says anything of worth, but more screenshots and photos are always nice!

16SHOT

Takahashi Meijin discussed both Hi-Ten Bomberman games in two separate blog entries.
His September 3rd 2005 entry is a brief recollection, detailing the technical side of it and mentioning how much each unit cost, as well as a brief mention on how the competition worked.
His October 30th 2008 entry goes into much lenghtier detail, covering just about every aspect of the the original 1993 Hi-Ten Bomberman.
... unfortunately, the 16SHOT blog has gone kaputz, and these pages are no longer accessible. The Internet Archive has his 2005 entry available (and the text has been backed up here, but the October 30th entry is totally absent. If anyone had the sense of saving the text, please share!

Gamasultra: The Game Master Speaks

An interview with Takahashi Meijin. Hi-Ten Bomberman is discussed briefly, though more concerning the distinctive hardware than the game itself.

PAINT IT YELLOW

A webpage with information on the Hudson Caravan competitions. Also includes a page for the 1994 Hudson Caravan event.

Tadaima Bomberman Land

Japanese Bomberman fansite with gameplay info on Hi-Ten Chara Bomb; items and whatnot, that sort of thing. Some details seem rather sketchy, but that's a given since nobody's played the game for nearly twenty years.

Carefree Sound Diary

Has a download for the "event" theme from Hi-Ten Chara Bomb. Was this sourced from a soundtrack release?

PC-FX World

Basic low-down on the game, and tying into the "was Hi-Ten a PC-FX game?" discussion.

The Bonk Compendium

Basic information regarding the game and its usage of Bonk.

Click to enlarge.

Hi-Ten Bomberman

From Bomberman Maniax and 16SHOT.


Hi-Ten Chara Bomb

From Edge Magazine issue 17.

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page last modified: 10/06/2012