Bomber Man (爆弾男 Bakudan Otoko) is a maze-based video game developed by Hudson Soft and released only for home computers. While it is often overlooked, it is a distinct title and the first entry in the Bomberman series. The MSX and ZX Spectrum versions were localized in Europe as Eric and the Floaters, due to concerns over the possibility of the game being associated with terrorist bombings occurring in the UK at the time.
The concepts seen in the computer game were expanded in the 1985 Family Computer video game Bomber Man (ボンバーマン), which was conceived during a 72-hour crash programming session.
“You play a man who is trapped inside a maze. Place your time bombs wisely to defeat the balloon monsters Called Floaters (later Barom). If the balloon monsters get caught up in an exploding time bomb, they will pop and disappear. Defeat all the monsters on the screen to proceed to the next stage. You can break down weaker walls with your time bombs. These walls can hide treasures and exit doors. Pick up treasure to receive bonus points. Go through an exit to proceed to the next stage. If you accidentally blow up a treasure or exit, four monsters will come out and attack (only once per stage). Move up, down, left and right with the cursor keys and press Space to set a bomb.”
Bombs contain some traits unique to this title, such as "half-blasts" - bombs can be placed between spaces on the grid and blast half the soft wall away, although the way is still impassable unless it takes a full blast. Bombs also do not stop Bomber Man or enemies; in later games, the player can only walk through bombs using a power-up. Since there are no power-ups, the player's power is of modest range, with blasts being two spaces and a maximum of five bombs set at once. Once every four stages, the player will also enter a "Bomb Auto Setting Stage" wherein the player continuously sets bombs whenever they walk, which would later become a power-down.
Other distinguishing characteristics include the enemy AI and endless goal. The sole enemy type displays erratic, unpredictable behaviour compared to later installments, which can be troublesome when they float over bombs. Unlike other games, the exit can be destroyed entirely, but doing so will cause four additional enemies to appear. However, using the exit will not give the time bonus for defeating all enemies. Later games would refine the gameplay by making both the destruction of all the stage's enemies and finding the exit mandatory.
After its original NEC PC-8801 release, Bomber Man was remade for a more "advanced" format as 3-D Bomber Man (三次元ボンバーマン Sanjigen Bomberman). The game is essentially the same except for two major differences - the first being the obvious switch from a third-person to first-person perspective. A display shows the player where they are in relation to enemies and the edge of the maze. The second difference is that breakable walls look identical to sturdy ones, so the player must keep note of their place in the grid. This version was released only in Japan, and was made for a more limited line of home computers.
- The design of Indy Bomber and his description as the "grandfather of Bomberman" may have been intended to invoke the original character.