Brad: First of all, let’s start right with the title screen, which describes the single player mode as the “Normal Mode”, which I guess is the developer’s attempt at a joke. Playing any Bomberman game for the single player is like drinking Natural Light for the taste – it just doesn’t happen. You drink Natty Light because it’s the cheapest way to get drunk, and since everyone involved in the process – from the people who make it to the people who drink it – knows that, little thought or effort put towards the non-“cheap source of alcohol” aspects of the product.
Now if there was any truth in advertising, Natty Light’s ads would prominently feature the slogan “Get wasted for $2.99!” However, this probably seems a bit unsavory for society at large, so they tend to shy away from publicly promoting this aspect of the product. Instead, the focus is simply to make you aware of the product – you’ll figure the rest out on your own pretty quick. One could speculate that the same logic applies to Mega Bomberman’s title screen. A game doesn’t want to come right out and say that its only redeeming feature is the multiplayer mode (even Gears of War still features a single-player campaign), so it calls the single player game the “Normal Mode”. Not to worry – 5 seconds after starting it, anyone who didn’t already know better will run screaming back to the title screen to decide to check out that “Battle Mode” after all.
Photographic evidence that Bomberman does, in fact, have a single player game. There, now you don’t have to endure it for yourself.
So people really only play Mega Bomberman for the multiplayer. That’s fine… in 1994. But these days, its kind of hard to convince a couple of buddies to come over for a wild night of pounding inexpensive beer and playing Bomberman on the Sega Genesis. Sure, more people play games now than ever, but Genesis enthusiasts are getting fewer and farther between. Your friends are going to want to play Rock Band, or Tekken, or Halo, or at the very least, a newer version of Bomberman.
So yeah, Mega Bomberman is fun. But it’s fun in kind of the same kind of impractical way that playing sandlot baseball or hunting whales is fun. There just aren’t enough people around who still like doing it to be able to really pull it off anymore.
Stryker: Mega Bomberman’s simplified gameplay makes it easy for people to pick up and play – which is essential for a party game like this – but it’s also very limiting. As a result, probably about 90% of the games are decided less by skillful play than by the players screwing up and walking into bomb blasts. It’s sort of anti-climatic to play a game where the object is basically to try to avoid fucking up longer than the other guy.