The Game: Video pinball is back, and now in more than one color! Bomb Bee takes the game mechanics of Gee Bee and makes them noisier and brighter, adding “bumper traps” that can keep the ball bouncing in tight cul-de-sacs, racking up massive bonus points with every strike. (Namco, 1979)
Memories: When Namco introduced the world’s first arcade game with a full-color monitor, Galaxian, it was still fairly experimental, and some other Namco releases in 1979 were still in black & white. One of the first color games to follow Galaxian was Bomb Bee, Toru Iwitani’s reworking of Gee Bee, now in brilliant color. Again a curious mix of pinball and Breakout, Bomb Bee added two big bumpers in the upper left and right hand corners of the screen, situated in little cul-de-sacs where a properly maneuvered ball could get up there and stay there, bouncing into the bumpers and racking up points for several seconds. (I’ve managed to get the ball up there for nearly a minute, and there’s nothing better for loading up on extra balls – and who among us doesn’t like extra balls?)
Iwitani would have one more go at refining his video pinball concepts before moving onto his fourth game …which would also become the world’s most famous.