Bosconian is an arcade multi-directional space shooter developed and released by Namco into arcades in 1981. The player pilots a spaceship that is fixed in the center of the screen, moving across a scrolling starfield in one of eight directions. The objective for the player is to destroy enemy space stations positioned somewhere in the level (with guns that fire both forwards and backwards at the same time) while avoiding asteroids, stationary mines, swarms of enemy spaceships, and enemy missiles.
The game was also ported to several home computer systems, including the MSX, Sharp X68000, Sharp X1, and NEC PC-6001. Most of these ports were published by Midway. The original arcade release was also released in certain Namco Museum compilations, namely Namco Museum Vol. 1 for the PlayStation, Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, Namco Museum: Battle Collection for the PSP, Namco Museum: Virtual Arcade for the Xbox 360, and Namco Museum Megamix for the Wii.
Bosconian also received a pseudo-sequel, Bosconian '87, on the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. These versions were all developed and published by Mastertronic.
Although Bosconian was not as popular as other multi-directional space shooters (such as Sinistar), Bosconian was the first arcade game to include a standard continue system, which allowed players to continue right where they left off once they are out of lives (by putting more credits into the machine). This option could be disabled by arcade operators via a DIP switch setting. Bosconian was also one of the first arcade games to use a digitized voice, which serves to cue players that either their spaceship was taking off, enemy spaceships are attacking, enemy spy ships are sighted, enemy spaceship formations are spotted, or when enemy spaceships are going berserk (when the condition indicator goes red).
The player's ship fires from the front and back simultaneously and is always fixed in the center of the screen. One hit from either an enemy bullet or a collision will kill the player. Bonus lives are awarded at set score milestones (such as at 10000 points). Movement was restricted to eight directions and the player had no control over the ship's speed. It was constantly in motion.
The enemy will occasionally launch formation attacks with a lead ship. By destroying the lead ship, the formation will break apart. Destroying all of the ships in a formation awards bonus points.
The game isn't timed, but it will become more aggressive if the player takes too long on a level. This is measured by the condition alert also displayed on the right side of the screen.
Flying off the "edge" of the map would only wrap the player around to the other side. Levels were cleared when all enemy bases were destroyed.
The game would receive a sequel called Bosconian '87, but it would also be ported to several systems over the years as well as earn a place in Namco's Namco Museum collection releases (Namco was a licensor of the game).