February 7, 2012 26 Comments
Bart’s shirt is the wrong color. Sideshow Bob helps him instead of tries to kill him. 99.9% of all the characters established in the canon don’t show up. All the enemies are completely generic characters. None of the bosses outside of Mr. Burns and Smithers are from the TV series. The whole game is just a reskinned version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that some guys at Konami probably threw together in a weekend. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the best Simpsons game ever. Only it’s not. It fucking sucks, but you should already know that.
And yes, I’m aware that the wrestler guy that’s the first boss was actually from the episode where Bart tries to jump Springfield Gorge on his skateboard. The bear doesn’t count, because it’s actually just one of the generic guys in a bear suit. I’m also aware that the game originally came out in 1991 and that I shouldn’t be so nit-picky about those things. To that I say this: fuck you. The Simpsons Arcade Game is a fossil that should have been left in the tar pits of non-release obscurity.
Don’t look at me that way. I’m not attacking your childhood or raping your memories. That’s a George Lucas move. I’m not even saying the Simpsons was a bad game for back in the day. Hey, it was either play the Simpsons Arcade or, like, go outside and exercise or something. Psssh, what kind of loser would do that?
What I am saying is maybe those memories are better left where they are. The Simpsons Arcade Game, much like Ninja Turtles or X-Men, has not exactly aged well. Let’s face it, it’s a relic. And not one of those good, Sean Connery type ones. As much as the concept of it baffles me, I can almost understand going back and playing stuff like Final Fantasy VII for the twentieth time. I think there should be mandatory castration for anyone who does so (not that they’ll ever actually use those parts, but you can never be too cautious), but I can almost understand it. But an arcade brawler that was, quite frankly, a lazily produced reskin of an existing game designed to sucker lunch money out of children? Why would you want to go back and play that?
And yet, since the announcement of it a few weeks ago, teenagers of the early 90s are going gaga. I had never actually played the Simpsons Arcade Game, outside of one attempt at a Pizza Hut when I was like six years old. The joystick was broken and I couldn’t move to the right, which is one of only two requirements the game actually has. I got my quarter back and thought nothing of it until I heard the announcement. I planned to ignore it, but it came free with a Playstation Plus account and I’ve never turned down a chance to troll you retro nerds before, so why start now?
I think the appeal in the Simpsons Arcade Game is the same as Sonic CD: it was the “lost game” in the series. It never got a home console port due to some licensing issues and thus it became a legend. As teenagers grew older and their minds became more polluted with various drugs, alcohol, children of their own, and all the Simpsons gaming crapola that has come out since then, those memories of the Simpsons Arcade Game became pretty fuckin’ sweet.
I promise you, the Simpsons Arcade Game is not as good as you remember it. I know this because I’ve yet to hear a single person tell me that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Reshelled was as good as they remember it. And at least that one had updated its graphics. They couldn’t even bother with that here. This is a lazy port of a lazy game, and you can tell it was produced early in the show’s run. The character models are way off, the voices are off, and the game is forced to use so many generic characters because the cast of millions the show currently uses wasn’t established yet.
So here’s a wild idea: if they had the rights to make this game, why couldn’t they have produced an updated port to go with it? Leave the original game intact so that people could see how horrible it is, and then throw them something newer, using all the crazy space-age technology that leprechauns have given us over the last twenty years?
Actually, EA did a port of the Simpsons Arcade Game for iOS. I have it, and I tried to play through it, but it’s fucking impossible. This is mostly due to the fact that it uses one of those God-awful fake joysticks-and-button layouts that is about as accurate as a dart player whose injected his hands with Novocaine. But imagine if they had ported that over to consoles. I mean, that game actually has characters from the series. You fight Chief Wiggum, Mayor Quimby, and various other fan favorites. It might not be the exact same game as your childhood fantasy, but it actually might be better. You know, if you could control it.
Or, even better, build an entirely new game modeled after the original arcade title, but replace all the generic baddies with random characters from the series that you fight only once, locations based on the series that actually look like they might have appeared on the series (Moe’s Tavern is a quarter-mile long casino. Who knew?), and add some modern twists. Use Castle Crashers as the basis for it. Leveling up, a variety of weapons, branched paths, hidden items, and so on, and so on. Why settle for something that was designed to steal your money as a child? Don’t you deserve better? Well, no. I suppose you don’t. If you actually gave away $10 for this piece of shit, ay caramba, there is no helping you.
The Simpsons Arcade Game was developed by Konami
Going off the math of how many free games and discounts I’ve gotten with my Playstation Plus account, approximately $0.38 was spent playing Teenage Reskinned Ninja Simpsons in the making of this review. TOO MUCH!