The Simpsons (video game)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

One day, the Simpson clan is strolling through Springfield, when all of a sudden, Homer bumps into Mr. Smithers, who is stealing a diamond from Springfield Jewelers for Mr. Burns. After dangling in the air for a few seconds, the diamond takes the place of baby Maggie’s pacifier, and Smithers kidnaps her. The rest of the family takes it upon themselves to rescue Maggie, fighting tons of mooks, Smithers and Mr. Burns himself in the process.

Such is the plot of this well-received, licensed arcade Beat'Em Up released in 1991 by Konami, based on The Simpsons.

The gameplay engine is derived from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (another game by the same company). Up to four people can play, assuming the roles of Homer (who uses Good Old Fisticuffs), Marge (who swings her vacuum cleaner), Bart (who swings his trademark skateboard) and Lisa (who whips enemies with her jump rope). Two players could perform team up attacks on enemies, a feature introduced in this game. In addition, the four playable Simpsons are voiced by their respective voice actors from the series, providing quips and general observations.

It was ported to the Commodore 64 and as a DOS title, but due to obvious technical limitations, they couldn’t live up to their bigger brother. Thanks to MAME technology, the game can be emulated in all its original glory on computers. With the exception of MAME though, there has yet to be an arcade-perfect port of this game... until now. The Australian ratings board slapped on a rating in November 2011 for this game, and not for nothing, an online-capable port of the game was released as a downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network in early February 2012, just ahead of the 500th episode of the series.

A game inspired by it, The Simpsons Arcade, was released by EA Games for the iPhone. Reception was decent, but it was criticized for having a name that might dupe people into thinking they’re buying this game. Thats not to say they don't put nods to the original arcade though.

For the platform game released by EA Games, go to The Simpsons Game.

Tropes used in The Simpsons (video game) include:
  • Adaptational Villainy: Mr. Smithers, who robs a jewelery store for a mere diamond.
  • Ascended Extra: Professor Werner von Brawn, who was only in one episode of the show managed to become the first boss of the game. Also the drunk boss in Moe's Tavern resembles a background character from the first season "There's No Disgrace Like Home".
  • Ass Kicks You: One of Marge’s attacks.
  • Badass Family: The four playable Simpsons.
  • Bonus Stage: Two of them. The better you do, the more points you get.
    • In the first one, which follows Stage 1: Downtown Springfield, you have to pump up a large balloon shaped after your character’s head by mashing the attack and jump buttons.
    • After Stage 6: Dreamland, you have to mash the attack and jump buttons to slap your character into waking up.
  • Breath Weapon: The fire breathing drunk boss of Moe's Tavern. He sometimes sneezes out smoke as well.
  • Brick Joke: In Stage 2: Krustyland, you see a bear escape from its cage. Then in Stage 5: Springfield Butte, you see (presumably) the same bear chase off Mr. Smithers.
  • Button Mashing: Subverted, somewhat. Over-reliance on button mashing will actually causes your character to stall for a second. Played Straight in the Bonus Stages.
  • The Cameo:
    • The rabbits from Matt Groening’s Life in Hell comic strip, appearing in the pre-level bumpers and even as enemies! And as a gag, Marge’s X-Ray Sparks animation reveal her to be a rabbit in disguise.
    • If you look at a spritesheet, Marge's rabbit ears also show up occasionally.
    • Milhouse offers a hammer and Nelson a slingshot to whoever gets to them first, in Stage 2: Krustyland and Stage 5: Springfield Butte.
      • Also Patty and Selma, Abe, Terri and Sherri, Skinner, Martin, Otto, Howard (from the episode "Moaning Lisa") and even Sideshow Bob make small cameos throughout the game. The XBLA/PSN port catalogues all of the Simpsons universe cameos.
  • Canon Foreigner: All the bad guys in the game save four, Professor Werner von Brawn (the pro-wrestler boss who's just really obscure), the drunk at Moe's (also really obscure), Smithers and Mr. Burns.
  • Chain-Reaction Destruction: The boss of Dreamland explodes in this manner.
  • Circling Birdies: The bear boss of Springfield Butte before turning back into one of the fat henchmen.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Not the characters themselves, but the status displays of each player are uniquely colored depending on the character.
  • Combination Attack: Any two family members can do a combination attack if they idle next to each other long enough. There are three types: Homer and Marge hold each other's ankles and quickly roll around the screen, Bart and Lisa link arms and wail to defeat foes (wider range but less speed than their parents' attacks), Homer lifts Bart or Lisa on his shoulders to attack from up there for extra damage, and Marge picks up either kid to throw them across the screen.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Burns is the richest man in Springfield... can't he just buy that diamond?
    • Yes, but this also fits right into Burns' personality (at the time) as a wealthy sociopath who commits heinous acts For the Evulz.
  • Difficulty by Region: The American version is a bit harder than the Japanese release. For instance, the American version removes a nuclear bomb that instantly ko’s all on-screen mooks. You also can't jump while holding picked-up items in the American version. The American version also removed the "second layer" of the Life Meter you could get by eating food with full health.
  • Dual Boss/Mirror Boss: The two thugs you encounter throughout the first three stages of the game. They can do a Combination Attack just like PC's.
  • Early Bird Boss: The wrestler.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For the franchise as a whole, though in all fairness, the cartoon was still in its infancy (the show was only in its second season when this was released). Take for example, Lisa, an extreme vegetarian since the season seven episode "Lisa the Vegetarian", exclaiming "alright!" as she devours a health-regenerating Krusty Burger.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Zombies appear in the Springfield Discount Cemetery.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: The boss of Springfield Butte. But once defeated, it's revealed its a fat mook in disguise.
  • Flash of Pain: Bosses flash in different colors while getting hit. When they're about to die, seizure times of blinking red kick in. However, Mr. Burns averted the "seizure time" part, but will blink red by getting hit instead.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: While Marge has a vacuum cleaner, Bart has his skateboard, and Lisa uses her jump rope, Homer decides to let his fists (and feet and flying cross body dives) do the talking.
  • Humiliation Conga: Mr. Burns. All his presumably-hired mooks and bosses were defeated, his presumably-very expensive battle machine was destroyed, he didn't get the diamond he had sent Smithers out to steal in the first place, and, as the icing on the cake, after losing, he gets a baby pacifier stuck in his mouth. Not a good day for Mr. Burns.
  • Improvised Weapon: Marge's vacuum and Bart's skateboard count, since they're the respective default weapons (but aren't typically designed for fighting). Grabbing a hammer or a slingshot is the reverse, but many of the other things you can pick up and throw at enemies are this trope.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: The last part of the Channel 6 level has you fighting ninjas on a Japanese-themed film set.
  • I See London: After the first boss attacks (usually after striking every Player Character), he'll make some kind of garbled, guttural moaning sound and his pants will drop, revealing pink sparkly briefs.
  • Last Ditch Move: Dreamland's bowling ball boss explodes into a flurry of smaller balls upon being defeated. It's completely unavoidable. In an easier variant, Smithers' final barrage of bombs is easy to avoid.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When hit by certain attacks, the Simpsons are smashed into the screen.
  • Logo Joke: The Konami logo appears on the Simpsons' TV while they sit on the couch.
  • Mad Bomber:
    • Mr. Smithers throws Cartoon Bombs around the arena when you fight him.
    • Also Mr. Burns, considering his death machine drops miniature nukes.
    • The boss of Stage 2 sometimes places balloons in the air that drop off bombs before returning to the foreground.
  • Made of Iron: The only harm a large fall does is knock the Simpsons unconscious and provide set up for the Dreamland stage.
  • Pinball Scoring: Averted: like many of Konami’s other beat em ups at the time, you get just one point for knocking out an enemy. Rewards for doing well in the bonus stages are also minimalistic. If you're playing the Japanese version, then it is played straight.
  • Sequential Boss: The Nuclear Plant stage consist of two boss fights in a row. Mr. Smithers and Mr. Burns, the latter having multiple stages before defeat.
  • Slap Yourself Awake: A mini-game, following the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • Smashing Survival: When you get grabbed by one of the mooks, the game says "Wiggle Joystick! Push Buttons!" which is required to break free. Or one of your teammates can save you.
  • Shout-Out: The Fat Mooks choke you, which causes your character to take on an expression similar to Bart's when he's being choked by Homer. Which is humorously ironic if you're playing as Homer...
  • Stock Sound Effects: Bosses recycle several sound/voice clips. The bowling ball makes the same groan as the wrestler, and Mr. Burns says the same "Where do ya think YOU'RE goin'?" as the two suited men in Stage 3.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Sure, Mr. Burns's machine hits hard, but you can take it down with about as many punches/kicks/makeshift weapon strikes as you would a regular fleshy boss (albeit Burns's machine has multiple forms).
    • Also Inverted: as after you completely destroy Burns's machine, Burns himself only takes one hit to finish off.
  • Theme Naming: Just like the city itself, "Springfield" pops up in the stage names of most of the stages.
  • Whip It Good: Lisa's jump rope.
  • Wingding Eyes: Mr. Burns' eyes become X'es after Maggie sticks her pacifier in his mouth.