The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare

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Bart's Nightmare
Bart's Nightmare.jpg
Developer(s)Sculptured Software
Publisher(s)Acclaim Entertainment[a]
Programmer(s)Ken Grant
Composer(s)Mark Ganus
Kingsley Thurber
Platform(s)SNES, Sega Genesis
  • NA: September 1992
  • EU: February 18, 1993
Sega Genesis

The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare is a 1992 video game developed by American company Sculptured Software based on the television show The Simpsons. It was released on the SNES and the Sega Genesis.


Bart Simpson falls asleep while studying and dreams of a strange universe where TVs and fairies roam the streets. The player must find Bart's lost homework and progress through the various levels to keep the homework pages and eventually wake up.


The main hub in Bart's Nightmare (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version shown).

The game is split in two parts. The first is set on a street (probably Evergreen Terrace, but referred to as Windy World). Bart walks around and has to find pages of his homework while avoiding enemies such as living post boxes and various characters from the show. Bart can collect his skateboard, which acts as a power-up and temporarily increases the player's speed as well as restoring and extending Bart's health bar the longer he is on the skateboard. Jimbo and his gang would coerce Bart into strolling with them, causing Bart to lose control of his movements and have to move with them, even having to take damage. Lisa Simpson with pixie wings would sprinkle fairy dust on Jimbo and his gang and transform them into rats, freeing Bart. However, if Bart is by himself, the Lisa pixie would turn him into a frog, where the frog Bart could not attack. If Bart caught a kiss blown to him by an old lady, it would revert him to his human form. Bart would also have to use bubblegum to blow a bubble to repel enemies as well as collect floating Zs to restore health.

Principal Skinner occasionally appears and tries to dress Bart in his Sunday school suit. If the player walks into Skinner, Bart will change appearance and become very slow and not be able to fire at enemies; however, the suit will also protect Bart from losing Z's from all enemies (save Jimbo and his gang).

When a page is found in Windy World, the player can jump onto it, where Bart will shrink down on the page, and the player has to choose one out of a selection of two randomly chosen mini-games. The player must point Bart to one of the two color-coded doors to play a mini-game and retrieve a lost page of Bart's homework. The doors and games are:

  • The green door: Bartzilla, a two-part mini-game where Bart must stomp through the streets of Springfield and destroy the army with fire breath and visual lasers. After being zapped by a shrink ray, Bart climbs the Springfield State Building and fights "Homer Kong" and "Momthra."
  • The violet door: A journey into Bart's bloodstream, where Bart must use an air pump to inflate and destroy germs and collect five Smiling Joe Fissions (a character from the first-season episode "Homer's Odyssey").
  • The yellow door: Itchy and Scratchy, where Bart is being attacked by the "team up" duo, as well as various other household objects that become enemies (the oven shoots fire, the telephone explodes, Marge's picture drops eyeballs, Pyro-Vacuums etc.) All fire-based attacks are instantly fatal, with Bart crumbling to ashes. This is the only mini-game divided into two separate parts; Bart must locate another page in Windy World before playing the second mini-game.
  • The blue door: Bartman, where Bart flies over Springfield as a superhero. Along the way he fights many bosses, including Sherri and Terri in a hot air balloon, Barney Gumble on a pink elephant, Waylon Smithers in a blimp (Bart faces him twice), and eventually Mr. Burns in a biplane. Not only must he avoid the enemies, Bart must avoid clouds of radioactive gas. Bart also receives soda bottles from Apu on a magic carpet in this level, which serves to raise his energy bar.
  • The orange door: Indiana Bart, where Bart must make through the balancing columns in "Temple of Maggie". There are two stages, each with a page reward at the end.

The mini-games can be played in any order; the pages awarded will be 1 through 8 depending on the order they were retrieved.

Upon either failing the respective mini-game (and not getting the page back) or completing the mini-game (and receiving the page as a reward), the screen will flash back to Bart's room at night, which shows the number of points the player has and the number of pages collected, while Bart snores. Once a minigame is completed, it cannot be played again. Both doors will be the same color if there is only one minigame to complete.

The game ends when Bart loses all of his Zs (Windy World will be covered in a white fog, suggesting Bart's nightmare is nearly over) and takes damage one more time, or if he successfully completes all the mini-games. Depending on how many pages Bart retrieves and how many points he gets, he is awarded a letter grade. Bart will hold it up for the player to see, and then slightly different endings are shown where the players sees the Simpson family's reactions to Bart's grade by having the paper affixed to the refrigerator, which is strikingly similar to the final scene in "Bart Gets an F". If Bart is given an "F", the worst grade, the entire family is mad at him except Maggie, with slightly higher grades having at least Homer pleased with Bart's work. Lisa is always annoyed with Bart's work unless the player manages to get Bart an outstanding grade, in which case she will look at Bart's paper in disbelief.

This mini-game oriented gameplay gives the game an arcade style. Although much of the game could be categorized as a platformer, some of the mini-games could fit in the shoot-em-up genre, particularly the Bartman and Bartzilla stages.

Review scores
Super Play91%[2]


Company meddling during the development of the game prompted Bill Williams, the game's designer, to leave the video game industry.[3]


Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Falling asleep while doing his homework, Bart has to battle with the demons of his subconscious — imagining himself as, among others, a rampaging green Bartzilla and a caped Bartman. A surreal blast."[4]


  1. ^ Mega rating, issue 20, page 65, May 1994
  2. ^ "Bart's Nightmare Import Review".
  3. ^ Reimer, Jeremy. "A history of the Amiga, part 7: Game on!". Ars Technica.
  4. ^
  1. ^ Released under the Flying Edge brand name on the Genesis.

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