The Simpsons (video game)

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The Simpsons
TSAG DOS front.jpg
Advertisement flyer of the game depicting the arcade cabinet.
Novotrade (C64, MS-DOS)
Backbone Entertainment (XLA, PSN)
Composer(s)Norio Hanzawa
Platform(s)Arcade, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, BlackBerry 7,
  • NA: March 4, 1991
  • JP: August 11, 1991
  • WW: 1991
Commodore 64
Xbox Live Arcade
  • WW: February 3, 2012
PlayStation Network
  • NA: February 7, 2012
  • EU: February 8, 2012
Genre(s)Beat 'em up
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
CabinetStandard, sitdown
CPUMotorola 6809 (@ 3 MHz)
SoundYM2151 (@ 3.579545 MHz), K053260 (@ 4 MHz)
DisplayRaster, 288 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 2048 colors

The Simpsons is an arcade beat 'em up developed and published by Konami released in 1991. It was the first video game based on the eponymous franchise to be released in North America. The game allows up to four players to control members of the Simpson family, as they fight various enemies in order to rescue the kidnapped Maggie.[1] The game was ported to the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS soon after its launch in the arcades, and was released as The Simpsons Arcade Game. It was also released under that title on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in February 2012, however it has since been removed from both services.[2][3]


As the Simpson Family -- Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie—take a stroll through town, they encounter a jewelry store being robbed by Waylon Smithers, who bumps into Homer, causing a precious diamond he stole to land in Maggie's mouth. With Maggie using the diamond as a makeshift pacifier, Smithers takes Maggie with him, sending various goons to keep the Simpsons from following him. Fighting their way through various areas, such as Krustyland, Moe's Tavern and even a dream world, the Simpsons eventually arrive at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where they face against not only Smithers, but also Mr. Burns, who attacks them in a plutonium-powered mech. After managing to defeat Burns, the Simpsons rescue Maggie and head back home, while Homer breaks the fourth wall by throwing the diamond right to the player.


Screenshot from Stage 7 of the game, where Marge battles two "Royd" and one "Rupert" enemies.

The Simpsons is a side-scrolling beat 'em up for up to four players, with each one playing as a member of the Simpsons family: Marge, who swings her vacuum cleaner; Homer, who punches and kicks; Bart, who wields his skateboard; and Lisa, who attacks with a jump rope. Along with the standard array of jumping and attacking, two players can team up to form a joint attack, which differs depending on which characters are used. For example, Homer can lift Bart up to use him as a melee weapon, whilst teaming him up with Marge puts them into a powerful cartwheel attack. Players can also pick up food items to restore health, as well as objects they can throw at enemies and items that temporarily power up their attacks. Players are given a small number of lives, which are lost if the player's life bar runs out. If the player runs out of life with no lives remaining (represented by a Bart-like devil appearing before them), the player has 20 seconds to add credits or the game ends. At certain points in the game, players compete against each other in button-bashing minigames to earn additional points (computer controlled characters replace characters not being played by real people).[1]

The Japanese version of the game includes many differences from the North American release.[4][1][5] These changes include throwable small scale nuclear bombs that clear all on-screen enemies. A life bar that, unlike in the North American version, can accumulate three levels by eating food beyond the first full level. The player's life is turned into bonus points after they complete a level and is restored when the next level begins. In this version there are hidden items (food and weapons) which appear when the player hits specific points of the screen. Also, in the Japanese version the score system is different: each enemy character defeated gives the player a certain number of points, while at the North American version the player only earns a single point by defeating them. This is similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game score system.


Soon after its release in the arcades, the game received ports to Commodore 64 and MS-DOS computers developed by Novotrade. A listing on the Australian Classification Board website, posted on November 9, 2011, hinted at a port of the game being developed by Backbone Entertainment for multiple platforms.[6] In January 2012, a high-definition port of The Simpsons Arcade Game was announced for PlayStation Network for release in February, with a release on Xbox Live Arcade also revealed.[7] The port features online multiplayer, the ability to unlock the rare Japanese 4-player version of the game, and promotional content from the game's arcade launch.[7] The game was initially made available exclusively to PlayStation Plus users at no charge.[8] In December 2013, the game was removed from the PlayStation Network store, although at the time it was still available through the Xbox Live Marketplace; no reason for the removal was given by either Sony or Konami.[9]

A completely different title inspired by the arcade game, The Simpsons Arcade, was released by Electronic Arts for iOS on December 19, 2009. Unlike the arcade game, the title is a single player game where players control Homer, assisted by the other family members via power-ups. The plot is also slightly altered, as it revolves around a thumb drive containing plans for Burns' "Project: Operation Mission" hidden inside a donut that Homer attempted to eat after bumping into Smithers, who had been tasked with securing the plans. With Burns' associates retrieving the donut and taking turns keeping it safe while Homer remains ignorant of the drive inside, his objective is simply to take back the donut.[10]


Review scores
AllGame4.5/5 stars (Arcade)[11]
GameSpot3.0/10 (XBLA)[12]

ScrewAttack placed the Arcade version of the game as the #1 best cartoon-based game of all time.[13] The PC/MS-DOS version of the game was reviewed in 1992 in Dragon #180 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 3 out of 5 stars.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Hopper, Steven (2012-02-03). "The Simpsons Arcade Review". IGN. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  2. ^ "X-Men and The Simpsons Arcade Game disappear from PSN, still on XBLA". Polygon. 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  3. ^ "The Simpsons Arcade takes us back to the bowling alley (review)". VentureBeat. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  4. ^ "Hardcore Gaming 101: Konami Beat-em-ups". Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  5. ^ "The Simpsons (Arcade) - The Cutting Room Floor". Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  6. ^ Sterling, Jim. "The Simpsons Arcade likely coming to consoles". Destructoid.
  7. ^ a b Makuch, Eddie (February 1, 2012). "Simspons Arcade Game hits XBL Friday". CNet. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  8. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 31, 2012). "Simpsons Arcade Game arriving next week for PlayStation Plus subscribers". CNet. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
  9. ^ Tracey Lien (December 20, 2013). "X-Men and The Simpsons Arcade Game Disappear From PSN, Still On XBLA". Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Simpsons Arcade on the App Store on iTunes". 21 December 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  11. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "The Simpsons -Review". Allgame. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  12. ^ McShea, Tom. "The Simpsons Arcade Game Review". GameSpot. Retrieved Nov 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Top 10 Cartoon Games". GameTrailers. ScrewAttack's Top 10. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  14. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (April 1992). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (180): 57–61.

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