There are a lot of Simpsons games out there and some of them aren’t even that bad. If you thought Grand Theft Auto was a little too violent, there was Simpsons Hit & Run to play; if Crazy Taxi was too insensitively titled, there was Simpsons Road Rage; and if Second Life wasn’t nearly depressing enough you had Virtual Springfield to while away your non-virtual hours. But these ignore the games actually in the episodes of The Simpsons. The good episodes anyway.
Here are nine of the best. Unfortunately there’s no place for Disembowler IV, Great White Hunter or Super Slugfest‘. Sorry.
9. Kevin Costner’s Waterworld – “The Springfield Files”
What?: For only forty quarters you too can play the first of Springfield’s premier film-to-game adaptations. Waterworld, based on the (home video) smash hit sees players taking control of a disarmingly pointy Kevin Costner as you bravely take those first steps into a world wracked by global warming and Dennis Hopper.
Modern day equivalent: Incredibly expensive gameplay and an incredibly expansive world bear the unmistakable mark of Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. However, Bethesda really missed a trick with their pricing structure. Why charge for horse armour when additional character movement would really turn a profit?
8. Touch Of Death – “When Flanders Failed”
What?: Karate is such a faff, especially when you consider that one only learns it so as to never use it. By comparison, the infamous “Touch of Death” technique is deadly effective if you want to get the channel changed. With character animations and fatalities that rival the great Mortal Kombat, Touch of Death is a surefire entry on the list.
Modern day equivalent: From the graphics to the killscreen, Touch Of Death is a blatant Mortal Kombat clone, so let’s hear it for War Gods.
7. My Dinner With Andre – “Boy-Scoutz In Da Hood”
What?: “Tell me more,” you utter, pushing forth on the joystick as you attempt to comprehend more of the quips that mark this as one of the finest film-to-game adaptations of all time. Indeed, over cailles aux raisins and red wine, Springfield’s take on Louis Malle’s film positions itself at the pinnacle of adaptations. Move over Goldeneye.
Modern day equivalent: It’s obvious, isn’t it? Mass Effect is one of the few games that encouraged bon mots and trenchant insights aplenty.
6. Panamanian Strongman – “Boy Scoutz In Da Hood”
What?: This would not be George H. W. Bush’s only outing in The Simpsons. He is, of course, better known for the episode ‘Two Bad Neighbours’ and his good, not great memoirs. But here he is to tell our Panamanian protagonist that ‘winners don’t use drugs’. No, Panamanian Strongman! No es bueno!
Modern day equivalent: Central American dominance? Steroid abuse? American pride on the line? This is Fight Night Champion.
5. Bonestorm – “Marge Be Not Proud”
What?: Most entries on this list are illustrated with some screencaps or a gameplay video, but not Bonestorm. It’s a game so ‘radical’ that it blows you away even when you enter your (maximum nine character) name. The rest of the game lacks a certain level of finesee but, boy, those opening minutes…
Modern day equivalent: Bonestorm may look like another Mortal Kombat clone, but given its lack of replay value and focus on lashings of ultraviolence it sounds a lot more like Wii offering, MadWorld, several hours of steadily decreasing fun.
4. Bowling 2000 – “A Streetcar Named Marge”
What?: Offering ball control like never before, Bowling 2000 revolutionises the action of running a little bit before swinging an arm. That alone deserves a place on the list.
Modern day equivalent: Step forward Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (WiiU). Unparalleled control, responsive gameplay, a real sense of urgency and a need to finish this list up quicksharp means congratulations, Batman.
3. Larry The Looter – “Radio Bart”
What?: This one was actually playable if you owned a copy of Simpsons Hit & Run. And it lived up to its esteemed televisual pedigree. Run. Loot. Get shot. Game Over. With no open world distractions, no side missions, no call from your cousin asking if you want to go bowling, this is gaming at its purest.
Modern day equivalent: Derp, Grand Theft Auto IV.
2. Escape From Death Row – “The New Kid On The Block”
What?: Devilish gameplay with twists and turns at every linear corner, EFDR is a masterclass in survival. Do you make your case to the judge or do you take your chance with an insanity plea? This is a game that cares little for the crime, it’s the punishment that matters.
Modern day equivalent: Any game this unforgiving brings to mind its cheery cousin, Dark Souls. The setting might be a little different but loot and combat are two immovable facets.
1. Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge – “Marge Be Not Proud”
What?: The greatest
golf game of all time, Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge is the recommended game of the season, and with good reason. An array of customisable options, a charming protagonist, and pure gameplay that really puts you in the funny little golf shoes of Lee Carvallo, this is the equals to Simpsons + Video Game.
Modern day equivalent: Adored by millions and the entry point for so many gamers: it can only be Wii Sports. In Nintendo’s hit, Baseball was no home run; Boxing was hit and miss; Tennis was… not aces? Rightly, Wii Sports was adored for its golf, and Carvallo should take the plaudits for that. Kudos, Carvallo – you’re number one. And in golf, it’s apparently best to have the lowest score. Go figure.