Should EA make another console Simpsons game?


Their mobile adventures have me tapped out

At the beginning of each year, for the last two years or so, I've searched the web and Wikipedia looking for upcoming game anniversaries the Destructoid staff could write articles about and maybe inspire some great discussion. This year's list had some of the best games ever on it, including Super Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat, Rock Band and Super Mario Galaxy, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in a few days.

Also on the list was The Simpsons Game. Ten years ago today it was released on the last gen consoles to middling reviews that raved about the writing and graphics (on anything but the Wii) and correctly criticized the useless camera and bland gameplay. Over the weekend in preparation for writing this piece, I popped my Wii copy back into my U and sweet Beazlebub that game looks and plays like hot, fast food garbage. Some games can hold up a decade after release but I think in order to do so it would have to be a good game in the first place.

It's arguably a bad game, but it moved four million copies. Only the accountants of EA know if that's successful or not, but it was enough to initiate the planning stages for The Simpsons Game 2. That game, whether it really existed or not, was shut down in 2011. The very next year saw the release of The Simpsons: Tapped Out and television's most famous family has been a mobile franchise ever since. Outside of a level pack in the recently shuttered Lego Dimensions and an all-too-brief re-release of The Simpsons arcade game, we haven't seen anything from the citizens of Springfield on consoles in the last 10 years.

Going into this piece, I wanted to know why that is. The Simpsons is practically synonymous with video gaming. Admittedly, it's more synonymous with shitty video gaming than anything else. Blame Acclaim for that. In 1991, Acclaim crapfest Bart vs. the Space Mutants appeared on nearly every damn console on the market, sullying a family that, on television, was putting out a product superior to anything else on the air. Shitty Acclaim games continued for the rest of the decade until finally somebody Old Yellered the company. After that, Simpsons games started to finally be good.

Sort of.

Should EA make another console Simpsons game?

Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror is a more than serviceable platformer for the Game Boy Color and I still own my GameCube copy of The Simpsons Road Rage. Yes, I know it is not a "good" game and Sega sued Fox over that damn arrow, but my best friend at the time and I played it until the wee hours of dawn at college. Superior to that is the Grand Theft Auto parody The Simpsons Hit & Run, a game I curse myself over trading into GameStop. There was still crap to be found with The Simpsons Wrestling and The Simpsons Skateboarding in this era, but with Hit & Run a rosier picture was being painted. After that, the IP was sold to EA and, out of that agreement, we got The Simpsons Game and not much else.

I don't think there is any confusion about why EA has exiled the franchise to mobile phones. Apps can be much cheaper to make than a console game and Tapped Out struck digital gold, raking in $100 million in its first year. But as I look at my copies of Road Rage and The Simpsons Game, I have a hunger for a new, big console game. I'm one of those awful people who still watch new Simpsons episodes on a regular basis. I watch the movie probably once a year because it's goddamn great. My dream is to write a Simpsons episode before it gets canceled, which will probably happen in two years. I don't want the video game legacy of the show to be shit games, a great few you can't play anymore, and a fucking mobile app.

Look, this isn't me busting the balls of EA any more than the gaming community has already done this past month. People are pissed over Visceral being closed, some far more than others, and there is a generous handful of beloved IPs in the EA vault that have either been gathering dust for the past decade or failed at becoming a hot mobile property i.e. Dungeon Keeper. I’m writing about The Simpsons but I’m sure other Destructoid staff members could call it out for failing to give us a new Skate or new Command & Conquer or Ultima or Skate or Die!. As sure as I am of that, I am more positive none of this will matter when Star Wars Battlefront II sells 20 million copies next month.

However, referencing an article we posted yesterday, I don't think we've seen the definitive Simpsons game yet. Certainly, we haven't seen the best Treehouse of Horror title, a conceit so ripe for an adaptation I'm surprised we don't get one every few years. Whether it is a platfomer, an open-world game, a racer or a mish-mash of genres, the great Simpsons game is still out there, waiting to be made. Will it be EA that gives it to us or will we have to wait until the IP lands in the hands of people with ideas and vision for the franchise?

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CJ Andriessen
CJ AndriessenFeatures Editor   gamer profile

Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games. more + disclosures



Filed under... #Destructoid Originals #General - Opinion/Editorial #retro #Television #The Simpsons



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