Long-time readers may have noted a few years back that I mentioned a title called The Simpsons Arcade. It surprised me that a few hadn’t heard of the title, but considering the still dying arcades, and the fact that the arcade game never came to consoles (only a personal computer or two at the time), I suppose that it was understandable.

Recent readers may have noticed that just last entry I mentioned certain titles just ending up in “Licensing Hell”, meaning that companies lose the rights to popular film, comic, sports association, and TV characters, so chances of seeing certain titles are nil to none. I figured that this particular title was just simply one of those casualties.

And then guess what just randomly popped out of nowhere?

Like the X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games before it, Konami pulled out another beat ’em up based on the long-running dysfunctional family. I fondly have memories of going to the local Movieland after school (my local hometown video store had an amazing arcade) and playing as Bart until one day a group of students and I beat the game. Not that it was easy. Like other games of the time, it was designed to eat quarters by the fistful.

But with the NES so popular at the time, you just knew it would come out one day for the system. The NES got everything, right? Well, we got a Simpsons game, alright. But instead of this:

We got Bart Vs. The Space Mutants:

A world where Bart had to focus more on covering up all the purple objects in Springfield than a lone nuclear family beating up Mr. Burns’ hired goons and Life In Hell characters. Both came out in 1991, actually. Go figure.

My teenage self was crushed, such was the curse of Acclaim licensing….

Sure, I still found the random arcade cabinet from time to time. Insert Coins has a cabinet, actually. And now, out of the blue, as inexplicably as X-Men appeared a few months back, so has The Simpsons via the grace of Konami.

This is a very early look at The Simpsons, back when they were still finding themselves, though they were already on everything possible when it came to merchandising. Imagine a time when The Simpsons were brand new. Hard to almost conceptualize in some ways, isn’t it?

But the game relished in that newness, and like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the graphics were dead ringers for the cartoon. It didn’t get much better, and even now, it’s a very colorful and detailed game. Sure there’s some random “What the” moments, but that’s part of the fun.

If you’ve played the game, it’s still very much the same, and finally able to be owned at home after 21 years. If you’ve never played it, it’s a simple beat ’em up by today’s standards, but it’s still a good amount of fun. Definitely worth a look if you love The Simpsons or the genre.

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