On December 17, 1989, ‘The Simpsons’ premiered on FOX, the series based on a series of short films that were aired as segments on the Tracey Ullman Show. A year and a half later, on March 4, 1991, the first game based on the series arrived in arcades across the United States, a beat’em’up that would arrive much later in Spain and that took the basic elements of the series to invent everything else. And yet, it is a great and hilarious classic. Why?
It can’t be said that the yellow family has had good luck with video games: either the proposals were ramshackle and absurd (‘The Simpsons Wrestling’) or they could have been starring any other character (‘Bart vs the Space Mutants’). But their first beat’em’up could only have been starred by them, each one with their specific power. Absurd? Yes. But with presence and personality. And that, whether you like it or not, sells a lot.
For some reason, the thing started with Smithers stealing a gigantic diamond for Mr. Burns and kidnapping Maggie after she used it as a pacifier. Eight screens with bosses that had nothing to do with the series, something that was completely normal: in its season 1, Springfield was still very small and had a long way to go before being filled with hundreds of supporting characters.
But even though it has nothing to do with the series itself, the fact that each character has their own power, it was a primitive multiplayer and the phrases of each one of them were respected, it already gave enough connection with the series to be able to focus on a ‘Street of Rage’ in the style of Matt Groening that was made with love and went beyond functionality. Proof of this is that being reissued in the different Stores has been a success. Great games never go out of style.
But above all, ‘The Simpsons’ was a fun game. Fun in a completely different way from the TV series, less ironic but more mischievous, without making friends along the way. Designs that could appear in the series, foolproof gameplay and adorable characters did the rest. And until ‘Hit and Run’ they didn’t have anything up to par again. But that’s another story.