THE SIMPSONS: VIRTUAL SPRINGFIELD
2018 SEP 12
Quick question. Are you a Simpsons fan? No? Yeah, then avoid this title, this game is just like 190% Simpsons content. Here's the quick summary: it's a 4/10 for you.
This was a game I'm ashamed to admit that I spent a long time on. Not because this is a bad game, mind you. It's the best I've reviewed to date, actually, which is kind of sad. The reason as to why I'm ashamed to admit that I spent a long on it was because I was a little kid, and I was enthralled by all the Simpsons references, since it was a show I used to watch a fair bit of. I even have the first five seasons in the Russian dub as DVDs, as a present. Do I still watch them? Ha, no, but I still have them. They're pirate DVDs too, and so is my copy of this game. As in, my copy of the game is this cover printed poorly on a piece of scrap paper, and the disc inside is just a blank CD-R with the word "SIMPSONS" written on it with a normal marker. I kept the pirate tradition of this game by taking a picture of the cover with my phone instead of scanning it. This is kinda notable for being one of the first of many pirate games I used to own as a Russian child. I still own most of them, in fact, so that fact might come up again. There's some really neat and weird games on my rack of discs, some of which I never managed to beat. Maybe I'll beat them and complain about them here? Hit me up if you want me to do that or just go back to real console games you've probably never heard of.
Anyway, before I knew how to understand English, I played this game through in Russian. I decided to pop it in and install the original English dub, to see how the game holds up to this day. This is probably nitpicky, depending on who you ask, but some lines were completely replaced with the Russian dub, likely by accident, and I'll never hear the original unless I spend money to play a game I've already 100% completed years ago and lost the resulting save file to. Which is probably something I don't want in my collection, since this falls under the label of "technically a game", and I only need one of these, but even then, maybe I should get a recording, just to hear that line. Like poems about digging, this game is surprisingly deep if you're looking for Simpsons lore, but don't expect anything after 1997. Lisa is a vegetarian and Flaming Moes do exist, but Principal Skinner hasn't ruined the fans' trust in the show by exposing himself as some alleged Armin Tamzarian and there's no pop culture icons stealing the show like Lady Gaga. No bad Simpsons episodes here, except for the babysitter one with the gummi bear. You know the one I'm talking about. I hate that one.
The big upside that a lot of people don't really know about this game is that it's actually written by the Simpsons writers, which leads to a lot of great lore that you would otherwise have missed out on, as well as a bunch of lines recorded by the real voice actors. This game went full out for the time, and 20 years later, I feel like it could receive a remake treatment, but sadly, the current writers aren't as good as the originals, and I worry about what they could do. Also, we'd be missing characters like Troy McClure, Edna Krabbapel, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon... I've had more laughs playing this game than I did watching new episodes of the Simpsons, and that's after me expecting every single joke, and having sunk hours into a game you could probably 100% in a spare afternoon.