If you've been playing video games for a while, then it stands to reason that you have probably stumbled across one or two games based on The Simpsons in your time. A whole bunch of these have been made available to Nintendo systems throughout the years (19 to be exact) and they range in quality from yeah, really rather good to I hate video games and I hate The Simpsons.
While it may have seemed like a done deal from the get-go, we set out to find which of these games is the best and who better to ask than you, our lovely readers? We roped in you fine folks to rate every Simpsons game that you have played out of ten, and below you'll find the results.
One obvious omission, but something we have to talk about, is The Simpsons Arcade. This arcade brawler has been ported to the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, but never to a Nintendo console. Come on, Konami — you're aware of your arcade back catalogue, and you gave us The Cowabunga Collection! Or perhaps DotEmu could give us a Shredder's Revenge-style sequel? Mmmm, nostalgia...
Of course, the magic of this list is that it is by no means definitive! The current order is all based on the games' overall User Ratings and it is updated in real-time. This means that if you didn't have the chance to rate your favourite game and still want to get involved, then you can click on any of the Star Ratings below and rate the game out of ten. And you'll see the list change right before your eyes.
So, without further ado, let's head over to Springfield and see which game came out on top...
Making Bartman the main character of a video game is a no-brainer, and Imagineer seemingly understood that. With the potential to create something goofy, full of the show's trademark humour, and with extra creativity, The Simpsons: Bartman Meets Radioactive Man should've been a hit.
Things start off well, at least. From some good-looking cutscenes to a decent opening level full of tricky platforming, we got a good sense of what was to come. However, the NES-style difficulty really ramps up. Remember all of those jumps in Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania, where you can't see what's ahead of you? Yep, those are here. Plus, there's no password system, meaning if we die, that's it. While it starts off well, it falls short of our high expectations, and of yours too, readers.
A Simpsons game full of different playstyles sounds good on paper, but Virtual Bart has a pretty big obstacle in the way that stops it from being fun — poor controls.
It's a funny game, we'll give it that. Bart as the lead is a perfect choice, and the amusing set-up of each of the games, along with his trademark quips and jokes, gave us a chuckle. But when riding a dinosaur across a landscape or escaping a factory as a pig feels like travelling through molasses, then patience will be tested. Especially when the game is as finicky and difficult as it is — there's no real reward aside from the novelty or the humour. And that's a darn shame.
The Simpsons: Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror is a good-looking late Game Boy Color title for sure, but if you've played any other 2D side-scrolling Simpsons game, then you already know what you're getting with this one. This is a real shame because the Treehouse of Horror theming deserves more.
We'll start with the good first. The levels. Each character gets their own unique level with a different style or horror feel. So Marge will get to tackle zombies, while one of Homer's turns our donut lover into a vampire hunter. But, despite the lick of paint, there are very few differences in the levels. Stages reuse assets and stick to similar level layouts, so you might be charmed by the theme, but you'll soon be bored to death. It doesn't help that this game Boy Color title gets pretty frustrating, too. What could've been a perfect Halloween game just turns into a bit of a handheld horrorshow.
Attempting to join in with the many other cracking platformers that were coming to the Game Boy in the early 1990s, Bart Simpson's Escape From Camp Deadly appears to be much like its Super Mario Land-esque compatriots on a surface level, though it is let down by frustratingly arbitrary difficulty and lack of originality.
Sent to a summer camp run by Ironfist Burns and filled with bullies, Bart and Lisa attempt to escape unharmed and make it to safety. The game has some good platforming ideas with a range of Simpsons-inspired weapons that Bart can wield against the enemies, though, when compared to other platformers around at the time, it's somewhat uninspired. It doesn't help that the game actually bears very little resemblance to the TV show. Yes, Bart, Lisa and a handful of other Springfield residents pop up here and there, though the links to the prior seasons of television are few and far between.
Released almost immediately after The Simpsons: Bart vs the Space Mutants, this title was a much more standard platformer. And while it doesn't reinvent the wheel with its level design, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World does come with improved controls, which is a big bonus if you've played any early Simpsons games. This, plus the simplicity of the game, made it an all-around more enjoyable experience.
Bart vs. the World gets one other crucial thing right — the globe-trotting level structure introduces far more references to The Simpsons TV show than ever before. You also get to face off against a number of Mr Burns' extended family members. The game may not be a classic by any means, but it at least felt like a part of The Simpsons universe, unlike a few other games bearing the show's name.
Less to do with The Simpsons and more to do with (you guessed it) Jack and the Beanstalk, The Simpsons: Bart & the Beanstalk uses the popular TV series to retell the classic fairytale with some annoyingly precise platforming to boot. You play out all of the cow-selling, beanstalk-climbing, giant-escaping plot beats that everyone knows so well here, only this time, it's got some Simpsons characters in it! That's a cool addition... right?
Perhaps it would be if this didn't return to the frustrating and fiddly formula Simpsons fans have had to put up with in earlier games. But the setting and the visuals give this a rather lovely and unique aesthetic compared to other Simpsons games. The chance to see Springfield's finest in a world outside of their own is always a good time, after all.
Not to be confused with The Simpsons: Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness, The Itchy & Scratchy Game is billed as being the definitive starring title for The Simpsons' in-universe TV characters. Except, of course, it isn't.
Unlike its golf-themed counterpart, The Itchy & Scratchy Game is much closer to a platformer. You play as Itchy and have to hold off hoards of oncoming Scratchys by disposing of them in classically gruesome ways with axes, throwing stars, swords and a whole host of similarly OTT options. After dispatching a pre-determined number of the cat antagonist, you have to take on a boss-version to complete the level before doing something very similar in the next location. It's ridiculously repetitive, but somewhat captures the mind-numbing violence-without-reason of the popular Springfield skit.
Something of a strange crossover between The Simpsons and the knockout game show American Gladiators, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Juggernauts is based around a series of minigames where Bart competes in a Gladiators-style competition. The minigames range in challenge level and requirements, from a shoving contest in Moe's Tavern to a game similar to basketball but with electrified floor tiles. Ouch.
As a collection of smaller games, Bart vs. The Juggernauts holds together pretty well. Some of the minigames are more enjoyable than others, but each offers a good level of easy entertainment across the game's relatively short playtime. There are four different levels and with every challenge based on a different Simpsons character, there are plenty of fun references to enjoy in this above-average Simpsons game.
The Simpsons: Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness dares ask the question, "What if Simpsons platformer, but golf?"
The result is a game which is part-side-scroller, part-golf sim, and it is overall a pretty good time. You play as Scratchy who is moving away from the mouse torment of his sketch show appearances in The Simpsons for a few rounds of mini golf. Except, of course, life is rarely that simple. Between putts, you will have to dodge incoming mouse attacks and dispose of Itchy in some appropriately gruesome ways. It can be frustrating, but the fact that it takes a swing for the hills makes this a notable Simpsons game.
The Simpsons: Bart vs the Space Mutants was the first proper attempt at making a platformer set within the world of The Simpsons rather than simply a standard side-scroller which just so happens to have Simpsons characters in it. As Bart, you get to take on a wave of aliens who have taken over Springfield.
To foil their plans, you must complete an objective in each level (removing purple items, popping balloons — you know, good old anti-alien stuff). The result is a reasonably competent platformer, although one which has controls so fiddly that very few people managed to get past the preliminary levels when the game was first released in 1991.