The Simpsons Arcade Game (PSN)

We're slaves to nostalgia here at GameCola—you've seen it once, no, a hundred times in fact. People cannot accept progress and instead choose to hide behind the games that they played when they were

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  • System: Sony PlayStation 3 - Sony Entertainment Network
  • Also On: Xbox Live Arcade, Arcade
  • Genre: Action
  • Max Players: 1-4
  • Age Rating: Everyone 10+
  • US Release: February 2012
  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Similar Games: Pu-Li-Ru-La, Final Fight, Golden Axe, X-Men: The Arcade Game, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

We’re slaves to nostalgia here at GameColayou’ve seen it once, no, a hundred times in fact. People cannot accept progress and instead choose to hide behind the games that they played when they were younger. Connecting on from this point…


I am not quite sure why I dislike The Simpsons Arcade Game. No, wait, I am surethis is about as shameless a cash-in as you can get. Take your existing arcade hit and make some graphics changes. A weekend’s work worth two in the bud, or whatever the sodding idiom is.

Maybe it’s the poor visuals compared to Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles released two years earlier that puts The Simpsons Arcade Game into perspective. Even the soundtrack is unmemorable. Perhaps this hatred is due to poor controls and uninspired bosses. It could also quite simply be that, besides the characters and locations, the rest of the game does not have anything to do with The Simpsons.

It’s almost as if the game was rushed into the arcades because The Simpsons was extremely popular. Well, fancy that.

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Marge’s turn-ons include violence, and first-degree murder with household appliances.

Outside of butchering characters and their behavior (Waylon Smithers would neither kidnap a baby nor rob a jewelry store), we also have the lack of both the chalkboard gag and the couch gag, two of the many elements that make the opening of every Simpsons episode a spectacle to look forward to.

Did Konami even know what The Simpsons was about? Or did they watch three episodes and base a whole game off of those?

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As far as beat ’em ups go, The Simpsons Arcade Game feels so flat, unlike in a game such as Final Fight or Golden Axe, where you can feel the weight behind every kick or swing of the axe. In Streets of Rage, you can call on the police to fire bombs at the enemies, but if you’re playing The Simpsons Arcade Game you don’t have anything in the way of special moves.

There are team-up moves that you can deploy when playing the game in multiplayer, but even these are nothing more than stronger versions of the basic attacks. Each character’s ordinary combos can make them stumble, offering the enemies more of a chance to actually land an attack.

Speaking of enemies, I really hope you enjoy fighting the same two enemies over and over most of the time. They might even surprise you and make the purple ones green for a while. Also, they’re not from the cartoon series at all—except maybe Bigfoot.

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Smithers was a childnapper; who knew? Only Konami, apparently.

In terms of when this game came out, and in terms of The Simpsons‘ popularity at the time, this is a dreadful game.

On the plus side, this re-release features the Japanese ROM, which utilizes an improved life-bar and extra power-ups. This is definitely the most enjoyable way of playing The Simpsons Arcade Game, if I can use that word in connection with this game.

Although the story, situations and a few of the environments are FUBAR, this game does contain a few stand-out moments and some excellent ideas. It is just too bad that it hasn’t aged well, looks ridiculously bare and ignores the complex natures of the characters seen in the show.

And was made to cash in on a popular license with little effort.

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The look on Patty and Selma’s faces says it all, really.

Also, perhaps that should be “Selma and Selma,” because both those sprites are based on Selma and not Patty—they do have minor differences in the cartoon. Patty wears a pink dress and triangular earrings. Don’t see those, do we, Konami?

What does Mr. Burns need a diamond for? Why would he require Smithers to steal one when he could just buy it himself with all the money he has? Why does Maggie mistake a diamond for a pacifier when they’re nothing alike in terms of shape, colour or texture?

The Simpsons Arcade Game is rushed. The only reason that this game doesn’t suck entirely is because it was made back when Konami was competent enough that it didn’t rely on other studios to make their shitty games for them. They made their own shitty games quite well without other people’s help.

Wait a god-darned second—Bart’s shirt is the wrong fucking color. Isn’t this supposed to be based off of the cartoon?

I quit. I’ve had enough. I can’t stop you spending $10 on this dog pile, so go ahead, convince yourself you’re enjoying it.

plugin-container 2012-02-17 20-51-56-77Alternatively, buy this for $5 and have four times the fun.

You can also watch my video review on YouTube by clicking here.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 6 - Above Average
5 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 105 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

From 2009 to 2016

They asked me to share a little biographical information about myself. My name is Matt. Good night, everybody.


  1. I don’t care what ANYONE says–this game always had a big place in my heart during my childhood, and as a direct result, I had a total blast playing it on my PS3. It may not be a “good” game, but that didn’t make it any less fun for me.

    1. A 6 seems like an awfully generous score for a game whose positive aspects were all glossed over in a mere three sentences.

      I’m with Paul–I haven’t played this release, but I revisited the game in arcades for several years, and enjoyed it just as much as X-Men and a little more than TMNT. As far as licensed games go, this one is especially good, ESPECIALLY during a time when we were getting games like Super Back to the Future Part II.

      The visual style is completely and utterly Simpsons. Even when locations and enemies aren’t directly ripped from the TV show, they still look and feel like something that MIGHT show up in an episode.

      And yeah, a few of the details are off. Nothing says Bart and Patty can’t occasionally change their wardrobes. Nothing says Burns and Smithers can’t go insane and kidnap a child and steal something they actually don’t need–if you’re looking at very early Simpsons, Burns and Smithers are just bad people, and the bottom line is that this is a BEAT-EM-UP, not a sophisticated adventure game that passes itself off as a legitimate episode of the show.

      If the music and gameplay are bad, that’s one thing, but frankly, The Simpsons Arcade Game was WELL ahead of the curve when it comes to creating an authentic atmosphere of a licensed property.

  2. After all that Simpsons Smack Talk, this game is still Above Average? Surprising!

    This game was based off of the Simpsons first season IIRC. Bart’s blue shirt is common to his early portrayals outside the Simpsons media, and its likely for the same reasons Mario’s overalls and shirt are reverse color in cartoons and other art (copyright I think).

    I haven’t played this game in a number of years, but the lack of enemy variety was never a problem. This game had a shitload of variety in its levels and some of the stuff that went on during them, more so than most. Obviously Konami didn’t do all of its homework, but if the game’s fun as hell, which for many it was, than its not really a problem.

    Now I wish this game would come to the Wii already.

  3. 6 sounds about right. I’ve got a good amount of nostalgia for it, beating it at Chuck E Cheese whenever I or one of my friends celebrated a birthday there. It’s not a bad game but when you compare it to the the other Beat ’em ups Konami pumped out in that period between 1989 to about 1992 The Simpsons does feel like one of the least polished. I’d get on it about not being funny like The Simpsons, but really at that time I don’t think The Simpsons had really started being very funny yet.

    1. Yeah – perhaps my digging at the humor wasn’t necessarily just; especially seeing as Konami probably saw very little of Series 2 during development and therefore only knew small details. As you said, the quality isn’t on a par with others but if it wasn’t clear in my review, I still think that the parts that do stand out are very good just few and far between.

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