Ay caramba! Can you believe it’s been over 30 years since “The Simpsons” first hit our TV screens? During that time, the show has given us hundreds of memorable episodes (and hundreds we’d rather forget) and now stands as the longest running sitcom in American history. Not bad going for a program about a dysfunctional yellow family that never ages. Across those three decades, the show has spawned dozens of video games to varying degrees of success, but which one stands out as the best? We’ve made the painful sacrifice of playing them all to find out the answer.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out
The only mobile title on this list, “Tapped Out” is a game that requires you to take the lives of everyone in Springfield into your own hands. After a freak nuclear explosion (courtesy of Homer, of course) reduces the town to nothing, you’re tasked with building it back up again. By sending characters on real-time jobs, you can earn XP and gradually level up. The higher your level, the more residents you unlock, helping your town to become full of life again.
Unlike the other titles, “Tapped Out” receives regular updates and features a variety of themed events every year. From building Itchy & Scratchy Land to celebrating the festive season, these tie into the lore of the show and introduce additional characters, costumes, and buildings to flesh out your Springfield. They’re a great reason to keep coming back for more so many years after the game’s release.
The Simpsons: Road Rage
Who’d have thought that a taxi simulator could make for such an addictive game? We certainly had our doubts, but it turns out that driving characters from “The Simpsons” around Springfield is actually great fun. Although “Road Rage” isn’t overly complicated in its premise or gameplay, it’s incredibly addictive and full of the charm of this much-beloved series.
Trying to get your passengers to their destination before time runs out can be insanely hectic, especially with Mr. Burns standing in your way, but that’s part of the thrill. Besides, no-one said you had to arrive there by driving safely. What’s a few bumps or bruises when you receive a nice bonus for reaching their stop so quickly?
The Simpsons Game
Considering that “The Simpsons Game” and “The Simpsons Movie” were released in the same year, you’d probably expect the former to be based off the latter. While that would make sense, “The Simpsons Game” is actually a standalone title. It sees the famous family realize they’re in a video game after developing superpowers, and yes, it’s as bizarre as it sounds. This kind of meta storyline is what you ought to expect from a series so immersed in satire.
Although the variety of playable characters is slim, their unique powers add more diversity to the proceedings. The references to other video games also help create an enjoyable story, especially with the levels based in the video game engine. Only “The Simpsons” could ask you to turn a spoof of “Grand Theft Auto” into something family friendly and still make it fun to play.
The Simpsons: Hit & Run
The only way that “The Simpsons” could ever produce a game better than this would be if they finally made a sequel for it. It’s been over 15 years now since “Hit & Run” was released, and we think it’s time it was brought back into the spotlight. With its sandbox-style levels, challenging missions and variety of collectibles, the title was already pushing boundaries back in its hey-day. Imagine what it could achieve now with the way that video game technology has advanced.
Although its character roster is limited and only three different environments are used throughout the game, it’s hard not to love “Hit & Run.” Each level is filled with surprising detail that turns a simple bit of exploring into an exciting adventure. Plus, its outrageous storyline and hilarious dialogue are exactly what we admired about the show’s golden era. The way that it manipulates the familiar structure of “Grand Theft Auto” into a format that kids can play is incredible and something we’ve rarely seen since. That alone should be enough to set it firmly at the top of this list.
Anyone else in the mood to boot up one of their old consoles and start playing these games again? We thought so. Even if the quality of the show has dropped over the years, these releases will always stand as a testament to how great “The Simpsons” used to be. Perhaps it will be this way again one day.