NOISELAND ARCADE

A mashup image of The Simpsons: Bug Squad!

Looks like Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t the only unfinished game with bugs in it!!!!!!

Cyberhackers have uncovered a tech demo for what was initially assumed to be a never-produced Simpsons video game for the Sega Dreamcast, titled The Simpsons: Bug Squad!. Produced by the now-defunct Red Lemon Studios in late 2000 to demonstrate its Toon Renderer engine to Fox Interactive, the demo consists solely of a roach clad in military gear that can jump around a cel-shaded Simpsons kitchen and TV room while Homer walks around. pcwzrd13, who got the demo to work, produced a video playthrough. Others, like Stranno, managed to get outside to the backyard, where Bart is also walking around.

Andy Campbell, a co-founder of Red Lemon Studios, clarified some things on Twitter:

Speaking of unreleased Simpsons video game stuff, series producer Matt Selman revealed last summer that his favorite Simpsons game to work on was an unreleased Mario Party-like game. The unexpected discovery of The Simpsons: Bug Squad! gives hope that perhaps we’ll get to see it someday, along with who knows what else…

[Dreamcast-Talk.com]

NOISELAND ARCADE

You can rest easy, everybody. It looks like negotiations are over, contracts have been signed, and The Simpsons will be returning from its hiatus.

I speak, of course, about the franchise’s extended hiatus from video game consoles. Hard as it may be to believe, it’s been over seven years since the release of a Simpsons game on a dedicated gaming system. With EA’s attention focused on The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the hugely successful freemium game for iOS and Android devices, the prospects of a followup to 2007’s The Simpsons Game looked fairly dim. But now it looks like Homer and the gang just might be returning to consoles… just not in the way anyone expected.

Yesterday, The LEGO Group and Warner Bros. announced LEGO Dimensions, a new game & toy series in the lucrative “you have to keep buying plastic junk” category pioneered by Skylanders. Once you’ve plunked down a hundred bucks for the starter pack, you can buy additional characters and content from various franchises. Unlike its rival Disney Infinity, LEGO Dimensions won’t be limited to franchises owned by the same megacorporation – they’ve already licensed Back to the Future from Universal, for example.

On Twitter, @UKVGDeals highlighted what could be a clue to a certain other franchise in the extended trailer:

Lego Dimensions trailer

That’s right: a donut with pink frosting and sprinkles, 100% clear-cut confirmation that The Simpsons will be a part of the game in the future. (Aside: When and how did “donut with pink frosting” become the defining icon of The Simpsons, anyway?)

Still not convinced? Well, as fellow Twitter user Ryan W. Mead pointed out, a New York Times article mentions “Characters owned by 20th Century Fox are also expected to join Dimensions as it rolls out.” Clearly they must be referring to the Simpsons because, ha ha, does Fox even have any other franchises anymore?

So, there you have it, folks: The Simpsons is almost definitely coming back to consoles in the form of an add-on pack to LEGO Skylanders: The Game, by next year, probably. What’s less clear is if the show will still be on by then.

Wait, I just remembered the Minecraft pack. Eh, whatever.

ANIMOTION MACHINE, AZTEC THEATRE

I’m gonna wreck itI am real excited about Wreck-It Ralph, an upcoming Disney movie about video game characters, or as I like to think of it, Tron With Jokes. It’s written by former Simpsons director Jim Reardon (he appears in The Simpsons nearly every time there’s a scene at a train station) and directed by former Simpsons director Rich Moore (he’s the first guy on The Escalator to Nowhere). It’s good to see Simpsons alums doing well!

TAG Blog says the animators working on Ralph are “psyched” about it, because as one guy points out, “[t]he company lawyers could have just had us do parodies of other characters, but they went and got the rights to use actual personalities from other video games.” Bowser! Robotnik! All the Street Fighter guys! Clyde the ghost from Pac-Man! Q*bert! Some other guys I don’t recognize! You can see ’em in this trailer Disney released today…

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NOISELAND ARCADE

funtendoThe name of Modern Simpsons‘s devastating Nintendo “parody,” Funtendo, has apparently been hijacked for a quasi-legal breakout box (I have no idea what that is) that “lets you hook the NES, N64, and Wii Classic controllers up to your PC” via USB so you gamers can play your little quasi-legal Nintendo ROMs with an actual joystick instead of a stupid keyboard as a controller. Feeling nostalgic for Mario Kart 64? Well you’d better get your soldering iron ready, because you’ll have to assemble it yourself with these amazingly simple instructions!

And yet, spending a weekend putting that all together sounds infinitely more entertaining than watching The Simpsons‘s inexplicable Wii parody from a couple years ago that doesn’t actually parody anything, and would definitely be considered product placement had they not cleverly misspelled it.

[The Verge]

TOON BEAT

Holy crap Lois, they’re making a Family Guy MMO (that’s massively multiplayer online game), for some reason. So if you’re tired of stomping around Warcraft or whatever you can pretend to be a virtual Family Guy character and walk around Quahog making lazy pop culture references with other Family Guy fanatics. Wow!!! It’ll be like TV Tropes and Second Life had a baby, except with over 9,000 times more epic random for the win purple monkey dishwasher. I’m guessing there will be some “game” elements, like, I don’t know, beating up the chicken guy or the evil monkey (remember the time Peter beat up the chicken? Remember?). Will there be gang wars between Simpsons fans and Family Guy fans? Who knows! Nobody knows anything about this thing yet, all we know is there’s a site where you can pre-register for a beta, and if you view the page source, the description says “Sign up for the Family Guy Online today and receive news & events about the upcoming MMO!” So yeah.

Any MMO based on an animated sitcom is going to be horrible, but I gotta wonder why they didn’t do this for The Simpsons first – Springfield is a dense location with lots of places to explore, people are still obsessed with “Simpsonizing” themselves and celebrities (I have never, ever seen anyone on the internet “MacFarlaneize” anything), etc. Maybe they tried and it never came to fruition? Maybe Fox did some studies and discovered “the gaming community” knows The Simpsons is horribly lame now? The world may never know.

Anyway, here’s some funny tweets:

Sounds like a plan, y’all. [Family Guy Online]

ROCK BOTTOM

drudge sirenBreaking news out of California… it looks like the sequel to The Simpsons Game has finally been officially cancelled… can’t say this was all that surprising… but apparently they’d been working really hard on it and now all that hard work will never be seen… Developing…

[MTV Multiplayer]

NOISELAND ARCADE

street viewNo, of course not, but watching this video from GameSpot (specifically, from 3:43 onward) sorta reminded me of it. Lately, I’ve been nostalgic for Virtual Springfield, which I used to “play” in middle school. If you’re unfamiliar with this classic 1997 Simpsons CD-ROM time-waster, you should totally read this article Bob “bobservo” Mackey wrote about it.

I appreciate how the game makers managed to place pretty much every location that had appeared in the series to that point into a geographical layout that actually made sense, instead of randomly chucking districts together in the face of all logic. If Fox Interactive got their shit together, they could re-use this stuff, add new places from the subsequent 30 seasons of the show, and throw it up on the web with a Google Maps-like interface as a neat web-bonus thing. It would totally blow this fan-made map of Springfield out of the water in terms of sheer coolness.

Also, I’m pretty pleased that the aforementioned video contains a a mostly uninterrupted version of Troy McClure’s welcoming introduction (skip to 1:04), Phil Hartman’s only appearance in a Simpsons video game, because people on YouTube skip over all the dialogue parts for some inexplicable reason. It’s a good Simpsons quote, despite being written by some intern for a point-and-click CD-ROM non-game:

Welcome to Springfield! I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me as town spokesman from such computer travel guides as {Smother Me In Shreveport} and {Living, Loving and Lubbock}. Of course, we all know Springfield for its award-winning dandelions and as birthplace of the glove compartment. But that’s merely scratching the surface of a place the great Calvin Coolidge once labelled, “a pea-sized town with lima bean-sized dreams.” So, warm up your clicking finger and let’s explore a land the poets call Springfield, USA!

The titles of the two other travel guides would vary each time. Here’s a complete (?) list of the other titles, which are curiously omitted from The Simpsons Archive (yet they include stuff from a screensaver???):

  • Eeney-Meeney-Miney Murphreesborough
  • Yuma: It’s Seniorific
  • Smother Me In Shreveport
  • Living, Loving and Lubbock
  • Duluth, It’ll Grow On You
  • Suddenly Tulsa
  • Freedonia: Gateway to Wichita
  • Fairbanks Needs Women
  • I Left My Soul In Sacramento
  • Tender Lovin’ Newark
  • Hats Off To Fargo
  • Pinch Me, I’m In Boise

I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s time we stop fetishizing 8-bit Nintendo games and start a virtual storybook revival.

NOISELAND ARCADE

binky2009 was the year of “fixing” beloved Simpsons things that weren’t broke to begin with, starting with the godawful new HD title sequence and ending with an iPhone version of the Simpsons Arcade Game from 1991, one of the very few Simpsons video games that is still remembered fondly.

What’s different: The storyline (no more Smithers stealing Maggie for some bizarre reason), you can only play as Homer, you can slap him to revive him, new design (as far as I can tell, it looks like a modern episode and not all pixelated), and characters/locations that weren’t around or as iconic in 1991 (including the Republican Party Headquarters and Rich Texan).

What’s the same: The basic controls (I think?), and the dated Binky-with-a-ghetto-blaster level transistions (which I like). [United Simpsons]

NOISELAND ARCADE

Some guy made an incredibly detailed “Springfield” skin for Quake III Arena, with all kinds of nerd-salivating props from past episodes – Big Butt Skinner balloon, pig tracks on the ceiling, etc. Hopefully Fox Interactive, hot off the heels of Simpsons Crazy Taxi, Simpsons Grand Theft Auto and Simpsons Myst will hire this guy to make the next Simpsons video game, Simpsons Quake.

[YouTube via Boing Boing]