“The Simpsons Arcade”: Nostalgia Done Right

Yesterday, a couple of readers chewed me out for being vitriolic as a critic. So, since this came out without much fanfare, let’s take a moment to enjoy Konami bringing back, after two decades, “The Simpsons” arcade game.

“The Simpsons” have had a long history of video games, but the arcade game is by far the most beloved. And for good reason; it’s by far the best Simpsons game ever released.

Konami, back in the day, knew beat-em-ups and had the perfect quarter gobbling engine for them: attack, jump, press both for a special attack that drains a little bit of your life bar, run around and beat up the bad guys. It plays well because it’s so simple: you need two buttons. The real pleasure in this game, beyond button mashing, is the little injokes hidden all throughout. Simpsons fans will play through just to spot the various character cameos.

Where the port stands out, though, are the options. Konami has been pretty good about offering lots of options on its arcade rereleases: “X-Men” offered a four-player or six-player configuration, with Japanese or American ROMs. “The Simpsons” takes it a little further: in addition to ROMs and viewing options, it also has a difficulty setting and a new mode called “Quarters”, which essentially limits your continues. Even better, if you want to crank up the difficulty, you can make every player share a pool of quarters.

It’s not earth-shaking, but “The Simpsons Arcade” manages to offer something nearly twenty years old and make it fresh with a few tweaks, especially for local and online play. For ten bucks, it’s a bargain and well-worth downloading. Get a few friends over and get ready to punch some men in purple suits.

image courtesy Konami