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The Simpsons: A History & Retrospective – Part 2

This article continues from part 1. If you haven’t read that part yet be sure to check it out!

Bart’s Nightmare:

Acclaim released Bart’s Nightmare in September of 1992 for the SNES, with a Genesis release soon following in 1993. It combines the mini game format of Bart vs. The Juggernauts with some light platforming aspects found originally in the NES trilogy. It was developed by Sculptured Software.

Our story starts when Bart falls asleep while studying ahead of his test. Your goal is to take Bart through a series of mini games and pass each one to ensure he does well on his test. It’s a pretty tasty way of formatting the game. The player is graded based on their performance at the end. If you get a game over, you’re greeted by a big fat ‘F’ on your test. You’re going to have to get pretty good if you want that elusive A+.

The game features an over world that Bart must traverse while he looks for pages. It’s a rather basic street setting, where Bart must avoid obstacles while he searches. Acclaim apparently learned little heading into the new generation, and Bart’s jump still feels awkward as hell.

Once he finds a page, he must jump into it (a feat all of its own), and he must then decisively select a coloured door to enter one of the game’s 5 different mini games (or Nightmares).

The Nightmares offer a pretty nice variety. Some of them even feature their own boss battles. One such game pits Bart as a Godzilla-like dinosaur, where he rampages through Springfield on his path to fight Homer Kong, this Mini Game’s boss (as well as Momthra). My favourite is perhaps Bartman. It’s a shooter, similar to that of Gradius. Bartman must avoid clouds of gas, in between several boss battles against the likes of Barney Gumble, Sherri & Terri and Mr Burns!


Something must be said for the game’s visual presence. The game features gorgeous sprite-work. The Nightmares themselves are well crafted, but sadly the clumsily designed over world truly holds this game back.

Bart’s Nightmare on the SNES. Bartman looks oddly small when compared to Sherri & Terri.

Krusty’s Super Fun House:

Krusty’s Fun House is a Puzzle-Platform game starring, you guessed it! Krusty The Clown! Krusty’s Fun House joined the pantheon of Simpsons’ Acclaim games in late 1992 for the SNES and Genesis. It also found its way to the Game Boy, NES, Master System and Game Boy.

Krusty’s Fun House features a basic plot that must see Krusty exterminate rats by leading them to their doom through a series of mazes. Its core premise is similar to that of Lemmings, with the key difference being the controllable Krusty, rather than relying on an on screen cursor.

Krusty actually handles very well, and the puzzles, while simple are oddly satisfying. Each level’s extermination machine is operated by a familiar face, be it Bart, Homer or Sideshow Mel! A surprisingly addictive puzzle game. Best of all; an Acclaim Simpsons game finally figured out how to make characters jump!

Krusty’s Fun House for the SNES. The most surprising thing about this game is Krusty’s colour palette.

Bart and the Beanstalk

Bart And The Beanstalk joined the ever-expanding Game Boy library in February of 1994. It was developed by Software Creations, and again published by Acclaim.

As its name suggests, Bart and the Beanstalk mixes Springfield with the fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk. It situates Bart in the role of Jack, and Homer as that of the giant. After Bart refuses to trade his cow for some Magic Beans with a miser (Mr. Burns), the deal is sweetened with a Slingshot, which Bart abruptly accepts.

Bart and the Beanstalk is very much in line with the previous Acclaim Game Boy platformer, Escape from Camp Deadly, offering little in innovation, and is even less attached to the world of Springfield that we know and love.

Bart & The Beanstalk joined the ever growing list of Simpsons games set outside of their usual environment in Springfield.

Virtual Bart
Virtual Bart is another collection of mini games routed mainly in platforming. It was released by Acclaim in September of 1994 for the SNES and Genesis. It follows in Bart’s Nightmare’s footsteps, but improves upon it in practically every way.

The story sees a wondering Bart see his curiosity piqued at a science fair upon seeing a virtual reality experiment in progress. Bart somehow finds himself hooked up to virtual reality machine, and must defeat its challenges to escape.

Virtual Bart comprises 6 different mini games, and omits the hub world found in Bart’s Nightmare entirely. What’s more, it also contains a practice mode that allows you to hone your skills in each challenge. As opposed to relying on the randomly generated order found in the game’s main story.

The mini games themselves are a stark improvement in terms of versatility, depth, challenge and execution to the ones found in Bart’s Nightmare. They mainly emphasise on Bart transforming into a different version of himself and facing challenges relevant to that Bart. Several of the mini games are lifted and extended from memorable jokes found in the show. This includes the slip ’n’ slide where Homer gets stuck, and Baby Bart spinning.

Perhaps the best mini game is one that sees Bart transformed into a Dinosaur in a rather challenging 2D plaftorm level. The level features many other Simpsons characters as caveman versions of themselves (such as Moe, Barney, Krusty and the other family members) and your goal is to defeat Caveman Homer!  Other great mini games include Bart motorbike racing in a Blade Runner-esque setting, as well as a humorous outing at Springfield Elementary throwing tomatoes at Bart’s schoolyard chums (and foes).

This is inarguably the greatest of the Simpsons SNES generation games, and perhaps features the most magnificent sprite work of any of Acclaim’s Simpsons games.

There’s something oddly unsettling about the dinosaur sprite. Though Virtual Bart really captures the Simpsons aesthetic. It’s much more in line with the Konami Arcade game.

Itchy & Scratchy In Miniature Golf Madness

The Itchy & Scratchy In Miniature Golf Madness game marked this iconic cat and mouse duo’s first foray into the world of games. At least in a playable sense (they had previously appeared in one of the mini games in Bart’s Nightmare). It first hit shelves in November of 1994, developed by Beam Software and published by, you guessed it. Acclaim.

As its name suggests, it takes place on a Miniature Golf Course, though it isn’t a golf game in the traditional sense. Miniature Golf Madness merges golf with that of a traditional 2D Platformer. As Scratchy, your goal is to progress through each of the game’s 9 courses by sharpening your golf skills, all the while fending off Itchy’s attacks with whatever you can get your hands on!

The game is unquestionably manic, and it’s genuinely challenging. Miniature Golf Madness contains all of the pointless mayhem and gratuitous violence we know and love from our favourite cat and mouse duo!

Why does Itchy enjoy torturing Scratchy so? All Scratchy really wants from life is to play golf, apparently.

The Itchy & Scratchy Game
Acclaim followed up Miniature Golf Madness in 1995 by publishing the Bits Studios developed Itchy & Scratchy game for the SNES and Game Gear.

The Itchy & Scratchy Game is a traditional 2D-Platformer. One that sees the player take control of the cunning mouse, Itchy. The basic objective of each of the game’s 7 levels is to use whatever weapons you can find to torture and kill Scratchy, which is pretty risqué for a game rated as suitable for children!

While the game handles itself pretty well mechanically, it has two rather simple issues holding it back. That being that it’s too easy, and too short. Defeating Scratchy requires very little effort, and the game can be completed fairly easily within 25 to 30 minutes.

Nevertheless, The Itchy & Scratchy Game is quite literally a game of cat and mouse, and it truthfully captures the spirit of the show-within-a-show!

This just leaves us with one final question. When are we going to get a ‘Worker and Parasite’ game as a sequel?

The Itchy & Scratchy Game, as seen on the SNES is a pretty nice looking game. Unfortunately the Mega Drive version was cancelled before release.

Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll be looking at the Simpsons games of the new Millennium. We’ll be checking out some road related rage, a controversial grappler and more!

one comment
  1. Unlike the old 8-bit Simpsons games which I felt negatively fearful due to its unpleasant graphics and sounds (except for the arcade game), the 16-bit games are the most games I’ve played a lot so far.

    I remember playing Bart’s Nightmare back when you can rent games from Blockbusters and Tower Records, which you can no longer do that anymore as they all died. I’ve played both SNES and Genesis version, but preferred the SNES version for better graphics. Even recently I’ve watched PBG and Jeff playing that game through Youtube, which brought nostalgia back in my mind, and even understanding how the game was difficult. For the over world stage, it was a pain in a butt to deal with. Agreeably, the jumping mechanic is bad, which you can hardly jump over enemies due to lack of height and speed. Bart even moves slow which was difficult to chase after the blown papers, and even the skateboard helps speed up, its movement is very limited as there’s too many obstacles that’ll force to kick Bart off of it. Even the mini-games were merciless too, which multi-tasking was heavily required for players, as I’m not good at it. Bartzilla had too many enemies around, Itchy & Scratchy’s attacks were mostly instant kills, India Jones’ puzzle was too confusing…it was too much for me. While the only stage I’ve cleared was the underwater stage, I couldn’t finish the game at all, ending with the big fat F to not that good D. But the shocking part is that the story of this game…wait, what? Bart is studying!? NOW WHAT THE F–But even the game was difficult no matter what, it was enjoyable than vs Space Mutants.

    I’ve also played the Krusty game by renting it from Blockbusters or Tower Records, and everything was great so far. The game mechanic was interesting, while the music was great as I could remember. But although I don’t remember how far I’ve played in that game, I know I didn’t finish the game due to Lemming style puzzle game isn’t my cup of tea. But even then, I could say it was better than the previous titles that I’ve played, as much I did like Krusty more than Bart to be honest.

    Finally, I played Virtual Bart for the Genesis as my…I forgot which was, but maybe birthday or Christmas present. While the over world stage was completely removed, playing mainly the mini-games was quite fun, even the game contains practice mode for the first time. While I eventually couldn’t finish the game like the previous games, I was able to pass many mini-games, which really surprised me. I wouldn’t say the game became easy than Bart’s Nightmare, but I guess I had put a lot of concentration when I was playing this game for real. I still couldn’t pass the water slide maze since I couldn’t figure out the patterns, while the tomato throwing game was difficult for aiming and timing even it was enjoyable at least. But entirely, it was rather fun than Bart’s Nightmare since it wasn’t merciless and confusing, so I pretty much give this a good credit.

    However, these are the only Simpsons games I’ve played so far. I’ve never played the modern ones before, since I don’t have a Playstation and Xbox hardware. So, regarding to any Simpsons game, this is far I can comment at this point. But still, I’ll be looking forward for Part 3!

    zoniken on January 11 |