The Simpsons is one of the most celebrated properties from around the world, and it’s spun-off so many different licenses, from T-shirts and toys to accessories and more. But one of the first video game adaptations of the long-running cartoon wasn’t the best, and it was released 25 years ago today.
Published by Acclaim, THE SIMPSONS: BART’S NIGHTMARE was a video game that saw Homer’s oldest child falling asleep while doing his homework. In his dream, he must compete in a series of minigames to collect the pages of his report in order to get a passing grade… in his dreams…? Look, it was the early 1990s and video game plots didn’t have to make sense.
The bulk of the game is Bart walking down the street and interacting (or avoiding) various Simpsons characters, like Principal Skinner (who puts Bart in a suit), Nelson and his gang (who distract Bart from his mission) and Lisa Simpson (who can help or hurt your path depending on when you encounter her. When Bart finds a page in his walking dream, it takes him to one of five minigames, including Bartzilla attacking Springfield; Bartman flying around the city; battling Itchy and Scratchy; Indiana Bart jumping around the “Temple of Maggie; and Bart destroying viruses in… his own… bloodstream? Seriously, this game is like a fever dream. The most random collection of minigames ever.
I was absolutely terrible at this game, and yet I kept playing it and trying to get those pages to get a better grade. I hated getting bad grades, though I got bad grades A LOT in this game. It was maybe the worst Super Nintendo game I owned. After working on this game, designer Bill Williams got so frustrated with the business that he quit video games and went to study theology.
That’s a really bad game. But hey, at least FAMILY GUY wasn’t around yet. I can only imagine how terrible THAT licensed video game would have been…