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D'oh! The best fake video games in 'The Simpsons'
In its 34 seasons, the satirical juggernaut created enough fictional video games for you to say ¡ay, caramba!
Since its debut in 1989, The Simpsons has become a cultural juggernaut, weaving satire and wit into the fabric of modern television. At different points, catchphrases such as ‘D’oh!,’ ‘Ay, Caramba!,’ and ‘Okily Dokily’ make their way into the American lexicon.
But one area where The Simpsons doesn’t get its due is in the realm of video games, and no, we’re not talking about the classic arcade game. Throughout its run, the beloved TV show has introduced us to an array of fictional video games that range from the absurdly ludicrous to the strangely enticing.
Rocky III vs. Clara Peller
This fictional video game classic first graced television sets during the show’s 381st episode, “Please Homer, Don’t Hammer ‘Em,” and features a true clash of ‘80s icons; slugger Rocky Balboa and former Wendy’s ad darling Clara Peller. Set in the confines of Springfield Mall’s Captain Blip’s Zapateria, the episode features a plethora of fictional games from ‘80s lore. Honorable mentions include Remington Steele: The Game, Monkey Kong, and Unipede. Although technically a fighting game, Rocky III vs. Clara Peller has little in the way of actual action. The characters enter the ring and taunt each other with catchphrases. “You ain’t so bad,” shouts Rocky, and Clara Peller asks, “Where’s the beef?”
Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge
The 1995, the episode “Marge Be not Proud,” focused The Simpsons’ satirical spotlight on video games. Bart is caught shoplifting that year’s most coveted game, Mortal Kombat parody Bonestorm. Later, Bart believes that Marge has come through for him on Christmas, but instead, he gets the gift that keeps on giving. The greatest fake sports game of all time: Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge, a spoof of the NES classic Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf, which was aptly named because everyone knows Lee Trevino kicked butt! Below is but a mere sample of the non-stop golfing fun fictional kids in the ‘90s were lucky enough to have.
“Welcome to Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge. I am Carvallo. Now, choose a club. (Beep) You have chosen a three wood. May I suggest a putter? (Beep) Three wood. Now enter the force of your swing. I suggest feather touch. (Beep, beep, beep) You have entered “power drive”. Now, push seven eight seven to swing.” (Beep beep beep) “Ball is in...parking lot. Would you like to play again? (Beep) You have selected “No.”
Kevin Costner’s Waterworld
The Simpsons was truly ahead of their time, and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld is a perfect example. The airdate for the 10th episode of season 8 was written in 1996 and aired in January of ‘97, a full nine months before the real Waterworld video game would debut. The scene shows Milhouse playing the adaptation based on the over-budget, financial disappointment that cost filmmakers around $100 million. The player is asked to insert 40 quarters, and after taking one step, it asks for 40 more quarters. $20 for two seconds of gameplay, is almost as big a rip off as [insert quarter for punchline].
Billy Graham’s Bible Blaster
Who knew that converting heathens could be so much fun? That’s exactly the kind of action season one’s, “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” treated viewers with. It’s a somber episode, as Simpsons staple Maude Flanders is laid to rest after her untimely demise. Bart, being the good neighbor that he is, comforts Flanders boys Rod and Todd and suggests playing some video games to alleviate the sadness of losing their mom–Bart is all heart isn’t he? The only game the Evangelical duo has is Billy Graham’s Bible Blaster. The mission of this game is to shoot bibles at non-believers, which converts them to Christianity, but be careful. If you graze a heathen, they only become a Unitarian.
Death Kill City II: Death Kill Stories
The iconic Grand Theft Auto series got the Simpsons treatment in 2007’s episode “Yokel Chords.” Death Kill City II: Death Kill Stories is rated Bad for Everyone, and the mission of level one is to 'destroy every human being.' The game is truly damaging to mind, body, and soul—kinda like watching cable news.
Tandem Bike Ride With Your Mom
The Simpsons are equal opportunity lampooners, so handheld consoles also get the satirical treatment. Season 17, episode 5, brought us the classic Tandem Bike Ride With Your Mom. With rousing levels such as "Enjoy the scenery," this game will provide minutes of entertainment to the citizens of Springfield when they need a break from watching paint dry.
The fourth episode of the 15th season, titled “The Regina Monologues’’ pays homage to this time-honored tradition of parents making buffoons of themselves at children’s sporting events in the form of the video game Hockey Dad. After scoring a goal, Mr. Shadowski will tell Mr. O’Bannon, “Your kid sucks!” After that, we are off to the races. The two fathers fight until one incapacitates his opponent. After the win, the announcer exclaims, “You’re a big man! BIG MAN!!” and your player is whisked off the ice by police. Parents beating the hell out of each other at children’s sporting events is as American as apple pie.
My Dinner With André
This next one might be a little highbrow, but it’s hilarious nonetheless. Spoofing the classic 1981 comedy-drama of the same name, this is the perfect game for the erudite Martin Prince, Jr. The player moves the joystick to choose the next round of dialogue for two men eating dinner at a fancy restaurant. The three move options “Tell me More,” “Trenchant insight,” and “Bon Mot” might be the funniest in the entire series.
The first Crash Bandicoot isn’t spared from The Simpsons’ satirical might in the seventh episode of season 9. The game starts with the disembodied head of Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan, telling Dash Dingo, “Foolish Dino, you must find and devour the seven crystal babies or spend eternity trapped in deep didgeridoo!” Leave it to The Simpsons to lampoon a popular video game, a movie, and a real-life tragedy all in one breath.
So there you have it: The Simpsons’ hilarious take on video games shows us that the universal joy of gaming and the playful spirit of satire remain timeless elements that bridge the gap between our screens and our lives.
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