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One day, the Simpson clan is strolling through Springfield, when all of a sudden Homer bumps into Mr. Smithers, who is stealing a diamond from Springfield Jewelers for Mr. Burns. After dangling in the air for a few seconds, the diamond takes the place of baby Maggie’s pacifier, and Smithers kidnaps her. The rest of the family takes it upon themselves to rescue Maggie, fighting tons of mooks, Smithers, and Mr. Burns himself in the process.

Such is the plot of this well-received, licensed arcade Beat'Em Up released in 1991 by Konami, based on The Simpsons.

The gameplay engine is derived from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (another game by the same company). Up to four people can play, assuming the roles of Homer (who uses Good Old Fisticuffs), Marge (who swings her vacuum cleaner), Bart (who swings his trademark skateboard) and Lisa (who whips enemies with her jump rope). Two players could perform team up attacks on enemies, a feature introduced in this game. In addition, the four playable Simpsons are voiced by their respective voice actors from the series, providing quips and general observations.

It was ported to the Commodore 64 and as a DOS title, but due to obvious technical limitations, they couldn’t live up to their bigger brother. Thanks to MAME technology, the game can be emulated in all its original glory on computers. With the exception of MAME, though, there has yet to be an arcade-perfect port of this game...until now. The Australian ratings board slapped on a rating in November 2011 for this game, and not for nothing, an online-capable port of the game was released as a downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network in early February 2012, just ahead of the 500th episode of the series.

A game inspired by it, The Simpsons Arcade, was released by EA Games for the iPhone. Reception was decent, but it was criticized for having a name that might dupe people into thinking they’re buying this game. Thats not to say they don't put nods to the original arcade though.

For the platform game released by EA Games, go to The Simpsons Game.


  • Acrofatic: Homer being the most notable as he could jump around and moves just as fast the rest of his family. Also applies to Bart to a lesser extent as he also has a notable gut.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Mr. Smithers, who robs a jewelery store and even does a child abduction for a mere diamond (though in his defense, it's implied he was doing it for Mr. Burns, although even there, this is not something he usually does).
  • Adaptational Heroism: Sideshow Bob is explicitly shown helping the Simpson family by rolling out a Turkey for them to eat in the mountain level. Bear in mind, the arcade game was released a little bit after Sideshow Bob got arrested for framing Krusty (though in all fairness, this also preceded his vendetta against Bart Simpson, and to a lesser extent the Simpson family as a whole).
  • Ascended Extra: Professor Werner von Brawn, who was only in one episode of the show managed to become the first boss of the game. Also the drunk boss in Moe's Tavern resembles a background character from the first season "There's No Disgrace Like Home".
  • Ass Kicks You: Marge's strong attack. Her butt is so strong it can instantly knockdown enemies much bigger and heavier than she is with one hit and could even break through Mr. Burns's steel armor.
  • Badass Family
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Marge and Lisa's expressions are not as extreme as Homer and Bart's. This is notable when grabbed by mooks or when they run out of HP.
  • Bonus Stage: Two of them. The better you do, the more points you get.
    • In the first one, which follows Downtown Springfield (stage one), you have to pump up a large balloon shaped after your character’s head by mashing the attack and jump buttons.
    • After Dreamland (stage six), you have to mash the attack and jump buttons to slap your character into waking up.
  • Breath Weapon: The fire breathing drunk boss of Moe's Tavern. He sometimes sneezes out smoke as well.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Both Bart and Lisa towards Maggie, especially more notable if any of them are played alone or if both are played together without the adults
    • In one of the game attract mode sequences of the game both Bart and Lisa are seen on the Springfield Butte stage, Lisa is grabbed by a fat mook who begins relentlessly shaking her. Fortunately her big brother Bart saves her in short time.
  • Brick Joke: In Krustyland (Level 2), you see a bear escape from its cage. Then in Springfield Butte (Level 5), you see (presumably) the same bear chase off Mr. Smithers.
  • Button Mashing: Subverted, somewhat. Over-reliance on button mashing will actually causes your character to stall for a second. Played Straight in the Bonus Stages.
    • Played more straight with escaping as this is how your character will escape being restrained by thugs, restrain and bitten by zombies, and being shaken viciously by the fat thugs.
  • The Cameo: The rabbits from Matt Groening’s Life in Hell comic strip, appearing in the pre-level bumpers and even as enemies! And as a gag, Marge’s X-Ray Sparks animation reveal her to be a rabbit in disguise.
    • Milhouse offers a hammer and Nelson a slingshot to whoever gets to them first, in Stage 2--Krustyland and Stage Stage 5--Springfield Butte.
      • Also Patty and Selma, Abe, Terri and Sherri, Skinner, Martin, Otto, Howard (from the episode "Moaning Lisa") and even Sideshow Bob make small cameos throughout the game. The XBLA/PSN port catalogues all of the Simpsons universe cameos.
  • Canon Foreigner: All the bad guys in the game save four, Professor Werner von Brawn (the pro-wrestler boss who's just really obscure), the drunk at Moe's (also really obscure), Smithers and Mr. Burns.
  • Chain-Reaction Destruction: The boss of Dreamland explodes in this manner.
  • Circling Birdies: The bear boss of Springfield Butte before turning back into one of the fat henchmen.
  • Combination Attack: Any two family members can do a combination attack if they idle next to each other long enough. There are three types - Homer and Marge hold each other's ankles and quickly roll around the screen, Bart and Lisa link arms and wail to defeat foes (wider range but less speed than their parents' attacks), Homer lifts Bart or Lisa on his shoulders to attack from up there for extra damage and Marge picks up either kid to throw them across the screen.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Not the characters themselves, but the status displays of each player are uniquely colored depending on the character.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Burns is the richest man in Springfield... can't he just buy that diamond?
    • Yes, but this also fits right into Burns' personality (at the time) as a wealthy sociopath who commits heinous acts For the Evulz.
  • Difficulty by Region: The American version is a bit harder than the Japanese release. For instance, the American version removes a nuclear bomb that instantly ko’s all on-screen mooks. You also can't jump while holding picked-up items in the American version.
    • The American version also removed the "second layer" of the Life Meter you could get by eating food with full health.
  • Distressed Damsel: Maggie. Temporarily happens to Lisa in one of the attract modes before Bart saves her.
  • Dual Boss / Mirror Boss: The two thugs you encounter throughout the first three stages of the game. They can do a Combination Attack just like PC's and very similar to Bart and Homer's but overall more powerful.
  • Early Bird Boss: The wrestler.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For the franchise as a whole, though in all fairness the cartoon was still in its infancy (the show was only in its second season when this was released). Take for example, Lisa, an extreme vegetarian since the season seven episode "Lisa the Vegetarian," exclaiming “alright!” as she devours a health-regenerating Krusty Burger.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Zombies appear in the Springfield Discount Cemetery.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: The boss of Springfield Butte. But once defeated, it's revealed its a fat mook in disguise.
  • Flash of Pain: Bosses flash in different colors while getting hit. When they're about to die, seizure times of blinking red kick in. However, Mr. Burns averted the "seizure time" part but will blink red by getting hit instead.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: While Marge has a vacuum cleaner, Bart has his skateboard, and Lisa uses her jump rope, Homer decides to let his fists (and feet and flying cross body dives) do the talking.
    • Should be noted that Marge is the only other character to use a non-weapon attack fittingly as she is the only other adult, though it is using her butt for said attack.
  • Hoist Hero Over Head: Poor Lisa as the youngest, smallest and lightest Simpson playable when a fat thug is shaking her she visibly goes above his eye level.
  • Humiliation Conga: Mr. Burns. All his presumably-hired mooks and bosses were defeated, his presumably-very expensive battle machine was destroyed, he didn't get the diamond he had sent Smithers out to steal in the first place, and, as the icing on the cake, after losing, he gets a baby pacifier stuck in his mouth. Not a good day for Mr. Burns.
  • Informed Ability: Within the show it is stated that the idiot curse only affects male Simpsons, in the show Marge is generally wiser than her son and husband and Lisa is immune to the curse due to being female but in this game they are just as prone to being idiots as the males.
  • Improvised Weapon: Marge's vacuum and Bart's skateboard count, since they're the respective default weapons (but aren't typically designed for fighting). Grabbing a hammer or a slingshot is the reverse, but many of the other things you can pick up and throw at enemies are this trope.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: The last part of the Channel 6 level has you fighting ninjas on a Japanese-themed film set.
  • I See London: After the first boss attacks (usually after striking every Player Character), he'll make some kind of garbled, guttural moaning sound and his pants will drop, revealing pink sparkly briefs.
  • Last Ditch Move: Dreamland's bowling ball boss explodes into a flurry of smaller balls upon being defeated. It's completely unavoidable. In an easier variant, Smithers' final barrage of bombs is easy to avoid.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When hit by certain attacks, the Simpsons are smashed into the screen.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: The suit wearing thugs have a kick that connects to the hind quarters of a Simpson if it connects from behind.
  • Logo Joke: The Konami logo appears on the Simpsons’ TV while they sit on the couch.
  • Mad Bomber: Mr. Smithers
    • Also Mr. Burns, considering his death machine drops miniature nukes.
    • The boss of Stage 2 sometimes places balloons in the air that drop off bombs before returning to the foreground.
  • Made of Iron: The only harm a large fall does is knock the Simpsons unconscious and provide set up for the Dreamland stage.
  • The Other Darrin: Subverted, all the voices for the titular Simpson family are here, Burns and Smithers on the other hand have new voices.
  • Pinball Scoring: Averted; like many of Konami’s other beat em ups at the time, you get just one point for knocking out an enemy. Rewards for doing well in the bonus stages are also minimalistic.
    • If you're playing the Japanese version, then it is played straight.
  • Sequential Boss: The Nuclear Plant stage consist of two boss fights in a row. Mr. Smithers and Mr. Burns, the latter having multiple stages before defeat.
    • Somewhat applies to the two thugs and the thugs in the Commendore version, the two thugs are fought in Moe's Tavern at the start due to the cemetery stage ending early and the drunk is fought at the end.
  • Shake Someone, Objects Fall: Marge and Bart both drops their weapons, skateboard and vacuum cleaner respectively, when the fat thug begins shaking them. Averted with Lisa as her jump rope just disappears. Non factor for Homer as he doesn't use anything other than his hands.
  • Slap Yourself Awake: A mini-game, following the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • Smashing Survival: When you get grabbed by one of the mooks, the game says "Wiggle Joystick! Push Buttons!" which is required to break free. Or one of your teammates can save you.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Bosses recycle several sound/voice clips. The bowling ball makes the same groan as the wrestler, and Mr. Burns says the same "Where do ya think YOU'RE goin'?" as the two suited men in stage 3.
  • Stout Strength: Homer to an extent but the fat mooks definitely. These mooks can shake Marge and more notably the obese in his own right Homer with the same ease as they could the single digit age Lisa.
    • Somewhat also applies to Bart, he doesn't show any difficulty holding the mallet item while the other child, the single digit age Lisa, visibly struggles with it while standing still and holds it at a lower angle.
    • The obese females are strong enough to send player characters (even Homer) flying if they are near the doors they open and also can lift barrels (presumably filled with beer) over their heads and throw them.
  • Strong Flesh Weak Steel: Sure, Mr. Burns's machine hits hard, but you can take it down with about as many punches/kicks/makeshift weapon strikes as you would a regular fleshy boss (albeit Burns's machine has multiple forms).
    • Also Inverted, as after you completely destroy Burns's machine, Burns himself only takes one hit to finish off.
  • Theme Naming: Just like the city itself, "Springfield" pops up in the stage names of most of the stages.
  • Weak but Skilled: Lisa logically shouldn't be as strong as even Bart physically and it even shows as she visibly struggles when standing still with the hammer but through momentum with her rope she can strike just as hard as her father can with his bare fist or her mother with a vacuum cleaner... and even match her mother's fatal butt attacks.
  • Whip It Good: Lisa's jump rope.
  • Wingding Eyes: Mr. Burns' eyes become X'es after Maggie sticks her pacifier in his mouth.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Everyone is just as willing to smash, beat up, shake, and restrain Marge and Lisa just as much as they are trying Bart and Homer. Played straight with Maggie though it could be more she is a baby or she is in possession of the game's MacGuffin.
    • Also played the other way around, Bart and Homer could hit the obese females (the ones that come OUT the doors) just as easily as any male thug.