Next time, don’t get your hopes up
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California is grand central for everything video games. The annual trade event is where the industry looks to when announcing the biggest games of the year. So, when The Simpsons announced that they would be hosting a panel involving many of the show’s creatives, it’s easy to assume that fans were excited. Landing in a prime time slot of 6pm Tuesday evening, expectations involved The Simpsons premiering… well, something.
The Simpsons are riding high right now. Not only has the series wrapped up their milestone 30th season, but have also recently joined the House of Mouse and all of the cartoons, superheroes, and Muppets that live there. It’s safe to say that The Simpsons are finding a bump in their popularity that has been lacking over the last few years. With the complete series about to be available on the Disney+ streaming service, people will be talking Simpsons more than they have since the 2007 feature film. Heck, their almost old enough to be considered retro, at least, for those young enough that they didn’t live through the 90s Simpsons craze.
At this point, a new Simpsons video game isn’t out of the question. The show has a long history with the industry. You can read a complete comprehensive look at all 27 games here. They date back to the early days of 8-bit Nintendo and Commodore 64 all the way up to their invasion of mobile gaming. Some of these games reached massive popularity, others were probably better left forgotten. Regardless, The Simpsons have yet to release a new game since 2012 and haven’t appeared on a console since 2007. A new title for the modern generation of consoles is long overdue.
There is are endless possibilities of what these characters can do in a game as well. They have already featured in games about racing, wrestling, skateboarding, and mini-golf, to name a few. Necessarily, anything they can do with The Mario Bros., The Simpsons could easily replicate. They can fit into any gameplay from side-scrollers to first-person shooters, or even an open world format. There isn’t even a genre that The Simpsons don’t cover whether it be a mystery or a Treehouse of Horror. Why aren’t there more Simpsons video games?
One game, in particular, managed to capture gamers and is considered the greatest Simpsons title of them all. The Simpsons: Hit & Run for PS2, Xbox and Game Cube was a masterpiece. Featuring open-world gameplay that included driving, Hit & Run was essentially Grand Theft Auto III, but in Springfield. To this day, the game holds a dedicated fanbase that has even come to program new adventures and levels for themselves. It is that fun of a game. So, if this year’s E3 panel announcement wasn’t for a new game, the fan’s hoped that they would at least gain a remastering of their beloved Hit & Run, or even better, a sequel.
With all of the hullabaloo, The Simpsons panel was a full house last night. There was a lot of hype, and long-time fans of the show weren’t going to miss this announcement. The panel consisted of Matt Selman, Carolyn Omine, Jeff Westbrook, Rob LaZebnik and Stewart Burns, all of them Simpsons legends in their own right. The stage was set for the franchise to make a splash at one of the biggest media events of the year.
What could this significant appearance have to hold? What kind of new Simpsons content could we possibly be getting? What have the fans been waiting for?
Nothing. The Simpsons: Tapped Out mobile game received an update today, and that’s about all. An update is not really anything that you hold a panel about. Especially when the game has been available and updating since it’s release in February 2012. Followers of the game are undoubtedly excited, but the E3 timeslot was a bit over the top. Updates are just part of life these days, my phone probably has six of them queued up right now.
Well, at least we have a panel consisting of legendary Simpsons writers to talk about there efforts on the series. However, the talent was there to share their experience of adding content to the popular mobile game. Something they admittedly recognize that nobody actually reads and glance over to continue the game. As exciting as each of these guests are, it would have been much more interesting to talk about the television series. As out of context as that would be.
There was also a look back at some of the other Simpsons games in history. Which shouldn’t be filling up a prime 6 pm E3 timeslot. Anybody can do that video game retrospective, I literally did it last week here on Bubbleblabber. Thankfully, these creators are funny enough to make the hour-long panel enjoyable. And, you can watch the whole thing here:
It is needless to say that the fans filling these halls were disappointed. Especially those with fond memories of The Simpsons heyday and with an affinity towards Hit & Run. The reaction was quite deflating, and the show missed out on the big chance to get fans excited and talking Simpsons.
This was what was trending about The Simpsons last night:
— 𝗣𝗲rry🎮Nintendo @ #E32019 (@Nintendoops) June 12, 2019
— kel. (@Curious_Catx) June 12, 2019
— Zach (@HCAZS) June 12, 2019
The Simpsons may not have gone anywhere, nor will they ever see the same popularity they once had, they simply manage to stay relevant. This should have been a big year for the long-running series, and they should have done much more to commemorate the monumental achievement of being on the air for 30 seasons. Yet, as we prepare ourselves for season 31 come autumn, the year passed by without much excitement at all. Last night may have taken the wind out of those hoping The Simpsons craze might one day return.
Just give us Hit & Run 2 already. It is what the fans want.