Monday, 16 March 2015

The Simpsons Tapped Out is having its comedy donut and eating it

As part of my ongoing professional development as a free to play game developer/analyst I've been playing all manner of games, and one of them is the Simpsons game published by Fox Entertainment. It's basically the Sims and Hay Day with Simpsons IP generously plugged into it. If you're a hardcore Simpson's fan you'll be giggling at all of the references and/or lamenting the creative decline of the series.

(I mean 'The Yes Guy' seriously? Little Britain has more character development FFS)

The game is really well made. Perfect fan service for fans of the show. Everything just bursts Simpsons lore and history. There are so many collectible characters and locations that superfans will be purchasing hard currency donuts all day long to make sure that they have every last minor character and aspirational item.

Name all picture characters and reference the scene where the buildings are featured. Go on. Tip of the iceberg.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out makes fun of free-to-play casual games from the get go and humorously shows the player what lurks behind the curtain constantly. I even have Homer's voice yelling 'Push Notification!' in a monotone voice on my tablet. It's genuinely really well observed.

However the comedy is somewhat marred by the fact that it is still a greedy free to play game. The content is fairly priced and the addicting appointment mechanics and retention hooks are all there and function just the same as your Game of Wars or your Farmvilles.

It pretends to be better than all of those games but is in fact just the same type of game at the end of the day. It's like when comics like Dapper Laughs say that their humour is ironic and satirical when in fact it using the veil of comedy as an excuse for their acts. I feel it hurts the Simpsons brand of comedy, but then again the show as declined so far now that maybe it's not worth worrying about.

I just hope that South Park doesn't perform an intellectual U-turn and cash in like this. I expect better of that show.

~ J ~


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