Let’s kick off the triumphant return to regular programming with a medium length blog telling you why Simpsons Road Road is one of the best games in the entire world.
Everyone has THAT game from their childhood. In my previous Confession, I declared my total ignorance towards Zelda. I also never played a Final Fantasy title until 13. So, I hear you ask, what the hell was I doing with my time when I was growing up? The answer is in the title: Playing the shit out of Simpsons Road Rage.
Better than any other racing game. More immersive than any other sandbox title. And funnier than any comedy game based of its mutual inspiration from one of the greatest cartoons of all time. Simpsons Road Rage was an all round winner in my eyes and there wasn’t a single leaf in Springfield that I didn’t flatten with Grandpa’s Shriner’s Cart – arguably the fastest car in the game, IMHO.
And I’m saying this from the point of view of someone who is disregarding all of the controversy surrounding the game, Fox’s lawsuit and the halt to production. Because, let’s face it, I played it when I was 8 and I didn’t have a fucking clue what was happening in the industry at the time.
You see, at a young age, I was obsessed with the Simpsons. I watched it every night at 6pm on Channel 4 surrounded by family equally laughing their tits off. And now, as a mother, I watch it with my daughter whose lisp-fueled excitement at seeing the yellow-skinned ‘STHIMSTHUMS’ (!!) only reinforced what I knew all along: The Simpsons are the ultimate kids/adult show. And to enjoy it through various video games (I’m looking at you, Game Boy Color edition of The Treehouse of Horror) and a multi-million dollar movie, allows you to play inside one of the most beloved story worlds ever created.
Most critics gave it crappy scores, focused too much on the Crazy Taxi similarities and saw Homer Simpson’s face on the box and assumed it would be turd on a plate, but they never saw it from a young gamers eyes. I didn’t care for reviewers back then, nor plagiarism; I was simply enjoying driving around Rancho Relaxo pretending it was my IRL house.
But the crux of this Confession is this, everyone’s most favourite game is often influenced by the N-word. Nostalgia. Whether you’re a teenager and grew up playing Bully or a hardcore pensioner who remembers having the Magnavox Odyssey, everyone has a first game and along with it a favourite. The worst thing to experience though, is the rush of disappointment when some of your old games don’t age very well.
Plugging my PS2 back into the wall and dusting off its old dualshock controller, I boot up the Road Rage menu and am instantly transported to my youth. I could remember all of the catchphrases and all the shortcuts from Evergreen Terrace to the Springfield Mall. However, what I totally forgot was the glitchy building walls which you often got stuck inside of. I forgot when you crashed into an Estate and it stuck to the environment with the weight of a great fucking sperm whale making it totally impossible to budge.
It was beautiful regardless of its flaws. The Road Rage missions (time trial/money dash) unlocked new cars through challenging and competitive gameplay, which I can put down as the start of my addictive gameplay style. But the best game mode was the option to go for a Sunday Drive – imagine GTA freedom, just set in Springfield and you can’t get out the car to fuck prostiboots. Okay, well it sounds less fun now I’ve made that comparison but I assure you it’s was amazing.
As for the characters themselves, everyone was there: Lisa and her Electaurus; Marge’s Canyonero; Willie’s Tractor and even Reverend Lovejoy’s Book Burning Mobile. It really is a must for Simpson’s fans. And that’s just the cars, the world itself is full of TV show references that it’s often difficult to find them all – for example, trying to find all of the El Barto street art.
Overall, I really can’t trick you into thinking this game should win ‘BEST IN SHOW’ every single year following its release, but instead I wanted to highlight the issue of ‘game favourites’ amongst friends and gamers alike. If in my eyes Simpsons Road Rage is the best game and you think it’s total bollocks, neither of us are right. I may have grown up with Simpsons and Jumping Flash, and you with Mario and Leisure Suit Larry (a winning combination), but both mean too much to each of us to compete.
TL:DR; Stop fucking fighting over nostalgic games. You’re all idiots.