NOISELAND ARCADE Archives

"Funtendo" Becomes A Real Thing

funtendoThe name of Modern Simpsons's devastating Nintendo "parody," Funtendo, has apparently been hijacked for a quasi-legal breakout box (I have no idea what that is) that "lets you hook the NES, N64, and Wii Classic controllers up to your PC" via USB so you gamers can play your little quasi-legal Nintendo ROMs with an actual joystick instead of a stupid keyboard as a controller. Feeling nostalgic for Mario Kart 64? Well you'd better get your soldering iron ready, because you'll have to assemble it yourself with these amazingly simple instructions!

And yet, spending a weekend putting that all together sounds infinitely more entertaining than watching The Simpsons's inexplicable Wii parody from a couple years ago that doesn't actually parody anything, and would definitely be considered product placement had they not cleverly misspelled it.

[The Verge]

Marge Simpson Had Rabbit Ears

marge surprisedMatt Groening came up with the idea for The Simpsons, but that doesn't mean all his ideas are winners. Like, for instance, Marge Simpson being an anthropomorphic rabbit disguised as a human.

*record scratch* Say wha--?!? Here's Daria Paris, who was the assistant to former executive producer Sam Simon, as quoted in John Ortved's The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History:

There were times in the room when Matt would come up with the stupidest ideas. And he had this one: we were going to do an episode where Marge finally lets her hair down, and Matt's idea was that once she let it down the audience finds out she has rabbit ears, which was ridiculous. And Sam said no.

And here's what Groening had to say about it on the audio commentary for Selma's Choice, when writer David M. Stern brings it up and puts him on the spot:

That was the original - back in the - my plan, back in the very beginning, that she was actually a Life in Hell rabbit from my comic strip... but then it just seemed like a... I just said "oh, forget it, there's no ears under there."

"Ridiculous" is putting it lightly. Here's how I'd like to imagine that transpired: the writers and producers are seated around a giant table in a Dr. Strangelove-like Situation Room. Matt Groening causally brings up his idea that Marge Simpson - loving wife, devoted mother, future Playboy centerfold - is a rabbit in disguise, a secret that would be revealed in the final episode. A long, awkward silence ensues, as the writers sit in stunned disbelief at the utter insanity their boss just uttered. Suddenly, Sam Simon starts yelling at Groening about what a stupid idea that is. After a big back-and-forth about the plausibility of the whole concept, Simon finally puts his foot down, and Groening shame-facedly retreats to his office, to console himself with money. And thus we were all spared from the horror of Marge's closet rabbitness being An Actual Thing.

...OR WERE WE?!?!

There's A Family Guy MMO Coming Out

Holy crap Lois, they're making a Family Guy MMO (that's massively multiplayer online game), for some reason. So if you're tired of stomping around Warcraft or whatever you can pretend to be a virtual Family Guy character and walk around Quahog making lazy pop culture references with other Family Guy fanatics. Wow!!! It'll be like TV Tropes and Second Life had a baby, except with over 9,000 times more epic random for the win purple monkey dishwasher. I'm guessing there will be some "game" elements, like, I don't know, beating up the chicken guy or the evil monkey (remember the time Peter beat up the chicken? Remember?). Will there be gang wars between Simpsons fans and Family Guy fans? Who knows! Nobody knows anything about this thing yet, all we know is there's a site where you can pre-register for a beta, and if you view the page source, the description says "Sign up for the Family Guy Online today and receive news & events about the upcoming MMO!" So yeah.

Did Virtual Springfield Begat Google Street View?

street viewNo, of course not, but watching this video from GameSpot (specifically, from 3:43 onward) sorta reminded me of it. Lately, I've been nostalgic for Virtual Springfield, which I used to "play" in middle school. If you're unfamiliar with this classic 1997 Simpsons CD-ROM time-waster, you should totally read this article Bob "bobservo" Mackey wrote about it.

I appreciate how the game makers managed to place pretty much every location that had appeared in the series to that point into a geographical layout that actually made sense, instead of randomly chucking districts together in the face of all logic. If Fox Interactive got their shit together, they could re-use this stuff, add new places from the subsequent 30 seasons of the show, and throw it up on the web with a Google Maps-like interface as a neat web-bonus thing. It would totally blow this fan-made map of Springfield out of the water in terms of sheer coolness.

Also, I'm pretty pleased that the aforementioned video contains a a mostly uninterrupted version of Troy McClure's welcoming introduction (skip to 1:04), Phil Hartman's only appearance in a Simpsons video game, because people on YouTube skip over all the dialogue parts for some inexplicable reason. It's a good Simpsons quote, despite being written by some intern for a point-and-click CD-ROM non-game:

Welcome to Springfield! I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me as town spokesman from such computer travel guides as {Smother Me In Shreveport} and {Living, Loving and Lubbock}. Of course, we all know Springfield for its award-winning dandelions and as birthplace of the glove compartment. But that's merely scratching the surface of a place the great Calvin Coolidge once labelled, "a pea-sized town with lima bean-sized dreams." So, warm up your clicking finger and let's explore a land the poets call Springfield, USA!

The titles of the two other travel guides would vary each time. Here's a complete (?) list of the other titles, which are curiously omitted from The Simpsons Archive (yet they include stuff from a screensaver???):

  • Eeney-Meeney-Miney Murphreesborough
  • Yuma: It's Seniorific
  • Smother Me In Shreveport
  • Living, Loving and Lubbock
  • Duluth, It'll Grow On You
  • Suddenly Tulsa
  • Freedonia: Gateway to Wichita
  • Fairbanks Needs Women
  • I Left My Soul In Sacramento
  • Tender Lovin' Newark
  • Hats Off To Fargo
  • Pinch Me, I'm In Boise
I think I speak for everyone when I say it's time we stop fetishizing 8-bit Nintendo games and start a virtual storybook revival.

They Redid The Simpsons Arcade Game For Some Reason

binky2009 was the year of "fixing" beloved Simpsons things that weren't broke to begin with, starting with the godawful new HD title sequence and ending with an iPhone version of the Simpsons Arcade Game from 1991, one of the very few Simpsons video games that is still remembered fondly.

What's different: The storyline (no more Smithers stealing Maggie for some bizarre reason), you can only play as Homer, you can slap him to revive him, new design (as far as I can tell, it looks like a modern episode and not all pixelated), and characters/locations that weren't around or as iconic in 1991 (including the Republican Party Headquarters and Rich Texan).

What's the same: The basic controls (I think?), and the dated Binky-with-a-ghetto-blaster level transistions (which I like). [United Simpsons]

Insanely Detailed Simpsons Quake III Map

Some guy made an incredibly detailed "Springfield" skin for Quake III Arena, with all kinds of nerd-salivating props from past episodes - Big Butt Skinner balloon, pig tracks on the ceiling, etc. Hopefully Fox Interactive, hot off the heels of Simpsons Crazy Taxi, Simpsons Grand Theft Auto and Simpsons Myst will hire this guy to make the next Simpsons video game, Simpsons Quake.


[YouTube via Boing Boing]

Could Phil Hartman Return From The Dead???

Could the late, great Phil Hartman be revived to reprise his characters in an upcoming Simpsons video game? It's possible, say the intrepid reporters over at Joystiq.com:

EA even said that it could go back to old shows to pull dialogue; while the company didn't confirm any specific plans to do so, this method could bring Phil Hartman's old stable of characters into the game.
On a related note, Hartman's introductory dialogue in Virtual Springfield is some of my favorite Troy McClure material: "Welcome to Springfield, I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such computer travel guides as [randomized joke] and [randomized joke]. You know, the great Calvin Coolidge once called this town 'a pea-size town with lima bean size dreams.' So warm up your clicking fingers, and let's explore a town the poets call Springfield, U.S.A.! *coughs, then walks offscreen*" (Paraphrased from memory. Thanks for nothing, internet). [Joystiq]
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