Reading Digest: Worth $10 Edition

Simpsons Arcade Console

Image shamelessly yoinked from here.

“So, Bart, what did you learn in karate school today?” – Marge Simpson
“Yeah, come on, boy, this better be worth my ten bucks!” – Homer Simpson

A port of the old Simpsons arcade game came out for Xbox and PS3 this week and there were a metric ton of reviews, many of which are linked below.  I haven’t played it, but most of the reviews I saw said that the nostalgia factor couldn’t overcome the inherent button mashing repetitiveness of a game where the only commands are jump and attack.

A couple of the reviews outright say that the game isn’t worth the $10 they’re charging for it.  Whether or not that’s true for you will depend on how much you want the game and how much that $10 is worth to you.  But it got me to wondering, what would $10 in today’s money have been worth in 1991 when the original game was released?  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $10 in 2011 money is worth about $6.05 in 1991 dollars, or about twenty four quarters.  In other words, if you can get through the game on the equivalent of twenty-four quarters, then you’d have been better off in an arcade in 1991.  If, on the other hand, you require more lives than twenty-four quarters would’ve gotten you, then your console in 2012 comes out ahead.

In addition to lots of old game reviews, the internet was all aflutter because some schmuck in Iran decided to ban Simpsons dolls.  This is news in the same way that Groening’s Hollywood star is news, my initial reactions was “Huh.  I thought that already happened.”  There was also a lot of 500th episode crap, but hardly any of it worth linking (with one glorious exception).  In addition to all that, we’ve got poor editing at The Hollywood Reporter, an enjoyably gruesome Zombie Bart, self described lunatic conspiracy theorists, and the usual smattering of fan made stuff, usage and other ephemera. 


[Site note: After some screwing around this week, I’ve made it so our Facebook page is now only being “mostly neglected” instead of “completely neglected” like it’s been up to this point.  Basically, I changed the way we push Quotes of the Day to Twitter so that they also get pushed to Facebook without me having to do any extra work.  (That last part is important.)  So if you want to see the quotes directly on your Facebook page, you can now do that.  There was a slight Twitter hiccup this morning, but I think I’ve got everything working.  If you notice anything strange, please e-mail me.]

‘The Simpsons’ Poll: What is the ultimate episode of all time? – A few weeks ago, Digital Spy in the UK asked its readers for their opinion on the best episodes of The Simpsons.  This week they’re back with a poll and it is Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week so hard it should be Link of the Month:

Compiled with the help of your views, our TV team’s opinions and previous ‘best episode’ lists, we’ve cut down the 498 installments that have aired to a manageable cream of the crop shortlist.
The list has been whittled down to 37 primecuts of Simpsons gold and we want your verdict on what is the finest.

Gaze at the ballot below:

Digital Spy Best Episode Survey

That’s thirty-seven episodes, thirty-six of which are from Season 9 or earlier.  The only episode on the list from after 1998 that is “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” (which they misspelled as “Shows”), which was broadcast in 2000 in Season 12.  According to Digital Spy’s readers and writers, there hasn’t been an episode even worthy of consideration on a top ten list in twelve years!  You suck, Zombie Simpsons.  Massive, massive thanks to longtime reader Kokairu for the link.

500-Episode Simpsons Marathon of the Day – TDW Geeks – Going by the most recent comments on the Facebook page, it sounds like they’re dropping like flies.  (Here’s a picture of what it looked like at the beginning.)  If it started when they said it did (roughly 5pm Pacific on Wednesday), they should be midway through Season 6 right now.  If there’s anyone left, they’ll hit Season 9 tomorrow afternoon and be well into Zombie Simpsons by late Sunday.  Jebus help them.

Video: Jingle Punk Hipster Orchestra TV Theme Melody – Ahh, string instruments (the Simpsons part starts at 2:20):


10" zombie bart in progress – Flickr user andres musta made a Zombie Bart:

Andres Musta - Zombie Bart in Progress

God bless Creative Commons licenses.

In comments, he writes:

It came together at the last moment – yesterday (Thursday) I was distributing flyers for the Dead of Winter show at a local comic book shop that had a pile of old Bart toys. It almost jumped into my arms. Brought it home, and rushed to chopped off the nose, sliced my thumb, removed the lips, and added the teeth from an old plastic skull. It all came together in an hour or two. Added a 10"x10" wooden base, textured and painted to look like sidewalk and screwed him to the base. Will post full pics after the show closes on March 1.

I love anything that involves the words “rushed to to chopped off the nose”.  Can’t wait for the full pictures.  Thanks to Freakoutville for the tip. 

Review The Simpsons Arcade Game – Pretty much what it says.  I especially like this:

Before starting the game you can choose one of four modes. Free Play has unlimited continues, Survival grants only one life and no continues, Quarters gives each player 10 continues and Team Quarters has players share 40 continues.

I really could’ve used that when I was a kid and quarters were scarce.  They recommend knowing what you’re getting before you plunk down the $10 though.

The Simpsons Arcade Game – A rather harsher review:

The Simpsons Arcade Game, much like Ninja Turtles or X-Men, has not exactly aged well.  Let’s face it, it’s a relic.  And not one of those good, Sean Connery type ones.

Heh.  I like this review. 

The Simpsons Arcade: Fireworks Candy & Puppy Dogs Store, or Box Factory? – Yet another review saying the game ain’t worth it.

Go Round – The Simpsions Arcade Game – A YouTube video of four guys playing the four player co-op on the XBox port of the arcade game.  It’s mildly interesting, but I got bored after a few minutes because even watching it gets repetitive pretty fast.

Simpsons Arcade Demo Impressions: Check your Nostalgia at the Door (or not) – Another review that says that the nostalgia can’t override the underlying crappiness of the game.

Month of Codes (Day Seven) – Impressively obscure and pointless cheats for Bart vs. the Space Mutants.

Appointment Viewing: February 6-February 13 – Lenny brings the pre-snark for Sunday’s new Zombie Simpsons:

On Valentine’s Day, Lisa and an intellectual young man named Nick share a fairy-tale romance and make a secret getaway. Meanwhile, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage (“Mythbusters”) inspire Bart and Milhouse to bust Springfield Elementary School myths. Unsurprisingly, Nick is going to be played by Michael Cera.

Homer Simpson – One of Homer’s worst parenting moments courtesy of Cartoon Quotes.

The Sound Of One Hand Clapping – The value of meditating and “Dead Putting Society”.

Iran bans Bart Simpson and Homer Simpson – This was everywhere this week, but I don’t see quite what all the fuss is about.

Bizarro World – Some of those Simpsons-fashion drawings next to the people that inspired them.

Bart Simpson: The New Symbol of High Fashion – Herein I have to link to The Hollywood Reporter for a second time this week, which is unfortunate because their website is so hideously overrun with links, ads, and general marketing stupidity that it’s just this side of unusable.  What is fortunate are these quotes from a guy named Jeremy Scott, whom they describe as an “Avant garde designer”.  I have no idea who he is or whether or not he’s a good designer, but he speaks like he just fell out of a Zoolander sequel:

THR: So this idea came from you, and not Fox, the network that plays the show?

Scott: Oh, I went knockin’ on the door at Fox. I chased them down like a dog in heat. I fell madly in love with Bart. And I’m not even the diehard every-episode fan. It’s just such a part of pop culture. Bart is a nineties teen icon.

THR: Were the execs at Fox surprised at this request?

Scott: I wasn’t really sure how to go about this. I got someone on the phone and took it from there. And it was kismet, synergy, this was supposed to happen. They totally got it: the way I am, who I am.

Reading that I can’t help but think of this scene from the “Unauthorized Cinnamon” episode of Deadwood.  But wait, there’s more:

THR: What’s the general direction of your fall 2012 collection?

Scott: I can tell you it was inspired by the computer, and the way information is disseminated today. The way ideas are profillierating on the internet. How we use icons to show our emotions. The way the way everything is circling around.  I’m into short as a skirt length, but its a new kind of "short long." 

I had no idea people actually talked like that, though it’s hardly his fault that they didn’t run spellcheck on “proliferating”.  But here’s the capper:

THR: Have you met Matt Groening?

Scott: I’ve not met Matt yet – but I’m really looking forward to meeting him. A Fox contingency is coming to see the show, they’re flying in from LA. But Matt will be busy receiving his star on the Walk of Fame.

I don’t know what’s funnier, that he used the word “contingency” when he meant “contingent”, an easy enough mistake to make when speaking off the cuff, or that no one at The Hollywood Reporter fixed it for him. 

Cynics should learn how to stuff their face with cupcakes and reclaim V-Day – Excellent usage:

"Romance is dead – it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece," said Lindsay Cahill quoting Lisa Simpson while waiting for the next band to start. Cahill’s overt ability to express something truly troubling was captured by the quotation, adding a layer of hopelessness into the air.

Perfectly quoted.  Well done, Lindsay Cahill. 

The Connection between Lisa Simpson and the Whore of Babylon – Any time you see the words “UFOs”, “Conspiracy Theorists”, and “Lunatic Fringe” in the banner of a website, you know it’s gonna be good:

Ishtar (aka WHORE OF BABYLON) was the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex.
The statue of Liberty is basically a monument in dedication to Ishtar. Notice the 7 spikes on her head. It is no coincidence that America is the Great Babylon of our Times.

Interestingly enough, one of the most beloved cartoon characters of the Simpsons, is Lisa Simpson.

She is nothing more than a representation of Ishtar. Notice her spiked head. She also wears the colour red all the time. Red is the colour for PROSTITUTION.

Ishtar was above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved SAC-RED prostitution.

Ironic isn’t it?

And I thought the London Olympics logo was bad.  The replies, including polytheistic theology, involve just as much harmless crazy.

This Music Smells Funny – Dumb, but I chuckled.

anime: lisa simpson by ~teamstar47 on deviantART – Neat fan made Lisa drawing.  It looks like just pen and markers, but it’s shaded and colored really well. 

One down – Excellent therapeutic usage:

I had the simpsons on in the backgroud this morning, one of the old episodes. I wasn’t really listening, but I caught this part:

“Lisa, I apologize to you, I was wrong, I take it
all back. Always be yourself. If you want to be sad, honey, be sad.
We’ll ride it out with you. And when you get finished feeling sad, we’ll
still be there. From now on, let me do the smiling for both of us.”
– Marge, The Simpsons

I think I’m now finished feeling sad. Thank you all for riding that out with me, and your support.

Review: The Simpsons Arcade takes us back to the bowling alley – And finally, an arcade game review that agrees with us:

1991 was a good year for The Simpsons. Some all-time classic episodes aired, the series won a couple of Emmy awards, Bart Simpson t-shirts were still in fashion, and the family starred in an A-list arcade game. It was a better year than 2011, where the series closed in on its 500th episode while a few fans kept up the old argument over when the exact shark-jumping moment happened.


6 Responses to “Reading Digest: Worth $10 Edition”

  1. 1 Little Miss
    10 February 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks for the link!

  2. 11 February 2012 at 12:10 am

    Found this article from New York Magazine in honor of the 500th episode, coming to defense of the later seasons. But it’s basically almost all talking about the greatness of the classic years and the phenomenon of the series, and then a paltry paragraph defending a few token moments of the last ten years.
    There’s also a related article he wrote entitled, “Nine Latter-Day Simpsons That Match Up to the Early Classics.” Amongst those listed are “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation,” “Today I Am A Clown” and the recent “Politcally Inept with Homer Simpson.” So basically any argument or opinion this author had is completely moot.

  3. 11 February 2012 at 1:36 am

    I think I saw the “This music smells funny” picture years ago. Still amusing, even if it depicts a zombified Ralph Wiggum.

  4. 11 February 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for the link again!


  5. 15 February 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Aha! Yes, I thought the DS poll would come up. Regular Digital Spy reader – saw the poll in my own time and thought “That is Dead Homer Society all over!” Still, it goes to show, doesn’t it? It’s not just this spoddy, insular corner of fandom that thinks the show’s declined. We’re not the “sky is falling” weirdos, the real life unpleasable comic book guys, like the producers like to imagine we are – we’re the voice of the public! Nobody cares about the Simpsons any more. And nor, really, do the producers. I get the impression the only reason anyone’s involved with it any more is ‘cos it’s a steady paycheck.

    I’m a very casual Simpsons viewer – haven’t really watched new eps since maybe 2003, catch the repeats every now and then, but I’ve never bought a DVD box set, or a video, or anything like that. Couldn’t match half the titles in that poll to the episodes. But I’ve started following this blog because, after catching a lot of new shows after a long absence, I’ve become morbidly fascinated by how atrocious the show’s turned out, and it’s very comforting to know there’s an entire blog confirming that I’m not alone.

    I’m a writer (of sorts!), see, so I’ve got a bit of a vested interest in how a show with such a spectacular pedigree can attract such poor writing. So many new, brilliant writers will have grown up with the Simpsons now, the show should have the great and good knocking at the door, the best new voices salivating at the idea of writing “INT. MOE’S BAR,” wanting to be part of the legacy – it should be a hotbed for creativity and new ideas. Instead? A mess of clumsy exposition, soliloquys, and clichés. I have no idea why any writer would willingly be credited for any script wherein the characters speak every single thought they have, whether there’s anyone there to listen or not. There’s no subtext. It’s all just text. It’s horrendous. And I say this as someone who’s still wet behind the ears, still chasing his first credit! This is rookie stuff. And they’re incapable.

    I think Al Jean et al are just letting it stagnate, ‘cos it makes money either way, and why put in any effort? It’s just a day job. And that strikes me as profoundly sad.

    …Oof, I got sidetracked, there, didn’t I? What I was ACTUALLY writing was to alert you that the first write-ups of the top twenty have just gone up. Here you go – http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/ustv/tubetalk/a365760/the-simpsons-ultimate-episode-countdown-20-16.html – lovely stuff!

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