Bring Back the Classics 01 Aug 2006
Acclaim was once a giant among video game publishers. Founded in 1987, the game publisher and developer became most noted for developing games based on a few original properties (such as Turok) and a plethora of games based on existing entertainment franchises including WWF Wrestling, South Park, and of course our beloved Simpsons.

Now as we all know, Acclaim filed for bankruptcy some time ago and all company assets were sold off. Although many games and series were sold in an initial sale, over 200 remaining game properties remain unsold in an auction taking place in New York. Included in the auction are the many Simpsons games they published (the entire Simpsons package is currently at $7,500). Check out the full list at the auction site.

Needless to say, I was more than tempted to call them up and ask if I could place a bid right then and there. The Simpsons classic games are a good lot as a whole, and just owning the right to those games would be a fanboy's dream. But, if I were to purchase the rights to those games in some alternate reality, I'm sure I'd get the buyer's remorse only a few minutes after seeing my empty bank accounts.

So given that, let's work in the realm of reality. FOX owns the rights to the characters and content. The winner of that auction would need to make a deal with FOX in order to even consider selling or doing anything other than having the materials sitting in a cabinet. The ideal scenario would be for Fox Interactive (or whatever division handles their interactive content) to purchase the entire lot at $7,500 and then make a deal with a publisher to create a classics compilation, similar to what Capcom and Midway have been doing in recent years. It's certainly possible now that FOX and EA have entered a deal to create Simpsons games on next-gen systems.

But the real question is will you, the fans, buy it. Although I as a fan can't imagine not buying such an awesome collection, the more casual gamers are sure to come out with the "Simpsons games suck" tirade that is all too common when discussing Simpsons games. I hold fast to my opinion that the Simpsons games were never the greatest or most innovative but were good for a few hours of fun. I can see not buying a game like that for $50 when it was first released, but imagine a compilation of nearly 20 games that are spread across all platforms. Every version of Bart vs. the Space Mutants, all of the Game Boy exclusive releases, even the Krusty and Itchy & Scratchy games. There would have to be some legal tailoring when dealing with games that were released on various consoles, but FOX is no slouch when it comes to managing legal issues. Add to all that a price tag of $20 and some nifty extra features (production art, concept sketches, scanned instruction manuals viewable in the game) and you'll have a package that even the most jaded gamer would pick up. If the Midway Arcade Treasures collections can sell over 1.5 million units, I think a Simpsons collection (a far more recognizable brand than most, if not all, of Midway's properties) would do OK.

Now if we can just get Konami to throw Simpsons Arcade into the mix we'll have ourselves some sweet Simpsons action.

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