Simpsons-mania has hit Replay Lincoln Park’s blog! After our dive into the history of The Simpsons Arcade Game, join us as we detail one of the newer entries in the Simpsons arcade collection: The Simpsons Pinball Party!
The Simpsons Pinball Party: How A Licensed Pinball Game Became An Arcade Favorite
The Simpsons Pinball Party was released back in 2003, after the arcade crash of the ’90s. While the crash did affect arcades, and stand-up arcade cabinets very severely, it didn’t impact the pinball industries as hard primarily due to local pinball leagues who helped to keep businesses afloat and demand up. Having said that, the increased risk in making these machines did cause companies like Bally and Stern to try some new things to ensure their tables would continue to sell well.
For their part, Stern thought it would be a good idea to bank on licensing agreements that were already in place. See, they already had a relationship with the creators of The Simpsons, given that they made a licensed pinball table simply titled “The Simpsons” back in 1990, just a few years before the release of The Simpsons Arcade Game.
The Simpsons Pinball Party was Stern’s attempt to make the most of this licensing agreement, and they really went all out. Instead of simply relying on clips and artwork from the show, Stern actually got in touch with the show’s creators, and commissioned them to make custom artwork for the game — you can see the fruits of their labor here. Pretty, right?
Not only that, but The Simpsons Pinball Party also features custom-recorded lines from the show’s voice cast — in particular, Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, and Hank Azaria.
Adding to this is the fact that according to pinball experts, the board is extremely well suited both for casual and competitive play. According to Pinside, The Simpsons Pinball Party features an incredibly complex and layered ruleset, requiring intense knowledge of the board and which ramps to hit when in order to maximize your bonuses. Of course, all this design and effort cost money from Stern, and there was no real guarantee that the Simpsons name would be enough to sell this pinball table to a wide audience.
Happily, the bet paid off handsomely. The Simpsons Pinball Party was reportedly one of Stern Pinball’s most successful pinball tables ever created, with over 5,900 sold across its production run. Not too shabby!