Niche Game: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

Niche games: Âwe’ve all played them. ÂThey’re the games that you remember for a long time because they’re so unique. ÂSometimes they’re the only ones ever made like them. ÂOther times they were trailblazers for their kind of gameplay. ÂBut what they have in common is the bravery to try something new, allowing them to rise above the imitators. ÂEven though there might be newer games with shinier graphics, these games are still worth playing mecause they’re something different, something special.

Bart vs. the Space Mutants is one of the first video games to be made based on The Simpsons. The game was released back in 1991 on various consoles–the version I’m familiar with was on the NES. It’s a side-scroller game probably best described as platform-jumper and puzzle combined.

In the game, Bart is the only one who knows that space mutants have begun an invasion of Springfield. He knows this because his X-ray specs let him see through the aliens human disguises, to see the tentacle-headed monsters beneath. No one believes him so he’s on his own to stop the alien invasion.

The aliens’ secret plans involve collecting certain classes of items, and your objective is to collect, hide, or destroy these items so that the aliens can’t use them. The first level takes place on the streets of Springfield, and the items in question are things that are purple. Bart, of course, comes equipped with his trusty can of spraypaint, thus giving vandals an ironclad excuse for their actions. “I was saving the world from aliens, man!” The spraypaint works on some things, like the purple trash cans, but not everything. Other purple things will require different strategies, like walking on the clothesline to drop the hanging clothes onto purple items in the lawn below. In addition to all this, you can get and spend coins in various ways in this level, including some bottle rockets. I’ll leave it up to you to discover the use of the bottle rockets. This first level also has a skateboarding section which will test your reflexes, and in the end you’ll face off against a water balloon wielding Nelson.

This game is really quite difficult, or at least I thought it was at the time. Bart can only withstand two hits before he dies, and he only has three lives. There are little jumping aliens all over the place as well as the boss characters and other potentially damaging things like dogs. I should replay this game, as I’m curious how far I would get with my much-matured gaming skills.

Later levels progress to different areas of Springfield, such as the mall (where you collect hats), and Krustyland (where you collect balloons). The style of the levels and the different sort of collectibles helps to keep the game fresh. I like the variety this game offers, as well as the familiar humor that will be appreciated by any fan of classic Simpsons.

Finding a copy of this game shouldn’t be too hard. If you want a hard copy, you can find one for less than $5 on eBay. Otherwise it shouldn’t be difficult to find a copy of a ROM to play on your computer. It’s worth the time to play for its platform jumping, interesting puzzles, and Simpsons-based elements. I hope you check it out. Enjoy!

Published by

David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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