|The Simpsons: Tapped Out|
|Platform(s)||iOS, Android, Kindle Fire|
The Simpsons: Tapped Out is a freemium mobile game for iOS and Android, based on the American animated series The Simpsons. It allows users to create and maintain their own version of Springfield using familiar characters and buildings. The game is regularly updated with new content, often season and holiday themed, for example during holidays like Thanksgiving, and Treehouse of Horror episodes-related content for Halloween. The game is available in several languages such as English, French, Turkish, Italian, German, Simplified Chinese, Peninsular Spanish and both European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. The game was developed and published by EA Mobile and launched in Europe on February 29, 2012 and in North America on March 1, 2012 for iOS and February 6, 2013 for Android. The game was released for Kindle Fire devices in several markets on June 24, 2013. According to its own estimates, EA generated over $130 million in revenue since the game's release.
Too busy playing an elf-related game on his myPad (parody of iPad) at work, Homer neglects his workstation and accidentally causes a meltdown at the nuclear power plant, leading to a complete destruction of Springfield. Left stranded, he is solely responsible for rebuilding Springfield and bringing back its town members. Homer is desperate to find other characters so that he can get them to rebuild and he can get back to his elf game. With the help of Lisa, Homer rebuilds Springfield and brings back key sought-out characters.
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The game may be considered a city-building game. It offers a variety of buildings (houses, shops, public buildings from the animation series) that the player buys with "Money ($)" in-game currency. Premium items are bought with donuts which can also be purchased with real-world cash. This references Homer Simpson's passion for donuts within the series. The player uses building and character quest-lines to make in-game progress. By completing quests and levels, the player collects more characters and buildings unlocking further quests and levels. Each building regularly generates in-game money to collect, under names such as "Income tax" from houses and the "Collection plate" from the First Church of Springfield. Players can place rivers, roads, pavement and decorations on the land. In 2013, developers added the "Krustyland" transporter, to get players from Springfield to the infamous Krustyland, where they can expand and build like the main Springfield game.
The game is supported by EA's Origin, which acts as a social bridge to where players log into their Origin accounts and visit friends' towns to collect cash once every 24 hours; and occasionally other tasks during an event.
There is a hidden easter egg where, in order to obtain the statue of Jebediah Springfield decoration, the player must tap Homer 10 times in a row whilst he is performing any task. This action also gives the player 10 free donuts, but can only work once.
Since the May 18, 2016 update, the maximum number of levels is counted to 939, because this is the Simpsons' area code in Springfield.
Frequent content updates have been released for the game, with new game content or time-limited events related to episode promotions or holidays. Major events include a temporary currency, which can be used to buy – or win – limited edition prizes. For some events every user's winnings contributed to a community fund, which includes prizes for certain levels of the event currency.
According to game runner and longtime Simpsons writer J. Stewart Burns, the game originally started as a "labor of love" and he didn't expect much to happen after the game's release. Although they do not get credited, there are about ten writers who currently work on the game, including Simpsons writers Burns, Matt Selman, Brian Kelley, Jeff Westbrook, Jon Kern, Carolyn Omine and Diana Wright.
Shortly after the iOS launch, the game was pulled from the iOS App Store due to EA's servers being unable to cope with the demand and a plethora of serious glitches reported by users. After a month had passed, EA set up a forum whereby users could report bug issues, but failed to offer solutions to issues or temporary updates. Some users who had made in-app purchases discovered that their purchases had vanished. After contacting EA, users were able to collect refunds directly from Apple. Several months later on August 16, 2012, the app returned to the App Store. Since 2016 there has been a bug that removes most functionality from the game interface. Players are calling this the "rollback bug" since the only way to fix your game is to have EA support roll your game back to a previous date before you acquired the bug. As of April 2018 there is still no fix for this bug and it continues to grow affecting almost 20% of all players.
Due to criticism of the larger trend of freemium games' revenue structure, the game was satirized in the South Park episode "Freemium Isn't Free" as exploitative and lacking in gameplay. The game itself earlier lampooned this point during an in-game conversation between two characters. In The Simpsons season 25 episode "Labor Pains" Homer opens the game on his phone and is automatically charged $300.
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- "Whack Attack – The Unofficial Simpsons: Tapped Out Blog". tappedoutunofficial.wordpress.com. July 1, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- "The countdown to the final community prize is on! – Tapped Out Daily". tappedoutdaily.wordpress.com. November 1, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- "How the Mobile Game Tapped Out Brought Old Simpsons Fans Back Into the Fold". Vulture. September 25, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- Parfitt, Ben (March 5, 2012). "EA pulls The Simpsons iOS from App Store". MCV. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "THE SIMPSONS: TAPPED OUT RELAUNCHES ON THE APP STORE". Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- ""South Park Trashes "Freemium" Games Like The Simpsons: Tapped Out". CraveOnline. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
- "The Simpsons Tapped Out Is Surprisingly Honest About Freemium Games". Dorkly. August 31, 2014. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
- "2018 Winners". The Webby Awards. April 24, 2018. Retrieved June 30, 2018.