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Simpsons Prototype Game For Dreamcast Uncovered

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Over the weekend a weird discovery was made on the Dreamcast-Talk forums. A collector had obtained a Dreamcast dev kit hard drive, which you do in hopes of finding unreleased or early versions of games. That collector struck it rich — they found a demo for a game no one had seen or heard of before, starring the Simpsons.

Here’s where it gets weird. The demo, called The Simpsons: Bug Squad! on the title screen, takes place within the Simpson house — but you don’t play as any of the characters. Instead you control some kind of green fly/cockroach thing, outfitted in a jumpsuit. The design of the bug clashes drastically against the Matt Groening style and feels out of place.

The contents were dumped, an ISO was made, and people were able to get it running within hours (thank you, nonexistent Dreamcast copy protection). A “playthrough,” such as it is, appeared on YouTube’s Dreamcastic Channel that evening. The demo consists of just the Simpsons’ kitchen and living room, with a GIF of an Itchy and Scratchy episode playing on the TV.

The cel-shading is impressive, and the modeling of the Simpson home is spot-on. But a bug? It would take until Sunday night to get some concrete answers as to what this was. Video game historian Brandon Sheffield contacted Andy Campbell, who worked for the studio that generated this demo. Here’s what he said about it:

At the end Andy is referring to “Mr. Mosquito,” a game that would be released on the Playstation 2 two years after this demo was made. Similarly, you played as a small insect in a huge human home.

The Simpsons were never officially seen on the Dreamcast, though we suppose if it had lived a bit longer someone might have tried to port Road Rage or Hit & Run to the console.