As a kid, I loved The Simpsons. It was my favourite cartoon, and every night me and my brother would sit and watch it. Sometimes our dad would join us, and to this day, it’s still one of the main ways I can bond with one of my aunts, who absolutely adores Bart Simpson. Naturally, when a new Simpsons game came out, my brother and I were quick to convince our mum to get it for us. One game we played repeatedly on the PlayStation 2 was The Simpsons: Hit & Run.
This year, on the 16th of September, Simpsons: Hit & Run will turn 20 years old. While the fact that it’s turning 20 hurts me on a visceral level, there’s no denying that it’s by far possibly the best Simpsons game to be made. While I love The Simpsons Game, The Simpsons: Road Rage, The Simpsons Wrestling and even The Simpsons: Skateboarding, Hit & Run is the one game that everyone thinks of when they think of a successful adaptation of the long-running series.
I was seven years old when this game launched, and to this day, I can admit that I was absolutely awful at it. My older brother was the one who was dedicated to the story missions, especially the races. I was much better at doing random fetch quests, as the moment I went into a race, I can safely say I lost every time. Did I ever improve with age? No. But that wasn’t why I loved Hit & Run. See, there’s no doubt that this was every child’s answer to Grand Theft Auto. There was no way in hell that I could convince my parents to get me GTA, but The Simpsons? Yeah, they were chill with that. So, it curbed my need for rampant vehicular destruction.
It also helped that The Simpsons was still a massive part of my daily routine back in those days. I could get all the references back then (look, it’s over 30 seasons and counting, and as much as I’m committed to a long-term series, I just prefer the good ol’ days of the show), so I loved the amount of costumes and vehicles that I could get. It even had my favourite outfit for Lisa—the Cool Lisa outfit featuring shades, a tie-dye shirt, torn-up shorts, and flip-flops. Did this outfit somehow inspire my fashion sense as a kid? Probably. However, it’s still her best outfit, even after all these years.
Let’s not forget some of the classic vehicles, such as Homer’s disastrous design that tanked his half-brother’s fortunes in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”, which, to this day, I still think is a bonafide classic. Plus, a part of me will always love The Honor Roller, Bart’s first default car in the game that Martin Prince built in the episode “Saturdays of Thunder”. The number of vehicles from each episode meant that you could play around a fair bit, and it’s no surprise that so many fans are clamouring for a remaster of this game.
It may be the 20th anniversary this year, but I still think it’s a pipe dream to hope that it will be added to the classics collection in PlayStation Plus. I just wish that it could be played because now my PlayStation 2 has sadly become incapable of being used unless I put a bunch of books on top of it.
Of course, I don’t want to admit that I would still be bad at it. I tried to play it one summer a few years ago, and I can safely admit that I still don’t know how to drive. But you know what? I don’t even care. Even if you were bad at it, The Simpsons: Hit & Run was always the game to play when you just wanted to cause chaos and sing, “I am Evil Homer, I am Evil Homer.”