A new year and a new game. The Simpsons Pinball Party has started testing on site and, naturally, some pictures have become available.

Photo courtesy MXV and PLC

There is a full set of pictures available on but sadly following a discussion on the the author has defaced the images with puerile messages.

So, what can we learn from these pictures before we get a chance to play the game for real? Well, the playfield is divided up into a number of scenes - locations where events take place. There is the living room, the garage, the school, Itchy & Scratchy, the power plant, etc. Each one has the ability to double the scoring generated by the scene.

There's clearly a lot to this game. Five (count them) flippers and a mini-playfield (representing the living room), both are high-cost features so they haven't been seen on a Stern game to date. Does this indicate a higher bill-of-material allowance for the game?

If you are a Simpsons fan you'll love the plethora of characters from Springfield on both the playfield and the cabinet. You could spend hours naming those on the cabinet sides alone.

Homer appears Kenny-style with a giant head at the back-left of the game while the LED mini-display appears in an unusual aspect-ratio to fit the obligatory TV, although it does look suspiciously like a microwave oven instead. I mean, how many white TVs are there? But then I suppose there aren't too many microwave ovens in people's living rooms either.

The list next to Homer's head looks like the range of modes available: Duffman, Homer's Day, Willie's Woes, Wiggum Vs Snake, Bart's Day, Krusty's Last Stand, Stop the Monorail and Alien Invasion.

Itchy and Scratchy have actual models on the right side of the playfield and their scene consists of three drop targets guarding a saucer.

If you're not a Simpsons fan (there are some), it's hard to know what you will make of this game - that can only be assessed by discovering the rules and ball flow.

If you are a real Simpsons nut, you've got to be loving this game already. You'll be instantly familiar with so much - the Itchy and Scratchy episode names on the inserts, the different scenes, all the characters and most importantly, you'll already have bought into the whole Simpsons concept.

The game is designed by Keith Johnson. The main credits are:

Game Design, Software: Keith P. Johnson
Original playfield layout: Joe Balcer
Mechanical engineering: Wes Chang, Ray Tanzer
Sound & music: Chris Granner, Dan Forden
Playfield art: Kevin O'Connor
Dot art: Mark Galvez
Dot software: Dwight Sullivan

So, it looks superb. Now we wait to see how it plays. Rest assured the full Pinball News review is coming soon.

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