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Sunday, 29 April 2018


The Simpsons were everywhere back in the 90s and for a show that wouldn't air on UK terrestrial TV until its seventh year, that was something. Those kids whose parents were rich enough to have SkyTV were the kings of the playground. When BBC started broadcasting it in 1996, I was hooked and happily a year later Fox Interactive gave us a virtual tour of all that I missed out on. That game was The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield.

So, I didn't quite get all of the references or callbacks as a kid, but what I did get was just as funny as the show it is based on. The aim of the game is to collect a number of well-hidden cards dotted around the cartoon town (74 in total). The reason? There isn't one. It's just a virtual playground of stuff to do and you can see quite a bit without picking up a single card.

Each of the 74 collectable cards scattered around town depict a 
Simpsons character, though they are often deviously hard to spot.

You begin in Springfield's Town Square where the one and only Troy McClure introduces the place in a way only he can. You are then given free reign to travel wherever you choose. Some places won't open up until you've seen a certain clue or picked up a certain object. There's no way to really know if you've triggered anything and these clues look just like the many other humourous knickknacks you can look at. Put a little extra thought into it, though, and you can join the dots. For example, if you snoop in Lisa's room and find instructions on how to feed the class gerbil, you will gain access to a cupboard in the school classroom. If you want to collect everything, this kind of puzzle solving is what you can expect. The difficulty mostly comes from sorting what is actually important and what is just for fun.

Almost everything you click on will trigger something fun and often hilarious. Sometimes it's a photo book, a sound clip or a brief animated skit. You will also come across a number of minigames, though not one of them has much depth. Bart's treehouse is the perfect place for a water-bomb minigame (a very basic shooting range) while the arcade has interactive versions of games found in the show. If you ever wanted to play Larry the Looter or Super Slugfest, now you can.

The arcade does have some memorable games to those familiar with the show.
If you are familiar with the show, they're all as bad as you'd expect.

Beyond the barely diverting minigames and the arbitrary treasure hunt, the bulk of the game is spent simply exploring a 3D representation of a town you've only seen in animated form for 30 years (or 10 years in 1997 if you count the Tracey Ullman Show shorts). You'll get to drink a Flaming Moe at Moe's Tavern, destroy heathen deities at Flander's house and cause havoc at Mr Burn's Power Plant. Naturally, the most complete location is the Simpson's home in which every room can be entered. They've always been a bit narcissistic.

If this formula was given to any other property other than The Simpsons, I doubt it would be half as entertaining. The gameplay is almost non-existent but with the show's huge cast and rich history, you get tons of throwbacks to everyone's favourite moments. If you're not a fan, steer clear, but if you are, then jump in and have a blast.

To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer uses PCem running Windows '95. Press Ctrl-Alt-PgDown to toggle fullscreen. Press Ctrl-End or middle mouse button to release the mouse. Tested on Windows 10.

IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting PCem. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data. Close the program only when it is safe to do so.

File Size: 323 Mb.  Install Size: 926 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield is © Fox Interactive
The Simpsons (The TV Show) is © Twentieth Century Fox
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

Like this? Try These...

http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/monty-python-quest-for-holy-grail.html  http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/spider-man-sinister-six.html  http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/battle-beast.html


  1. I get stuttering on all the dialogue in this one; do you think it's just a PC issue on my part? Is there a way to increase the speed/power of the emulated PC?

    1. Hello, if you exit fullscreen (Ctrl-Alt-PgDown) you can see the speed % in the title bar. If it is less than 100%, it's likely your PC isn't beefy enough to handle the emulation. You'll get sound stutters as a result.

      You can try installing any new PCem builds from their website but copying the files in the install folder and overwriting the old ones (a new one came out last month - link in the above description). They may be better optimised for lower end machines.

    2. My computer is fairly old by today's standards (dell optiplex 760 from around 2008) so i was afraid windows 95 emulation would be too much for it.
      At first i was getting %50-70 speed and audio stuttering. Your mileage may vary, but what i did was, under sound>buffer>, i set it to 50ms, then went to misc>machine> and set it as a "Pentium 90"...now it runs flawlessly, and at 100%!I'm pretty happy n.n it may not work for everyone, and i don't know if i undershot it and it may cause any emulation problems or not, but it seems to run perfectly on my end, so i figured i'd post my experience here.

    3. Thanks a lot, wasabio, for this very useful hint. You know, unfortunately, I have never been a fan of The Simpsons in general, but your PCem boost solution might come in handy for the one or other future production by which Biff is still going to surprise us. :-)

      Bye for now,

    4. Just seen this. Nice work around! I'll add it to the FAQ.

    5. Hey - that workaround totally fixed it. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for fullfilling my request!It's much appreciated.
    Very interesting review aswell, now i'll be able to try it out for myself at last n.n

  3. Just tried installing this old gem, something's going very wrong.

    Whenever I try to run it from the shortcut, it just bleeps and goes to a black screen. I go to the main folder and try running pcem.exe and it says "Disk I/O error. Replace the disk, and then press any key" I try to reload SVS.iso but it has no effect.

    And yes, I could find ANY key. Couldn't open a TAB though.

    1. Sounds like an issue with the HDD rather than the CD. Did it install correctly? Is the install size equivalent to the details mentioned on the page (~926 Mb)?

      My first guess is that the install didn't complete properly due to not finding the .bin file and therefore didn't isntall the HDD or corrupted it. Try following the points in the FAQ for more info.

    2. Yes, the file seems to be the right size.

      Couldn't find anything in the FAQ that might help me though.

      I couldn't see any BIN file in the directory though.

      It only seems to run the first time after I install it, from the "Launch Virtual Springfield" option, but even then, it buffers a lot so I need to adjust the setting in it somehow.

      When it's installing, it seems to freeze when on 1% and 11% too.

    3. The freezing you encounter during install is when it's unpacking a large file like an ISO or virtual HDD. If you wait, it will complete. There shouldn't be a BIN file in the install directory. I guess I meant either the .img file that contains the virtual HDD or the second installation file (Install-SVS.D01 - only the really large games on the site use .bin files). I don't think this last one is the issue as the game worked once for you.

      Did you close the program without shutting down the virtual Windows '95? This can corrupt the HDD and can cause a variety of issues (mostly lost saves in my experience but I suspect more dramatic issues like this are possible).

      I've just tested a fresh install and it does work for me both at the end point of the install, using the shortcut and the Run.bat which the shortcut links to.

      I don't know what you mean by 'buffers' but if you're getting sound stutters that's an issue with your set up. Emulating Win95 takes a lot of resources to run smoothly. There's a new bit of info that may helf with that in the PCEm section of the FAQ.

    4. The "buffering" doesn't seem to be a problem anymore, I just adjust the settings (sound and machine) and it runs very smoothly when I run it the first time.

      Also, yes I shut it down properly the first time but the problem still occurs. After I restarted and tried to run it from the shortcut, it says "Windows cannot find PCem.exe" and from the file itself, the same "Disk I/O error" and like I said, I couldn't find anything in the FAQ about it.

      BTW the whole "any key" thing at the bottom of my first post was a reference to the episode Homer gained weight to work from home and says "To start press any key. Where's the any key?" in case you didn't know, but I'm sure you did. LOL.

    5. Right click the short cut and see if it links to RUN.bat or PCEM.exe. If it's the latter, there will be some arguments after it. If you edit Run.bat in notepad it should look something like this

      start PCem.exe --config ".\configs\SVS.cfg" --fullscreen

      Also, stick to the original settings. Changing Machine would likely have repercussions with the Windows emulation - only fiddle with the CPU. What did you change it to? I'll see if I can replicate the error.

      Maybe this changed the .cfg file from being relative. Open SVS.cfg in the configs folder in notepad and see if cdrom_path and hdd_fcn are relative (eg .\CD\SVS.iso)

      The only other thing I can think of is that if you've installed it in the deafault program files, you don't have the admin rights. Right click and run as admin or install to a different folder outside of Prgram Files. Sometimes its the simplest of solutions...

      Or, you could forget the whole thing and order a TAB :)

    6. Amazing. I installed it to a different folder and it seems to be running OK :)

      I set the CPU to "Pentium 75" and just lower the buffering to 50. After this, like I said, the sound is still a bit jittery but other than that, it's all good.

      No time for that TAB now, the computer's starting!

    7. Try the OpenAL32.dll fix in the FAQ. It makes no difference to my high-end setup but I've read it helps with the stutters. I'm curious to know what impact it has for those with lower spec machines.

    8. To be honest, it doesn't seem to make any difference with mine. Thanks for all your help though.

  4. Absolutely fantastic! Thanks for going to the effort of getting this to work in it's own little package!

  5. Hi, I want to run PCem.exe but its saying no roms installed?

    1. Hello. There should be a ROMS folder in the install directory roughly 5-6mb in size. If this didn't get created, try running the installer again as admin and outside of program files.

  6. This is incredible. It's always a pain when I come back to this game and have to figure out one new emulation solution or another. Thanks for putting the game into a neat little package!

  7. Thank you so much for this, so many memories.

  8. Good package. They should have released an expansion to this, still funny/interesting for simpsons fans though.

  9. I got the game running with the sound buffering option at 50%. Most of the stuttering is gone but still just a bit.

    Misc>Machine does not give me any options and does nothing when clicked. How do I set the machine to pentium 90?

    Btw I installed the game on my C drive in its own floder rather than the default instalation.

    Thanks for any advice and thanks for making the game available and playable.

    1. The folder shouldn't make any difference unless it is in Program Files (or Windows folder, but why would anyone do that?!). I do know PCEm does take up a lot of resources - much, much more than the original game required upon release. There's more info about this on the FAQ. May try downloading the newest version from the PCEm website. You can copy it over and overwrite the files without issue. I believe it may be a little more optimised than the one packaged here.

  10. Thank you for providing this great package of a fantastic specimen of a game from the golden era. AFter stumbled upon much obstacles, your solution works perfectly. I hope you'll continue to provide the community with your awesome stash o' games. Thanks again.

  11. It doesn't recognise my "end" key so none of the hotkeys will work.

    1. It's been a while since I played it but I don't recall any conflict with keys. This sounds like DOSBox mapper issue. Press Ctrl-F1 to enter the keyboard mapper where you can change it to something else.