A previously unknown game for the Sega Dreamcast based on The Simpsons has been discovered, and it looks like a cousin of Mister Mosquito. Springfield's first family is no stranger to the video game scene, offering up interactive adventures to fans pretty much since the inception of the show. Acclaim's Bart vs. the Space Mutants released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in February 1991, beating the famous Simpsons arcade beat 'em up by Konami by one month. Releases would continue on an almost yearly basis into the 2000s when Radical Entertainment really came into their own with games like The Simpsons: Hit & Run and The Simpsons: Road Rage.
Electronic Arts would pick up the license in the late 2000s, producing an ambitious action platformer simply titled The Simpsons Game for consoles. This release was followed by a slew of mobile titles, which is typical of licensed properties starting in the 2010s. The latest of those, The Simpsons: Tapped Out, is a popular city-builder that has earned $200 million for the company since its release in 2013. Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, and Krusty the Clown were also among the many playable crossover characters in Lego Dimensions. That game included a full Springfield level to explore as a paid expansion.
Traveling back in time to the days of the Dreamcast, The Simpsons: Bug Squad is an undiscovered tech demo authored by the now-defunct Red Lemon Studios that seemingly served as a proof of concept for a more complicated Simpsons game for the platformer. Dreamcast YouTuber DreamcasticChannel showcased the discovery for the first time, including a playable build starring a realistic fly. The demo lacks sound effects or music, and interactivity is limited, but the titular bug can jump high into the air and glide as it explores the kitchen and living room of the famous house on 742 Evergreen Terrace.
The Simpsons: Bug Squad was discovered thanks to the tireless work of game preservationists digging through the hard drive of a busted Dreamcast dev kit. Users on the Dreamcast-Talk message boards collaborated to get the files and eventually compile the game. The hard drive also included an updated build of Take The Bullet, a planned light gun shooter for the Dreamcast created by the same studio that worked on The Simpsons: Bug Squad. Several new levels for the shooter were discovered, which is another great find for a game that was heavily covered in the last days of Sega's console.
While it's likely that a game called The Simpsons: Bug Squad is not what would have come out of Red Lemon Studios had the Dreamcast continued as a platform, it's still disappointing that their efforts never led to a finished product. Like many Dreamcast games with proper cel-shading, the graphics on display in Bug Squad hold up in 2020, and the early 2000s produced some of the best games ever inspired by Matt Groening's cultural juggernaut. At the very least, the history books just a little more complete and gamers now have a window into what could have been.