It’s been a good month for fans of decades-old unreleased games based on existing, well-known pop culture properties. A couple of weeks after the unreleased PlayStation version of Superman 64 was posted online, an unannounced The Simpsons game for Dreamcast has shown up. According to the Dreamcast Talk forum, via Kotaku, the title purports to be a tech demo for The Simpsons: Bug Squad, dated 2000.
The files were found on an old Dreamcast dev unit, the contents of which was uploaded by user Sreak, with other users digging in to the data. Bug Squad is credited to Red Lemon Studios, a British developer that made Aironauts, Braveheart and Farscape: The Game before closing in 2003. The game’s title card says that it was built to demonstrate the game’s rendering engine to executives at Fox Interactive in October 2000.
From what little material is available, it looks like Bug Squad may have featured a crew of jumping, bipedal cockroaches infesting 742 Evergreen Terrace. The game features a cel-shaded version of the Simpson family’s kitchen and living room, with a remarkable degree of accuracy. Of the eponymous family, only Homer makes an appearance, walking around the room like a moving hazard, oblivious to the bugs.
Another title that Red Lemon began work on, but never finished, was Take The Bullet, a first-person shooter that used the Dreamcast light gun. That game was unearthed back in 2015, with The Dreamcast Junkyard showing off some play-through footage from what had been completed. The addition of another canceled title helps to burnish Red Lemon’s legacy, and make us all a little wistful for what could have been.