Bonestorm is an ultra-violent fighting game. It was released during the Christmas season in Springfield.
Bonestorm is released in a very aggressive marketing campaign. A TV ad for Bonestorm shows two kids playing a video game and being bored with it. Then, the house shakes, a hip-looking Santa crashes his sleigh through the wall, and his two reindeer growl and snarl at the kids. "Santa" then uses a bazooka to shoot Bonestorm into their video console and shouts, "You want excitement? Shove this up your stocking!" After this, there are some shots of the kids playing the game and two six-armed characters on-screen beating each other while blood and torn limbs are falling from the sky. The ad finishes with the Santa character saying: "So tell your folks: 'Buy me Bonestorm or go to Hell!'"
The ad has its intended effect on Bart, as he immediately wants to have the game. He goes straight to Marge and said, "Buy me Bonestorm or go to Hell!" Marge refuses to buy it because she feels it is too expensive and too violent. She also mentions that the game is too distracting to Bart's school work and wants a more family friendly game. Bart then begs Homer to buy it for him, but he also refuses and tells him to go work for it. However, Milhouse gets the game, and is amazed by it just after entering his player nickname. He tries to type "Thrillhouse", but runs out of space and ends up with "THRILLHO". Bart, passing the Van Houten home, hears Milhouse playing Bonestorm, went inside, and asked to play. Milhouse didn't want Bart playing the game and claims it is only a one player game, but when Bart pointed out the game's multiplayer mode, he get Bart kicked out by making his mother believe Bart was swearing.
Bart next goes to The Android's Dungeon and tries to buy the game for 99 cents, but mistakes its rental fee for a sale price, as Comic Book Guy sarcastically explains to him. With the misunderstanding cleared up, Bart then asks if he could rent a copy of Bonestorm. However, Comic Book Guy is out of rental copies, so Bart is again denied a chance to play the game.
Now frustrated, Bart goes to the Try-N-Save to look at the game, and sees spoiled-rotten kid Gavin getting his mother to buy him two copies of the game, since Gavin doesn't want to share with his sister Katelyn. Jimbo and Nelson encourage him to shoplift Bonestorm and give himself a Merry Christmas present. When the clerk leaves the game case unlocked, Bart has four of the most popular game characters convince him to steal Bonestorm. Lee Carvallo attempts to warn him not to because there are consequences to shoplifting. No longer able to resist, Bart tries to shoplift the game, but is caught by store detective Don Brodka. He urges Bart never to come back or he'll have him sent to juvenile hall. Bart tries to hide his shoplifting from the family as best as possible, but when Brodka confronts him during a family portrait session, he plays the tapes showing the shoplifting attempt to both Homer and Marge and sends the family home.
Later, when Bart returns to Milhouse, he asks his friend if he wants to play Bonestorm but Milhouse informs Bart that he doesn't play it anymore because it was boring and he now plays with a cup and ball. Bart wants to try it but Milhouse almost gets Bart kicked out (again) by making his mother believe Bart was smoking until Bart stops her and spends time with her for comfort.
After returning to the Try-N-Save, Bart comes home with a bulge in his jacket; Marge and Homer believe he shoplifted for the game again and confront him; but it turns out that he only got a self-portrait of himself to make up for destroying their family portrait. Marge then presents her gift to him, saying that she was told it was the one "all the kids want". Expecting Bonestorm, Bart opens the gift to find a much less exciting game, and accepts the gift.
Behind the Laughter
- Bonestorm is an obvious parody of the Mortal Kombat games, and for its time, a parody on 1990s fighting video games that also cashed in and rode on the trend of being super violent and gory. The various characters fighting each other in the TV ad bear a strong resemblance to the Mortal Kombat characters Liu Kang, Goro & Kintaro. Its name is also similar to an arcade fighting game of similar nature depicted by the name of Bloodstorm, which also came out around the same time as its debuting episode era.
In The Simpsons: Hit and Run, a sequel called Bonestorm 2 was released. It was the plot of the sixth mission in Level One and the first half of Level Two in the game. In the Level One mission "Bonestorm Storm", Marge wants to collect and destroy a cargo of Bonestorm games inside a truck, with Homer's help; leading to the first half of Level Two, Bart wants to have Bonestorm 2, but upon reaching the Try-N-Save it was mentioned by Jimbo Jones that "some crazy lady" [Marge] destroyed all the rest of the copies while Jimbo himself got the last one. Bart continues to be fixated on the game until he hears about Professor Frink's monster.
Also in the same game, a collector's card in Level 2 references the first game.
Milhouse later uses the THRILLHO (short for Thrillhouse) name in The Miseducation of Lisa Simpson