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1997 Simpson's joke about Kevin Costner's Waterworld now an elaborate freeware game

Please insert 40 quarters

A game over screen on Kevin Costner's Waterworld - the main character has been stabbed by an enemy on the right side of the arcade cabinet screen
Image credit: RPS/Macaw45

I first made the RPS treehouse aware of Kevin Costner's Waterworld The Game over a week ago, when I dumped this tweet in our work chat. At the time it was swiftly shot down as an obvious joke, and I was shamed, but now the freeware game based on a ten-second joke in a 1997 episode of The Simpsons is out. So who's laughing now, eh? Play it for yourself via creator Macaw45's itch.

You sort of need to see The Simpsons joke first to understand this whole thing. Here is a link to the joke. Here is all the information you need to understand the joke : Waterworld, a film I actually like, is a sort of inverse Mad Max post-apocalypse movie where almost all land on the planet has been covered by rising sea levels. The lead is Kevin Costner, it had a famously troubled and expensive production, and was really over-hyped for release (it did actually get a real video game). This is also basically all the info you need to understand Macaw45's game, but it helps a lot if you've seen the film.

Macaw45's game is actually controlling Millhouse's hands as he uses the 2D arcade cabinet game, so you WASD to move Kevin, and click to push either the interact or punch buttons. You also have to put in coins whenever you die, which will be often. In fights with the Smokers (raider baddies) you have to step in, punch a couple of times, then step back. Sometimes you'll have to jump or duck to avoid projectiles. This is a good speedrun game because, although it is quite short, it could take you a while, and your secondary challenge is to spend as little money as possible. I lost like $70 alone on a level where spanners fall from the sky.

The arcade cabinet-esque game Kevin Costner's Waterworld; the main character has just picked up the dirt

I played Kevin Costner's Waterworld for about 20 minutes, and it's worth giving it a shot, because it's the sort of game that will make you laugh instead of getting frustrated. Also, if you have seen Waterworld, it is very funny when things like "exchanged dirt for tomato plant" appear on screen. Macaw45, meanwhile, is a Twitch streamer specialising in retro games.

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About the Author
Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

Small person powered by tea and books; RPS's dep ed since 2018. Send her etymological facts and cool horror or puzzle games.