It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t at least heard of the animated show, Futurama. But did you know that the show offers a video game as well? That is, if you can beat the other fans to it.
Good news, everyone!
Most of us have watched an episode or 140 of Futurama, the Matt Groening workplace sitcom about the Planet Express interplanetary delivery company and its employees.
It focuses on the lives of a delivery boy named Fry, no-nonsense captain Leela, and “kill all humans” robot Bender in the futuristic 31st century. You see, on the last second of New Year’s Eve 1999, Fry falls into a cryogenic tube and is frozen for 1000 years. He is released later- MUCH later- on December 31st, 2999.
Thus sets up what would end up being ten seasons of show, complete with a revival after Fox attempted cancellation.
Futurama has inspired cosplayers, countless fan groups, and a huge following. Therefore, it is not surprising that Groening and Unique Development Studios decided to move the gang from the tv to the console. The game was released for Xbox and PlayStation in August 2003. Development on the game started before the series’ cancellation, but the game was not released until after the last episode of season 4 had already been shown. For passionate fans, the game has become known as a “lost episode” of sorts, since it includes 28 minutes of new animation.
Many of the crew from the Futurama series worked on the game. Matt Groening served as Executive game developer and David X. Cohen directed the voice actors. These voice actors were the original actors from the series: Billy West as Fy, Katey Sagal as Leela, John DiMaggio as Bender, Tress MacNeille as Linda, Maurice LaMarche as Morbo, and David Herman as Scruffy. Also adding to the authenticity of the game was the original music composition provided by Christopher Tyng, who also composed the music in the series. PLUS, Futurama scriptwriter and producer J. Stewart Burns scripted an original storyline for the plot.
As you can see, a lot of love went into this project by the people who have been attached to this show from the beginning. It’s easy to see why the video game is such a hot commodity in the collecting community.
The game is an action/platformer which includes many typical elements of platformers. This means that the objective is to move your character between points in a rendered environment. Futurama allows the player to accomplish this with puzzle-solving, enemy combat, and collecting.
Futurama received “mixed” reviews upon its initial release. Gameplay was generally considered lackluster, though the cutscenes were described in Wired as “side-splitting”. Maxim gave the game a score of six out of ten and said, “It’s too bad that clunky controls and eh gameplay stay forever buried in a time lock of dull sloppiness.”
I hate to call reviewers wrong, per se, but the fans have more than done that for me. Over the years, gamers and fans of the show alike have propelled sales of the game through the space station roof. It’s been referred to as “playing an episode of Futurama,” and is beloved among fans of all ages. Sure, gameplay might be a bit improvable, but that doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot to the fans.
Game’s over, losers! I have all the money
In May 2020 a PS2 – WATA 9.8 A+ copy sold on eBay for $999.00 and eBay currently lists a Futurama for Xbox, Brand New, Sealed WATA 9.2 B+ for $1,100.
Prices aren’t just high for graded games, either. In September of last year a new, though raw, copy sold for $399.00. Lightly-used copies tend to sell in the $200 range. Loose copies are available for between $75 and $100.
Given that there weren’t a ton of games produced in the first place and the show is now canceled…. (or is it? Could we get lucky again? Probably not, but a girl can hope,) the value of this game is only going to go up. Futurama’s fandom isn’t slowing down, and the cult-quality of the fans is more than passionate; they’re fully-fledged Futuramans. If you happen to come across this one, grab it! Either play it and enjoy a “lost episode” of the show, complete with original voices and music, or keep it safe and in as good condition as possible to sell for a tidy profit someday in the future.
Good news, everyone!
Do you own a copy of this game? Have you ever played it? We want to hear all about it in the comments!