Avid Simpsons buffs know that video is the only way to savor the show, since so many throwaway gags--primarily visual--are tucked in little scene transitions, or in the backgrounds of shots. Here's another way to stop time with the Simpsons: a non-goal-oriented, self-guided tour of the place Bart and Lisa call home. It's cartoon tourism gone loco: Visit the Kwik-E-Mart and peruse its magazine rack (Mayonnaise Today, Armchair Survivalist, Pillow Hog); toss doughnuts with Homer from his desk at the nuclear plant; check out Ned Flanders's family room, featuring such fundamentalist toys as the "Last Supper Action Set" and a holy-water target-shooting game.
There's a mild quest incentive involved, where players find keys and get extra access to other spots, but otherwise the disc functions as an expanded joke book. This may limit its useful life: Once you catch all the jokes--which are based more on words than pictures (no parodies of old movies, alas)--it's a done deal. Still, as a colorful reinterpretation of the fan-oriented computer game, Virtual Springfield sure beats the solemnity of the various Star Trek disks.