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A blog dedicated to the popular mobile game, The Simpsons: Tapped Out

Crazy Handful of Nothin’

For some, spending money on this game may be difficult to justify, at least from a game play perspective. The enjoyment of the game comes in small doses. If you had unlimited funds and unlimited donuts, you could build everything and rush every task. This would leave you with very little motivation to continue playing the game, especially if you weren’t reading the dialogue between the characters. The charm of The Simpsons has always been its strong writing, so if your favorite character is placed behind a pay-wall, you may consider making a small purchase.

Decorating your town is only one aspect of the game, but without the characters to populate that town, the whole experience feels rather empty. In that regard it does makes sense to want to purchase as many characters as possible, to make your town feel as diverse and populated as the television show.

Unfortunately to do that you’re going to have to spend some money, as some of the best characters are put behind a pay-wall, or worse, are only available for a limited time.

Recently the problem with that has been the increased cost of premium content. Take a look at the different options for buying donuts versus the cost of the items you can buy. Say you really wanted to add Sherri & Terri to your town, a premium character that cost 150 donuts. The first three options of 12, 60, or 132 donuts aren’t even enough to get you that one character. You’re going to have to spend at least $19.99 on 300 donuts to get just one piece of premium content.

For twenty dollars you could purchase a brand new game on a service like Steam, and still have money left over for lunch. Is it really worth it to spend that much money on something that is only going to add a marginal bit of diversity and enjoyment to a game you’ll likely only be playing for five to ten minutes per day? It may not seem like much, but micro-transactions can put a huge dent in your wallet without you even realizing it.

One other thing to consider is that whatever you are buying, it isn’t tangible. You can’t even play the game without an internet connection, or if Origin is down. So if either of those two scenarios happen, how angry are you going to be that you can’t access the content you poured hundreds of dollars into?

It isn’t worth it to cheat, because you’ll get bored with the game because there won’t be anything left to do. It’s also not wise to spend so much money on content that doesn’t really add that much to the game. So what is the solution? Honestly donuts should be cheaper. The only reason they aren’t is because people are continuing to buy content at these high prices, making the game a financial success.

You should be able to spend a dozen donuts and add a new character to your town. It’s much easier to justify spending two dollars on a character than it is twenty, especially when new content keeps being added to the game every couple of weeks. If you really want to see the quest dialogue, check the walkthroughs. If you want to see the character animations, check YouTube or maybe you’ll get lucky and see them in one of your friends’ towns.

Save your money. Play responsibly. Enjoy what you are given for free.

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35 Responses to Crazy Handful of Nothin’

  1. Classic CrackbackSeptember 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I completey agree. I never understood why people spent so much on this game. The posts at TSTOTips on whether you should spend donuts on a premium character always amused me because I always felt the answer should be no.

    Part of the fun is slowly earning enough donuts to get things.I’ve been playing about a year now and finally saved up enough to get Duffman.I also have Squeaky Voiced Teen.It’s probably be a good while before I get another premium character but I’m ok with that.

  2. HowardSeptember 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Did the article point out that less than 10% support freemium games because in no way shape or form is asking someone to pay $20 for a single character/building/decoration a ‘micro’ transaction?

    That’s my point.Sell ten for $20.Sell 1,000 for $2.All EA can see is “$20 is more than $2, so we’ll go that route”, but this is the math kindergarten kids use.

  3. JacobSeptember 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I read an article about freemium games, including TSTO. Was interesting when they said that a very small number of players actually support the game (like well under 10%) however they still have great success with the freemium game model.

    I’ve bought two 60 packs of donuts, so I’ve spent ten bucks since I started playing last August. That’s less than a dollar a month, which I would’ve gladly paid if the game was a subscription base instead of freemium. I don’t mind supporting EA, however I do agree that the cost of premium stuff is way too hug, and only seems to be getting higher. Oh we’ll, still a ton of fun if you never spend a dime on it.

  4. IzSeptember 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I’m hoping – and actually assuming – that EA will lower their prices as soon as they get lower income from the prices they have now. Possibly they’ll never lower the prices and I guess that’s also a good thing because that means they can keep up their work.
    And as soon as either the donut prices get cheaper or the premium stuff cost less donuts, if they do it in a good time, their earnings will hit the roofs again because suddenly the stuff gets buyable by everyone else who wanted to save their money for better times.

    Until then we can just relax and enjoy the free stuff that others pay for. Because whatever EA does, they own the label that all Simpsons fans love so blindly and people will surely pay for it.

  5. HowardSeptember 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

    PS: EA needs to get it through their thick heads that 100,000 people buying something for 10 donuts makes a LOT more money than 1,000 people buying the same item at 100 donuts.

  6. HowardSeptember 3, 2013 at 11:16 am


    I’ve been railing against this constant donut inflation for some time now, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better.EA was able to trick me this time, I thought for sure at 150 donuts, Sherri and Terri would be separate entities, as are Rod and Todd.Some tasks joint, some tasks separate.Nope.Turns out, as far as EA is concerned, Sherri and Terri are conjoined twins.

  7. raventhiefSeptember 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Actually you can add another 190 donuts from the level 34 premium content on top of that…
    Taking it passed the 7000donut mark. Lol….

  8. raventhiefSeptember 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

    6867 ish donuts are required to buy everything that’s been released to date.
    Assuming you have played all the events and got every prize.
    Also not using them to speed up progress..
    And that’s only if you buy 1 of each donut item…!

  9. ArniePyeInTheSkySeptember 3, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I agree, and I really wanted Sherri and Terri from the beginning of the game. So I was really upset when they turned out to be premium characters. 150 donuts is WAY too much money. I can see 85 or 90 donuts, because that only costs $10. But $20 is too much for a character in a game that doesn’t even have a voice. I’ll get Arnie pye next for 85 donuts. he has a voice AND great animations.

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

      His animations seemed really cool in screenshots, but in practice they were troublesome. Still though, $10 would be too much. Perhaps if it the character also came with a building, and was voiced.

  10. Ign= waldingerzSeptember 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I never heard of Steam, but it sounds tha you are advertising using the blog…not good. ( My grammar will get better when my other eyes opens. )

  11. raventhiefSeptember 3, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Heres a thought for those that don’t buy donuts,
    Would you pay $5 to $10 a month for an online subscription game?
    There are lots of mmo games that charge this much….
    What about dropping £30 to £40 on a console game which sometimes only gives 7 to 10 hours of game play.
    Now think about how many hours you put into your spring field…
    So could you not justify spending a few dollars every month?

    • WillSeptember 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

      I’d be hugely disappointed with a £30/40 game which only gave 7 to 10 hours of gameplay.Good ones give weeks, months, and often many years’ of entertainment for that investment.Which is precisely why having to fork out half that amount for a minor and incremental purchase in TS:TO is such a bad proposition..

      Doughnuts are massively overpriced – they’re simply not value for money.

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Some of the best games I’ve ever played have only provided 7 – 10 hours of game play. Even if you buy a mediocre game every once in a while, it’s still a brand new experience. Spending as much money as many people have on this one game is outrageous. The psychology of these types of games are brilliant, because you can rationalize the purchases since they are spread out over time.

      Would you send $500+ dollars on this game upfront? Probably not. If you spread out those expenditures over time though, you’ll probably find that you’ve spend close to, or possibly even more on this one game. Of course you’re going to keep playing the game for months, or even years, because it’s designed to only be played for five to ten minutes at a time.

  12. WillSeptember 3, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Agree entirely.I’ve been playing this game without spending anything for almost a year.I wouldn’t object to chipping in a few £ at all – in fact I feel a bit guilty never having done so – but every time I’m tempted to buy a few doughnuts I recoil at the gouging prices and incredibly poor VFM.EA make the game feel pretty grubby with their exploitative and greedy pricing strategy.

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

      I wish that I saved my money and just worked with what was added to the game for free. There are so many other mobile games that have premium content for prices that are much easier to swallow, this is not one of them.

  13. sonpecSeptember 3, 2013 at 4:42 am

    I agree that the donuts are WAY too expensive. I would spend more money if I got a better return. I purchased some during Gil’s big sale. I still thought they were expensive, but I wanted some premium characters. EA should bring the prices down or have more sales, I think they’d definitely see an increase in donut sales.

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:49 am

      I was tempted with the sale on donuts, but even that was too expensive. Lowering the price on donuts, as well as the cost of new content would be great. This is unlike though since there current business model has been so successful. At this point though the value of the additional content doesn’t justify the cost.

  14. raventhiefSeptember 3, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Thankfully there are millions of people who don’t mind shelling out a few £ $ €for premium content.
    Because if they didn’t spend money on donuts the game would have been cancelled by now….
    No pay = no profit = no game !!

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

      I wouldn’t say thankfully. When the game launched you saw things priced around 10 – 60 donuts, and people paid for them. Now you’re seeing content priced more in the 120 – 200 donuts price range, and people are still paying. The publishers are seeing how far they can push the envelope before people stop paying and their profits show a decline.

      There are a lot of people who aren’t buying donuts because they are so ridiculously expensive. If you got more bang for your buck as they say, millions more people would make the leap to buying premium content. Additionally, the whole GameZino thing never would have happened either. If the prices were fair enough on their own, people wouldn’t have risked giving up their account information for cheaper donuts.

      • JosSeptember 5, 2013 at 7:43 am

        Hi feelingblind,

        If I am correct I know your awesome, joyful (!!!!) posts on a previous TSTO site and therefore I was a little surprised to read this comment.

        I totally get your point and yes the current premium stuff is overpriced; even more, sometimes I’m in the mood to quit the game. I’m a player (also a huge Simpsons fan) for one year and have spend around 70 – 100 USD on donuts.
        But I like to see TSTO mostly in a more “positive” way: in contrast with what you wrote about the duration of the game per day, I play -or have to- longer to keep up with the SF cash for land expansion, new level buildings (ca. 700,000 for the world fair!), Krustyland, etc. Most often I start 3 times 4 hours quests and 1 12 hour quest, apart from jumping in the game once in a while to collect money from buildings/houses and visiting some friends. It is fun to do that during moments you have to wait or bored. I do not have the time or don’t feel like it to housefarm or set up other constructions to gain XP and collect free donuts every now and then. The game does not interfere with my real life, as there are limits on this too.
        1. If I had not spend this amount of donuts, I would have been frustrated because you cannot keep up well. My daughter is a freemium, frequent player for the last 6 months and is not able to start squid port, etc. In short, she has already all the buildings standing on top of each other without decorations. But she’s fine with that, unlike me :-)
        2. Indeed, it may all be not valuable in the end, but I have to admit I already had a lot of fun, using the characters in the game over time (“I do find happiness in the bottom of a glass” and many other hilarious one-liners). I also must admit that I have already spend non-virtual things in my life for hobby’s, I later regret because they were a waste of money for sure and I guess it will be a lot more than 100 USD, saying it is sometimes quite relative.
        3. I think that Gamezino ruined it for players like me. Although I did not purchase anything, the donuts -due to the current price of the premium stuff- have a sour taste now, and certainly not sweet anymore ;-)After the GZ show, the donuts seems even more expensive as they are. That is also the reason why I will not spend more money in the future, not to block EA for their sales strategy, because it cannot be justified. A lot has changed over the year and I understand your mood. Halloween was a fantastic update, but what would be the price of Kodos if release witha potential, similar event? 100 donuts for a second ray gun? ;-)
        4. In the meantime, I will enjoy tapping!

  15. quiksilver2814September 3, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Good points, all, and very sobering. I think I have spent about $10 all told on this game, buying Golden Scratch-Rs. I rashly spent all of my early donuts on Homer Buddhas, thinking I was never really going to be able to save up enough donuts for the premium content, so I might as well take a chance on winning some of it. Needless to say, I got a few fruit trees and benches. Having said all of this stuff, though, is there anything that you WOULD recommend spending donuts on?

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Squeaky-Voice Teen is a great purchase at 30 donuts, and you don’t even need to spend money to get him. You can save easily save the donuts you are given early in the game to acquire this character.

      • GeoffSeptember 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        I completely agree with getting SVT. He’s been a great pick-up & has earned me a lot of $. I also took advantage of many XP glitches & farmed for donuts. Luckily I have a job with a lot of downtime. I’ve read on other sites that its not worth it but I totally disagree. I got SVT, Moleman & Dr. Nick in about a week. No B.S.

      • JosSeptember 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

        … but I had him in a Mystery Box. On the other hand the chance that you will have him this way is 0.01%, if I remember well. Going through all the levels you can save up to about 70 donuts, but most interesting characters are more expensive.And those that are cheaper (moleman, etc), can be present in the Mystery Box. That was the reason why I always hold off these characters.

  16. micah07September 3, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Well said – I wish i would have heeded this advice early on instead of getting so caught up in the game. There are a lot of premium items I have not bought, but until Sherri and Teri I had bought all of the premium characters and have spent waaaaay to much money over all. I don’t miss the money, but it is a rotten value in the end.

    • feelingblindSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

      I regret having spent so much on this game. Granted it’s not nearly as much as others have spent on this game, but it’s still more than I should have spent. Early in the game it made more sense because more characters and such helped you level-up, but at the end of the game it’s all just fluff.

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