The Story -- An Overview - The Simpsons: Tapped Out
The venerable idiot Homer Simpson is sitting in his usual place at work in the Springfield Nuke Plant,
which is revealed to be a "Fissionator Slow-Fission Reactor" that was originally built in 1952 and that is the type commonly referred to as a "breeder reactor" that has the dual function of creating power as well as weapons-grade plutonium (that aspect of the plant appeared in two of the episodes, most notably in the episode in which an Albanian Spy named Adil Hoxha -- who appeared to be a ten-year-old foreign exchange student -- infiltrated the plant as part of a tour group and took pictures as well as obtained infrastructure and design information for the plant thanks to an overly communicative Homer Simpson, who it seems is always happy to share information with the people who take the plant tour!
While in most of the episodes Homer's job is said to be that of "Safety Inspector" -- which is a white collar position that usually is staffed by an engineer who is part of the management team on the ToO -- Homer's workspace and workstation appear to be an overly-simplified interpretation of what would, in real life, be called a Safety Cut Off Station, or SCRAM Station.
As the game begins Homer is seen holding his "myPad" (the Springfield version of an iPad) upon which he is playing a Mobile Gaming App called "The Happy Little Elves" (a parody of the animated cartoon series The Smurfs) -- with the intensity of the turn-and-time-based game causing him to be somewhat hyper-focused upon the game to the exclusion of all else. Appearing to be very frustrated by the game and its game play style which forces the player to wait after each action in the game before they can complete their next action; tapping into the RMP (Real Money Purchase) system in the game, Homer chooses to buy a significant quantity of Happy Little Elf Berries (the in-game item that can be universally applied to the different game play elements in order to speed up the game and its turn system), only to discover that the purchase actually costs him $1000 in real money!
The distraction of the game combined with his frustration and the realization that he has spent a large sum of money (which he is overheard thinking out loud that he would blame the purchase on one of his kids in order to obtain a refund) contributes to Homer not paying attention to his workstation or the alarms sounding on it. Homer's oblivious awareness of the situation eventually leads to a core meltdown, which then contributes to the conditions that are necessary to foment a catastrophic explosion at the plant that literally destroys the entire city of Springfield!
If you are not a fan of the series it may help you to know that the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, which is owned by the iconic series character Montgomery Burns, is notorious for being poorly run and supervised, with a level of haphazard maintenance of such that it, combined with the unwillingness of its owner to spend the money required to bring it up to code and make it safe, creates a long-running theme in the television show that is a mixture of an ironic juxtaposition and unlikely humor.
Special Events add unique limited-time content to the game
To put that in perspective for you, in the animated series there are elements that represent the safety flaws that routinely appear in both the opening sequence and the background during each show, with examples including Homer accidentally taking a fuel rod with him in his clothing when he leaves work for the day (that fuel rod itself is something of a running gag, with different things happening to it), and very obvious images like irradiated glow-in-the-dark rats, people, a three-eyed fish and giant spiders, which along with leaking pipes in the bowels of the plant, improperly stored and leaking barrels of toxic and radioactive waste and a plethora of other serious safety violations contribute to an over-all highly negative impression of the plant that requires no verbal explaining or narration.
As you play the game you will notice barrels of waste appearing in odd places both in the plant and its urban and suburban environs -- that too is something of a running gag and a faithful part of the series canon in that Burns routinely and secretly disposes of waste barrels by burying them in the playground at the local elementary school, dumping them in area lakes and streams, distributing the barrels around town down the odd alley or three, with the results of this careless business practice being very obviously represented by a number of cameo-style appearances as well as "clues" to the true state of the local environment...
Skeletal remains of employees previously sickened and deceased through exposure to the toxic and radioactive waste are often seen stored in the basement of the plant, throughout a number of episodes the presence of unusually high and very unsafe levels of radiation around the plant and its environs are witnessed in the form of very high readings on Geiger counters, the presence of that radiation being thought to have been caused by the partial melt-downs that have taken place on numerous occasions that were prevented from transitioning into complete melt-downs by Homer's unusually effective dumb luck in dealing with these emergencies in a case-by-case fashion as part of the sub-plot for each of the episodes in which the events took place.
As a side-note, the rather tongue-in-cheek rip on what has to number among the most popular mechanism used in freemium games today -- the time-delayed action system -- is just the sort of thing that the creators of The Simpsons are well-known for!
With the town now completely destroyed, the challenge and game play theme is explained to the player: Homer (with the help of his family and friends) must rebuild Springfield from the ground up, and the basic game play theme is now complete as this quest-based city-building game play adventure unfolds. In order to accomplish his goals of rebuilding Springfield the way that he (you, the player, actually) wants it to appear, it is necessary to complete tasks and quests and to generate income in order to pay for the construction costs. This is primarily the set of activities that the player must embrace in order to progress the reconstruction of the town, though they are not compelled to build it in any specific set pattern beyond that dictated by Level restrictions.
To make life more interesting and add to the challenge of building and maintaining your city the developer added a multi-player aspect to the game permitting players to visit with each other, not merely adding a social interaction subsystem to the game, but potentially offering gamers the chance to explore a narrowly defined sense of Schadenfreude by going after key and valuable elements in their friend's town -- but be wary as the same sort of personal sabotage can be perpetrated against you!
Players who have created their own city, having progressed to a reasonable level of development, and who have attached their game save to their external gaming and/or social media accounts, now have the option to add the cities of up to 100 friends and visit with them!
Bear in mind that every player can add their friends via Facebook, Gmail, and their EA Origin Account, and leverage their device's contact list to create their own Simpsons social network. After the player has added their friends, they can then visit each personal versions of Springfield to complete up to three unique tasks each day and vandalize their friends city; and depending upon the decisions that they make and the flexibility of their moral approach in gaming, they can seek out and obtain additional rewards for themselves! Illicit rewards... Stolen rewards...
The maximum number of friends that you can add in your Tapped Out game is 100, and once you begin the adding of them and start visiting them your mates and their worlds become part of your game in an existential manner, making them -- and you -- a part of your personal and ongoing story!