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As longer-term players know, Gil Gunderson, Springfield’s hapless salesman, occasionally appears to offer an unbeatable deal on promotional items. He’s appeared 4 times so, but we haven’t seen him since February (and, for newer players, here’s his deal history.) For months, we’ve all been expecting him to appear again, but he’s resolutely stayed away from New Springfield. If he does appear, though, what might he have up his rather capacious sleeves?

There are 7 deals in the files that we haven’t seen yet. Five of them are for donuts:

The Observatory plus the Tire Firefor 75 donuts
The Aztec Theater, a Homer Buddha, and Lard Lad for 150 donuts
A Broadcast Dish and a Burning Bush for 30 donuts
Otto’s Bus and $5000 for 75 donuts
A News Van and a Mystery Box for 30 donuts

There are also 2 that are a bit odd in that they have cash prices attached to them rather than donut prices:

Squeaky Voice Teen and a Mystery Box for $4.99
The Duff Brewery and the Springfield Sign for $29.99

So, when will he next appear to offer any of these? Honestly, there’s no indication yet of when that might be. The Observatory and Tire Yard is the next deal on the list after the ones that have already appeared, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the next one we’ll see. But I hope he’ll be back soon – and that EA are busily preparing some slightly less resistable deals that include some of the more recent premium items.

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Here’s a reminder if you haven’t voted in the poll yet (over 12,700 people have though). How do you feel that you need to be dealing with more snakes and eggs until Thursday? This surprise move by EA sparked a lot of discussion.

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As we said earlier, Whacking Day has indeed been extended by another week until May 16th. There are hundreds and hundreds of comments queuing up on that post, and some have got pretty strong words on expressing their feelings at this move by EA. So, here’s a proper poll so we can see what proportion of players think what. Please vote below, although remember only one is recorded per IP address. Sorry if you can’t spot your comment at the bottom; for this poll most comments will be deleted, especially ones asking for eggs. If you want to do that, go to the egg buddies page – proper woeful stories may be accepted.

Also, it’s a topic I’ll be covering in OMIX – so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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It would be great if all the limited time items and characters that newer players missed were made available again. Some of these include:

– Kang
– Witch Marge (with her ability to speed up crops)
– Devil Ned Flanders
– Mr Plow
– Mayan Homer
– Santa Homer
– Cool Homer
– The Cool Brown House
– The Duff Racer
– The Cemetery
– The Pet Cemetery
– The Super Collider and the Black Hole
– The Bad Dream House
– The Mausoleum
– The Ray Gun
– The Heck House skin for the Church
– Shauna
– Howard’s Flowers
– Phineas Q. Butterfat’s
– Sir Putt-a-lot’s
– Tom O’Flanagan
– O’Flanagan’s Pub
– The Leprechaun
– Fruit-Bat-Man
– Gorgeous Grampa
– Respectable Moe

There’s more, but you get the idea (and after Whacking Day, Ninja Homer, Gymnastic Lisa, and Bare-Chested Willie will almost certainly join the list and possibly Miss Springfield and Tatum, too).

The answer, unfortunately, is that no one except EA knows for sure. I hope so, though, and believe that there’s a strong possibility that some, although maybe not all, of these items will be available at a later date – and now that Fat Tony is back and we know that Kang is on the way again later this year, the prospects are certainly rosier than they ever have been.

However, if they do become available, it’s likely that anything that wasn’t free first time round will probably be premium items available for donuts only should they return. And months from now, be patient when people ask how they can get for free all those great prizes you earned through your Whacking Day blood, sweat and tears.

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Looking at my list of things to write about, I think I may have said just about all there is to say about Whacking Day. There’ll be a repost or two this week and possibly one or two new Whacking Day-related posts, but with only a few days to go, it’s almost time to go back to business as usual. And that makes me a bit happy, because I’ve been dreaming snakes and snakes eggs for a couple of weeks now!

One of the things that’s been missed in the Whacking Day deluge is reporting on poll results, so it’s time to catch up. In a poll a week or so ago, I asked whether you would be buying or had bought Ninja Homer, and the results surprised me a little given how much everyone had been looking forward to this costume for Homer before the event:

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73.08% of the readers of this blog decided that the price for Ninja Homer was just too high at 120 donuts – and only 26.92% had made a decision to buy him or had already bought him. While his snake-earning powers were considered useful, there were also many premium items that produced far more snakes per donut spent. Perhaps there are some pricing lessons in this for EA – even Fruit-Bat-Man at 90 donuts had more support than this.

Remember, though, if you’ve been thinking about buying Ninja Homer, you’ll only be able to do so until the end of Whacking Day on May 9. And for those who have him, Ninja Homer’s snake-earning powers will disappear with the snakes. Like Mr. Plow and Santa Homer, Ninja Homer will then become another costume for Homer that lets him earn at a premium rate.

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While we’re on the subject of Golden Scratch-R’s, here’s a repost of something from a couple of months ago on when it’s better to buy a Golden Scratch-R and when it’s better to bulk-buy donuts:

When you buy a Golden Scratch-R at the Kwikimart, you win donuts every time. But is it better than buying donuts at the donut store? Well, here’s what Lais has to say (the currency used here is Euros, but it applies for other currencies as well):
You buy the cheapest set of donuts, 12 donuts, you pay €1,79, and that’s double the amount of donuts that you get with the worst result on the Golden Scratch-R, and double the price of it too. So if you can’t afford to buy a truckload of donuts but just need another dozen to reach the amount of donuts you need for that premium building you’re saving to buy, it might make sense to try the Golden Scratch-R and maybe you’ll get some extra donuts for the same price!

And Jayson had this to say (using $US):
I’ve calculated the Golden Scratch-R “Worth” using this site’s info –
http://simpsonswiki.net/wiki/User:Phinbart/Tapped_Out_progress
to determine scratcher odds. I found the average donut output on the scratcher is 13.57 (or 13.7 per $1). This is slightly better than the $9.99 donut buy (13.2 donuts/$) but not nearly as good as the $19.99 donut buy (15donuts/$).

Here’s a comment from Renosis:
Well, I bought a Golden Scratch-r and won 20 donuts. Could have been better, could have been worse. Looking at the break-out of donut prices, it never makes sense to purchase the dozen donuts for $1.99 (not that it was EVER a good deal). As, for $0.99 you can get a Golden Scratch-R and you are guaranteed at least 6 donuts. So if you are itching to spend $1.99, get two Golden Scratch-R’s instead, as the worst that can happen is you will get 12 donuts but more likely you will get between 12 and 200 donuts.

And finally, one from janibach:
Here’s something from Until today I had never spent any real money on this game but today I bought five golden tickets – my way of paying for the months of fun I have already had with it. My prizes were as follows: Ticket 1: 50 donuts; Ticket 2: 12 donuts; Ticket 3: 100 donuts; Ticket 4: 6 donuts & Ticket 5: 12 donuts. Total # of donuts: 180. Total cost to me: $4.95. Now I have Frink’s lab and the TV satellite.

So, even if you don’t have the occasional bigger win, each time you buy a Golden Scratch-R, you’re doing just as well, and even slightly better, than buying a dozen donuts through the donut store. And you’re making Apu very happy.

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EA have finally decided to respond to some of the questions, issues and problems that have arisen since the launch of the Whacking Day update and the release of Origin on Android. This is one of the newer answers on their Tapped Out help page (you can see it here):

When prompted with the “Is this your Springfield?” question select “No” and then in the next screen select “New.” This will restore your town to your device and allow you to log into your town on both your android and iOS device.

1. Select ‘NO’ on this screen

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2. Select ‘NEW’ on this screen

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It all seems a little counterintuitive, which is probably why it has many players scared that they’ll lose their towns. But that’s what EA is saying, and at least we finally have some official advice on this issue.

Thanks to Hypercast for drawing this to my attention. According to an article on EA’s help page it seems they’re:

…aware of a problem that is causing players on an iPhone, iPad, and/or iPod touch device to be unable to find Android players using emails in the “Find friends in Origin” search field, and are working on fixing it.

All they’re able to suggest for now, though, is the obvious – to try searching for their usernames instead of their emails.

You can read the article and others on EA’s Tapped Out help page by following this link: https://help.ea.com/uk/article/why-cant-i-find-my-android-friends-on-my-apple-ios-device-by-searching-their-email

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A number of Android players have commented that they can’t buy donuts. Here’s a comment that cam in from dm753 suggesting one reason why that might be. While I’m not suggesting that it’s the entire answer to the problem, it could suggest an answer in some cases:

For Android users unable to purchase donuts:

I moved over from playing TSTO on an iPad to playing on an Android (something about gravity, a falling bicycle and a defenseless iPad glass screen forced the issue…)

Anyway… I’ve been unable to purchase donuts at all, as the email associated with TSTO on my iPad differs from the email I use for the Google Play store. I attempted to create a similarly named account with Google Play, but still no luck with donut purchases. On digging deeper, it appears that not only do both (TSTO and Google) email addresses need to be the same, but in addition, your Google Play account must be a @gmail.com address in order to tie in with Google Wallet and, thus, enable in-app purchases.

This is a major problem as I would really like to purchase the Snake Log and Snake Stump. I need more of them critters to whack – and both Origin’s and EA’s websites have been a complete dead end so far.

I guess until this issue is resolved, I’ll have to spend my money elsewhere (like on REAL donuts!).

Any additional advice for Android players on how to resolve this problem would be appreciated.

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This question has been discussed in the comments before, but has never been the subject of its own post. The two direction rotation is an occasional source of frustration for many people who would like more flexibility in designing their town, so this is a question that often comes up.

There’s no real answer to it, except to say that that’s the way the game was designed. You can see it not just in the building rotation, but in the angle of the town on your screen. And all the building image files in the game only show two rotations for each of the buildings or decorations.

The 2-D approach is actually part of the charm of the game and very much in the spirit of how the show is drawn. To change it part way through the game would require some major re-design work and substantial rewriting of the code. Perhaps at some point in the not-so-near future, there’ll be a re-launch of the game in an interactive holographic 3-D version somewhere early in the next decade! But until then a 2-D 2-rotation New Springfield is what EA and the game will continue to give us.

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Over the past week or two, there’s been a lot more of this:

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In fact, many people are reporting seeing the dreaded Bart screen every 15 minutes or so (and some Android players have seen it more regularly than that). As the game will often reconnect on tapping Retry, this is simply annoying in most cases. But if the server connection drops in the middle of leaving eggs, it may means that some or all of the eggs you are leaving may not be there when you go back in again.

The appearance of the dreaded Bart screen with this kind of frequency is something that hasn’t been seen by most longer-term players since last year. And if your WiFi or 3G connection is strong, and your device has plenty of memory available, then there’s really nothing more that you can do to avoid seeing it. This is something that EA will need to resolve.

Here’s a question from Barry, possibly prompted by those 12 free donuts we should all have by now – if you spend donuts on accelerating to a prize level, does your snake count go up as well?

The answer is “yes”: once you’ve spent donuts on moving yourself ahead a bit, your snake count will increase to reflect the prize level you/ve moved yourself to.

It takes 50 collected snakes for the price of a prize to drop by 5 donuts. So if it’s 10 donuts to get to the next prize level, that’s the same as whacking 100 snakes. In a way, EA gave us either 12 donuts or 120 snakes, depending on how you want to use them (although, you can only use donuts to accelerate towards a prize level in multiples of 5, but you get the point!).

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This came in from Nici a few days ago and, based on some comments in the last day or so, I think many people will find it helpful:

With the introduction of Whacking Day to Tapped Out and the much anticipated expansion of Origin to Android users, there has been a significant increase in players experiencing problems and numerous glitches, some of which have been discussed here already. There has been 2 recent App Store/Google Play updates and an in game update which seem to have also caused issues for some people. A lot of the problems seem to have been resolved with the second update, but there are always those few who continue to have their games act strangely. In light of these issues I thought it would be useful to discuss some of the ways to reset or restart the game to try and resolve the problems. Often these strategies do work and then you can continue on as normal.

The first thing is not to panic and immediately think that you have lost your game or snakes etc. Close the game straight away if you see ‘0 snakes/eggs’, the start-up screen from the very first level or anything else that rings alarm bellls.

Try hard closing the game and reopening.

For Apple devices double click the home button, hold down the Tapped Out icon until it shows the little red cross in the top left corner and press on it. Then try reopening the game.

For Android users open the Applications tab and tap Settings, and next tap Applications. Tap Manage Applications, in the list of running applications, select the application you wish to close and tap Force Stop. Reopen the game.

You can also try logging in on a different device if you have one, iPhone to iPad for example.

If hard closing didn’t work try deleting and reinstalling the game from the App Store/Google Play. As long as you are an Origin user you should be able to log back in and find your game as you left it, hopefully restored.

If neither of these suggestions resulted in your game opening at your current level and you see the opening sequence, let it run through until you are able to access the Origin button, then log in using your username and password. Origin should save your game where you left it.

Another trick that can sometimes work is just to give the game time to reset itself. Try putting it down for a couple of hours after hard closing and then come back to it. Hopefully a miracle has occurred.

If you try all the usual tricks and your game still isn’t behaving itself you have 2 options. Contact EA Games about the issue and suspend your game playing or just accept it and start again from wherever you are in the game.

Tapped Out is a massive game with millions of people playing and there are always bound to be problems when updates and events are released. If you do experience an issue with the game; try the suggestions above one at a time and be patient. Hopefully all will be well when you log back in.

Thanks Nici! And Any has added another important point – even if you manage to fix or solve a problem yourself, you ought to notify EA of the issue anyway (with full details… what phone you have, which version of android or iOS you’re running, how far in the game you had got etc.) so they can look into it. They can’t fix problems they don’t know about.

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In the last 24 hours, the number of people with this issue has increased. In fact, it’s probably the number one question in the comments on various threads over the last 12 hours.

Honestly, I prefer writing about all the good stuff, but it seems that every time there’s a lot of great new free stuff, there are also a lot of great, new free glitches. The latest one is the game no longer registering that some players have earned their Expert Whacking License or recognizing a whacking ability of any kind when it comes to friends’ towns. In some cases, too, players have reported their Elite License simply returning to the premium store. Please note that most players are unaffected by this.

If this is your situation, please contact EA and let them know (through their help page or EA Answers). But, given that individual game repairs usually take some time, and this is something that will probably need a further game update, it may be best not to expect too much too quickly from this route. If you purchased an Elite License, I would also suggest approaching Apple or Google Play for a refund on an in-app purchase that wasn’t received.

In the meantime, there are two possible solutions. The first is to buy an (or another) Elite License. While this costs donuts, it will have you back and whacking snakes in friends towns immediately. The second route, for those who don’t want to spend (more) real money on something they already have, is to get an egg buddy. That way you don’t need to whack snakes, you can simply exchange eggs.

This is yet another glitch I really hope will be fixed soon.

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In the past, I would have said to look for an update on Thursday afternoon US Central time (around 2 or 3 pm) – however, EA have been playing around with the timing lately, so any time in the morning is just as possible. The short answer is – any time really. Just as well I’m working from home that day. (For players outside the US, we’re talking Thursday US time here – the update happens simultaneously all over the world.)

As to what kind of an update it will be – my guess is that it won’t be an in-game update. Halloween, Christmas and Valentines were all App Store updates – and if the “something bigger” is what I think it is, my guess is that this update will come through the App Store/Google Play as well.

And, for the people who’ve asked, I really think it will be genuinely bigger – an event that lasts for several weeks, rather than something that’s over in 3 days (and quite possibly the Whacking Day event, but that hasn’t been confirmed by EA). I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though.

Note: for confirmation that the Valentines update was an App Store update, see here.

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A number of people have reported today that their friend list is no longer in alphabetical order. It seems as if EA and/or Origin have had some server issues today, and this is probably one of the clearest indications that something is up. A check of the Origin server page (at http://Origin.com/status) shows that the social server, which runs the friend part of the game, is working, however – it just doesn’t seem to be working as it should.

These kind of things have arisen in the past (most notably around the beginning of the Christmas update) and seem to happen when there are about to be or have just been major changes to the game. My advice is that if you’re at all worried would be to put to put aside your game for a few hours. It’s likely to only be a temporary thing, and things may be back to normal by tomorrow.

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Today, a number of people have seen their town get reset to an earlier level. This is an issue that has arisen today.

If this happens to you, EA strongly recommends that you stop playing and don’t continue building your town. They are currently gathering information on the issue at http://answers.ea.com/t5/The-Simpsons-Tapped-Out/I…field-reset/m-p/998368#U998368. You can also look for help through https://help.ea.com/contactus or through Twitter at @ASKEA Support.

So if you experience this issue, DO NOT attempt to play or continue your game. You’ll need to wait for the issue to be resolved.

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The answer to that one is “yes and no”.

This is the 6th episode promotion the game has seen (the 7th if you count Halloween, which was really one month-long episode promotion!). And there’s been a mix of free and paid content in every recent promotion. But two things are true for all the buildings, decorations, characters and costumes made available since September last year as promotional items: they were all available for just a limited time – and they’re all no longer available.

Here’s a bit of episode promotional game history for the benefit of newer players:

1. The Duff Racer
This was a free decoration to celebrate the first episode of the current season of the show. It had no real quest attached to it. All you really had to do was place it somewhere in your town.

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2. Halloween
This had a mix of free and premium decorations, costumes, buildings and characters. For example, Mayan Homer, the Springfield Subatomic Collider and the Black Hole were all free (and related directly to this season’s Halloween episode). Kang and Witch Marge, however were premium (as were a number of other items).

3. Fat Tony
He arrived, on his own to promote the episode “Penny Wiseguys“. He was free, had a short quest, and there was no other building, decoration, costume or decoration as a premium extra. (That Fat Tony was only available for 3 days has since caused a mild outcry among newer players of the game, to the extent that he may be back within the next couple of levels – see here.)

4. The Cool Brown House and Cool Homer
This promotion occurred in November 2012, within a couple of weeks of the “Penny Wiseguys” promotion. Both the Cool Brown House and the Cool Homer costume were available free for a few days to promote the episode “The Day the Earth Stood Cool“. There was a quest which revolved around the theme of the episode which really needed both items to make any sense at all.

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5. Gorgeous Grampa and the Gorgeous Grampa Billboard
Last month, to promote the “Gorgeous Grampa” episode, we got a free costume for Grampa and a decoration, the Gorgeous Grampa Billboard, which cost 40 donuts. There was a brief quest attached to Gorgeous Grampa, but buying the Gorgeous Grampa Billboard gained you no additional storylines.

6. Fruit-Bat-Man and the Fruit-Bat-Signal
Also in March was a promotion for the episode “Dark Night Court“. Many players found this one disappointing – not because the free item was a decoration (the Fruit-Bat-Signal) which didn’t do much and didn’t have a quest attached to it. The disappointment mostly came from Mr. Burns’ Fruit-Bat-Man costume, which was seen as the promotion’s key element, going for 90 donuts. If you didn’t buy it, you missed out on the episode-related quest, too.

7. The Swanky Fish and Springfield Falls
The current promotion is for the episode “What Animated Women Want” – and this time round, the free element is the far better prize! Springfield Falls is probably the nicest free gift EA have ever given us.

So, the free versus premium balance of episode promotions is mixed, particularly if you take into account Halloween. It does seem, though, that the pattern established in 2013 is to offer one free and one premium item in each promotion, which for EA probably makes very good commercial sense.

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