How Does the THOH 2016 Stack Up to the Past?


First of all, I realize that we are barely 1/3 into the huge THOH 2016 update in TSTO.  However, while I realize that Alissa is resolute in her decision not to talk about items we haven’t seen in the game before they actually come out, I am going to break that rule and talk about some things we are going to see in Act II and Act III.  I, like many of you, sneak off to some of the “spoiler sites” and can tell you that what I have seen is…

Hold on… I have a text coming through. It’s from Alissa.

Uhm. Ok. So I won’t be talking about a lot of items that are coming in Act II and Act III. Holyfreakinshirt...That girl is everywhere…and she has some really threatening emojis!!

Actually…I really don’t need to talk about what’s coming, because I have a pretty clear opinion about how THOH 2016 stacks up with previous offerings.

And you might jut be surprised at what I have to say…

This is my 5th THOH. I started playing TSTO just 2 days before the launch of the first THOH update in October 2o12.

The first THOH in TSTO (2012) was amaaaaaazing!!!!  Kind of like the first time you have sex. And now, looking back, it was very much like the first time you have sex. It seemed amazing at the time, but the fact is…the whole update was kind of awkward, and not very well executed…and you mostly didn’t really know what was going on because you had nothing to compare it to. But the excitement of “something new” carried the day.

There were LOADS of technical breakdowns…with server outages that lasted for days.  But, being new, we just kept rolling through with smiles on our faces…because we didn’t know any better. Wait. Are we still talking about TSTO or sex? Doesn’t matter.

And, because both parties (the players and TSTO programmers) were really just getting to know one another. the standards were actually pretty low. The writers and programmers REALLY missed a HUGE opportunity to “deliver the goods” in the first one. Because after all, it was a spoof on the “End of the Worldas predicted by the Mayan Calendar. They set us up…with Homer and Marge in Mayan outfits…a Mayan calendar stone (that still sits behind my town hall) and a host of weird Gods we had to tap. But, on the ACTUAL DATE when the WORLD WAS SUPPOSED TO END (December 12th)…Nothing. A big fat Storius-Interuptus.  No happy ending. In fact…no ending at all.

We got a load of things that still sit in my town today, 4 years later. Zombies…A Pet Cemetery…a Talking Krusty Doll…Marge the Witch…another Cemetery… the Bad Dream House…The Heck House Church Facade…Kang and Kodos…Dead Trees…Pumpkins…the Spooky Tree…and randomly…right in the middle of the update… Edna Krabappel and her appartment.


It was good. And at the time seemed really good. But as the game has evolved, and we have become far more experienced as TSTO players, we realize how naive and fresh-fingered we all were, now that we understand how really great a TSTO update can be. Experience…a wide variety of choices…and far flashier programming all add up to make the first THOH “sweet, and new, and our first…but not the best TSTO we have have had.

THOH 2013 was like going back to date an old girl friend after not seeing her for a year. She is far more sophisticated, but the overall experience is kind of a let down, because so much of what you get is “old standby tricks” that are comfortably expected, but lack the “ZAZZ” to keep your attention.

Not sure you still have it? How about trotting out some Boooooobs in a low-cut black dress? That will do the trick! Right?

But, there were a LOT of retreads…after just one year. Yes, there was some fantastically funny animation, with a ton of characters animated as hilarious floating ghosts. And who can keep from  laughing at Homer getting shot by Maude Flander’s ghost with a T-Shirt cannon?  It was/is brilliant!

But this “date” was frantic…and scattered…and all over the place. THOH 2013 just tried to be too much…and missed the mark altogether.  We were introduced to Community Prizes, and at the same time, got some items for Krustyland (remember Krustyland?).  And we did get one of my favorite decorations ever, King Homer and the Skyscraper (which still makes my grandkids howl with laughter when he falls).


But, you got the feeling that EA was just trying to gouge you for donuts (like paying for the ghost zapper) and trying to annoy you with endless tapping, like an ex who texts you 35 times a day. In the end, it just didn’t have the “warm and fuzzy” of the “first time.”

THOH 2014...was nothing short of a “meh” on so many levels, that for me, was a signal that the “relationship” had lost all of its luster.  It was the first time I really started wondering how they were going to keep us interested, because they clearly didn’t care about great storytelling, or prizes that were worth your time and effort. In short, an expensive date, with little reward for our efforts.

Yes. It had some quirky “Rigellian” decorations, and the Drive In is still one of my favorite decorations of all time. But, for the most part, we were just grinding and grinding and grinding for prize bags that offered little in the way of reward.


This update also came along with a couple of items that clearly were designed to see how many donuts a “completist” would put up with (The Pirate Ship for 250 donuts as an example).  It left me feeling used and unsatisfied.

To this day, everything that came from this update sits in a small segment in my town that combines the store, the Rigellian Queen, and the Drive-In. It never made sense…and still doesn’t. But, I like the Drive In and weird “Human Test Subjects.” That pretty much tells the story. A “date” that fell flat.

THOH 2015...what can I say?  It was a trendsetter. And, in my opinion, pulled the franchise out of the dumper.  It proved that the “old girl still had some kick in her!”

It was the update that set the stage for almost every major update since. It combined Chapters (making us delay our gratification) and multi-level Crafting, along with regular update-questing, and neighbor interaction. It had hilarious, clever animation along with a whole range of really clever, funny, and worthwhile decorations.

Clockwork Bart (and the very weird Burns Eyes Wide Shut side story)…Brilliant.
The equally weird swinger side-story with Squirrel Luann and Acorn Kirk (while ignoring the resident swinger Dr. Hibbert), a tad bit alarming. The Reintroduction of Hugo (craftable) and awarding Kang and Kodos for free? Very cool, and generous.

Like most of the updates since then, this update unfortunately also set us up for tapping fatigue. By the time the update was over…we were WAAAAAAY past caring. Using our dating analogy (and who can give up a good sex metaphor?) THOH 2015 was like the girl you always dreamed of having, and then realizing that if you stayed together for very long, she was going to end up killing you.  Sustained levels of tapping…no matter how good it seems at the time…just isn’t healthy.  THOH 2015 proved that.

And, just to make sure that THOHs of the past weren’t forgotten, EA trotted out a HUGE list of retreads, at HUGE donut prices that really penalized those who misses them the first time around. Oh…sure…you could get a long list of stuff, but you were going to PAY BIG TIME for the pleasure.


Which Brings Us to THOH 2016….
I know this is going to shock you…but, I really think that EA has found the right balance.  Yes…there is a lack of great storylines here (I am confused as to if Lisa is still directing a film, or the flying beasties are real), but I like the pacing of this update. It’s EAsy to get the Best Stuff….because most of the best stuff is front-loaded into the prize track, or is very EAsy to win.

That’s right. I’m going to say it (because I did look ahead a bit…don’t tell Alissa), EA has started making the BEST stuff fall somewhere in the middle of the ACT Prize Tracks.  In fact…a lot of the “big prizes” at the end aren’t as good as many that come in the middle. If you are obsessed with “finishing” and forget about the “foreplay” of enjoying all aspects of the update…well, you may not be completely satisfied.

But, the fact is, this update really has a ton of clever devices (I love the fighting monsters along with trick or treating to win update currency), and it has a FAR more fair way of dealing out the retreads from the past. Yes…some of us longtime players paid more than some of the “newbies” are paying for the bundles…but I have had months, if not years, to enjoy the items I got (sometimes for free) in previous updates. So…no harm, no foul.

What I WOULD like…which I miss a lot from the old updates…is some GAP between the updates to catch your breath.  Even the most ardent and virile TSTO Tapper needs a refractory period. Right?

OK. Enough innuendo and metaphor. What do YOU think about this update so far?  How does it stack up to previous THOH experiences for you?

Let us know….we LOVE to hear your dish on past dates.



89 responses to “How Does the THOH 2016 Stack Up to the Past?

  1. How do you get the floating ghost ship

  2. I’ve started playing a couple weeks before the first Halloween update came out. Since then I have enjoyed every update. The only updates I did not prefer was maybe the wHell feature, tap ball, and the recent science update, and that’s only because I don’t like when the prizes are just clutter – I want to be able to utilize what I win in my town.

  3. I must say I really enjoy how the monsters run to a centralized area. Makes tapping them more enjoyable. Also I’m loving watching the clouds roll by as shadows on the ground.

  4. THoH 2014 was my very first full TSTO event (I started playing half way through Clash Of The Clones), and I really enjoyed it, although being a new-comer, a lot of the event was hard work with hardly any kids – IIRC correctly I had Lias, Milhouse, Bart, Martin and Nelson. Luckily I had enough donuts saved up to buy my first premium character – SVT, and I levelled up enough to acquire Ralph and Rod and Tod before the event, but the first week or so was tricky, even so I did manage to complete all the quests and craft at least one of everything I wanted.

    I wasn’t anywhere like as impressed with last year’s event. The storyline was good, but trying to find and tap the snakes,bunnies etc. in my neighbour’s towns was tedious work that took up to 3 times the usual time!

    This years seems to be pretty good so far. Everything looks like hard work at first, but I ended up getting 4 rounds of Bonuts in act 1 without really having to try too hard. However I’m not massively impressed with the crafting prizes as too many of them are returns from the previous year’s events. I certainly won’t ever need another bramble hedge again!

  5. I’m loving the latest update. The monster fighting animation is awesome. But I’m with most of you: the Lisa movie monster thing seems so far in the background. Also, I want Vampire Burns back, lol! I have the donuts and I’m waiting for him!!! Also: Is anyone else HATING THE AUTOLOG OUT? As in, if you aren’t touching your screen, after 30 seconds it shuts the game down?! Like, WTH!?! Seriously, it’s VERY annoying and I know that Alissa has complained about this as well. EA PLEASE remove that feature, because it is NOT helping anyone!!

    • YES! I so hate the game snoozing on me now, it is a real pain in my backside.

    • I’ve never heard of this and don’t think EA/Tapped Out has to do with this logging out issue you are talking about, maybe your device, OS version or even Internet connection. I constantly leave my game open (always updated) on my tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab S, Android 4.4.2) and then use the bathroom or doing something else for easily a couple minutes to allow for any event “things” (rats for this event) to gather so I can tap more than one at a time and so I don’t have to search my town. Just last weekend I accidentally left my game open before taking a shower and when I had finished 30-40 minutes later … I was still logged-in, but my battery sure took a hit, the game overrid my screensaver/sleep setting after 5 minutes and stayed awake the whole time!

  6. Still wish there was a more coherent story to go with the grinding. This is my 5th THOH, too, but I swear there was one before the Mayan themed one…must be my aging brain.

    One thing I do know I am missing from my Springfield is the Star Child that I bought with donuts after that THOH, yet, try as I might, scrolling through my town, I can’t find it anywhere. I don’t want to plunk down the donuts to buy that bundle (because I don’t have them…and besides grinding, don’t have the ability to buy more…obscure cartoonist is a dirt poor cartoonist, after all). I’ve contacted EA, but have not heard back from them about it.

  7. Honestly, I feel as if the game is dying. it’s like once you get a certain level how many spooky houses can you have. TSTO was fine when you earned things that you actually remember from the show. Most iconic characters and buildings are already in the game. Then the events all get repetitive. I stay on only because I have so much invested in my Springfield by now. Honestly, I think the game can be improved by adding in some celebrities, maybe work on some of the “dead” areas like Springfield Heights and Krustyland. This Halloween event just seems repetitive at this point and Christmas will be the same thing.

  8. I’m enjoying this event, but I’ll be honest…I completely forgot the plot until act 2 started. “Oh, right, Lisa’s making a movie.”

    I wish that EA would sprinkle mini-tasks during each act, just to keep us tied to the story.

  9. Someone stole my burrito™

    Nice read. Perhaps I’m more of an emotional person, rather than a technical person. I’m willing to overlook a lot of things if it feels right. For THoH events it should feel not just spooky, but it should evoke tradition.

    The Ghost event and even the Alien event, both evoked appropriate ( as far as I’m concerned ) THoH, Halloween feelings. But last year, I just didn’t enjoy it. I felt as if we missed Halloween altogether.

    This year, much better. Great old time spooky prizes. Kids trick or treating. Fun stuff.

    • Well…for me, almost nothing was spookier than Burn’s “costume” at the swinger party. Ghosts? Aliens? Pffftttt… Burns mostly naked? Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhgg!

  10. Still waiting for Booberella to come back…

  11. Oh the first TSTO halloween update. I was there too since I started playing in August 2012. There were several days where the game just wouldn’t launch. I was so stressed because of the prizes since you had the whole event to get them all, there wasn’t a part 1, 2 and 3. This was the first time I bought premium items. And the stress I had before it ended because I feared that the items I purchased would be gone by the end of the event… It was the first time, I didn’t knew.
    And seeing the characters zombified (including animation) was unexpected. By the way EA, why not add them as skins? I hate it when we can’t see animations or skins after an event.

  12. King Homer is my most wanted in tsto.

    Please bring it back! So envious of all that have it.

    • I have an account that i dont use where i have it(the first time it appears it was free), if you what i can pass you the password and the name of the account in order to give it to you (like a present of course) its on the first levels
      Answer this message if you like my idea

  13. And, just like the first time I had sex, I’m by myself.

  14. I started playing November after the first Halloween event. I loved the 2013 Halloween event with the zombies flooding my town. I did enjoy the Rigellians but probably because I have a bias towards them. Still hoping and praying they roll out an adorable little baby Rigey I can put in my town. I really liked the story and plot for 2015 but there was just so much going on.

  15. LONG time rapper here. I’ve been playing since June 2012, when I got home from my deployment to Afghanistan, and I liked the first THOH because tapping zombies was fun along with seeing other Springfield residents turn into zombies. Another fun part was the ability to toilet paper trees and egg neighbors house haha. Although I wish I had more than 5 neighbors at the time lol. I guess I really liked it because it was something completely new. The game is so big now that my iPhone 6 Plus gets really hot and crashes every so often while playing the game.

  16. Didn’t play the first THOH Event so for me THOH 2013 has been my favorite. Maybe for the same reason as a lot of folks in that it was their first go around.I thought the prizes were really nice, zapping ghosts and those possessed by ghosts was fun, and the Community Prizes were a game changer (still wish they would bring this back more often). I enjoyed 2014 as it copied a lot of 2013 but the prizes were not as good in my opinion. I also believe that event was the first time crafting was presented. 2015 had a good storyline but that was about it for me. It was the most glitchy event that I’ve experienced and required the most tedious tapping out of the the other THOH events. I’m liking this current event for it more classic Halloween content and prizes. It has a nice pace and although the storyline is lacking I usually don’t pay much attention to it anyways. I’ve taken a peek at the upcoming content and I like what I see. There is always people who are going to be happy and another group that will be upset regarding prices on new and returning premium items and their availability. I say just be patient and get what you like. if you have something that is now cheaper but you have enjoyed it since you got it then it was worth it. If you can’t get something this year that you’ve been wanting chances are it will come back. Its taking me this long but I think I will finally get the Springfield cemetery that I’ve missed out in the past.

  17. Your TSTO app is broken. This is the only section I can read. When I try to read anything else I get a notice I have won a free app. It takes me to the App Store for some kind of Yelp Eat 24 app.

    So I can’t see any of your content. Is this a bug on your end? Is it a virus on both my iPad and my computer? I kind of doubt that because it doesn’t happen on any other program I use.

    • We no longer support the App. However, I can’t get the developer to pull it..and even if he did it wouldn’t uninstall it from you device.

      I strongly recommend you stop using that app and just visit the site directly.

  18. To me this is a bit bland, but I do like that we are able to get some cool stuff fairly soon. The real complaint that I have is that obols are really difficult to collect. I’m hoping that they will up the drop rate for them, soon!

  19. When I first started playing, it was the Clash of Clans event thing. It is still my favorite event, maybe for nostalgia reasons? Anyway, 2014 was my first THOH event and I loved every bit of it, probably because I was still so new to everything. I ended up missing out on last years event entirely because my device wouldn’t connect. So this is the second THOH event I’m playing and I have to say, it’s not filling me with the same feeling as THOH 2014.

  20. I started TSTO just after the Halloween event ended last year and have been looking forward to getting some of the awesome items I’ve seen in other neighbors towns. Was especially looking forward Kang and Kodos, so was psyched they were released early on. Really enjoying all the Halloween stuff available for purchase every few days, just waiting for Count Burns and Death and I’ll be happy.

    • “just waiting for Count Burns and Death and I’ll be happy”
      Ironically, Death and Count Burns are waiting for each other.
      Personally, I favor Count Burns in that one

  21. CLockwork Barts was by far the worst event.

  22. I don’t know about this years event. I think it’s WAY too grindy. Normally I get every prize in an event, I only got 5/7.

    • uh… you only need to login for 5 minutes, every 4 hours (besides sleep). I found this event one of the easiest and most relaxed event ever (no more endless scrolling around the town looking for baddies to tap)

  23. as a longtime player, i think THOH 2016 is quite ok. as usual these days, it is probably more exciting for newer players, who cannot wait to unlock stuff like spooky trees, which the rest of us could once easily grab at the store.

    however, i was really hoping for something to wow me. e.g. halloween would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce the much discussed night mode. that would have been amazing.

    i think 2016 in general has fallen short to deliver something “game-changing”, like the monorail, the springfield heights expansion or squidport did. i was waiting for something like that.

  24. That golf club you holding really emphasises your love of the sport or that you are ready to bash anyone who get on your nerves in the comments!

  25. I started playing in 2012. I stopped playing sometime in 2014 and started playing again in the middle of the superhero event. This year’s event is pretty fun and I like most of the prizes as well as some of the crafting items. I have a Halloween area (now known as Despair Heights), so it’s nice to have also these spooky items to really trick the area out. It’s too bad we don’t have the option to keep the trees in their fall colors. That would really make the area stand apart even more.

    But, I digress. I will admit the first Halloween event is probably still my favorite. All the zombie and zombie-related stuff was pretty cool. And we got some really cool prizes that year (Heck House facade, House of Evil, Spook House, etc.). But the Halloween event is still the my favorite time of year, regardless of the set-up, prizes, etc. The only thing missing from this event is some fog/mist. It would definitely add to the creepiness. I’ve also peaked ahead at the upcoming prizes/bundles. And it’s hit or miss, IMO. But I am excited to play the rest of the event.

    • There IS a fog/mist in the town, it’s just not very dark. I suspect EA has gotten complaints in the past about it being hard to see during THoH because it’s too dark.

      BUT…this would’ve been a great event to go darker for, since the tappable baddies all flock to the MAG building, instead of you having to hunt all over your town for them! Argh!

      I notice the mist the most (haha) when I’m coming back from the chili cauldron & Polyvac minigames.

  26. Totally agree with you Pat! Looking ahead there is soooo much content that people have been begging for.
    Act 1 prizeline – meh
    Act 1 store items – OK
    Act 1 story – rEAlly EA?

    The Island of Dr Hibbert kind of let me down. I wish that the donut price was higher and we could do tasks and challenges to unlock animations or skins for characters

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