Pengo

PengoThe Game: As a cute, fuzzy, harmless little penguin, you roam around an enclosed maze of ice blocks. If this sounds too good to be true – especially for a polar-dwelling avian life form – that’s because you’re not the only critter waddling around in the frozen tundra. Killer Sno-Bees chase little Pengo around the ice, and if See the videothey catch up to him and sting him, it’ll cost you a life. But your little flightless waterfowl isn’t completely defenseless. Pengo can push blocks of ice out of the maze, changing the configuration of the playing field and squashing Sno-Bees with a well-timed shove. Clearing the field of Sno-Bees allows you to advance to the next level. (Sega, 1982)

Memories: This is almost a painfully cute game. Cute, fuzzy characters (both good and bad) waddle around the screen, and even if Pengo gets caught by the Sno-Bees, his little dance of defeat is cute. If you win a few levels, a multicolored lineup of penguins do a little Rockettes-style dance for you. But despite the tooth-rotting overabundance of sweetness, Pengo was a very addictive little game.

Pengo Pengo

There’s a musical oddity between versions of this game: before the final revision of Pengo hit the arcades, there was an earlier version whose background music was the Hot Butter song “Popcorn”; this quickly disappeared, with revised hardware sent out with much more generic (and public domain) music. It can be pieced together that there may have been a music copyright issue early in Pengo‘s arcade life span.

Pengo Pengo

Atari licensed Pengo for the 2600 and 5200. The 2600 version was passable, 4 quarters!though the 5200 version was very frustrating due to the non-self-centering joysticks of that console. Atarisoft, the game manufacturer’s computer software division, also ported Pengo over to a a few computer formats, but other than these licenses, Pengo went more or less unnoticed.