The 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 they 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. (Atari, 1983)
Memories: One of the last Sega games to be released by a manufacturer other than Sega itself, the 2600 edition of Sega’s cutesy coin-op is pretty to look at sometimes, but doesn’t offer much in the way of game play.
The movable “maze” structures aren’t as complex as the arcade game’s screens, and they can either make the game inordinately easy, or leave you in an unwinnable situation. Sure, it happened in the arcade game, but not to the annoying degree that it happened with this cartridge version.
Still, you have to give them points for at least attempting good graphics – the actual in-game screen isn’t anything to shout about, and it’s plagued with that foul bane of many a VCS game – sprite flicker – but the title screen, while not quite E.T. or Swordquest: Earthworld, was a nice touch. (Thankfully, despite its faults, the game portion of the cartridge isn’t E.T. or Swordquest: Earthworld either!)