Hungry Hungry Hippo Hump Day

Here’s another game from my youth, as well as something to play when the waiting game sucks: Hungry Hungry Hippos!

It was apparently introduced in 1978, the same year as Garfield, and a year after I was born. We apparently had a somewhat later version, because Wikipedia says the earliest editions had a hippo named Lizzie, the only one who didn’t fit the alliterative naming pattern (the others were Henry, Homer, and Harry). In the one we had, the fourth hippo was Happy instead of Lizzie. Not sure why they didn’t just go with Holly, which would maintain the pachyderm’s femininity while also being more consistent with the others. It looks like there was another name change in the past few years, though, with the hippos now being known as Sweetie, Bottomless, Picky, and Veggie Potamus. As for gameplay, really, what is there to say? You push your lever repeatedly, and hope that the marbles roll toward your hippo. I don’t think marbles are actually a healthy diet for a hippopotamus. Why didn’t they go with watermelons instead?

Here’s the commercial for this game that I remember best:

And here’s an earlier one:

Don’t you just hate the kids who yell out, “I WIN!”? And why is it always a boy who wins? Is that really a good message to send the kids?

Comic source

Hungry Hungry Hippos is now sold in the same line as Elefun and Gator Golf. The old commercial for the latter one is worth watching if only for how amused the kids are when their dad misses.

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2 Responses to Hungry Hungry Hippo Hump Day

  1. Whenever I mention this game (which I apparently have had to do more than once?) Chris says “Ravenous Ravenous Rhinos!” Also, interesting that you should mention the boy always winning thing. When I read “Packaging Girlhood” (a really excellent book), it talked about boys always seeming to be winning (or at least more obviously enjoying themselves) on the front of board game boxes as an example of subtle sexism aimed at children.

    • Nathan says:

      I didn’t really notice that it was always the boys who won until I read a letter about it somewhere. I think it might have been in the Consumer Reports for Kids magazine that my grandparents gave me a subscription to.

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