(now Humongous, Inc.
) was a company for children's computer games, which is now owned by Atari
. Their five biggest franchises were Putt-Putt
, Freddi Fish
, Pajama Sam
, SPY Fox
, and Backyard Sports
, although they had plenty of other small franchises such as Fatty Bear
, Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
, and Big Thinkers!!
Humongous was founded by Ron Gilbert
fame and Shelley Day, beginning with Putt-Putt Joins the Parade
. They became one of the most successful companies for children’s games, especially when their big hit, the Backyard Sports
, came out, and actually became the only reason Humongous made a profit
. They also made MoonBase Commander
and many Blue's Clues
' Licensed Games
, and their sub-division Cavedog Entertainment
made a few non-children's computer games including Total Annihilation
and its follow-up Total Annihilation Kingdoms
Eventually, Humongous filed for bankruptcy, and sold all the rights to Atari
, who continued four of the series, but only went one game on three of those four and stopped. The other one, the Backyard Sports
series, lasted for several more years, but it too seems to have ended. Three of the games were also ported to the Wii
by Majesco, but used ScummVM (a virtual machine made to run old Scumm-based games) without giving any credit to the developers whatsoever, so it now seems all series have been left abandoned and rotted. The fanbase is still strong, however, and continue to remember the games from their childhood. Many of the company's older games have been ported to mobile devices by Atari and Nimbus Games.
Notably, most of their Adventure Games
change the locations of the respective Plot Coupons
All demo download links are listed on their pages, since finding them is a bit of a Guide Dang It
For the YMMV page, go here.
Series by Humongous:
Series by Humongous's sub-division Cavedog Entertainment:
- Amen: The Awakening (vaporware)
- Butter (vaporware; working title)
- Elysium (vaporware)
- Glider Wars (vaporware)
- Good & Evil (vaporware)
- Great White Hunter (vaporware)
- Total Annihilation
Series by Humongous's sub-division Gaspocket Adventures:
Tropes in Humongous games in general:
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- In some of the games (notably the Freddi Fish series), if you fool around long enough, a character will give a hint.
- Most of the Junior Arcades had a "Junior Helper." which usually let you turn on unlimited lives and give you some other advantage.
- April Fools' Day: For April 1, 1999, Humongous's sub-division Cavedog Entertainment temporarily became Frozen Yak Entertainment.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Most of the demos do this.
- Compilation Re-release: LOTS of them.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Would very often give away item locations.
- Creative Closing Credits: Humongous was quite fond of these. Usually they had objects flying up or going across the screen, and clicking on them gave you different reactions. Other things included photo albums, a room with many click points, screens that show many random events, and much more.
- Creator In-Joke: Their headquarters was located in Woodinville, Washington, so you're going to expect a lot of jokes referencing said city and Seattle.
- Credits Gag: Virtually all games since Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo feature at least one "joke credit" (the aforementioned game has "If you lived in Cartown, you'd be home now," and Pajama Sam 1 has "No animals were injured or cheese eaten in the making of this game. ... Mmm, cheese.")
- Debug Room: Featured in all of the post-Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo games.
- Dueling Dubs: Russia had at least 6 different companies translating the games into Russian, three being bootleggers (Fargus Multimedia, 7Wolf, and Vector) and three being official (Akella, Russobit, and Boolat). Fargus Multimedia actually managed to dub more games than the three official dubbers did COMBINED.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The earliest games had DOS graphics and MIDI music, and animated using sprites instead of hand drawn cartoon animation. Then there's minor details, like the 3D cursors in Freddi Fish 1 being longer and thinner than the later ones (changed in the 1998 re-release), and being unable to skip movement phases. The early HE games also had a Windows 3.1 pause menu, a quit button instead of a menu button, and no lip-sync.
- The End: Most of the games from their early years ended on this.
- Feelies: Included with just about every game at the time, though they have become more and more rare.
- Game Mod: By editing the games' config files, you may find additional scenes, which are either extra jokes and/or Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- The five games that use the YAGA enginenote are especially easy to mod, since the files can easily be extracted with 7-Zip.
- Hilariousin Hindsight: Humongous is not the last company that would create beloved entertainment about cars, spies, toys, superheros, or fish.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Partially averted. Usually the characters will give an excuse for taking anything not nailed down by saying something like "This doesn't belong here, so I'd better find the place it should go." At the base of it, though, the heroes are still snatching anything that looks important.
- Mad Libs Dialogue: You could say it was abused in Humongous games. The Backyard Sports were especially bad at this.
- Off Model: The early hand-drawn games dipped into this fairly often. While the faraway shots looked fine for the most part, the close up shots tended to look awkward and jagged, and were even out of proportion at times. SPY Fox in Dry Cereal seems to be the point where they finally got the hang of it.
- Pop Up Video Games
- Same Language Dub: Several of the games were released in the UK with tweaked scripts and re-recorded dialogue using British voice actors.
- Shout-Out: Hoo boy. Humongous did a LOT of self Product Placement. They would advertise another one of their games wherever they could, such as on bill boards and click points.
- One of the billboards on Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo says "Shameless Humongous Entertainment self-promotion to be placed HERE."
- Spiritual Successor: Hulabee Entertainment.
- Technology Marches On: Quite a few examples.
- On the old section for demo downloads on the site, it once said "Warning: These files are HUGE! (5 to 24 MB)"
- When the games were first released, 640 x 480 was considered high resolution and the games fell under Genius Programming. In hindsight, that doesn't say much due to how far they pushed the SCUMM engine to its limits.
- Save icons were almost always floppy disks.
- Wiki Rule: It has its own wiki, although it's currently a work-in-progress.