"The second dumbest bird in the world. Can only fly underwater." —Terry Pratchett
Maybe it's because they're birds that, oxymoronically, can't fly. Perhaps it's that they waddle around on two feet and remind people of themselves. Maybe it's because they look like they're wearing little tuxedos. It could be that they have no natural fear of humans, and are relatively easy to work with. Or, simply enough, it may just be because they're cute and their name sounds funny. But whatever the reason, penguins are big, and adding them to a movie or show is almost guaranteed to up the ratings and the intake at the box office.
Not far in the past (the 06-07 region), penguins experienced a popularity surge due to movies such as March of the Penguins, Happy Feet, Surf's Up, and Madagascar. Opinion is divided as to why, but general consensus is that penguins are big money. Penguins are, in fact, the new monkeys.
Another example of an odd yet lovable animal would be Everything's Better with Platypi. For another lovable animal that's black and white, Pandaing To The Audience.
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Budweiser's ads for its Bud Ice brand from the mid-1990s starred the "Bud Ice Penguin", a creepy bird who terrorized drinkers in the vein of slasher/horror films in order to get some of their beer. The calling card of the bird was nonchalantly humming the opening bars to "Strangers in the Night". Dooby dooby doo...
There was an ad for the Irish Independent a couple of years ago that featured penguins. Playing hurling. To Mexican music. Yes, it was just as cool as it sounds.
The French March of the Penguins commercial for Canal Plus. subversion: the women is supposed to imagine penguins, though because the man is referring to the penguins as "Emperors", she imagines Napoleons taking the place of Penguins.
Somewhere around the latest wave of penguinmania, Coca-Cola added penguins to their traditional commercials with the polar bears.
An ad for a download movie service featured a video store clerk who was so bored he made a penguin out of gummy bears. It looked a lot like the Madagascar penguins.
In the commercials for The General Auto Insurance, the General has a silent penguin sidekick which seems to serve no purpose.
Ecoco, a former Japanese power company mascot, was a young girl in a moe penguin costume.
Alternate Reality Games
Perplex City had a card about calculating a penguin population.
That same costume appeared in Kaorin's New Year's dream, which, in the anime, came before that Culture Festival. (In the manga, we didn't see her dream.) Whereas Sakaki, in the black bar below the part of the screen where she and Kaorin are riding away on a horse, knocked down the delinquent versions of Yomi, Osaka, and Tomo, Chiyo was simply put into a penguin suit. One wonders if the show is trying to suggest an origin for that idea.
The manga Tuxedo Gin has the lead reincarnated as a penguin and having to win back the girl with whom he'd fallen in love right before his death.
Let's not forget Milly Ashford in that penguin outfit just a few episodes earlier!
Crump from the Virtual World arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! uses a deck based around penguins (and ice). As his original body is gone, he's taken the form of a big tuxedo-wearing penguin, the Nightmare Penguin. His Back Story explains this; he was neglected as a kid and his parents fought a lot. To pass the time he read, and on learning how penguins are excellent parents, he became obsessed with them. His life dream is to build a penguin-themed amusement park, but his employer, Seto Kaiba, refused to fund the project. (Unfortunately, in the original version, he was also a pervert, wanting to steal Anzu's body because the body of a teenage girl was appealing to his sick mind. Naturally, that was left out of the dub version.)
A... thing that looks like the offspring of a penguin's head and a yin-yang symbol occasionally pops up in the background, and once as the head for a background character, in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, and is even given its own credit as "Emperor Penguin" in the opening sequence.
The manga/anime series Penguin Musume, for obvious reasons. Then again, the series as a whole has a polar animals thing going on with the naming.
Not very well, though. His toy is the very definition of both "kibble" and "shellformer"...
And if those terms need more, well, definition... you don't have a penguin turning into a robot so much as a penguin forming a shell around a robot. The penguin parts just hang off him awkwardly and aren't integrated into a robot mode... it's like a robot wearing random chunks of penguin sticking off every which way. One of the most - if not the most - awkward T Fs in the history of ever.
After her adoption by fans at large with the disappearance into history of the air conditioner she was created to advertise, Watanabe Yoshimoto's character Ecoko apparently acquired from somewhere a pair of penguin companions. Of course, she herself wears penguin themed clothing.
There's an episode in Slayers Try where Lina is repeatedly attacked by an army of penguins with guns.
The Digimon metaseries has several penguin Mons, although none feature heavily in any of the animes.
The one that came closest is Daipenmon, who based on the card game, could have appeared in Digimon Frontier. Daipenmon is the fusion of a snowlem and a yeti, and wields two giant popsicles as swords. Its special attacks are "Strawberry death" and "Blue Hawaiian Death". He finally makes an appearance as a Monster of the Week in Digimon Xros Wars, where he is not nearly as whimsical as that description makes him sound.
In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple some of the characters are associated with animals. Miu and Shou Kanou are associated with birds due to their fighting styles, Kisara is such an avid cat lover that she adopts cat like moves in her Tae Kwon Do (aka the "Nya Kwon Do"), Ma Renka acts as free spirited and self centered as a cat, and Tirawat Koukin's association with elephants indicates how hard he hits. When Boris first fought Kenichi, he was surprised that the animal that Kenichi resembled was... a little penguin. This was completely at odds with Kenichi's ability to kick ass in the fight.
During a later rematch, Boris comments that Kenichi has grown, and his growth is metaphorically compared to a Pokemon-style evolution from a small, round penguin into a fierce, plumed Macaroni Penguin.
The Diamond/Pearl saga of Pokémon gives us Dawn's Piplup, the main Pokémon of The Chick of the saga.
An early episode of the Urusei Yatsura anime unleashed a horde of penguins to terrorize the populace in adorably hilarious ways, though it turns out the "penguin" is actually a swallow mutated by eating alien candy. The episode ended with the giant bird building a nest in Tokyo Tower.
Princess Tutu has a pianist penguin - although the show's full of anthropomorphized animals, so maybe it doesn't count.
Princess Tutu Abridged plays with this by turning the aforementioned penguin into a superhero, dubbed 'Piano Penguin Man'. He saves the day in Episode 4.
Penguin Memories. It's a story about the horrors of The Vietnam War and trying to return to a civilian life while trying to deal with the day-to-day memories of the horrors. And it's starring Mike The Penguin, the 1980's mascot for Suntory Beer. It has to be seen to be believed.
Penguin Revolution begins each chapter with a drawing of one of the characters and a real breed of penguin. The first of these, featuring Yukari, has her dressed in a penguin costume.
In Strawberry Marshmallow, one episode has the girls talking about their "dweams". Matsuri's briefly features a penguin (who sort of looks like a penguin from Paper Mario) delivering a letter.
Toriko has an endangered species in Ice Hel known as the Wall Penguin. It's spittle is the final ingredient for Century Soup.
Penguins show up surprisingly often in Cardcaptor Sakura, and the oft-visited park has a giant penguin slide known as 'King Penguin'. Sakura evidently likes them quite a bit.
Pororo the Little Penguin
School Rumble's Akira Takano sometimes dresses as a Penguin. Once she's wearing it, and she first attracts Sarah, then Yakumo, and finally Tenma, they then all get stuck in the floorboards, Akira then reveals that it was all part of her ingenious plot to get them all in an embarrassing situation so she could take a picture for a christmas card!
Yondemasu Yo Azazelsan has Beelzebub the fly demon, who in the human world takes on a form similar to a stuffed toy penguin thanks to Akutabe's magical barrier that prevents demons of using their real forms.
Shirokuma Cafe has an emperor penguin as one of the three main characters. However, he's the resident Butt Monkey. Other species of penguins appear in later episodes.
Since 1925, Alfred the penguin is the pet of French young globetrotters Zig et Puce. In early 1927, a plushy Alfred toy was merchandised: it launched a huge Alfred craze all over France. When aviator Charles Lindbergh achieved his historical transatlantic flight to Paris that year, he was given an Alfred plushy and brought it with him as a mascot in his flight from Paris to Brussels. Yes, penguinmania is Older than Television.
Batman's villain the Penguin (real name: Oswald Cobblepot) is one of the first that started the whole Penguin-palooza. He is also probably the most popular of all the ridiculous supervillains with ridiculous gimmicks that do not look threatening at all. On Comedy Central, he is the perfect theme to mock politicians like Dick Cheney or even Franklin D. Roosevelt! Tim Burton surrounded the Penguin with penguins. ... Carrying rockets. The Penguin was originally a normal human with a tuxedo, Tim Burton redesigned him to be more avian looking, with a long nose and three fingered hands... which places penguins at a creepy level. Afterwards, the creepy penguin-like human design prevailed.
The Batman featured The Penguin on a more frequent basis than most Batman media usually does, portraying him as an Acrofatic.
Batman: Arkham City had Cobblepot as a British arms dealer with a monocle. On further inspection, the monocle was actually a broken bottle that had gotten lodged in his face.
Gotham focuses heavily on Penguin, and uses the beak-nosed depiction, albeit being much skinnier than most other versions. Here, he has qualities of The Woobie, being rejected by his former boss (crime lord Fish Mooney), and almost murdered, with a penguin-like limp and zero respect from absolutely anyone. He ends up snapping and murdering quite a few people in his desire for revenge.
DC antihero Lobo, who often had a crazed, and often oddly cute, squad of murderous penguins following him around.
Tiny Titans features penguins taking over Robin's place as a running gag.
Noted political cartoonist Pat Oliphant usually has a small penguin named Punk pop up in his works.
Gary Larson loved to do strips about Penguins in The Far Side
Opus, the bow-tied, neurotic penguin from Bloom County (and successor comics Outland and Opus). Of course, there are those rumors that he's really an auk... Binkley pointed out that Opus actually looked more like a puffin than a penguin, using a graph to illustrate. Opus responded with a graph that showed how Binkley's head looks like a carrot (it does). Opus originally was a one shot character, Binkley brought him to his dad thinking he was a dog. Penquin Power resulted in Opus pulling a Fonz and becoming the main character.
Frobisher was the talking, shape-shifting companion of the Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who Magazine's comic strip for some time. His favorite form was that of a 4-foot-tall penguin. He's also appeared (for want of a better term) in a couple of Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas.
One short story starts with a German "white trash" guy watching TV. Then, someone rings his door, and when he opens, a horde of penguins enters, starts a party. When he demands to know what this is all about, they show him that today's "international penguin's day". He's happy with that and joins the party.
In the Stargate Atlantis fandom, particularly the Slash Fic areas around McKay and/or Sheppard, there was a spat of fiction involving penguins, the characters turning into penguins mostly. Seems to have died down but still brings a smile to many a fen within that part of the fandom.
There was a penguin trend in Buffy fandom. It mostly involved Alternate Universe stories where the characters had always been penguins. Who slayed leopard seals.
In Boy Scouts ˝, a Ranma ˝ fan fic, the character Matthew Atanian often has guilt based dreams about the fact that he keeps secret from his unrequited love interest Sarah that he and her best (female) friend "Matty" are one and the same person. These dream often seem to involve him being tormented, for no readily explained reasons, by penguins. In one particularly disturbing case, it was a strange creature that was half penguin, half Cardassian from StarTrekTheNextGeneration.
Aeon Entelechy Evangelion is an Evangelion fanfic, so Pen-Pen is there. Only this time he is a blind Antarctican Urbanised Albino Emperor Penguin descended from the penguins in H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.
In The Ikaris, Pen Pen tends to make the scenes way funnier. Examples include Misato arguing with him about a beer can as Shinji mutters Pen Pen is not even talking about it and Asuka Ikari wonders if she is the Only Sane Person in the apartment.
Films — Animated
Happy Feet used this both in the box office, by combining penguins with dancing and pop music, and in the world of the movie, where the sight of hundreds of penguins dancing in unison inspired people to begin protecting them. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Surf's Up rode the wave with a Mockumentary about surfing penguins, albeit to lesser box-office success than the previous two. It did get an Oscar nomination, however.
Madagascar, where the penguins stole the show to such an extent they later got their own short film. And a series, seen below under Western Animation. It's what the Kim Possible producers were assigned to after they were headhunted. In Australia, Madagascar 2 was promoted with the slogan "37% More Penguins".
Fight Club has the protagonist have his 'power animal' be a penguin. Sliiiiiiiiide!
The penguin popularity can be traced back to the release of March of the Penguins in 2005, which was something of an Ensemble Darkhorse in the documentary world, moving from only a few screens to spreading around the country and eventually snagging the Academy Award for Best Documentary. There was an article about the 2005 summer blockbuster take, and how it was generally disappointing, except for March of the Penguins (it beat out Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith for pure staying power). Commentary in the article suggested that perhaps Hollywood should learn lessons about what movies they should make, perhaps going away from the standard effects-laden summer fare. However, the article then goes on to say that the lesson to be learned for most studio executives would be "We need more penguin movies."
There was a parody of the March of the Penguins film, Farce of the Penguins, which even has Samuel L. Jackson among the voice cast.
There was a French-made parody of March of the Penguins, instead of Emperor Penguins, thousands of Emperors Napoleon struggled through the snows of Antarctica, gave each other pebbles, and finally had (off-screen) sex. Glorious.
In Batman Returns, the classic supervillain The Penguin (a human) was given a Re Tool of having been raised by them, complete with an army of penguins with laser eye sights and back mounted rockets. This◊ old Batman panel was probably supposed to be ominous.
"A penguin never forgets!"
The first segment of The Three Caballeros, "The Cold-Blooded Penguin", is about a penguin named Pablo who wants to move to the Galapagos Islands. A detailed tour of South America's Pacific coast makes up for the fact that Penguins and Antarctica aren't the most Latin American things ever.
H.P. Lovecraft. Giant albino mutant penguins. The horror of which is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he earlier, in the same story, refers to plain old regular penguins as "grotesque". Everything is grotesque. Everything you wouldn't normally see in New England, at least.
In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, an AI controlling a mansion takes on the form of a penguin in order to fly through the air with the son of the house, and keeps it despite the objection that penguins can't really fly. It later explains it takes a penguin form regularly as a deliberate pose so humans will understand its motives as best they can. It also uses the form to explain to Phaethon how even a man about to be unjustily exiled can be happy: by following its nature.
Patina, a goddess of wisdom on the Discworld (and blatantly ersatz counterpart of Pallas Athena) carries a penguin with her — a side effect of an influential statue of her carved by an incompetent sculptor.
In Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, this was subverted when Spider kept teleporting around the world to avoid the minions of a bird goddess. When he tried Antarctica, he saw the disturbing sight of thousands of penguins waddling straight at him...
L'Ile des Pingouins by Anatole France is a satire of French history, as lived by penguins on a faraway island.
Andrey Kurkov's satirical novel Death and the Penguin, about a morose Ukrainian journalist and his equally morose pet penguin, which he acquired when the cash-strapped zoo was giving animals away to anyone who could look after them.
Halliday and Resnick's "Fundamentals of Physics" textbook seems to have an odd preoccupation with penguins in the practice problems.
On April Fools' Day 2008 the BBC aired a trailer for their iPlayer service, presented as an actual piece of wildlife documentary footage... displaying flying penguins which emigrated to the rain forest during winter!
During a number on The Muppet Show with scenery intended to evoke Hawaii, some penguins came along and started singing. Let's just say that the singing moai in the background is possibly not the strangest bit.
And there's an amusing little short in which Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker prove that Penguins love to do the Bunny Hop (with fuzzy pink bunny ears no less!), and the Mambo.
There's also the theme park attraction Muppet*Vision 3D, which features the penguin as the orchestra, and they even pull out a cannon near the end.
Brian Henson said in an interview once that his father figured out early on that "If you can't get out [of a sketch], you either blow something up, or you eat something, or you just throw penguins in the air." Naturally, there were quite a few penguins thrown in the air over the course of The Muppet Show's run, and Sesame Street and subsequent Muppet productions have continued this trend.
5, Rue Sesame, the French Version of Sesame Street, has a penguin character named Georges.
Chandler is in bed with Janice who likes to cuddle, he thinks to himself: "Look at all this room on her side of the bed. You could fit a giant penguin in there." And then goes on to add a mental remark: "That would be weird, though."
Huggsy, Joey's bedtime penguin pal, which appeared in a few episodes.
And in the Master Ninja II episode, Tom Servo's declares that Bat Masterson - indeed, all 19th-century Western detectives - should have a penguin for a Team Pet. "But there may be a few puffins thrown in, so be sure to ask me about each one."
Blackadder the third had King George, the Prince Regent's father. He sums it up nicely -
King George III: Some people say I'm mad, and say the word "penguin" after each sentence. But I believe that we two can make Britain great, with you as the Prince Regent, and I as King Penguin.
A running gag on the ESPN show Pardon The Interruption, is Tony Kornheiser's penguin dance, which annoys Michael Wilbon to no end. Once, plushie penguins joined in on the fun.
An episode of Doctor Who had all of reality becoming extremely warped. One of the background jokes in a museum were the Nile Penguins.
And then there's Frobisher, companion to the Sixth Doctor in the comics and Big Finish audio plays. He's a shapeshifter who generally takes the form of a penguin.
First Doctor companion Steven's only companion during his long imprisonment before meeting the TARDIS crew was a stuffed penguin named Hi-Fi (although Hi-Fi was seldom seen again after Steven joined the Doctor and Vicki).
"Today there was an accident...a busload of penguins...PENGUINS! They don't do harm to ANYONE! And they only have sex ONCE a YEAR! Oh, the INHUMANITY!"
One of the most fondly remembered games by British audiences from the pan-European game show Jeux Sans Frontičres (Games Without Borders) is the "Penguins on the Iceberg" game from the 1974 heat in Aix-les-Bains. Contestants from six countriesnote Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and West Germany had to collect buckets of water from a waterfall spilling onto a giant turntable while dressed in penguin costumes designed to restrict both their field of vision and their leg movement. Inevitably, the slippery turntable and the increasingly sodden costumes led to the contestants spending more time falling over themselves and each other than collecting water.note Except for the Dutch, who proved extremely adept at the game. BBC commentator Stuart Hall (and ORTF commentator Guy Lux) could barely speak for laughing for most of the game.
Invoked in-story in Our Zoo, where a major turning point in public attitudes to the new zoo comes when the van transporting a bunch of penguins breaks down and they have to be led through the streets on foot. The locals had been strongly against the zoo up to that point, but.... awwww, penguins.
Satan's Penguins, a black metal band. Covers also show penguins.
Lyle Lovett has a song entitled "Penguins", in which he states that he prefers penguins over fancy cars, diamond rings and such because "Penguins are so sensitive/To my needs." Furry penguin Fanservice included. You're Welcome.
A music project centered around the animated little penguin Pigloo had several Top 20 dance hits in France, complete with music videos.
The video clip for Jean Michel Jarre's 1988 Destination Docklands version of Oxygčne 4 shows nothing but penguins waddling on the Antarctic ice.
Ikuisuuden Laakso ("The Valley of Eternity") is a Finnish indie RPG, a philosophical game of epic heroism and tragedy... about penguins. Not a gag product, either, and really very good.
Spelljammer, because it's not Spelljammer if it isn't crazy, has a Proud Merchant Race of space penguins who ride fying pigs and carry swords on their beaks.
In The Man Who Came to Dinner, Sheridan Whiteside receives four penguins as a present from Admiral Byrd, one of his many famous admirers. They are moved into the library, where they break loose from their crate and one of them bites Miss Preen on the hand.
The Beanie Babies line has five: Waddle, Slapshot, Snowbank, Tux and Zero (who wears a Santa cap). Also, there're a Beanie version of Pablo the Penguin from The Backyardigans and Skipper from Madagascar (but only Skipper).
The new Penbo. She comes with a baby penguin that can be found in an egg in her tummy.
Runescape had some penguins for years, had a KGB-parody penguin quest ("cold war") when the penguin fad started, and now has an entire quest series as well as a weekly penguin spy spotting minigame and at least one in the circus weekly minigame. Do the "cold war" quest to know which treacherous human helped penguins build the oversized doomsday mechanical penguin of DOOM!!
Disgaea: Prinnies, dood! They're ridiculously cute exploding murderers (and all other kinds of sinners, really). They're the souls of the damned, working off their sins as combustible stuffed penguin Butt Monkeys. They even have their own game, dood!
Fuuka Kazamatsuri is a partial adherent of this trope. Don't let the Prinny-themed garb and the fact she's on the Prinny Extermination Squad tell you otherwise. She's one of them!
World of Warcraft has mages able to turn people into penguins (Before it was only sheeps, turtles or pigs). That may have something to do with the arctic theme of the second expansion, though.
Worth noting is that this is done by equipting a minor glyph (depending on level, a character can have up to 3 minor glyphs) that usually give you a small but useful ability. The penguin glyph has no impact on actual combat, and yet is still one of the most sought after glyphs.
Also, there are two new penguin vanity pets (little critters that follow you around and do nothing but look cute).
Also worth noting is the (rare) giant penguin known as King Ping.
And abundance of flocks of penguins which you can temporarily tame and have a crowd of penguins follow you. Wrath of the Lich King has a lot of penguins.
Scorpion from Mortal Kombat can transform into a penguin as an animality form. Yes, it makes no sense to us either.
He was supposedly turning into a scorpion, but since in the game he transforms into penguin there's already another person who can turn into a scorpion (Sheeva)... well yeah. There's no explaining why he became a penguin instead. With explosive eggs for that matter!
The real explanation for this was that Scorpion did not appear in the original Mortal Kombat 3 (the game with animalities); hence they gave the scorpion animality to Sheeva. In the Updated Re-releaseUltimate Mortal Kombat 3 (and Mortal Kombat Trilogy), they added him in, and gave him a penguin animality. In Mortal Kombat 4, they rectified their mistake, giving Scorpion the ability to turn into a giant scorpion for a fatality.
In The Sims 2: Seasons expansion pack, there's an NPC penguin that will occasionally walk by your house during the winter season. If you have a snowman built on your lawn/yard, it will stop by to talk to it. If you pet it it will pee.
In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, the Little King is followed around by a penguin who often is more snarky than helpful. Still, he's cute.
In Mega Man Battle Network 6, a penguin from the aquarium escapes and latches on to Mick (who eventually gives in to its cuteness), prompting the visit to that area. One of the sidequests has you find and capture five penguins who escape from the aquarium (and the cry of "Penguin Get" certainly suggests merit in the Inherently Funny Words theory).
Objection! Penguins in Mario Kart games are NOT awesome! They are the equivalent of Goddamn Bats! Always jumping right in your way, wiping you out, and you can't even kill them!
Heck, in the PC version of Mario Is Missing, if you bother to read the newspaper articles, you will find that they like to run stories on penguins ending up in Michigan or somewhere due to Bowser melting the south pole. It's true.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii introduces the Penguin suit, which allows you to freeze enemies, walk on ice without slipping, slide down slopes and shatter blocks, and swim more efficiently underwater. Given that the other powers only give you one power, and the penguin HAS all the power of the ice flower, it is definite proof that Mario is better when a penguin.
Penguins were actually a recurring theme in early Nintendo 64 titles.
The first Age of Wonders featured the Dire Penguins as the first-tier special unit for the Frostlings, giving the Frostlings a unique (unless the Lizardmen were around) advantage of having an amphibious unit from the get-go. They got red eyes and funny sound effects, and the immense advantage a horde of Dire Penguins (as the portrait hints, it's good for rush) could lend on maps with lots of water.
Fan outrage at their absence in Age of Wonders 2 led to... Dire Penguin return in Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic as a joke summon. These guys have red eyes, a life-stealing attack and their death animation implies they were possesed by a demon. The campaign also has an enemy going insane and ranting about these creatures, among other things. Notably, if you find some obscure object (I think it was a magic box?) on that map, it spawns a massive amount of Dire Penguins all over the place. One or two of these aren't too bad, but they are nasty in large enough groups.
Both Little Big Adventure games have clockwork toy penguins used as weapons. In the first game, they simply distract enemies, making it easier to kill / avoid them; in the second game, they explode after a few seconds.
The boss of Sherbet Land in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 was a penguin. With a spiked hat.
Animal Crossing has a few penguins at potential residents, but then, you're the only human, so it's not a big shock.
And after the 2008 Crimbo event, the Penguin Mafia took control of Crimbo, thanks to a one-sided deal between Uncle Crimbo and Don Pygoscelis. The 2009 event involved getting control back from the Penguins.
Arcana Heart 2 introduces us with Zenia Valov, whose ice-controlling default Arcana is in form of a giant ***ing penguin.
The first game by Yuji Naka's Prope can be played by penguins. Allegedly.
One of the early and notable examples in the history of videogaming is Konami's Antarctic Adventure (and its sequel Penguin Adventure), which had a penguin as protagonist.
Pentarou the penguin became eventually a sort of mascot for Konami, making various appearances in other games (including the Parodius series and the 1991 Famicom game Yume Penguin Monogatari). The latest appearance is in New International Track & Field for DS.
Add to that Konami list Tokimeki Memorial 2 : the resident Tomboy, Homura Akai, loves penguins, so much that she even gets to wear a penguin suit at one point of the game.
Also, Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen. Among the numerous costumes available in this game, the animal-themed exclusive suit for the heroine, Sophia, is a penguin one. What's more, it greatly boosts her affection level towards MacLeod if she wears it, unlike the other girls with their respective animal suits (Hanna = Rabbit suit, no boost ; Raizze = Weasel suit, Leslie = Leopard suit, Linda = Peacock suit, all three greatly damaging affection level).
Konami seems to have a love affair with Penguins in general. Parodius features a playable penguin, as well as dozens of penguin enemies. Otomedius also stars several thousand penguins as enemies, Mecha-Mooks called Pengu.
Tales of Symphonia has the Penguinist and Penguiner "monsters" which appear to be people in Penguin suits.
Deus Ex: Invisible War features a level set in JC Denton's Antarctic refuge complete with cute little penguins waddling about. In the final level, on Liberty Island, which has frozen over due to The Collapse one can activate a portal to an extradimensional nightclub, complete with penguins on fire!
The tactical game Vantage Master 2, where you play a spirit summoner fighting other summoners for artifacts that let you summon new spirits, one particular spirit is Zamilpen, an ancient demon who apparently was trapped in a never-melting shard of ice. He takes the form of a man-sized penguin. With the ability to incapacitate foes by freezing them. Despite his high cost and reduced land speed (as Zamilpen is a water-element spirit, and has half movement on land) usually outweighing his combat value, he is quite popular.
The reward for completing a maze in the old black-and-white Apple Macintosh game Amazing was a picture of a penguin blowing a trumpet.
Subverted in Syberia 2. Turns out that larger, near-man sized penguins are actually pretty dangerous, as one incensed thief learned to his regret after chucking a penguin egg in anger.
The Dungeon Of Doom counts an Electric Penguin among its monsters. It shoots lightning at you. Naturally.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts includes penguins running around the main hub town. Running one over can prompt the unfortunate avian to complain: "How could you? Everyone loves penguins! Scientific fact!"
Not to mention the robotic ones running around Banjo-Land.
One of the six playable characters in Fur Fighters is a pengiun, he's the only one that can swim underwater and is a bit slower on land.
In Sonic Unleashed (the 360/PS3 version, mind you), Holoska, the continent based upon Antarctica (That, or loosely based on Alaska, hence the name) has penguins standing around looking cute, in both the Day and Night stages. The ones in the Day Stages hang around the goal, and jump around when Sonic clears the stage.
Muppets Race Mania has penguins as a weapon pickup.
WiiWare game Snowpack Park has penguins as its entire reason for being: You go around, befriend penguins, and play penguin-themed games with them (like penguin-bowling, penguin-curling, and penguin-balancing).
Gurin and Malon from the old Hudson Soft game Binary Land.
Subverted in Mabinogi. There are two different penguin pets available. However, they are not very popular due to being fairly unimpressive — only average combat ability, average storage space, and no useful or interesting special abilities. The sound given to them by the developers is also considered one of the most annoying sounds in the game by a large number of players.
Quoted from Persona 4: "Damn, I though I was gonna find the penguin today"
Spyro: Year of the Dragon has Sgt James Byrd. A flying penguin that fights with shoulder mounted rocket launchers. He is also the only character in the entire franchise to have free roam in two realms.
Super Tux Kart includes Tux, Linux mascot, as one of the default racers.
Thin Ice for the Intellivision was a graphical conversion of the Data EastArcade GameDisco No. 1, with the dancers replaced with penguins. Duncan the Penguin, the player character, was to have been promoted as a mascot character, but these plans fell victim to Executive Meddling.
The Iceguin Ace dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D, though things aren't better when they're fought as enemies, due to their annoyingly fast movements and having multiple attacks capable of freezing you solid, which can lead to a Cycle of Hurting in the prescence of certain other dream eaters.
TAGAP is a game starring penguins with More Dakka. And they have a disco club and, in the sequel, a church for Saint Tux.
The "Emperor Penguin" series of special moves are inexplicably among the most powerful techniques in Inazuma Eleven. Notable variations include Emperor Penguin No. 1, a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, and Space Penguin, in which the birds wear the most adorable little space suits!
When Team Fortress 2 was ported to Linux, users who tried it out got a free effigy of Tux (see Real Life, below) that their character could wear strapped to his butt. For players with Pyrovision on, Tux will be credited with assists just like the Balloonicorn.
Ted the Penguin in Ctrl+Alt+Del is the pet of Scott, who (not at all coincidentally) is the resident Linux guru.
Pokey the Penguin follows one, though in the comic the penguin is probably the least bizarre thing.
Yosh! features Pen-Pen (no relation to the one from Neon Genesis Evangelion - we think), a talking, sociopathic penguin with a Jell-O addiction. He may also be well actually, he is some kind of demon. In a world populated by mages, monsters, ninjae and robot girls, people tend to do a double-take on Pen-Pen, sometimes going so far as to exclaim "A talking penguin? That's impossible!"
The Peons, being set in Antarctica, is based off of this.
Not in the strip itself, but one of the little notes R.K. Milholland signs off Something Positive with suggested that if one is ever depressed, just Google image search "baby penguins." It works.
Flaky Pastry mentions a thief who was driven insane by a magical trap such that he now only steals penguins. He briefly appears in a later strip, surrounded by penguins he's stolen, and suggesting to Prism that they go to the zoo together.
One of the recurring series at The KA Mics is about penguins.
Brawl in the Family has King Dedede from the Kirby games, listed in the Video Games section. Notably, his father was a photorealistic Emperor penguin, and his mother fed him the traditional regurgitated chum well into his school years.
ZOOFIGHTS IV had a darkhorse combatant: A lone penguin with a shotgun (and cool sunglasses), who was obviously modeled after the Futurama penguins. People voted for him simply because "He's a penguin. With a shotgun."
Crump: You just don't understand the beauty of the penguin! They're so aerodynamically perfect. Can't you see it?! The shape...the smell...(lip-licking sound)the taste of penguins. Penguins. PENGUINS! Tea: ...Are you finished— Crump: Penguins! Tea:Stop saying 'penguins!'
Dragomirs Diary features a moustachioed, top hat-and-mask-wearing jester named Kierkegaard, who happens to be a penguin. He is also a sadistic killer and troublemaker, and one of the principal antagonists in the story.
According to Steeler, the only good thing about Mario Party 5 is the Pushy Penguins mini-game.
Parodied on Frisky Dingo when Killface is running for president and carries around Baby Lamont, a penguin that he saved, for pure publicity's sake.
An episode of The Simpsons had Lisa see a group of penguins flying, until they saw her and landed while looking shifty.
On another episode, Homer accidentally hijacks a nuclear submarine. When he surfaces, he is held at gunpoint by the navies of several nations, including the "S.S. Antarctica" a battleship crewed by penguins.
In "Bart's Comet", penguins are shown flying away from the zoo as the comet comes closer.
The Futurama episode "The Bird-Bot of Ice-Catraz" had Bender join a penguin colony after whacking his head and being reset on penguin mode. The penguins were actually a major part of the episode's plot, but Bender's antics were purely for comic relief. Leela even describes the penguins as what would happen if "puppies and kittens had babies" and swoons over them. Then at the end of the episode we find out Bender spent a good deal of his time turning them militant and man-eating, with the closing shot showing them discovering guns.
And the penguin made cameos in several early episodes of ReBoot.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang and Katara go penguin-sledding after they first meet in the premiere. Or rather, otter-penguin sledding: the penguins have mouths and whiskers rather than beaks, as well as four flippers. They're still pretty cute.
All Grown Up: The final word Susie gets in a Language Bee is "penguin." She gets it right and wins for her team, but not before wondering aloud, "Why would I ever need to say 'penguin' in [the foreign language]?"
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Grim and Billy seek a Druid's help to battle a Kite-And-Other-Debris-Eating Tree, and he helps them get in touch with nature so they can do it. During the training, the druid helps them acquire a spirit animal. But rather than get something cool and predatory like a grizzly bear, Grim's spirit animal turns out to be a penguin. Well, it matches his round, white head and beady black (lack of) eyes, doesn't it? (And it's also very likely a reference to "Fight Club".)
There's also the episode where they see the movie Exploding Penguins Three, which, as the title suggests, is "an action-packed documentary about how penguins exploded"!
The first VeggieTales Christmas episode, The Toy that Saved Christmas, introduced a horde of mute penguins. Since then, they occasionally have cameos, such as a penguin dressed as a parrot in the song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything", or Junior's poor sick penguin in the song "The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps".
Although different from these penguins stylistically, the creators of VeggieTales went on to produce another series by the name of 321 Penguins! And yes, it did have penguins. In Space!
Two Looney Tunes shorts feature Bugs Bunny and a small penguin. In "Eight-Ball Bunny", Bugs tries to get the penguin to Antarctica where he belongs. Turns out he's not from Antarctica; he's a performing penguin who was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. ("Hoboken?! Ooh, I'm dyin' again!") In the earlier cartoon, "Frigid Hare", Bugs ends up protecting the penguin from an ill-tempered Eskimo hunter. The same penguin also featured in an episode of Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries and made a small cameo in Space Jam.
Notably, this little penguin is pretty much the only character ever to really perturb the usually unflappable Bugs of Chuck Jones' direction - in "Eight-Ball Bunny", Bugs ends up running into the distance laughing hysterically.
Tex Avery's "The Penguin Parade" (1938) has lots of great stuff in it, from three penguins stopping in the middle of performing "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" just to make faces at us to the ending after a band ends its torrid performance:
Band: If you think we're gonna keep this up all night, you're screwy! And we do mean you!
Pablo from The Backyardigans. Heck, he's even the first one to introduce himself at the opening. I know it's spanish, but you get the point.
In The Critic, Jay sends his parents on a vacation, but due to cheap tickets and protesters at the airport, they end up flying Air Antarctica. Their pilot is a penguin. All goes well until Franklin realizes, to his horror, "Wait a minute! Penguins can't fly!", whereupon the plane promptly crashes. It probably didn't help that the penguin had been drinking.
He truly was a horrible pilot, no matter how many stewardesses he bagged...
The Title Theme Tune for Phineas and Ferb features Phineas conducting Ferb and some musical penguins to play in an orchestra. Even though such has not happened in the show itself.
In "Bowl-O-Rama Drama", Dr. Doofensmirtz's evil plot involved giant robot penguins equipped with freeze rays.
As far back as 1929 there is a Mickey Mouse cartoon, Wild Waves, which features penguins dancing on the beach. Does this make the setting South Africa?
Pingu, a Swiss claymation animated series about the eponymous penguin and his family. The characters spoke in an untranslated honking penguin language, which children picked up on and went on to annoy their parents with.
There are many penguins in the Ice Kingdom in Adventure Time. The Ice King is often accompanied by penguins when he leaves The Ice Kingdom. He also has a pet penguin named Gunter in his personal chamber.
In one episode, Marceline's Dad (the Ruler of the Nightosphere and Lord of All Evil) was talking to Gunter, calling him the most dangerous and evil being he's ever met. Gunter slapped him in the face.
This winds up being at least a little true, as Gunter attempts to take over Ooo once he gets his hands on a Demonic Wishing Eye.
There are also penguins in Finn's Imagination Land in "Rainy Day Daydream."
Penguins exist in Real Life. The world is a better place for it.
In a newspaper article at around the time of March of the Penguins release the columnist put forth the opinion that penguins were proof of the existence of God, since only a divine being with a sense of humour could create such a wonderful animal. (See also: the platypus.)
The popular PengWIN video of a very lucky penguin outsmarting a killer whale.
All hail Sir Nils Olav, Colonel-In-Chief of the Norwegian King's Guard!
In certain parts of South Africa, penguins will cheerfully go into restaurants... and people's cars.
Penguins can wander on beaches on the Falkland Islands that humans cannot because of land mines.
Tux, the mascot of Linux. Linus Torvalds visited a zoo and tried to pet one, but it bit him. He claims that's how he got into penguins in the first place and decided on a penguin mascot for the OS.
Penguins is a nickname for highschool students in Chile due to their uniform's colors. A protest which was 1 month long and nearly every student in Chile was a part of was called ''The March of the Penguins".
Festo has made robotic penguins, some even capable of flight.
There is a Japanese megastore company called Don Quijote. Think "Walmart as done by the Japanese". It's every milligram as insane as you might expect (there are now branches in Honolulu, Hawaii. They had to tone it down a LOT for their American customers and staff) So you're a Japanese company imitating an American megamart and giving it a Spanish name based on a fictional adventurer. Therefore, it is Japandatory that your mascot is gonna be a blue penguin with the first letter of his company's name (katakana "DO") emblazoned on his belly...and his pink girlfriend with a giant heart on hers.
Little Penguin wine. It's a pretty good wine for the price;and there is an adorable penguin on the label.
There is a small island off the coast of Western Australia, near Perth, called Penguin Island. It is home to a large colony of fairy penguins and a small conservation facility. The only reason any one goes there is to see the penguins
There is a town in Tasmania called Penguin. It has a large penguin statue (containing asbestos), penguins on the rubbish bins, small penguin statues, shops named after penguins, shops selling penguins and more. Other then that, its pretty dull. Definitely better with penguins.
Brazilian retail chain Ponto Frio - name originated from translating the Sears' Coldspot refrigerator line they sold - has a penguin as its mascot. In the social age era, the company opted to use it extensively: their url shortener is "pingu.im", their Twitter is supposedly a Character Blog for the penguin, and their Facebook has albums such as this.