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Videogame: Putt-Putt

Putt-Putt is a series of point-and-click children's games originally made by Humongous Entertainment, which was later bought by Atari. The series spans seven Adventure Games and five Gaiden Games.

Putt-Putt is a talking purple car, in a world where vehicles, as well as other things, e.g. some animals can talk. The series follows the adventures of Putt-Putt and his (non-talking but intelligent) dog Pep.

The Adventure Games, in order, are:
  • Putt-Putt Joins the Parade
  • Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon
  • Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo
  • Putt-Putt Travels Through Time
  • Putt-Putt Enters the Race
  • Putt-Putt Joins the Circus
  • Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise

The Gaiden Games, in order, are:
  • Putt-Putt's Fun Pack
  • Putt-Putt & Fatty Bear's Activity Pack
  • Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama
  • Putt-Putt and Pep's Dog on a Stick
  • Putt-Putt's One-Stop Fun Shop

The series also spawned multiple children's books (not all of which may have been published), including Go, Go, Putt-Putt Go!, On the Road With Putt-Putt, Putt Putt and Pep, Putt-Putt Notebook, Putt-Putt: Color and Activity Book, Putt-Putt: Lost In Time, Putt-Putt: Race Against the Clock, Putt-Putt: The Great Pet Chase, and Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas (doubling as an Audio Adaptation). Additionally, the album Flabby Rode features an alternate version of the song "Welcome to the Zoo" from Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo.

A recurring feature in the games is the ability to have your paint color changed at a certain place. In some games you have to find or earn coins to do this, and in some it's free. The color change has absolutely no influence on the gameplay.

A lite version of Saves the Zoo can be downloaded from iTunes, and a demo version of Travels Through Time can be downloaded from Infogrames. The first 6 main series games note , among others are all available for play on ScummVM.

Not to Be Confused with the famous miniature golf chain.

Now available on Steam.

Tropes in the Putt-Putt series:

  • Absentee Actor: Pep is absent from Fun Pack and its Updated Re-release Activity Pack.
  • Accidental Pun: Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise has an autosave feature.
  • The Ahnold: Ivan the Semi-Strong Van in "Joins the Circus".
  • All Animals Are Dogs: In Putt-Putt and Pep's Dog on a Stick, when encountering a tiger, he grabs Pep and starts to endlessly lick his face, until Putt-Putt rescues him. If you wait long enough on the title screen, he does it even longer.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: The Old West in Putt-Putt Travels Through Time and the Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: Lost In Time.
  • Alternate Continuity: The Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: Lost In Time, a Compressed Adaptation of the game Putt-Putt Travels Through Time.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Made better by the fact you can change Putt-Putt's color in all of the adventure games (and Balloon-o-Rama).
  • The Anime of the Game: Was to have been created by Lancit Media Entertainment.
  • Anti-Sneeze Aerial: In Saves the Zoo Putt-Putt does this to Pep in the middle of an avalanche zone. Followed by Putt-Putt sneezing.
  • Art Shift: Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo completely changed from having DOS type graphics to the type that resembles a cartoon.
  • Attract Mode: Featured in Balloon-o-Rama.
  • Audio Adaptation: The Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas came with a cassette tape of the same name.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Putt-Putt and Pep are somehow able to breathe on the moon. Pep is wearing a space helmet in space, but loses it on the moon.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In Goes to the Moon, Mr. Firebird does one of these upon Pep leaping onto the "DO NOT TOUCH!" lever.
    • In Travels Through Time, Putt-Putt does one of these upon Pep getting sucked into the time machine.
  • Big Red Lever: Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: A billboard in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo has a slide that reads "Shameless Humongous Entertainment self promotion to be placed here."
  • Blooper:
    • Putt-Putt's eyebrows are strangely missing on the box art for Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo. This was corrected for the 1999 version.
    • Pep's Birthday Surprise has several.
  • Breaking Out: Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama.
  • The Cameo: Besides the usual Humongous cameos, Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise has these two clickpoints:
  • Canon Discontinuity: Putt-Putt creates the stories in One-Stop Fun Shop's storytime coloring book, so the five stories are most likely not canon.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • From the Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: The Great Pet Chase, Smokey's pet Dalmatian puppy Sparky, Putt-Putt's friend Ruby, Ruby's pet kitten Fuzzy, and some of the wildlife near Putt-Putt's house.
    • From the Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: Lost In Time, robotic dog Winks and the mountain lion.
  • Catch Phrase: Putt-Putt's "Wowie zowie!" and "Hot ziggety!".
  • Christmas Episode: The Tie-In Novel / Audio Adaptation Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas, in which Putt-Putt and Pep save Christmas.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Alternate Continuity Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: Lost In Time, based on the game Putt-Putt Travels Through Time.
  • Conspicuous CG: Putt-Putt Enters the Race features a completely CG-produced race track, with the racers, the birds, and Redline Rick being the only non-CG produced things. Even the crowd is CG-produced.
  • Continuity Nod: In Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, there is a crossed-out sign at the beginning of the game that says Fireworks Factory on the way to Firebird's lab.
  • Crate Expectations: Levels 51-60 of Dog on a Stick.
  • Creator In-Joke: Supposedly, "They're moving in herds" is this.
  • Crossover: Putt-Putt & Fatty Bear's Activity Pack is the only Humongous game to go further than simple cameos.
  • Cut Song: Some games' HE4 files contain Dummied Out music.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Pep's Birthday Surprise changed the "skip cutscenes" key from Escape to Enter (with Escape now functioning as an additional way to show or hide the Main Menu Bar), leaving many unaware it was possible to skip cutscenes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: In Dog on a Stick, Pep, not Putt-Putt, is the sole playable character.
  • Depending on the Artist: Technically justified, since the characters are vehicles and can presumably have themselves remodeled.
    • Mr. Fenderbender got a minor redesign and a new paint job in Enters the Race.
    • Marvin the Marvelous got a major redesign in Pep's Birthday Surprise.
    • Chuck Wagon got a minor redesign and a new (or at least newly painted) set of wheels in Pep's Birthday Surprise.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Putt-Putt's eyebrows always float.
  • Downloadable Content: Putt-Putt's One-Stop Fun Shop had additional art that could be downloaded from Humongous' website.
  • Dub Name Change: The UK version of Putt-Putt Enters the Race altered several character names:
    • Smokey is known as Bernie.
    • Betsy Bulldozer is known as Bella Bulldozer.
    • Mr. Fenderbender is known as Mr. Bumperthumper.
    • Chuck is known as Tony.
  • Dummied Out:
    • Joins the Parade:
    • Goes to the Moon:
      • The game's HE2 file contains some unused dialogue from the radio, reporting a criminal lawsuit being filed against Mr. Firebird for the fireworks factory accident. It was mostly likely not used in the game due to it being too harsh for a kids' game.
      • The game's HE4 file contains unused music.
    • Saves the Zoo:
      • Putt-Putt and Pep have an unused animation that can be unlocked by adding "UpChuck=71595" to the game's section in the INI file.
      • Putt-Putt has an unused line that can be unlocked by adding "MoveInHerds=71595" to the game's section in the INI file. The line is a Shout-Out to Jurassic Park.
      • The gopher has an unused animation that can be unlocked by adding "HoleyMoley=71595" to the game's section in the INI file.
      • The gibbons have five unused rhymes that can be unlocked by adding "Gibbon=71595" to the game's section in the INI file.
      • Thwack and Quack have an unused joke that can be unlocked by adding "IAmTheMoose=71595" to the game's section in the INI file.
      • The scrapbook in the photo album at the end of the game has an unused page that can be unlocked by adding "ICanDrive=71595" to the game's section in the INI file.
      • The game's demo is buried into the files, albeit mostly broken.
      • The game's HE4 file contains unused music.
    • Balloon-o-Rama:
      • An unused Level Editor for the developers exists. It can be accessed by either adding "RhettCool=1" to the game's section in the INI file and pressing "e" at any time during the gameplay, or by typing "room 5" in ScummVM's debugger. Levels can only be tested through the latter method though.
    • Dog on a Stick:
      • An unused level environment of giant cans in a giant kitchen (with partially unfinished colors and no music) is included in the developers' Level Editor, which can be accessed by using ScummVM's debugger and typing "room 5."
    • Travels Through Time:
    • Enters the Race:
      • Putt-Putt has an unused line (with unfinished animation) that can be triggered by getting everything Putt-Putt needs for the race then checking the racing form (which can only be done by using the game's debug mode or ScummVM's debugger).
      • The old preview for it is buried into the real game's files, even though it has no use.
    • Pep's Birthday Surprise:
  • Easter Egg: In Enters the Race, clicking on the green car at the speedway while holding SHIFT skips to the race.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: The dancing penguins in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo. You can even change their dance cycles. Putt-Putt and Pep also join in after the music has been playing for ten seconds (Pep doing a "swimming" dance.)
  • Everything Is Ani Pod In The Future: According to Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, in the future we can teleport, have very high-tech battery makers, can make our own books, make food for any animal of any sort, and things like newspaper are ancient artifacts.
  • Expanded Universe: The Tie-In Novels and Audio Adaptation.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Pep, especially in Dog on a Stick.
  • First Person Snapshooter: In Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo. It's completely optional and has no effect on gameplay.
  • Fish Eyes: In Dog on a Stick, Putt-Putt often has these.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The entirety of Bear Stormin' in Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon and Circus Stormin' in Putt-Putt & Fatty Bear's Activity Pack.
  • Floating Continent: Putt-Putt Travels Through Time has this in the future.
  • Franchise Killer: Pep's Birthday Surprise.
  • Funny Foreigner: Mr. Baldini and Torvolt the Tractor are gentle cases of this.
  • Furry Confusion: Santa Claus' sleigh from the Tie-In Novel / Audio Adaptation Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas is not a Sentient Vehicle.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the 1999 version of Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, if you are on the raft and click on the land (without going somewhere else) and skip it while Putt-Putt is talking, the raft disappears and you have no way of getting it back. (And you can't have lowered the drawbridge beforehand, since Putt-Putt only says anything the first time you reach the end of the lake—unless you immediately skip the animation, in which case the glitch doesn't happen for some reason.) The saddest part is that this wasn't even in the original 1995 version. The iOS port worked around it by making this scene impossible to skip.
  • Game Within a Game: Bear Stormin' in Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon, Squoosh in Putt-Putt Travels Through Time.
  • Geographic Flexibility: All games that take place in Cartown change the design each time.
  • Guide Dang It: Let's start counting how many people on YouTube couldn't figure out the proper way to do the digging minigame in Putt-Putt Enters the Race.
    • To elaborate more on this, most people thought that it was an entirely Luck-Based Mission, and were supposed to just spam holes and hope you landed on a hubcap space. What you're REALLY supposed to do is that you have to hover the shovel over a spot long enough, and listen to the way Ralphie barks. When he barks a certain way, you know you're over a spot. Most people thought he was being impatient.
  • Helicopter Pack: Putt-Putt's propellor attachment from Activity Pack (specifically, from Circus Stormin') and Dog on a Stick.
  • Holler Button: Putt-Putt's horn and radio.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: The ending of Pep's Birthday Surprise does this once, using an image of Pep's head.
  • King of Beasts: The lion and lioness in Saves the Zoo notably sport crowns.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: The Levels 91-100 level end fanfare of Balloon-o-Rama does this.
  • Level Editor: Balloon-o-Rama and Dog on a Stick.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • The music for blasting off into outer space in Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon. More than a quarter of it is unheard in-game.
    • Rover's story from the same game. It's cut off halfway through.
    • Land selection in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo mostly gets drowned out from the waterfalls in the background. It also only plays on one screen, so the only way to hear it in full is to stand there the whole time.
    • Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama has this for just about every song. This is mostly because every level will probably finish before it ends, up until Levels 101-110. However, it is possible to sit back and listen to the music (or just let the music get a head start) after the level starts but before launching Pep.
  • Lost in Translation: Due to the fact that the first two games had few translations, a lot of the Continuity Nods and Call Backs were lost when the other games were translated. Although their dated look is a possible explanation, there was also the fact that they were poorly coded, as in DOS-like. They were very complex by comparison of later games, so most companies didn't bother with them. Akella did go through the effort of translating Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon, but it was the only Russian translation of theirs to keep the original subtitles in (the other games had them removed).
    • Marth Debuted in Smash Bros.: This also means major characters from those games, such as Smokey and Rover, technically debuted in their later appearances' translations.
  • Macro Zone: Dog on a Stick's Dummied Out kitchen level environment.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Just like most Humongous games. An example is "I have...nine...moon crystals".
  • Minigame Game: Fun Pack and its Updated Re-release Activity Pack.
  • Multiple Head Case: The alien selling the rocket in Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Even when the "trailer" is part of the game itself—the Invitation Musical from Pep's Birthday Surprise claims that the party guests will include "the limo from the mansion" and "some Martians from a Putt-Putt game that you have played before." Said characters do not appear outside of the song; additionally, the limo's mansion isn't shown at all, and the Martians aren't even from a previous game.
  • New Neighbours as the Plot Demands
  • Nintendo Hard: Yes, even in a kids' game. The minigame Bear Stormin' (later recycled as Circus Stormin' in Putt-Putt & Fatty Bear's Activity Pack) has near-impossible later levels. You can't forget a single balloon, or hit a single enemy otherwise you're garaunteed a death. Did we mention no continues?
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Often.
  • Oddly Named Sequel: Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise, even though it wasn't technically made by Humongous.
  • Once an Episode: Every adventure game but Goes to the Moon and Pep's Birthday Surprise has a set of characters who tell each other jokes. Joins the Parade has the dog, cat, duck and bunny, Saves the Zoo has Thwack and Quack, Travels Through Time has King Chariot and the three children, Enters the Race has Maxie and Slapsy, and Joins the Circus has Ratso and Catnip.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted—while not in the same game, the series has two characters named Reginald III: the circus lion Reginald Cornelius Andronocles III from Joins the Circus, and the balloon inflator Reginald Windbag III from Pep's Birthday Surprise. Both get called Reggie at least once.
  • Palette Swap: The Carbucks Coffee Carista from Pep's Birthday Surprise is a Palette Swap of Chuck Wagon, with Chuck's Cartown's Best logo replaced by the Carbucks Cocoa logo.
  • Parental Bonus: Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo has a Shout-Out to Deliverance.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Putt-Putt, mostly in the original games, where due to sprite limitations, he is almost always smiling when he speaks, even if something's wrong ("Oh my goodness, I'm on the moon!")
  • Photo Montage: The credits of Saves the Zoo, Enters the Race, Joins the Circus, and Pep's Birthday Surprise.
  • Portal to the Past: Travels Through Time and the Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: Lost In Time both use portals to connect the past/future to the time machine.
  • Product Placement: Played for Laughs/parodied in a clickable in Saves the Zoo; a billboard which changes every time you click it includes plugs for various other Humongous games, eventually leading to one that reads "Shameless Humongous Entertainment self-promotion to be placed here."
    • Also parodied in the song "Topiary Creatures" from the same game with the Non Sequitur lyric "and advertising tie-ins" which is accompanied with an image of various Humongous Entertainment T-shirts and other merchandise. This doubles as a mockery of Subliminal Advertising.
  • Punny Name: Arthur T. Fact. But you can call him Art T. Fact.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Fun Pack, its Updated Re-release Activity Pack, One-Stop Fun Shop, and Pep's Birthday Surprise each reuse music from previous games.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Averted in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo the boa constrictors Little Skeeter and his Mom are just as nice as all the other animals. Same can be said for the dinosaurs in Putt-Putt Travels in Time.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Tie-In Novel / Audio Adaptation Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas and the Tie-In Novel Go, Go, Putt-Putt Go! are narrated in rhyme.
  • Robot Dog: Winks from the Alternate Continuity Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: Lost In Time.
  • Same Language Dub
  • Santa Claus: He and his flying reindeer have a cameo in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, and they make a full-fledged appearance in the Tie-In Novel / Audio Adaptation Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas.
  • Saving Christmas: Putt-Putt and Pep do this in the Tie-In Novel / Audio Adaptation Putt-Putt's Night Before Christmas.
  • Sentient Vehicle
  • Shout-Out: Humongous LOVES these, and of course they're going to put them in any place they can. Just a few examples:
    • In Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, when talking to Art T. Fact, he can ask for Pajama Man comic books or a SPY Fox decoder ring.
    • In Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo and Joins the Circus, there's a bill board at the beginning which has a few references to Fatty Bear and Pajama Sam.
    • Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is FILLED with Freddi Fish references. Let's see, there's an ad on the billboard for the first game, she makes a brief appearence in the zoo song, Luther and her pull the raft back to Putt-Putt when he's sunk down in the rapids, and one of the things you can see in the telescope is Freddi talking to Sam the pelican.
    • And way more. There could practically be a whole page with cross references in HE games.
    • For a non-Humongous example, Deliverance is referenced in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, as a Parental Bonus. The calm spot that can be reached from the rapids has unique music which is suspiciously similar to "Dueling Banjos".
  • Retraux Flashback: When "Pep's Birthday Surprise" flashes back to when Putt-Putt first met Pep, the art style reverts back to that of "Joins the Parade".
  • Smelly Skunk: Dog on a Stick has this for one of the enemies.
  • The Something Song: The official name for Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo's song is "The Zoo Song".
  • Spell My Name with an S: There are several places where the dash in Putt-Putt's name is missing, like on Putt-Putt Joins the Parade's title screen.
  • Spiritual Successor: Fans consider Race to be this to Parade, due to the large amount of returning characters and locations.
  • Spoiler Title: Every Adventure Game is named after someting plot-significant that Putt-Putt does in that game, but some of these namesakes are events that most of the game leads up to. Thus, there is no doubt that Putt-Putt will join the parade in Putt-Putt Joins the Parade, save the zoo in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, enter the race in Putt-Putt Enters the Race, and join the circus in Putt-Putt Joins the Circus.
  • Stock Femur Bone: In Joins the Parade, Putt-Putt finds one and uses it to befriend Pep. Later, in Dog on a Stick, Pep finds them all over the place.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Smokey has had two different Dalmatian puppies, Sparky from the Tie-In Novel Putt-Putt: The Great Pet Chase and Max from the game Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise.
  • Take Your Time:
    • Joins the Parade is the only game in the series to actually make use of the gas gauge, but as in the later games, you cannot run out of fuel.
    • Enters the Race will sometimes have a shed on fire. Despite the fact it's a really small shed and could burn in mere seconds, it never does. In fact, you have enough time to go back to Smokey only to find out he's out to lunch.
  • Taunt Button: Putt-Putt's speedometer, the gas gauge in Pep's Birthday Surprise, and the horn almost 98% of the time.
  • Tie-In Novel
  • Time Machine: Mr. Firebird's Time Portal.
  • Time Travel: Via Mr. Firebird's Time Portal.
  • Title Drop: In Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo: "Congratulations! Putt-Putt, you saved the zoo!"
  • Title Theme Tune: From Moon to Race, there is an opening song.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Bear/Circus Stormin' both have one level when there is a cannonball attached right inside a balloon. There is no clear indication of this either, and if you fall for it, you lose a life.
  • Updated Re-release: Putt-Putt & Fatty Bear's Activity Pack.
  • Urine Trouble: Mildred almost has this happen in Putt-Putt Enters the Race when Pep lifts up his back-left leg next to her wheel. She tries to get out as quick as possible from this. Doubles as Parental Bonus.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In Putt-Putt Joins the Parade, there's some nails on Red Street. You can actually make Putt-Putt run over them and kill his tires. The result is rather entertaining, so most people like to do it on purpose.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: At the beginning of Pep's Birthday Surprise, Putt-Putt goes to the Feed Store and Mr. Kibble suggests to bring Pep over so he can decide which of the new flavors of dog food he likes best. The scene has little significance to begin with, but he feels the need list off all the flavors. Less than a minute later when Pep is testing them, Mr. Kibble feels it important enough to list off the flavors...again.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: One-Stop Fun Shop's Putt-Putt-o-Matic.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Putt-Putt's Dummied Out reaction to eating ten or more servings of cotton candy in Saves the Zoo. Pep then hops out and licks up Putt-Putt's vomit.
  • What Year Is This?: Putt-Putt will ask this upon entering the future and chatting with the dinosaur in the prehistoric era in Putt-Putt Travels Through Time.
  • White and Grey Morality: In Putt-Putt and Pep's Dog on a Stick, the enemies don't really try to intentionally hurt Pep. The bear hugs you and supposedly chokes you, the penguin grabs you and dances, the skunk we can all guess, the pigs with jetpacks crowd you in smoke, goo covers you in goo, the ram just bonks into you, the hedgehog makes you land in his fur, and the tiger licks Pep's face.
  • A Winner Is You: In the spinoff game Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama: "Great job, Pep! Pep, you're the greatest balloon-poppin' pup I know!" *barks* *jumps to pop balloon* "Hooray!"

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