Hugo the TV troll (skærmtrolden Hugo in Danish) is an international media franchise. The franchise was created by the Danish company Interactive Television Entertainment (ITE) in 1990 with an interactive-by-telephone Game Show, in which the players could control from their homes the title character Hugo, a friendly, small Scandinavian folklore troll fighting against evil, often to save his family.
Hugo was first aired on Danish national television TV2 in the program Eleva2ren in 1990, featuring a video game that was played by the audience via telephone connection. A player would call the show, then be prompted by a human host to control a cartoon character on the TV screen in several scenarios by pressing digit keys on the phone, assorted to the character controls. The hit show has been aired continuously for five years.
Since its premiere in 1990, the Hugo game show has been aired in more than 40 countries, spawning dozens of video games for various platforms. Hugo also spawned other merchandise, including dedicated magazines. As of today, the commercial parts of the franchise consist mostly of mobile games being published by the Danish company Hugo Games. An animated feature film is currently in development.
The several Hugo video games are based on early episodes of ITE's television show Hugo and are a part of the international Hugo franchise. From 1992 to 2000, ITE developed and released versions for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC, as well as the Game Boy and PlayStation consoles, exclusively for European markets. Since 2011, Krea Media / Hugo Games published a series of mobile game remakes for Android. An online slot machine adaptation was also released in 2016.
These games, known as the classic series, closely resemble the early editions of the TV show they have been adapted from; in almost all of them, the player guides the titular protagonist (a small, friendly troll named Hugo) to save his wife and children from the evil witch Scylla. To rescue his family, Hugo must navigate safely through dangerous environments in various minigame scenarios. These series later received an updated sequel known as Hugo: Jungle Fever. In this scenario, Hugo's evil nemesis, the witch Scylla, has returned and moved to a jungle island where she teamed up with the local tyrant Don Croco. Scylla once again kidnapped Hugo's wife Hugolina and the children, but this time she keeps them captive in a cage in her new lair, located at a top of volcano in the center of the island. The players control Hugo, aided by the monkey Jean Paul and the toucan Ferdinand, as he needs to complete a series minigames to reach and defeat the witch and free his family.
Later on, many standalone Hugo videogames were released for the Playstation console, where the minigame idea was abandoned and, instead, the games became full-fledged 3D platform games. These were known as Hugo: Quest for the Sunstones, and Hugo: Black Diamond Fever and were released in 2000 and 2001 respectively.
The classic series of Hugo videogames provide examples of:
- Agony of the Feet: In the "Forest" and "Bridge" minigames, Hugo may walk over bear traps, resulting in him having a shocked expression in the former case, and Hugo almost eating the camera and screaming in pain in the later case.
- Bonus Stage: When you finish a game, you'll be treated to a bonus minigame that let's you multiply your points.
- Catchphrase: "Trolledrit, Trolledrat, Trolledrut, this game is caput!" Said by Hugo when all lifes are lost.
- Circling Birdies: Seen if Hugo doesn't duck under tree branches or the wooden railings in the "Forest" and "Minecart" minigames, respectively.
- Indy Escape: In the "Boulders" minigame, rolling boulders are frequently spat at you by a volcano located in Scylla's lair. The boulder's speed is no match for Hugo's walking speed, but tripping on one too many tree roots will lead to Hugo being Squashed Flat.
- Luck-Based Mission: The "Ropes" end bonus game is one of these. Hugo has to pull one of the three ropes in Scylla's lair in order to defeat her, free his family, and multiply his points. In the best case, your points will be tripled, and Scylla will be tied up and ejected from her lair. If your points get doubled, Scylla will become old and flee. In both cases Hugo's family gets released. If you have bad luck, Hugo himself will get tied and ejected from the lair.
- Mega Maelstrom: Hugo and his barrel can be sucked into these in the "River" game.
- No Fourth Wall: Hugo constantly adresses the player, giving them hints, reminding them on how many lives they have, and so on.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Usually happens by running out of time in Timed Mission minigames, or by entering an incorrect sequence in minigames where Hugo has to remember a sequence (of symbols, animal sounds, etc) at the end of them. In any case, the game will end, no matter how many lives you had in reserve.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: The only game to include obstacles that don't make Hugo lose a life immediately is the "Boulder" minigame, where springpads will make Hugo return to the start of the section, and tree roots make Hugo trip, making him lose precious time in both cases.
- Oxygen Meter: present in the "Scuba Diver" minigame. Hugo has to rise up to the surface to replenish his air, or he will risk suffering a Non-Standard Game Over.
- Rule of Three: Hugo starts each minigame with three lives.
- Screen Tap: Given by Hugo when the player has only one life left.
- Squashed Flat: usually caused by boulders, such as these found in the "Boulders" and "Forest" levels.
- Timed Mission: Some minigames offer a time limit that will trigger a Non-Standard Game Over when time runs out.
- "Boulders": When Hugo runs out of time, a powder barrel blows up, destroying the rope bridge that leads to Scylla's lair.
- "Airplane": The time limit is the plane's fuel reserve. When it's up, the plane is sent into a nosedive and gets completely wrecked, but not before stopping at mere inches from the ground to eject Hugo safely.
- The Many Deaths of You: Each time you lose a life you'll be treated to an amusing cutscene where Hugo gets injured or inconvenienced in some way, usually accompained by a snarky one-liner from the troll.