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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 (achieved by having a computer that could translate said phone signals into game input). A player would call the show, then be prompted by a human host to control Hugo on the TV screen in several scenarios by pressing digit keys on the phone, assigned to the character controls. The show proved to be a hit and 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 and home ports for various platforms. Hugo also spawned other merchandise, including dedicated magazines. ITE was bought in 2002 by a company known as Olicom who proceeded to gut ITE by firing most of its staff and have Hugo in the center of a huge international marketing push. This resulted in a lot of mediocre games being released and ITE never recovered. It finally closed for good in 2010 but not before the rights to Hugo himself was sold to Krea Media, who together with Hugo Games handles it until today.

Outside of the show, many commercial games has also been made featuring the character. These initially mostly consisted of collections of minigames from the TV show, releasing on the Amiga, Commodore 64, PC as well as several consoles throughout the 90s. Several original games (mostly 3d platformers and educational) has also been made. Most notably the European exclusive "Kikurian" trilogy on the original Playstation released between 2000 and 2003. Since 2011, Krea Media/Hugo Games has also published a series of mobile remakes for Android. An online slot machine adaptation was also released in 2016 and an animated feature film was announced to be in production by the same guys that did Ronal the Barbarian, but seems to have slipped into Development Hell as nothing has been heard about it since 2012.

In almost all of the classic tv games, the player guides the titular protagonist 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. The series later received an "expansion" known as Hugo: Jungle Island. Where Scylla returned and moved to the titular jungle island, teamed up with the local tyrant Don Croco and once again kidnapped Hugo's wife Hugolina and the children. Keeping 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 new series minigames to reach and defeat the witch and free his family again.

List of videogame adaptations:

  • Skærmtrolden Hugo (1990)
  • Hugo Classic
    • Hugo (1991)
    • Hugo 2 (1992)
    • Hugo 3 (1995)
    • Hugo 4 (1996)
    • Hugo 5 (1997)
    • Hugo: Wild River (1998)
    • Hugo: Jungle Island (1999)
    • Hugo: Jungle Island 2 (2000)
  • Wintergames
    • Hugo: Winter Games (1997)
    • Hugo Saves Christmas (1998)
    • Hugo: Scylla's Revenge (1999)
  • Jungle Island
    • Hugo: Quest for the Sunstones (2000)
    • Hugo: Black Diamond Fever (2001)
    • Hugo: The Evil Mirror (2002)
  • Hugo: Smakkaball (2003)
  • Hugo: Cannon Cruise (2004)
  • Agent Hugo
  • Hugo Troll Race (2012, with a sequel released in 2015)

The classic series of Hugo videogames provide examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: The seventh level of Quest for the Sunstones is this, including automatically driving minecarts that can damage you.
  • Absurdly Short Level: The sixth level of Quest for the Sunstones is just a bunch of buttons in a circle, without many difficult enemies.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Used twice in Quest for the Sunstones: In the third level Hugo is chased by a wall of fire, in the last level by an advancing tornado.
  • 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.
  • All for Nothing: On a meta level. The modified Amiga used to translate the phone signals into game input had a tendency to be quite unreliable depending on what phone system you had. It wasn't to uncommon for kids (who sometimes had to wait months to actually play on the show) to have nothing happen as they pressed the buttons.
  • Beware the Skull Base: The eleventh level of Quest for the Sunstones is located in a dungeon full of undead enemies and skulls.
  • Bonus Stage: When you finish a game, you'll be treated to a bonus minigame that let's you multiply your points.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The only boss in Quest for the Sunstones is a lava man who simply has a lot more hit points than normal mooks of his kind.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The first sunstone in Quest for the Sunstones is found in a very obviously Egyptian pyramid. Deadly traps included.
  • Catchphrase: "Trolledrit, Trolledrat, Trolledrut, this game is caput!" Said by Hugo when all lifes are lost.
    • There's also "Hvor skal vi hen, du?" ("Where we goin', buddy?"), which Hugo would ask the player at the start of some games.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The tenth level in Quest for the Sunstone, even though the waterfall is only visible in a cutscene.
  • Circling Birdies: Seen if Hugo doesn't duck under tree branches or the wooden railings in the "Forest" and "Minecart" minigames, respectively.
  • Digging to China: If Hugo falls down the mountain, he'll break the ground and exclaim "I feel like a miner, cause now I'm in China!", complete with an appropriate tune.
  • Gangplank Galleon: The tenth level of Quest for the Sunstones takes place in an abandoned pirate hideout. However, it is full of pirate ghosts...
  • Hailfire Peaks: Many levels in Quest for the Sunstones feature this trope.
  • Hot Witch: Scylla. Just look at her.
  • 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.
  • Jungle Japes: The first and second level of Quest for the Sunstones. Enemies include Piranhas, Mosquitoes and Venus Mantraps.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The forth level of Quest for the Sunstones takes place inside a volcano.
  • Level in Reverse: The last level's layout of Quest for the Sunstones is roughly the same as the first level, but backwards... and intensified by a tornado and lava.
  • 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.
  • Minecart Madness: Very prominently features in many Hugo games.
    • Quest for the Sunstones has two complete levels of a minecart racing down a snowy hill.
    • Jungle Island has a game where Hugo and his friends Fernando and Jean Paul ride a minecart in order to reach the top of the volcano where Scylla's lair is.
  • No Fourth Wall: Hugo constantly addresses 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.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Quest for the Sunstones plays this trope straight. Every level is a straight line from start to finish, without any collectibles.
  • 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.
  • Password Save: The only means to save in Quest for the Sunstones. Yes, even on PC in a game from 2000.
  • Rise to the Challenge: In the Jungle Island series, one of the games has Hugo climbing a volcano on the inside as he's followed by rising lava below him.
  • Rule of Three: Hugo starts each minigame with three lives.
  • Screen Tap: Given by Hugo when the player has only one life left.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Quest for the sunstones features this so often that almost half of the game is this: The forth quarter of level 5, level 6, level 8 and 9 are all this.
  • Squashed Flat: Usually caused by boulders, such as these found in the "Boulders" and "Forest" levels.
  • Stripped to the Bone: In the minecart game in Jungle Island, one cutscene has Hugo and company fall into hot lava and helplessly stand on the minecart that fell together with them as it slowly sinks. The three of them are then engulfed by flames and reduced to skeletons afterwards.
  • 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.
    • One of Jungle Island's games involves riding an ostrich, which has a stamina meter that depletes over time. Once it's all out of stamina, the ostrich stops running and collapses onto the ground from exhaustion.
  • 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 accompanied by a snarky one-liner from the troll.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The Jungle Fever series.
  • The Unfought: The main villain, Scylla the witch, is never fought, and neither is the King Mook.
  • Vain Sorceress: Scylla is a witch who often kidnaps Hugolina, with the goal being to use her to become beautiful.