Games GAMES

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Boardgames used to made of tough stuff and there was one in particular that was really put through the wringer and came out the other end, mostly, bar a few snapped off black levers. This was Hungry Hungry Hippos, a game that involved some extreme lever punching and marble munching by the hippos, not the kids. Yep, if there was ever a game designed to warn children about the self-inflicted ailment now known as RSI (repetitive strain injury) this was it.

However, physical pain was never enough to stop children playing - especially when an element of pride and notoriety among your peers was involved. This was a challenge to the end and we'd all find out who had the strongest wrist in the neighbourhood. The weak wristed need not apply.

Hungry Hungry Hippos, produced in 1978 by Milton Bradley, consisted of a plastic moulded dish-like board with various nooks and crannies. On each of its sides nestled a plastic moulded hippo - one green, one yellow, one pink and an orange one. The most unnatural thing about these hippos (as if their colouring wasn't enough), were the black levers sticking out of their rear ends. The vital part of the game.

Once the gamesmaster had emptied the hippo food (small, round, white balls) into the centre of the board, each player then had to push frantically on his or her hippo's lever in order to make the hippo open and close its mouth as the balls of food rolled near it. The aim was to grab as many balls as possible, and they'd roll through the hippo's mouth and into a collecting trough. Sometimes you'd get frustrated when loads of balls would rush into the mouth then rush right out again before you had a chance to drop the jaw shut. Doh! Predictably enough, the person with the most balls won.

As much as Freddy from down the road might argue, there was no real element of skill involved (maybe that's why Homer from The Simpsons TV programme likes playing it so much). It's all about luck.

A game of Hungry Hungry Hippos invariably lasted, at the most, one whole minute, consisting of a blur of rainbow colours and more than a whiff of greediness. Seeing as hippos are not generously covered in most school syllabuses, a many kids of the 90s did indeed grow up believing that real-life hippopotamuses existed on a diet resembling white marbles. Just as they grew up believing monkeys lived in barrels and you could clear your room of bed bugs using a simple pair of tweezers. Perhaps the only realistic thing kids discovered about hippos from playing the game was their natural instinct for survival of the fittest. And is there any more valuable lesson than that? Maybe to take a break from RSI-inducing games every now and again? As if!


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Message boards

Hungry Hungry Hippos Last post by www.doyouremember.co.uk
25 April 2012
Hungry Hungry Hippos Last post by remember
17 May 2009

Do You Remember Hungry Hungry Hippos?

Do You Remember Hungry Hungry Hippos?

  • martin2011
    on
    got it 4 Christmas it was awsesome
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Homer Simpson put it best when he said: "...and now we play the waiting game... the waiting game sucks! Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!" Genius!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    The pink one always reminded me of George from Rainbow!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My sister and I drove my poor parents mad with the noise of this thing - I don't recall there being any skill to the game, you just had to make the hippos eat those plastic balls as fast as possible. I remember it being a lot of noise for less than half a minute.
  • slightlyodd
    on
    classic game press press press press press press press press, still remember how to play
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Me and my brother used to go crazy over this 80's board game!! For anyone who needs their memory jogged you basically have to "hammer the hippo" until it munches as many marbles as possible! What's funny about it though, is that it brings out an agressive side in the people who play it! Me and my brother used to think the harder we hit the hippo, then the more marbles it would eat! but usually this resulted in the marbles flying off the board and getting lost under the sofa or fireplace! I have fond memories of this game, who would have thought that the 80's would have been over so quick??
  • Anonymous user
    on
    This was one game which lots of my friends had in the 80s but I didn't. This wasn't too bad because I could alway have a go on one of theirs. The thing that would send the marbles back onto the main board was a neat idea, & saved doing it by hand & loosing some.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    (im having fun doing this) i always wanted to be the green one....in fact i always had fights with the other kids @ chuck E cheese when they wouldnt let me have that one! lol
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I remember playing this at 4am on Christmas morning with my sisters. Noisy was not the word!!! My parents were not impressed and i am sure they were pinching the balls one by one untill we only had about 3 left!! We used to use malteasers aswell for an extra incentive to win(caused a few crumbs though).
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I always wanted to be the pink hippo.