Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Memories of Pengo

I'm kind of a sucker for penguins. Especially of the "cartoon" variety. I think this probably dates back to when I was in elementary school, and my best friend and I would often ride our bikes to the local Big Lots, where they used to have an assortment of video games to be played. One that I latched onto fairly quickly was Pengo.

Pengo is, in many ways, a standard video game of the early 1980's. You would play the role of Pengo (who is, as the name implies, a penguin), who would navigate a maze of ice cubes while trying to avoid contact with a number of "Sno-Bees" that also populate the field. You complete a round by eliminating all the Sno-Bees. This is generally done by pushing ice cubes, which you do by facing the cube and pushing a button, which sends the cube flying across the board until it hits either another ice cube or the edge of the board (if the ice cube is already next to another cube or the edge in the direction you're pushing, the cube you're pushing is instead crushed). Any Sno-Bees caught in the cube's path are knocked out. You can also "stun" Sno-Bees by pushing against the edge of the board (as if pushing an ice cube). Any Sno-Bees along that edge are stunned, and you can simply walk over them in this state. But, be careful! If you wait too long, the Sno-Bee will wake up and try to kill you again! Some ice cubes are Sno-Bee eggs, which hatch to replace Sno-Bees you've removed. These cubes are signified by flashing at the beginning of each round, as well as when an egg is hatching. You can safely eliminate an egg just by crushing an ice cube that contains it.

Bonus points may be gained by lining up the three "diamond cubes" in a row horizontally or vertically. If this is done against the edge of the board, it's worth 5000 extra points and temporarily stuns all active Sno-Bees. But if you can manage to line up three diamond cubes in the middle of the board (as seen here), it's worth 10,000 extra points!

For every couple of boards you completed, you were rewarded with a series of dancing penguins that danced to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." This was always my favorite part of the game, and is probably the main reason I enjoy animated penguins so much. I'm also fond of this tune; indeed, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," which uses this tune, is one of my favorite hymns! Other games have similar "rewards" for completing a set number of boards, but I really do enjoy this one the best.

Thanks to advances in computer technology, it's fairly cheap and easy to find ways of enjoying this game today. I definitely enjoy the nostalgia trip. Bring on the dancing penguins!

1 comment:

  1. I've considered it, and have been collecting snapshots. Haven't really decided how to go about it more permanently yet. But I'm certainly open to ideas.


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