Four hippos of orange, yellow, green and pink were the adorable stars of this game – but they were anything but sweet once the feeding frenzy began.
Each of the four hippo masters had control of a row of marbles, and with a push of a marble-release lever, the little pellets rolled out into the communal trough. And then . . . sheer hippo lunacy. Nom nom nom!
Every marble was fair game once it hit the circular playing arena. A second lever (the hippo’s tail) sent hippo necks jutting out towards the arena trying to chomp down on a tasty marble or two.
A good, solid bite sent the marble down into that hippo’s personal store, and the food-snatching continued until every last marble was gulped down. The hippo with the most marbles won.
That fast-paced brand of hippo-chomping craziness was what gave Hungry Hungry Hippos its charm. With only two levers to command, any kid could play – as well as any adult.
And this certainly wasn’t just a kids game. Adult appeal has helped keep Hungry Hungry Hippos alive and marble-gulping for more than two decades, even branching out into travel-sized and coin-operated arcade versions.
The classic game has been re-released and copied countless times over the years, with everything from frogs and dinosaurs to dragons and farm animals replacing the titular hippos.