Scientists claim that hippos (Hippopotamus amphibious) are herbivores, but millions of kids can attest otherwise. Their experience suggests that these gentle beasts have an insatiable appetite for little white marbles. Many a feeding frenzy has been observed during the course of a rousing round of Hungry Hungry Hippo.
Introduced in 1978 by Milton Bradley, and originally just called “Hungry Hippos,” this isn’t a game for the timid. Four brightly colored (pink, yellow, green and orange), and obviously famished, plastic hippos surround the playing area, eagerly waiting for their human handlers to release a row of marbles – thanks to a handy lever available to each player. Once these little delicacies roll into the playing area – utter chaos ensues.
When a lever in the hippo’s tail is pushed, each hippo juts forward, jaws open and ready to snatch their share of the marble motherlode from the rest of the herd. The faster each player pushes the lever, the more plentiful the bounty and the better chance of emerging victorious, having helped their hippo masticate the most marbles.
Forget strategy – Hungry Hungry Hippos is all about quick hands and perseverance and its charm and simplicity have kept it a favorite among kids and adults alike for almost three decades. It would appear that, as long as little white marbles continue to roll forth, there will always be a herd of gluttonous hippos ready to pounce on their prey and satisfy their appetite – a fact that zoologists seem loathe to admit but that any child who has ever handled a Hungry Hungry Hippos game can readily attest.
If you’ve played a few frenzied rounds of Hungry Hungry Hippo back in the day, we’d love to hear your memories in our comments section, as we tip our hat to this beloved game that’s still going strong to this day.