Pengo

Name:
Pengo
Company: Atari
Model #:
CX-2690
Programmers:
Mark Hahn (Programmer), Courtney Granner (Graphics), Andrew Fuchs & Jeff Gusman (sound)
Year: 1984
Released?
Yes
Notes:
Original arcade game by Sega

 

Pengo was popular coin-op from Sega (back before they were into home systems), which was licensed by Atari for its consoles.  While the Atari 5200 and 400/800 versions of the Pengo are fairly common, the 2600 version is quite rare.  This is most likely because it was the last version to be released and didn't hit stores until mid 1984 when the market was already in free fall.  Strangely, Pengo was released under the Atari label and not Sega as one might expect.

 

As the title suggests, the main character in Pengo is a penguin and a mean one at that.  Like any normal penguin Pengo spends his days smashing Sno-bees between large blocks of ice.  Sno-bees are nasty little furry guys with ice picks and hammers who would just love to have penguin for dinner.  Sno-bees hatch from eggs hidden in blocks of ice, and since Pengo's world is made up of nothing but blocks of ice this is a problem.  It's Pengo's job to destroy all the Sno-bees and their eggs once and for all to make the arctic safe for penguins everywhere.  

 

Pengo has one weapon at his disposal, ICE!  The arctic is full of it, so you might as well use it to your advantage.  Sno-bees smash quite nicely between two large blocks of ice, so put all your penguin muscle to work and push that ice!  Besides smashing them, you can can stun Sno-bees by pushing against the sides of the level.  If a wandering Sno-bee happens to touch a wall your pushing he will be stunned for a few seconds, during this time you can destroy them by touching them.  You can also stun Sno-bees by lining up all the diamond blocks, which will net you big bonus points as well.  Sno-bee eggs can be destroyed by breaking the ice blocks they're in.

 

Pengo is an interesting game, and one of the only games to have a penguin in a starring role.  It combines action, quick thinking, and strategy all into one awesome little package.  Pengo shines particularly brightly on the 2600 and is almost an exact copy of its arcade counterpart, only losing some detail in the graphics (which is to be expected).  Pengo was one of the first 2600 games do be done by a team of programmers rather than one person, and it shows.  Pengo is one of the forgotten gems of the 2600, and deserves a second look.

 

Version Cart Text Description
?/??/83   Early version with arcade style title screen
1/4/84 Pengo 1-4-84 Final Version?

 

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