Today, the video games of choice for the younger generation are games like Minecraft, Fortnite, and any number of games on the Roblox platform. However, back in the 1990s, it was all about Humongous Entertainment.
If you’re unfamiliar with their work, this subsidiary of Atari was responsible for creating child-friendly games like Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Pajama Sam, Spy Fox, Freddi Fish, and every game in the Backyard Sports series. For any ‘90s kid who grew up rescuing penguins in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo or idolized Pablo Sanchez or Kenny Kawaguchi, you have Humongous Entertainment to thank.
Personally, my favorite among these games was Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside, a pastime that consumed countless hours of my young life. So, when I found out that it, along with many of the other Humongous Entertainment games, was available on the App Store, I nearly cried tears of joy.
Instead of doing adult stuff, you can now download all of these nostalgia-inducing games and waste hours playing games that were intended for elementary school children. Does it get any better than that?
Apparently, there are people out there that try to beat all of these games in the shortest amount of time possible. For instance, the world record for completing Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is only a little over 31 seconds. And while I would urge any players to take their time to savor the experience, these records do go to show that you don’t have to spend entire weeks playing these games.
At the moment, they cost $4.99 each. However, I’d argue that’s a small price to pay to revisit the simple joys of childhood in the ‘90s. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at some of the Humongous Entertainment games being offered on the App Store.
Before the 2006 film Cars created a fictional world of anthropomorphic vehicles, there was the Putt-Putt series of games. Putt-Putt was the protagonist, a purple convertible that was fun and full of energy and friendly towards everyone he met. Putt-Putt’s sidekick was a brown dog named Pep who Putt-Putt found on the side of the road. Putt-Putt, being the kind-hearted car that he is, adopted Pep and the two have been best friends ever since. Throughout the series, Putt-Putt and Pep make friends with humans, animals, and other anthropomorphic vehicles, helping anyone who is in need.
Throughout the many Putt-Putt games that were released from 1992 to 2003, players get to take Putt-Putt everywhere from the zoo to the moon to distant points in the past and future. I guess when the premise for your game is a talking car, nothing’s really off the table. I remember the Putt-Putt games being fairly challenging as a child; however, comfortingly, I found them relatively easy as an adult.
I always thought that there should have been a crossover game between Pajama Sam and Captain Underpants, but it still hasn’t happened. The synergies are undeniable. However, that doesn’t tarnish the reputation of the incredible video game series that is Pajama Sam.
The protagonist of these games was a boy named Sam who would always start the game by trying to locate some piece of clothing in his room. Once that piece of clothing was located, he would be transported into an imaginary world and begin a fantastical journey in which he’d encounter many kooky characters.
The first game in the series, Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside, involved Sam as faced with defeating the evil villain Darkness. I must say, this game sincerely helped me get over my fear of the dark as a child.
The third game in the series, Pajama Sam: You Are What You Eat from Your Head to Your Feet, was also a particular favorite of mine because of the many talking food items that you run into on your journey.
If you were under the impression that crime is only a problem on land, you clearly haven’t played any of the games in the Freddi Fish series. Freddi is a mystery-solving yellow fish that’s accompanied by her best friend, a smaller green fish named Luther. Sometimes the mysteries are a matter of simple criminal theft, sometimes they border on the supernatural, and sometimes they lead you to a Western-themed coral reef, such as in Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch.
The Freddi Fish games feature colorful underwater settings with plenty of interactive buttons that reveal fun animations, provide you with objects to store in your inventory, or give you essential information for solving the mystery. You can also collect sea urchins, which are used as a form of currency in the world of Freddi Fish.
Occasionally throughout the series, you’ll even get a cameo from one of the other characters from the Humongous Entertainment universe like Putt-Putt or Pajama Sam. Does it make sense that there’s a car or a little boy under the sea? Not really. Does that matter? I don’t think so.
Another sleuthing-based game series from the masterminds at Humongous Entertainment is Spy Fox, a group of games about, you guessed it, a fox that is also a spy. Spy Fox lives in a fictional world of anthropomorphic animals that either aid him in his missions or are his enemies. His best friends include his assistant Monkey Penny, a scientist named Professor Quack, and a blue bug named Walter Wireless.
Playing Spy Fox games as an adult enlightens you to some of the humor that you may have missed when you were a child. For instance, many of the names throughout the series are spoofs of characters from the James Bond series of films and the television series Get Smart.
These games are also particularly interesting because they offer multiple paths based on the players’ decisions, meaning you could play through the games more than once and experience an entirely different storyline. Each game also features a bonus ending that features Spy Fox catching the villain, but it can only be accessed if the player clicks the right option at the right moment.
Play Humongous Games on the App Store or on Steam
As I mentioned, many of the iconic games produced by Humongous Entertainment are now available on the App Store and Google Play. You can buy many of them individually for $4.99, but they also offer bundles at discounted rates.
You can purchase the Pajama Sam Character Pack or Spy Fox Character Pack, both of which include three games, for $11.99. You can also purchase the Freddi Fish Character Pack or Putt-Putt Character Pack, both of which include six games, for $19.99 and $21.99, respectively. Finally, there’s the option to purchase the Humongous Adventure Pack, which includes ten games with titles from each of the four series, for $29.99.
If you want to play any of these games, and even more from these series, on your PC, you can also find many Humongous Entertainment titles on Steam.
Unfortunately, Humongous Entertainment has not made all of their games available on the App Store and Google Play and Steam, most notably lacking the Backyard Sports series. Hopefully they’ll come around in the near future and give us all of the Backyard Sports games that we want on our phones. If you’re really desperate to play some Backyard Baseball or any other game in the series, you can probably find a copy on eBay.