Starving For Entertainment: Hungry Hungry Hippos


How can they still be so hungry? This is why America's kids are so obese.

Alright, we’re nearing the end of the week and I’ve talked about video games, Dragonball Z, and some random dude’s CD (albeit he is a talented dude). To round out the week, I should talk about board games, shouldn’t I? It’s all part of the new program my doctor placed me on in hopes that’d I’d enrich my diet. Hey, and how topical, because I figured I’d talk about Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

Our Childhood’s Eating Problem

So what kid hasn’t played Hungry Hungry Hippos at some point in their life? It was quite the publicized game on TV during cartoons and every kid had at least one friend or relative with the game, so it was easily accessible. Something about seeing those cartoon hippos dancing and singing just made the game look and sound amazing. Oh the shock we’d discover.

Hungry Hungry Hippos is one of those games with absolutely no strategy whatsoever. There is no way to outdo your friends short of luck and perseverance or just simply smacking them while playing. The entire game is played in the span of maybe a minute or two and consists of two to four players attempting to make their hippo characters gobble up more white pellets than the others. Whoever has the most pellets at the end of the game wins.

Hippos are fun, and eating is fun, so why is this game so boring?

Yeah, it was just that simple. You just slam on the back of the hippo as fast as your hands can muster without breaking the stupid plastic hippo and hope that you’re doing this motion faster than anyone else currently playing. Sure it’s possible to play by yourself, but you always win. I suppose you could place bets on which hand is going to win, but at that point you just need help. Or a friend. Maybe both.

Regardless, the game was and still is incredibly popular despite it’s simplicity and annoyance. You probably won’t find yourself hosting any Hungry Hungry Hippo tournaments any time soon, but I guarantee you’ll have to play it again when a younger relative, possibly your own child, decides they wish to play.

I myself didn’t have my own game. Rather, I got something similar but different one Christmas called Frog Soccer. It is exactly what it sounds like. Just instead of the game being hippos that eat pellets, you slam your dongle to make a frog smack a soccer ball into another frog’s goal. Whoever had the fewest balls in their goal would win, so pretty much it was the opposite of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Did you know that the hippos actually have names? Lizzie, Henry, Homer, and Harry Hippo. Except every so often the names get changed. There are versions with Lizzie replaced with Happy Hippo and the newest version calls them Sweetie, Bottomless, Picky, and Veggie Potamus. Why the name changes? Well, you gotta do something with this product over the years to feel like you did something I guess. Lucky for you, the game doesn’t run you too much whenever your child decides it’s hippo time. You can find a version for under $20 on Amazon. As for me, I think I’m gonna go get a snack. I suddenly feel hungry for some reason.


About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.


  1. I think I was the only one of my friends that didn’t like Hungry Hungry Hippos. It was too loud for my little ears…and frankly, it’s still loud and obnoxious.

    I remember a game called “Bugs Alive” that had a little card shooter. It spun around and shot out cards that you had to smack with a suction cup hammer. Another chaotic game that was only fun once or twice…then I tried to figure out how to use the gizmo to shoot other objects.

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