7 Facts About Hungry Hungry Hippos

Hasbro via Amazon
Hasbro via Amazon

For more than 40 years, young tabletop game enthusiasts have engaged in spirited competition involving four plastic hippos and their insatiable appetite for marbles. In Hungry Hungry Hippos, players hover over a proving ground full of 20 plastic balls. Using a lever, they open and close the mouths of the hippos until the marbles are gone. The hippo with the most marbles at the end is the winner. The Hasbro game is a lesson in hand-eye coordination, tolerance for a lot of racket, and an exercise in the benefits of gluttony. Check out a few things you might not know about this enduring favorite.

1. Hungry Hungry Hippos was brought to the U.S. by a World War II veteran.

As a boy, Fred Kroll knew he wanted to be in the toy business. His father manufactured cardboard games that Kroll would peddle in and around New York City. After a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II, Kroll went to work as a salesman for the Pressman Toy Corporation. He later discovered Hungry Hungry Hippos in Japan. Kroll licensed the international rights to the game from the Agatsuma company in Tokyo. It became a huge seller. After selling those rights to Hasbro, Kroll—who died in 2003—maintained that the game’s royalties were enough to live on.

2. The hippos in Hungry Hungry Hippos had names.

When Hungry Hungry Hippos debuted under the Milton Bradley label in 1978, each of the four marble-gobbling hippos had names. Lizzie Hippo was the purple one; the orange one was Henry Hippo; Home Hippo was green; and Harry Hippo was yellow. Later versions changed the colors, the names, or both.

3. There’s a kid-sized version of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

In 2018, child vehicle brand Kid Trax partnered with Hasbro to launch a series of foot-powered ride-ons named the Hungry Hungry Hippos 3-in-1 Activity Rider. The cars are shaped like the hippos, with the mouths moving up and down just like the game to allow kids to “eat” the included balls. While this sounds like a fun time for anyone, the vehicles are only suitable for kids ages 3 and under.

4. There’s also a human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Some communities have taken to ice rinks to play a modified version of Hungry Hungry Hippos by propelling humans around the surface. Using baskets, they try to “eat” as many balls as possible. The Grand Rapids Snow Days in Grand Rapids, Michigan hosted an event in 2017. A version is also promoted at the DC Wharf Ice Rink in Washington, D.C.

5. There’s a Guinness World Record for completing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

In 2018, Manchester United soccer player Axel Tuanzebe set the Guinness World Record for the fastest game of Hungry Hungry Hippos ever completed. Tuanzebe gobbled up all 20 marbles in an official time of 17.37 seconds.

6. There’s a Hungry Hungry Hippos world championship.

For players with exceptional hippo prowess, the Gen Con tabletop gaming convention in Indiana hosts a showdown for bragging rights. The Hungry Hungry Hippos World Championship has been held annually since 2015 and invites players aged 6 and over to compete. In 2016, more than 100 players vied for the title of hungriest hippo. The winner received a hippo mounted on a plaque.

7. Hungry Hungry Hippos might be a movie. Someday.

In 2012, Hasbro announced that the Emmett/Furla production company had entered into an agreement to produce feature films versions of several notable Hasbro properties, including Monopoly, a British toy line called Action Man, and Hungry Hungry Hippos. Presumably a giant-animal-on-a-rampage scenario, the film has yet to enter production.

Starbucks Has a New Phantom Frappuccino That’s All Black and Covered With Slime

Starbucks EMEA
Starbucks EMEA

Starbucks is about to release a beverage that looks suspiciously like something Hocus Pocus’s Sanderson sisters might brew in their human-sized cauldron.

If the Tie-Dye Frappuccino was Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the Phantom Frappuccino is absolutely the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s a sinister-looking mixture of black sludge and green slime, and it seems about as edible as an oil spill.

However, if you’re familiar with the Broadway musical Wicked, you know that Oz's famous villain was tragically misunderstood based partially on her off-putting appearance—so, too, is the Phantom Frappuccino. According to Delish, it’s actually refreshingly fruity, and vegan to boot. The drink contains coconut milk, mango, pineapple essence, crème Frappuccino syrup, and charcoal powder, and the slime is a combination of lime juice, lemon juice, more charcoal powder, and spirulina extract (which is green).

It’s a welcome break for anybody who started sipping pumpkin spice lattes way back in August and is already experiencing burnout. Unfortunately for Americans, this ghoulish drink is only available in Europe; Starbucks is launching it on October 26 for five days only.

An impulse jaunt across the pond for the sole purpose of getting your hands on a delightfully evil-looking Frappuccino might not be the best financial decision, but you can always concoct your own at home—activated charcoal is used in everything from toothpaste to skincare products, and you can buy a whole pound of the powder on Amazon for just $12.

[h/t Delish]

7 Fast Facts About RollerCoaster Tycoon

Amazon
Amazon

For Windows gamers, 1999 was dominated by RollerCoaster Tycoon, a now-classic strategy and building game that tasked users with erecting an amusement park and gauging the popularity of rides while maintaining a profit margin and keeping patrons from barfing all over the landscape. For the game’s 20th anniversary, check out some facts about its origins, its association with pizza, and how it became a pinball machine.

1. The first RollerCoaster Tycoon sold 4 million copies.

RollerCoaster Tycoon was the brainchild of Scottish programmer Chris Sawyer, who had enjoyed success with his line of Transport Tycoon games in the 1990s that allowed players to build and operate their own railroad, truck, and ship lines. Sawyer decided to marry that concept with his love of roller coasters. An independent effort—Sawyer enlisted only two collaborators, artist Simon Foster and musician Allister Brimble—the first Tycoon game that was released in 1999 sold a staggering 4 million copies.

2. RollerCoaster Tycoon came free with frozen pizza.

In the early 2000s, packaged food companies offered products that came with promotional offers for CD-ROMs. In 2003, Pillsbury offered a free copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon to anyone who sent in proof of purchase barcodes from specially-marked boxes of Totino’s Pizza Rolls or Pillsbury Toaster Strudel.

3. There’s a RollerCoaster Tycoon pinball machine.

A pinball machine released to coincide with 2002’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 took the spiraling coasters of the game and put them under glass. Players could try and direct the pinball—a substitute for the park guest—around and through coasters like The Flying Ghost and The Rocket.

4. RollerCoaster Tycoon helped inspire Minecraft.

If you or a loved one has spent countless hours absorbed in the popular world-building game Minecraft, you have RollerCoaster Tycoon to thank. Minecraft creator Markus Persson was a fan of Tycoon for the way it allowed players to construct elaborate designs. He also enjoyed Dungeon Keeper, which had a fantasy element. Together, the two games encouraged him to develop Minecraft. The game debuted in 2009 and went on to become one of the biggest interactive success stories of all time.

5. RollerCoaster Tycoon inspired real roller coaster designers.

The laborious construction undertaken by players of RollerCoaster Tycoon weaned a number of players on the excitement of the amusement industry. Park designers hoping to break into the industry have used screen shots from the game as examples of their design prowess at trade shows.

6. You can get a spooky update of RollerCoaster Tycoon in time for Halloween.

Atari distributes an Android and iOS version of RollerCoaster Tycoon for mobile phone users. For 2019, the company is offering a Six Flags Fright Fest update to the game that adds a Halloween component. Players can add Skull Mountain, an actual Six Flags coaster, as well as a Demon Rock statue.

7. A RollerCoaster Tycoon fan spent 10 years building a park.

In 2017, a Reddit user declared he was finished building out his own custom park on RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. The 34 coasters and 255 attractions were all minutely detailed, offering a sprawling virtual park with themed areas covering everything from Egyptian attractions to a forest. In comparison, it took only four years to build the actual Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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