Humongous (game developer)
|Industry||Computer and video games|
|Founded||October 30, 1992|
|Key people||Skip Saling, Erik Haldi, Aimee Paganini, Bob Givnin, Melissa Heidrich|
Junior Field Trips
|Parent||Tommo Inc. Atari, SA|
Humongous Entertainment Inc. is an American video game developer. The company is known for its line of educational games for children. Atari now owns Humongous Inc., but some of the Atari-marketed versions of some Humongous Entertainment games (including Atari's own Humongous-related ones) are now out of print. It is unknown if they will ever be returning.
Humongous Entertainment, the predecessor of Humongous, Inc., was formed in 1992 by CEO Shelley Day and Creative Director Ron Gilbert. The name Humongous Entertainment was suggested by Gilbert's ex-LucasArts colleague, Tim Schafer. It became known for point-and-click adventure games intended for young children, such as the Putt-Putt series, the Freddi Fish series, and the Pajama Sam and Spy Fox franchises, all released in the series "Junior Adventure". They've planned to start another, more mature series called "Ultimate Adventure". The first planned installment was "Bobo and Fletcher Go Deep in the Congo", "the epic tale of a man and his ape". Ron Gilbert - Humongous Entertainment's co-founder and main game designer - helped with many of the game planning and creation stages; according to him, "Bobo and Fletcher" was an episodic "hybrid game" that "built upon all the experience he had from doing kids games", and he still plans to make it someday. These games were all available for Windows and Mac - earlier titles were available on DOS too. Three early titles were also available for the ill-fated 3DO Interactive Multiplayer video game console.
In 1997, Humongous Entertainment created the first Backyard title: Backyard Baseball. This was arguably their most popular game in the series, but also produced variants such as Backyard Football, Backyard Soccer and Backyard Hockey. The series started with having the Backyard Kids as players, but the addition of professional athletes as kids were added to the games. Unlike its other titles, the Backyard Sports series became available for consoles (Nintendo GameCube, Wii, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance) as well as Windows and Macintosh.
Through its Cavedog sub-division, Humongous Entertainment also released Total Annihilation, a real-time strategy (RTS) game in 1997. This was followed by two expansion packs, and in 1999 a variation called Total Annihilation: Kingdoms and an expansion pack for it too.
In November 1999, GT Interactive was indirectly purchased by Infogrames Entertainment SA (France) and renamed to Infogrames, Inc. After Infogrames, Inc purchased Hasbro Interactive - which owned the rights to use the Atari name - Infogrames, Inc was renamed again to Atari, Inc.
The One-Stop Fun Shops were created for Windows in 2000, one title each for Putt-Putt, Pajama Sam, and Freddi Fish. Often characters or voice actors for a series would cross over to the other series in a short scene.
In mid-2000, the co-founders tried to buy Humongous Entertainment back from Infogrames using external funding, but the day of the planned purchase was the day of the 2000 tech stock crash and the funding was pulled. The founders left soon afterwards, as did many of the key employees that had created the company series and technology. They formed a new company Hulabee Entertainment in 2001.
Humongous Entertainment has also released several games featuring Big Thinkers and other characters. In 2002, Humongous Entertainment released the turn-based strategy game Moonbase Commander with very little fanfare. The game was sold at a budget price, but was well received by game review sites. Moonbase Commander eventually won IGN's "Best of 2002: The One No One Played" and GameSpot's "Best Game Not Played on PC for 2002." Production of the Junior Adventure series ended on September 30, 2003.
A new company, Humongous, Inc., was started up in the same building, but with only 3-5 of the ex-Humongous Entertainment employees, and run out of California. Game development was all done out-of-house. In 2005, Infogrames Entertainment bought Humongous from Atari for $10.3 million. Atari retained exclusive distribution rights for Humongous products in the US, Canada, and Mexico through at least March 31, 2006. Humongous, Inc. now oversees development of new entries in the popular Backyard Sports series. However, it is currently unknown if some of the Atari-marketed versions of some Humongous Entertainment games (including Atari's own Humongous-related ones) will ever be returning.
Many of the Windows/Mac/DOS Humongous games can be played on platforms such as Linux by using ScummVM, and ScummVM may also work better than Classic emulation mode for users of Mac OS X who have old copies of the game made for earlier versions of Mac OS.
In 2011, Atari announced the release of a number of Humongous games for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The first games to be released were Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell and Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening, Spy Fox in "Dry Cereal", Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, Pajama Sam In: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside, Putt-Putt Joins the Circus, and Freddi Fish 1: The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds. The first two games have been re-released under the Nimbus Games name, and the other 3 were all released under the Nimbus Games name.
In 2013 Atari SA’s U.S.-based video-game- making businesses filed for bankruptcy protection in Manhattan with the intention of separating from the unprofitable French parent and seeking independent funding. This meant they had to sell alot of their IP's including Humongous Inc. Months after the IP of Humongous Inc. was bought by Tommo Inc.
- Putt-Putt Joins the Parade (1992)
- Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon (1993)
- Putt-Putt's Fun Pack (1993)
- Putt-Putt and Fatty Bear's Activity Pack (1994)
- Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo (1995)
- Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama (1996)
- Putt-Putt and Pep's Dog on a Stick (1996)
- Putt-Putt Travels Through Time (1997)
- Putt-Putt Enters the Race (1998)
- Putt-Putt's One-Stop Fun Shop (2000)
- Putt-Putt Joins the Circus (2000)
- Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise (2003)
- Putt-Putt's Fun House (2013)
- Freddi Fish 1: The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds (1994)
- Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse (1996)
- Freddi Fish and Luther's Maze Madness (1996)
- Freddi Fish and Luther's Water Worries (1996)
- Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell (1998)
- Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch (1999)
- Freddi Fish's One-Stop Fun Shop (2000)
- Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove (2001)
- Freddi Fish: ABC Under the Sea (2010, only for Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi)
- Freddi Fish's Fun House (2013)
- Pajama Sam In: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside (1996)
- Pajama Sam's Sock Works (1997)
- Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening (1998)
- Pajama Sam's Lost & Found (1998)
- Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat from Your Head to Your Feet (2000)
- Pajama Sam's One-Stop Fun Shop (2000)
- Pajama Sam: Games to Play On Any Day (2001)
- Pajama Sam: Life Is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff! (2003)
- Spy Fox in "Dry Cereal" (1997)
- Spy Fox in Cheese Chase (1998)
- Spy Fox 2: "Some Assembly Required" (1999)
- Spy Fox in Hold the Mustard (1999)
- Spy Fox 3: "Operation Ozone" (2001)
- Blue's Birthday Adventure (1998)
- Blue's ABC Time Activities (1999)
- Blue's 123 Time Activities (1999)
- Blue's Treasure Hunt (2000)
- Blue's Art Time Activities (2000)
- Blue's Clues Preschool (2003)
- Blue's Clues Kindergarten (2003)
- Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise (1993)
- Fatty Bear's Fun Pack (1993)
- Putt-Putt and Fatty Bear's Activity Pack (1994)
Junior Field Trips
- Backyard Baseball (1997)
- Backyard Soccer (1998)
- Backyard Football (1999)
- Backyard Basketball (2001)
- Backyard Hockey (2002)
- Backyard Skateboarding (2004)
- GT Interactive Company History
- "Recent layoffs at area technology companies: Humongous Entertainment". Business (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). 2001-06-15. Retrieved 2006-10-09.[dead link]
- Atari Brings Award Winning HUMONGOUS Kids Edutainment Games to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for the First Time
- Official Backyard Sports website
- Complete list of Humongous Entertainment titles on ScummVM Wiki.
- Animation World Magazine article on Humongous