Humongous Entertainment

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Humongous Entertainment Inc.
Industry Computer and video games
Founded October 30, 1992
January 1, 2014 (Relaunch)
Headquarters City of Industry, California
Bothell, Washington
Key people
Ron Gilbert, Shelley Day, Brad Taylor, Bret Barrett, Tami Borowick, Dave Timoney, Dev Madan, Brad Carlton, Derek McCaughan, Augie Pagan, Kris Sontag,[1][2] and eventually hundreds of hardworking employees [3]
Products Putt-Putt
Fatty Bear
Freddi Fish
Junior Field Trips
Pajama Sam
Spy Fox
Big Thinkers
Backyard Sports
Moonbase Commander
Parent Tommo Inc.

Humongous Entertainment Inc. is an American video game developer. The company is known for its line of educational games for children. The Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Spy Fox franchises combined together sold over 15 million copies and earned more than 400 awards of excellence.[4] The company is currently owned by Tommo Inc.[5]



Humongous Entertainment was formed in 1992 by Shelley Day and Ron Gilbert.[6] The name Humongous Entertainment was suggested by Gilbert's ex-LucasArts colleague, Tim Schafer.[7] It became known for point-and-click adventure games intended for young children, such as the Putt-Putt series, the Freddi Fish series, the Pajama Sam series and the Spy Fox series, all released in the "Junior Adventure" series. The company got the reputation as "The third largest children's educational-software company".[8]

They'd 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".[9] 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.[10] The earliest games released only on DOS, then were later converted to Windows and Mac. These early titles were also available for the ill-fated 3DO Interactive Multiplayer video game console.[11] Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds was amongst the first Windows 95 products on the market, and was featured in Microsoft's launch of the OS.[12]

In 1995, Ron and Shelley established a sub division for the company called Cavedog Entertainment in Seattle, which released Total Annihilation, a real-time strategy (RTS) game in 1997. This was followed by two expansion packs in 1998, and in 1999 a variation called Total Annihilation: Kingdoms and an expansion pack for it too.[13]

Under GT Interactive[edit]

In July 1996, Humongous Entertainment was purchased by GT Interactive for $76 million.[14]

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. The Backyard Sports series became available for consoles (Nintendo GameCube, Wii, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance) as well as Windows and Macintosh.

Under Infogrames[edit]

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.[15] Often characters or voice actors for a series would cross over to the other series in a short scene.

Decline and renewal[edit]

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.

Infogrames laid off more than 40 percent of staff from its subsidiary Humongous Entertainment in mid-June 2001[16] and the company was eventually shut down completely a few years later.

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. Humongous continued to oversee development of new entries in the Backyard Sports series, and Atari retained exclusive distribution rights for Humongous products in the US, Canada, and Mexico through at least March 31, 2006.[17]

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[18] 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: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside, Putt-Putt Joins the Circus, Freddi Fish 1: The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Putt-Putt Enters the Race, and Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse. 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.

Under Tommo Inc.[edit]

In 2013, Atari SA’s U.S.-based video game businesses filed for bankruptcy protection in Manhattan with the intention of separating from the unprofitable French parent and seeking independent funding. Humongous Entertainment, along with over 200 games Atari previously owned, were acquired by Tommo Inc. on July 19, 2013.[5] Not all of the Humongous franchises were acquired by Tommo, however. At the Atari bankruptcy auction, the Backyard Sports series was acquired by The Evergreen Group,[19] and Moonbase Commander was purchased by Rebellion.[20]

In April 2014, Tommo and Night Dive Studios announced that they would be re-releasing 28 Humongous Entertainment titles from the Putt-Putt, Pajama Sam, Freddi Fish, and Spy Fox series via Steam over the course of the following weeks.[21]

As of August 2015, Tommo and Night Dive Studios released 35 of the Humongous Entertainment titles via Steam including the previously mentioned series along with Fatty Bear and the Junior Field Trips and Big Thinkers series.


Humongous Entertainment used a number of techniques and methods to accomplish their work on the games' concepts, graphics, music and interfaces.

For the animation and graphics, the studio did traditionally hand drawn frames, scanned into a computer to ink, color and then animate with their own software. Some 3D graphics required the use of Autodesk Maya.[22]

Published titles[edit]


Main article: Putt-Putt (series)

Freddi Fish[edit]

Main article: Freddi Fish

Pajama Sam[edit]

Main article: Pajama Sam

Spy Fox[edit]

Main article: Spy Fox

Blue's Clues[edit]

Fatty Bear[edit]

Main article: Fatty Bear

Big Thinkers[edit]

  • Big Thinkers Kindergarten (1997)
  • Big Thinkers 1st Grade (1997)

Junior Field Trips[edit]

Main article: Junior Field Trips
  • Let's Explore the Farm (1995)
  • Let's Explore the Jungle (1995)
  • Let's Explore the Airport (1995)

Backyard Sports[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Putt-Putt Joins the Parade game credits". MobyGames. Oct 30, 1992. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Company lays off 40 percent of staff". Kitsap Sun. June 15, 2001. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Majesco Brings Humongous' Best-Selling Children's Properties to Wii". GameZone. March 25, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Atari, Inc., Humongous Franchise, Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise and Math Gran Prix". Business Week. 2013-07-19. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  6. ^ "Humongous Entertainment's Child's Play Develops Maturity". Los Angeles Times. 1997-09-15. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  7. ^ "True fact: It was Tim Schafer who suggested the name "Humongous Entertainment."". Dave Grossman. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  8. ^ Robert Sorbo. "Cyber Elite - Shelley Day". Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 29, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Humongous Entertainment games list". MobyGames. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Video of Win95 Launch Announcement". July 29, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Cavedog Entertainment". December 12, 1998. Archived from the original on August 8, 2003. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  14. ^ GT Interactive Company History
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Recent layoffs at area technology companies: Humongous Entertainment". Business. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2001-06-15. Retrieved 2006-10-09. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Atari Sells Humongous to Infogrames for $10.3 Million". Business Week. 2005-08-28. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  18. ^ Atari Brings Award Winning HUMONGOUS Kids Edutainment Games to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for the First Time
  19. ^ "The Evergreen Group Has Agreed to Acquire Backyard Sports Video Game Franchise". Business Week. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  20. ^ "Wargaming, Rebellion and Stardock all bid on Atari assets". Gamasutra. 2013-07-22. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Jacquie Kubin (October 1, 2000). ""There's Humongous Rewards in Entertaining Little Kids"". Retrieved July 22, 2016. 

External links[edit]