Pengo (video game)

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Pengo arcade flyer.jpg
Pengo arcade flyer.
Developer(s) Coreland
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Nobuo Kodera, Tsutomu Iwane, Akira Nakakuma, Shinji Egi
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s) September 1982[1]
Genre(s) Maze, Puzzle
Mode(s) One or two players, alternating play
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system CPU: Z80
Display Raster graphics, standard resolution 224 x 288 (Vertical)

Pengo (ペンゴ?) is an arcade game developed by Coreland and published by Sega in 1982. The player controls Pengo, a red penguin that resides in the Antarctic. The game takes place in an overhead maze made of ice blocks, where Pengo fights the trolling, blob-like Sno-Bees. The objective of the game is for Pengo to survive a series of rounds by eliminating all Sno-Bees, while amassing bonuses by bringing together the three diamonds dispersed in the maze.


The player uses a joystick and a single button as controls. Pressing the button while pushing the joystick will cause Pengo to push forward the ice block he is facing, which will slide until it hits a wall or another ice block, crushing any intervening Sno-Bees. Crushing more than one Sno-Bee at once will increase the number of points awarded. There are a total of sixteen levels, which repeat in order starting on the seventeenth round.

As the player crushes those on patrol, new Sno-Bees hatch from eggs located within ice blocks. At the start of each level, blocks that contain these eggs are briefly identified by flashing the color of that level's Sno-Bees. Eggs can be eliminated by crushing the ice blocks that contain them. If Pengo pushes a side wall the water "vibrates", any adjacent Sno-Bees will be briefly stunned, and are eliminated (for 100 points) if Pengo walks over them in this state. Eliminating all Sno-Bees in a round will progress the player to the next.

Diamond blocks are unbreakable; when connected in a horizontal or vertical line the player earns bonus points: 10,000 points if aligned without being against a wall or if only one diamond block is touching a wall, 5,000 points if all three are against the wall. Alignment will also temporarily stun all Sno-Bees.

After 60 seconds elapse in a round without a death, the game enters into sudden death mode; the music tempo and movement of the Sno-Bees accelerates. If a single Sno-Bee remains in the round, a jingle plays and the Sno-Bee accelerates in an attempt to reach a corner where it safely fades away.

The game will always start with the same maze on power up. Once the game has gone through the attract mode, the maze will change.

Easter Egg[edit]

In the attract mode, push the two joys to up, press the two action buttons and one button of start game, and it will show the credits of the game. After a few seconds, the game will reset. The wait can be stopped pushing the start 1 button.


The point award for crushing Sno-Bees depends on the number crushed in one push of an ice block:

  • 400 for 1 Sno-Bee
  • 1,600 for 2 Sno-Bees
  • 3,200 for 3 Sno-Bees
  • 6,400 for 4 Sno-Bees

Walking over a stunned Sno-Bee awards 100 points.

10,000 points are awarded for aligning the three diamond blocks together if at least one is not touching a wall, but only 5,000 if all are against the walls.

Crushing an ice block will award 30 points, or 500 points if it contains a Sno-Bee egg.

A bonus is awarded upon round completion, depending on time elapsed:

  • 5,000 points for under 20 seconds
  • 2,000 points for between 20 and 29 seconds
  • 1,000 points for between 30 and 39 seconds
  • 500 points for between 40 and 49 seconds
  • 10 points for between 50 and 59 seconds
  • 0 points for 60 seconds or more

By default, Pengo begins with three lives and a bonus life is awarded at 30,000 points; these numbers can be changed (anywhere from 2 to 5 lives, and the bonus life can be awarded at 50,000 instead) through DIP switch settings.


In a manner similar to Pac-Man, one of six brief intermissions plays on even-numbered rounds after the bonus is awarded. The intermissions feature six penguins performing various routines. In the first the penguins perform a small marching routine. In the second they "shake their booty". In the third each penguin stops and salutes the player. In the fourth the penguins turn to face the player and then exit the screen in a line, reminiscent of the aliens in Space Invaders. In the fifth Pengo is revealed playing himself with a cocktail table.[2] In the sixth intermission, Pengo appears from behind the cocktail table[3] playing "peek-a-boo" with the player. These intermissions then repeat in order throughout the remainder of the game.


There were two versions of the arcade game. The first used "Popcorn" as theme music and took a few moments to draw the maze at the beginning of each level. The second had original music and faster maze drawing. There were difficulty differences as well, with the second version being harder.[4]

MAME name Version name Music Maze Sno-Bees Round tag Record Table Attract Mode
pengo Pengo (set 1 rev c) Popcorn Normal Normal ACT 20,000 – AKIRA Normal
pengo2 Pengo (set 2) Original Fast Aggressive RD 0 – MMIZU Short
pengo2u Pengo (set 2 not encrypted) Original Fast Aggressive RD 0 – MMIZU Short
pengo3u Pengo (set 3 not encrypted) Popcorn Normal Normal RD 20,000 – MMIZU Normal
pengo4 Pengo (set 4) Original Fast Hard RD 0 – MMIZU Normal

Ports and variations[edit]

Pengo was ported to several home consoles and computers, including the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, and Sega Game Gear.

There are numerous unofficial clones, such as Pengi for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron. Capcom's 1991 game Don't Pull (part of Three Wonders) is another Pengo clone.

In 1982 and 1983 Bandai Electronics created two[5][6] official SEGA licenced handheld games featuring Pengo. The first was an LCD pocket game, the second a VFD table top version.

In 1995 a brand new game called Pepenga Pengo was released for the Sega Mega Drive only in Japan.

In 2003 a 3D version of Pengo called Pengo 3D was released by X2 Productions.

In 2010 a location test for the wide screen remake was announced in arcades, which features eight player multiplay.[7][8] A second location test took place at Sega Shinjuku Nishiguchi between 2012-05-12 and 2012-05-13.[9] During the 3rd location test at Club Sega Akihabara Shinkan between 2012-07-14 and 2012-07-16 as part of the 4-game compilation title named 'Ge-sen Love. ~Plus Pengo!~' (ゲーセンラブ。~プラス ペンゴ!~),[10] where the game was made available as a download by RINGEDGE2 machines through Sega's new ALL.NET P-ras Multi game network,[11][12] and was later released on 2012-09-20.[13] The compilation title is included with the Xbox 360 game 'Ge-sen Love. ~Plus Pengo!~'.[14][15][16]

Competitive play[edit]

According to Twin Galaxies, Paul Hornitzky has held the world record Pengo score of 1,217,650 points since September 9, 2012.


Pengo makes a cameo appearance in Up'n Down. If a player manages to pass the first four rounds in less than a minute each, he will appear in the water of round five riding a surf-board.

A penguin closely resembling Pengo can be seen in the Antarctic in issue 10 of Archie Comics' Sonic X series.


  1. ^ Pengo at the Arcade History database
  2. ^ "Pengo - Videogame by Sega". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Picture021.jpg Photo by kgroenland | Photobucket". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Pengo High Score Save & Enhancement Pack". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  5. ^ Jaro Gielens. "Electronic Plastic: a museum of handheld and tabletop games from the 1970s and 1980s". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  6. ^ Jaro Gielens. "Electronic Plastic: a museum of handheld and tabletop games from the 1970s and 1980s". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  7. ^ "‘˝?l?”ƒvƒŒƒC‚މ”\‚É‚Č‚Á‚˝ wƒyƒ“ƒS I x‚Ěƒ ƒfƒBƒA‘Î?R?í‚ŞŠJ?Ă - ƒtƒ@ƒ~’Ę.com". 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  8. ^ "Five New Arcade Games To Get Excited About". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  9. ^ "ロケテスト - シューティングラブログ。". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  10. ^ "ロケテ - シューティングラブログ。". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "3 Newsfeeds For The Price Of 1: Sega launches ALL.NET+ Multi, Fantastic Arcade, Midway Classics". Arcade Heroes. 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  13. ^ "ゲーセンラブ。〜プラス ペンゴ!〜[ARCADE]". 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  14. ^ "祝、Xbox 360版『ゲーセンラブ。~プラス ペンゴ!』移植決定! 藤野社長×石井ぜんじ特別対談! - ファミ通.com". 2014-01-20. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  15. ^ "Game Center Love Plus Pengo Will Test Your Arcade Skills". Siliconera. 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  16. ^ "Xbox 360『ゲーセンラブ。~プラス ペンゴ!~』発売! | トライアングル・サービス". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 

External links[edit]