Humongous Entertainment (now Humongous Inc) was a company for children's computer games, which is now owned by Atari. Their five biggest franchises were Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam, Spy Fox, and Backyard Sports, although they had plenty of other small franchises such as Fatty Bear, Buzzy the Knowledge Bug, and Big Thinkers! Humongous was founded by Ron Gilbert of Lucas Arts fame and Shelley Day, beginning with Putt-Putt Joins the Parade. They became one of the most successful companies for children’s games, especially when their big hit, the Backyard Sports, came out, and actually became the only reason Humongous made a profit. They also made MoonBase Commander and many Blue's Clues' Licensed Games, and their sub-division Cavedog Entertainment made a few non-children's computer games including Total Annihilation and its follow-up Total Annihilation Kingdoms.
Eventually, Humongous filed for bankruptcy, and sold all the rights to Atari, who continued four of the series, but only went one game on three of those four and stopped. The other one, the Backyard Sports series, lasted for several more years, but it too seems to have ended. Three of the games were also ported to the Wii by Majesco, but used ScummVM (a virtual machine made to run old Scumm-based games) without giving any credit to the developers whatsoever, so it now seems all series have been left abandoned and rotted. The fanbase is still strong, however, and continue to remember the games from their childhood.
All demo download links are listed on their pages, since finding them is a bit of a Guide Dang It.
Series by Humongous:
- Backyard Sports
- Big Thinkers!
- Blue's Clues (many of the licensed games)
- Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
- Conjure! (vaporware)
- Fatty Bear
- Freddi Fish
- Future Dog: Dog of the Future (vaporware)
- MoonBase Commander
- Pajama Sam
- Pajama Man (comic books; the game is vaporware)
- Spy Fox
Series by Humongous's sub-division Cavedog Entertainment:
- Amen: The Awakening (vaporware)
- Butter (vaporware; working title)
- Elysium (vaporware)
- Glider Wars (vaporware)
- Good & Evil (vaporware)
- Great White Hunter
- Total Annihilation
Series by Humongous's sub-division Gaspocket Adventures:
Tropes in Humongous games in general:
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- In some of the games (notably the Freddi Fish series), if you fool around long enough, a character will give a hint.
- Most of the Junior Arcades had a "Junior Helper." which usually let you turn on unlimited lives and give you some other advantage.
- April Fools' Day: For April 1, 1999, Humongous's sub-division Cavedog Entertainment temporarily became Frozen Yak Entertainment.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Most of the demos do this.
- Compilation Rerelease: LOTS of them.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Would very often give away item locations.
- Creative Closing Credits: Humongous was quite fond of these. Usually they had objects flying up or going across the screen, and clicking on them gave you different reactions. Other things included photo albums, a room with many click points, screens that show many random events, and much more.
- Creator in Joke: Their headquarters was located in Woodinville, Washington, so you're going to expect a lot of jokes referencing said city and Seattle.
- Credits Gag: Virtually all games since Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo feature at least one "joke credit" (the aforementioned game has "If you lived in Cartown, you'd be home now," and Pajama Sam 1 has "No animals were injured or cheese eaten in the making of this game. ... Mmm, cheese.")
- Debug Room: Featured in all of the post-Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo games.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The earliest games had DOS graphics and MIDI music, and animated using sprites instead of hand drawn cartoon animation. Then there's minor details, like the 3D cursors in Freddi Fish 1 being longer and thinner than the later ones (changed in the 1998 re-release), and being unable to skip movement phases. The early HE games also had a Windows 3.1 pause menu, a quit button instead of a menu button, and no lip-sync.
- Feelies: Included with just about every game at the time, though they have become more and more rare.
- Game Mod: By editing the games' config files, you may find additional scenes, which are either extra jokes and/or Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- The five games that use the YAGA engine are especially easy to mod, since the files can easily be extracted with 7-Zip..
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Humongous is not the last company that would create beloved entertainment about cars, spies, toys, superheros, or fish.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Partially averted. Usually the characters will give an excuse for taking anything not nailed down by saying something like "This doesn't belong here, so I'd better find the place it should go." At the base of it, though, the heroes are still snatching anything that looks important.
- Mad Libs Dialogue: You could say it was abused in Humongous games. The Backyard Sports were especially bad at this.
- Pop Up Video Games
- Same Language Dub: Several of the games were released in the UK with tweaked scripts and re-recorded dialogue using British voice actors.
- Shout-Out: Hoo boy. Humongous did a LOT of self Product Placement. They would advertise another one of their games wherever they could, such as on bill boards and click points.
- One of the billboards on Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo says "Shameless Humongous Entertainment self-promotion to be placed HERE."
- Spiritual Successor: Hulabee Entertainment.
- Technology Marches On: Quite a few examples.
- On the old section for demo downloads on the site, it once said "Warning: These files are HUGE! (5 to 24 MB)"
- When the games were first released, 640 x 480 was considered high resolution and the games fell under Genius Programming. In hindsight, that doesn't say much due to how far they pushed the SCUMM engine to its limits.
- Save icons were almost always floppy disks.
- Wiki Rule: It has its own wiki, although it's currently a work-in-progress.