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Humongous Classic Collection


Lagomorph01
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I think this is the same list games are already available to download in the Nintendo Switch store, but it's cool to see them get a physical release.

 

I wonder how/why they chose these particular games for porting to the Switch. They seem to coincide with the height of the brand's popularity, or at least when they really hit their stride, launching with several franchises.

 

I believe the chronological order of the main, adventure-style games was (with the games that have been ported to Switch in bold):

Putt-Putt Joins the Parade (1992)

Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise (1993)

Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon (1993)

Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds (1994)

Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo (1995)

Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse (1996)

Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside (1996)

Putt-Putt Travels Through Time (1997)

Spy Fox in "Dry Cereal" (1997)

Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell (1998)

Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening (1998)

Putt-Putt Enters the Race (1999)

Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch (1999)

Spy Fox 2: "Some Assembly Required" (1999)

Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat from Your Head to Your Feet (2000)

Putt-Putt Joins the Circus (2000)

Spy Fox 3: "Operation Ozone" (2001)

Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove (2001)

Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise (2003)

Pajama Sam: Life Is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff! (2003)

 

They're all available on PC, but just the 95-98 games are on Switch. The curious outlier is Freddi Fish 2. I wonder why it's been excluded, and why the later games have not been ported. Any Humongous historians out there?

 

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Tommo owns the games, and I think they'll use their UFO Interactive label for console releases. The games here seem like a decent representative slice of Humongous, though I think any weirdness or exclusions in game selection comes down to Tommo. They have not handled the brand with much grace. Freddi Fish 3 shipped on Switch with broken music (as in silence, apparently). All of their releases have the big, ugly internal dev subtitles turned on by default (which ScummVM allows you to turn on, though were hidden and inaccessible on the disc releases). The characters' poses on this cover are all hacky repurposings of existing art, which is par for the course.

 

These games have not gotten the presentation and treatment they deserve at all over these last few years. ☹️ I'd like to think there was some marketing and presentation needle to thread to keep them relevant and have them land with modern kids, though I don't think the mobile versions have ever taken off. Lately Tommo's marketing copy has shifted and positions them as a way to "relive your childhood" which really feels like circling the drain. (And that is now literally being represented on this cover) ☹️

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I've bought the two Putt-Putt games for my kids (ages 4 and 7) to play together, and they have enjoyed them. They played through Saves the Zoo probably half a dozen times, but found Travels Through Time to be a bit trickier and haven't been able to finish it. My impression was that Travels Through Time has a premise that is a little less accessible for small kids, and the puzzles seem to be more esoteric - I haven't been able to help them through it! The younger kid still asks to play Putt-Putt, but the older kid finds it hard to get excited about Putt Putt when the Switch also has Mario Kart on it.

 

To be honest, the market for kids games is so different to what it was in the 1990s. The pace of the Humongous games is so much slower than almost any other game my kids have played on something with a screen. Modern games have an abundance of ways get instant feedback by clicking or tapping or swiping, and constant incentives to keep playing and progressing in some way or another. Compared to this, Humongous games are much slower. I would say that they are less engrossing than watching cartoons, since there are plenty of times without a lot of action, or where you might just be sitting there thinking about how to solve a puzzle. The level of engagement is more like reading a picture book, which I personally think is good for kids, but that's not where the market is.

 

Obviously, the market for these kids of games is parents rather than kids, but again the market is way different than it was in the 90s. I remember seeing Humongous games at Costco and electronics stores in the 1990s, but that casual retail market is gone. I honestly have no idea where to buy good 'edu-tainment' games for my kids.

 

Interestingly, the Humongous graphics and sound have held up better than I expected. My seven year old nearly started to cry when he saw what Mario Kart 64 looked like, but had no complaints about Putt-Putt.

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I agree that these slower games are much preferable to the constant flickering screens and sounds of most games, especially the free to play kind. We’re living in a society in which a lot of kids are diagnosed with ADD, but a lot of people don’t ask themselves why…
It’s a shame that they don’t have the dubbed versions available. I would love for my kid to be able to play Putt Putt and Freddi Fish in the future, but playing them in English is a bit much to ask and would defeat the purpose.

 

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1 hour ago, Lagomorph01 said:

I agree that these slower games are much preferable to the constant flickering screens and sounds of most games, especially the free to play kind. We’re living in a society in which a lot of kids are diagnosed with ADD, but a lot of people don’t ask themselves why…
It’s a shame that they don’t have the dubbed versions available. I would love for my kid to be able to play Putt Putt and Freddi Fish in the future, but playing them in English is a bit much to ask and would defeat the purpose.

 

The Humongous games on Steam do have multiple languages, the ones I checked have English, French, and Dutch available in the 'Language' menu of the game's properties, some also have German.

 

And yeah, these games are pretty small, all Humongous games together should easily fit on a Switch gamecard. And since they all use a similar engine, once you've ported one to the Switch, porting the rest shouldn't be that much more work. Maybe they're saving other games for a second release?

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On 11/30/2022 at 6:10 AM, Aro-tron said:

To be honest, the market for kids games is so different to what it was in the 1990s. The pace of the Humongous games is so much slower than almost any other game my kids have played on something with a screen. Modern games have an abundance of ways get instant feedback by clicking or tapping or swiping, and constant incentives to keep playing and progressing in some way or another. Compared to this, Humongous games are much slower. I would say that they are less engrossing than watching cartoons, since there are plenty of times without a lot of action, or where you might just be sitting there thinking about how to solve a puzzle. The level of engagement is more like reading a picture book, which I personally think is good for kids, but that's not where the market is.

 

That's some good parent insight to hear - so kids can like Putt-Putt and it holds up, but the world is different now and there's a lot pushing against it. It does make sense.

 

4 hours ago, Staple Remover said:

I have to know if the soundtrack contain the 2nd greatest video game song of all time known as “Welcome to the Zoo”?

 

Yeah it better! Also it's on Bandcamp from the composer in uncompressed quality (and with unused alternate versions). It's such a good album.

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5 hours ago, Staple Remover said:

I have to know if the soundtrack contain the 2nd greatest video game song of all time known as “Welcome to the Zoo”?

This song got periodically been stuck in my head for 20+ years, despite the fact that I surely hadn't heard it since 1998. When the game came out, the idea that there would be over a minute of animation and an original song just hidden behind a non-essential hot spot was like an audaciously opulent use of FMV. I don't think Humongous ever did anything quite like that again, but it was cool.

 

When my kids first played Putt-Putt I was interested to see what they would think about that part. They had been playing for about ten minutes before they clicked on the 'Topiary Creatures', and then kind of sat there dumbfounded as the song played. At the end, my seven-year old announced "Ok, we are NEVER clicking on that EVER AGAIN".

 

But by the second or third playthrough they willingly clicked on it several times in a row, and since then we have sung the song while walking to the park, so its power as an ear-worm is enduring. 🥲

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On 12/1/2022 at 10:32 AM, Didero said:

The Humongous games on Steam do have multiple languages, the ones I checked have English, French, and Dutch available in the 'Language' menu of the game's properties, some also have German.

Thanks for the info! I’m after the Dutch versions myself. It’s great that they’re on Steam, but I’d like them to be on a console version, so I can play them with my son in front of the tv. But it’s great that they’re at least still available.

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On 12/3/2022 at 9:46 AM, Lagomorph01 said:

Thanks for the info! I’m after the Dutch versions myself. It’s great that they’re on Steam, but I’d like them to be on a console version, so I can play them with my son in front of the tv. But it’s great that they’re at least still available.

 

Yeah, it's not ideal, but Spy Fox in Dutch was a formative videogame for me, so it's great I still have access to it.

I guess you could hack a Switch to load the games through ScummVM on there, but that's a hassle. I'm also trying to find a way to introduce my nieces to the Humongous games, but they only have a WiiU, which they don't even use all that much (luckily they still prefer playing without technology or screens).

I've got a Raspberry Pi lying around that could probably run these games, and those connect to a TV pretty easily, I should look into that more.

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5 hours ago, Scummbuddy said:

There's also the Steam streaming devices so you can use Big Picture mode on your TV. I use that to play CMI on the TV.

Samsung smart TVs up until their 2021 models don't even need an extra device, as they support the Steam Link app. Your controller can simply be plugged into the TVs USB ports.

 

Newer models don't support the app anymore, though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It would have to be I think!

 

As far as I understand it (which may be off, and if so I apologize) a ScummVM port would be in violation of their license. I don’t think Nintendo or ScummVM would allow it, because code that hooks into Nintendo’s proprietary APIs would have to be published back publicly due to the way ScummVM’s open source license works? ScummVM will only ever work as an unlicensed home brew codebase on major consoles. 

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