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Humongous Entertainment (1992)


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Humongous Inc. is an American video game developer. The company is known for its line of educational games for children. Atari now owns Humongous Inc.


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. Ron Gilbert - Humongous Entertainment's co-founder and main game designer - helped with many of the game planning and creation stages. 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 as well as Windows and Macintosh.

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

Through its Cavedog sub-division, Humongous Entertainment also released Total Annihilation, a real-time strategy 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 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.

Atari laid off most people from its subsidiary Humongous Entertainment in mid-2001. 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".

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.

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.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Humongous (game developer)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.