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Pengo by Coreland and Sega on the Atari 2600

Pengo is an arcade game developed by Coreland and published by Sega in Japan on September 26th, 1982,

General Information

Developer - Coreland

Publisher - Sega

Release - September 26, 1982

Platform(s) - Atari 2600

Number of Players - 1-2 players alternating

Genre - Maze

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 crushes blob-like Sno-Bees by sliding blocks into them. The objective is to survive each round by eliminating all Sno-Bees and Sno-Bee eggs, while optionally lining up the three diamond blocks for a large bonus.

There are two versions of the arcade game: the first uses "Popcorn" as the theme, and the second has original music. There are other small differences as well. Pengo was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit family, and Sega Game Gear.

The player uses a four-position joystick and a single button to control Pengo, a penguin character. Pressing the button while pushing the joystick against an ice block will cause it to slide in that direction until it hits another block or a wall if space directly ahead of it is unoccupied by a block or wall. If that space is occupied, pressing the button will crush the block instead.

The goal is to destroy every Sno-Bee on the board by sliding ice blocks to crush them, crushing blocks that contain unhatched Sno-Bee eggs, or running over them after stunning them at a wall.

At the start of each round, a certain number of eggs hatch into Sno-Bees, while other blocks flash to indicate that they contain eggs. As the player destroys active Sno-Bees, new ones hatch from the eggs to replace them. Crushing multiple Sno-Bees with one block awards extra points. The Sno-Bees can crush blocks in an attempt to reach Pengo. Pushing against a wall causes it to vibrate and temporarily stuns any Sno-Bees in contact with it; the player may then crush them with a block or simply run over them to destroy them. Contact with a Sno-Bee costs the player one life.

Three blocks in each round are marked with diamonds and cannot be crushed. Arranging these blocks in a continuous horizontal or vertical line awards bonus points (more if not against a wall) and temporarily stuns every active Sno-Bee. If the player eliminates every Sno-Bee in less than 60 seconds, bonus points are awarded based on the time taken.

If the player survives for two minutes without either losing a life or completing the round, all active Sno-Bees become Blobs. Their movement speed increases and they will move directly toward one of the walls, crushing all ice blocks in their path. Once a Blob reaches a wall, it will move toward a corner of the screen and disappear upon reaching it. Once all Blobs have either disappeared or been destroyed, the round ends. If the player destroys one of the last two Sno-Bees, the survivor will become a Blob after a 12-second delay. However, if the player destroys multiple Sno-Bees and leaves only one alive, it will become a Blob immediately.

The game includes a total of 16 rounds. After every second round, one of six intermission animations is displayed.


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