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The “New” and “Improved” Hungry, Hungry Hippos Is Crap

When I was growing up, I desperately wanted my very own Hungry, Hungry Hippos game. Despite having a wide selection of games in our game closet, I never got my lusted after, multi-colored, marble-munching hippo game. I got to play it at friends’ and family members’ houses, but I never had my very own version to snap, munch and crunch marbles as much as I wanted.

So when Christmas time came around last year and the Grandparents started asking what the boys wanted, I happily replied, “Hungry, Hungry Hippos!” I even convinced LittleBrother that he wanted the game on a trip to the store. (May I add that I love the Power of Suggestion that parents still have over young children?) When he opened the game, I was so excited to add it to our game library. My very own Hungry, Hungry Hippos! Er, uh, LittleBrother’s very own. You know.

When we finally got around to our first round of family game night after Christmas, we made a horrific discovery: They changed Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

Now, granted, I expected a few changes. As an example, the “board” is now a bright turquoise blue as opposed to the original red. And the original was sturdier than the crazy, cheap, nearly fragile plastic of today’s version. And? The original? Fit in the box. That’s right. To put the new version away in the box in which it came, you have to take it apart. And it never really fits back in the box the right way, so you not only have to take it apart but you kind of have to shove it back in the box at odd angles to get the dang thing to close and fit on the shelf. Know what that creates?

Broken hippos.

Broken Freaking Hippo

To be fair, this was our first broken hippo in just under a month. I expected these awful, cheap excuses for hippos to break within days of our first game. Nope. We made it almost a month. To be fair, FireDad was able to fix the hippo.

Time to Play!

But, let’s be honest, it shouldn’t come apart in less than a month… even when you’re playing a, uh, heated game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

By the way, guess whose hippo broke?

Fixing My Hippo

Yeah. Me. Figures.

And, by the way, the boys both love the game. I mean, it is still a fun game. So they want to play it. Constantly. Which means FireDad and I have to put it together. Constantly. And take it apart. Constantly. I think I’ve had my fair share of hippos despite my earlier denied years.

It’s probably because I’m so grumpy that the game I so longed for is now nothing more than a piece of crap. That’s right, I said piece of crap. How do you go from this awesome:

To this awful:

Then again, I guess the end of the 2009 Hungry, Hungry Hippos commercial does say, “Adult assembly required.” What it should say is this: “Adult assembly required because we changed the old version and this one sucks. In fact, you’re likely going to break this one and have to buy a new one. Which is our Grand Master Plan: Sell more hippos.”

The old commercial is better. The old game is better. In fact, like the kid in the original commercial, I win! Or I will. There are a few original versions on eBay, and I’m gonna win me one. So there, “Elefun and Friends.” Pfft.

Have you experienced the Hungry, Hungry Hippos disaster? Or do you have another old favorite that has been so drastically changed that it surely is a National Tragedy? Warn us. Now.

19 replies on “The “New” and “Improved” Hungry, Hungry Hippos Is Crap”

AGREED! Lukas got this game for his birthday and both Jessie and I were like, “umm, was it this crappy when we were kids?” It lasted about a week here before the stupid heads and necks started flying off. And the board itself will never last. We’ve been asking our parents if they still have the ones from when we were kids so we can get our hands on one that isn’t craptastic.
I’m so glad you wrote this. I thought I was the only one who hated the new one.

You are so right! My girls got this last year for Christmas and I couldn’t believe that I had to take it apart to put it away. It isn’t even easy! Consequently, I’m always trying to get the girls to play a different game because sometimes I want them to play a game *by themselves* so I can get something done. For shame, Hippo Makers. For shame.

We don’t have Hungry Hungry Hippos (although Zoe would like to get it). We DO have Elefun. Let me just tell you – ridiculous crap game. My girls seem to like it… but it works horribly. It’s also takes longer to set up than to play… and you have to play dozens of times.
I’m ready to make it disappear.

We got Hippos for Christmas too, and our solution to not fitting in the box? It never gets put away. This explains the state of my house…but I’m not spending time assembling & disassembling that stupid board! So it’s now part of the decor.

Charlie got a Star Wars version of Trouble, the Pop-O-Matic game for his birthday as well as an updated version of Operation. The Trouble board is cheap plastic as well. It does fit back in the box. I’m not a fan although the sounds R2D2 makes is admittedly cool. Operation was a fave of mine as a child but I’m not sure Charlie is ready to play it without getting frustrated. I don’t like the new “gross” stuff they have like farts (complete with sound effects!).

I prefer the good old fashioned Candy Land we have and a slightly updated version of Chutes and Ladders.

our hippos don’t really work right. They didn’t break, but they get “stuck”…like ALL the time. and the marbles get stuck in one of our hippo necks which is super duper frustrating because without some sort of super sharp pokey object, of the precise right size, you can’t get the dagnabbed marble out! boo. :(

Oh, FireMom, I wish I’d warned you! Everything you wrote is everything that I complained about with our Hungry Hippos game! Well, actually our board was still red…but everything else sucked! And I’m using the past tense because ours has retired to the basement storage area. I got sick of the game sticking out awkwardly on our shelf and little plastic (really, plastic?) marbles falling all over the place. It used to be one of my favorite games growing up as well. Sigh.

And I’ll shout out a warning about Battleship. I LOVE Battleship. And thankfully my mom still had our old version and we’ve introduced our boys to the joy of Battleship. Because the new Battleship version? No thanks. The design looks terrible. The reviews on Amazon are horrible. Ugh.

Oh no! I was thinking of getting that for the kids this year. I hate how they “update” games and they are actually cheaper and worse than before. We have tried battleship and Operation and both of the “new” versions suck. I should have saved all those games from my childhood!

We have the game from a couple of years ago, so it’s still red, but it doesn’t fit in the box. So we’ve now lost all but 4 marbles, and regular marbles don’t work. (They’re too big for the hippos to eat.) *sigh*

Do you know which year it all went south? I am looking for an “older” (read: better) version of Hungry Hippos, but I don’t know which year(s) I would be looking for… Maybe 2006 or before? Any idea? Thanks!

It made me so happy to read this. I, too, was outraged at the poor quality of the “new and improved” craptastic Hungry Hungry Hippos game. Why does the quality of products made for children continue to spiral down the drain? It continues to shock and appall me, that I can’t provide my son with toys that are remotely close to the quality and durability that enjoyed all through the 80s and 90s. I took for granted that most of my toys would last long enough for me to outgrow them.

THE AVERAGE MODERN TOY is made as cheaply as some corporate boardroom figures they can get away with short of being sued.

THE AVERAGE MODERN TOY is a distracting and supremely obnoxious contraption that requires two to six AA batteries for the purpose of flashing LEDs and spinny bits and loud yet low quality speakers that blast endless, nonsensical catchphrases and lazy poorly-written jingles.

THE AVERAGE MODERN TOY has a particular way in which it is meant to be played. It SUPPRESSES, rather than encourages, a child’s imagination.

THE AVERAGE MODERN TOY is not designed to endure any longer than it takes to leave the shelf of a store. It is certainly not equipped for a long life in the harsh and rugged environment that is the bottom of your child’s toy box.

The average modern toy aims well below the average intelligence of its target age group.

The average modern toy is probably promoting a franchise and trying to sell your kid more toys.

The average modern toy is an insult to children, and to the parents who care about them.

I bought the new version of HHH for my kids this Christmas. When I assembled it, I could swear the hippos are smaller than the old version from the 70’s/80’s. Am I correct that the hippos are smaller or did I just get bigger?

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