Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Players  2–4
Random chance  Medium
Playing time  10 minutes
Skill(s) required  Dexterity
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Publisher(s)  Milton Bradley, now a subsidiary of Hasbro

Hungry Hungry Hippos is a tabletop game made for 2–4 players, produced by Hasbro, under the brand of its subsidiary, Milton Bradley. The idea for the game was published in 1967 by toy inventor Fred Kroll and it was introduced in 1978. The objective of the game is for each player to collect as many marbles as possible with their 'hippo' (a toy hippo model). The game is marketed under the "Elefun and Friends" banner, along with Elefun, Mouse Trap and Gator Golf. The game was referenced in the 2010 Disney Pixar movie, Toy Story 3 and the 2001 cult film Donnie Darko. There is also a battle level based on the game in the 2016 Micro Machines game.



The game board is surrounded by four mechanical, colorful, plastic hippopotamuses operated by levers on their backs. When the lever is pressed, the hippo opens its mouth and extends its head forwards on a telescopic neck. When the lever is released, the head comes down and retracts. Colored plastic marbles are dispensed into the board by each player, and the players repeatedly press the lever on their hippo in order to have it "eat" the marbles, which travel down from under the hippo into a small scoring area for each player. Once all marbles have been captured, the player who has collected the most is the winner.


Television ads for the game memorably featured a series of brightly colored cartoon hippos dancing in a conga line and singing, "Hungry Hungry Hip-pos!" to the beat. The older theme offered a mini song:

"It's a race, it's a chase, hurry up and feed their face! Who will win? No one knows! Feed the hungry hip-ip-pos! Hungry hungry hippos! (open up and there it goes!)"

The 1980s-era advertisement featured a different song:

If you wanna win the game you've gotta take good aim And get the most marbles with your hippo Playin' Hungry Hungry Hippos Hungry Hungry Hippos

As of 2009, the song in the commercial is now the Elefun and Friends theme song that appears in the first five commercials.


There were four hippos in the original version of the game: Lizzie Hippo (purple), Henry Hippo (orange), Homer Hippo (green), and Harry Hippo (yellow). A later edition of the game replaces the purple hippo, Lizzie, with a pink one named Happy. Although this passage states there was a purple Hippo named Lizzie, games that are stamped with a 1978 copyright have a Pink Hippo named Happy. In some versions of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Henry is replaced by a blue hippo of the same name. The fall 2009 North American edition of the game has a lighter blue base with pastel colored versions of the Hippos: Sweetie Potamus (blue), Bottomless Potamus (yellow), Veggie Potamus (green), and Picky Potamus (orange).

Arcade game

In 1991, ICE https://www.icegame.com/ created a redemption arcade version of the game, a supersized resemblance of the board game version. The amount of marbles consumed was displayed at the top of the dome for each player. The more marbles a hippo consumed, the more tickets that hippo's player received.

Film adaptation

In 2012, film studio Emmett/Furla Films has confirmed that they will work on an animated film adaptation of Hungry Hungry Hippos, along with Monopoly and Action Man. The movie's plot and other details are being kept secret. Production is to start in early 2016.


Rogue Judges, a volunteer judging group at Gen Con, ran a "1st Annual Hungry Hungry Hippos World Championship" on Sunday, August 2, 2005.

The Hungry Hungry Hippos World Championships has been held every year since 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Hungry Hungry Hippos Wikipedia