Penguins In Video Games

For some reason I asked the people of Twitter what my first blogpost should be about. I got two more replies than I expected (two…) both requesting that I write about penguins in video games. Surprisingly enough it’s a subject about which I have some small experience (as does everyone who played games through the 1990s, as entry number one will suggest!), so here are some thoughts about… Penguins In Video Games! Thanks to @The_Stonecreek and @Sydark71 for the inspiration. Oh, and Bob.

Surprisingly, there are quite a few examples of this topic. Unsurprisingly a lot of them come out of Japan. Here are a few that I have personally experienced at one time or other in my life.

1. Tuxie – Super Mario 64

Early on in the game, you’ll find yourself in the snow-based level Cool, Cool Mountain, and from the off you hear the cries of the baby penguins lost and roaming about the level. Making your way to the bottom of the mountain you find a giant penguin sitting in a pool of water, who asks you (in the second level of this stage) to find her missing daughter, Tuxie. It turns out that only one of the many baby penguins is Tuxie, which begs the question – where are the parents? I assume they slipped on ice and fell into oblivion off the edge of the map. Find Tuxie, return her to her negligent mum, and take your reward – a lovely, shiny star!

2. Pentarou – Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy

Starring in a number of Japanese games prior, it was Parodius that introduced Pentarou to the West. The game is a parody of Gradius, hence the title. Pentarou acts as one of the ships from which you make your choice, with her own weapons and power-ups, alongside Gradius‘ Vicviper, Octopus and Twinbee, each of whom come from various Konami licences. Parodius games have appeared on various systems, but for me it’s the SNES one that lights up my nostalgia the best. Give it a go, you’ll probably like it.

3. Prinny – Disgaea

Perhaps the most well-known penguin in gaming, Prinny has appeared in multiple Disgaea games, and in their own series. I say “their” because Prinny is not a single character, but a race of penguin-a-likes. They are quite upbeat considering their story. Their first appearance was in 2003’s Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, in which those guilty of mortal sins (such as suicide) have their souls sewn into a Prinny. Due to the unstable nature of a human soul, Prinnies are prone to explode when hit hard enough… A fun character, my experience with Disgaea is slight, but I enjoyed what I played, and certainly recommend you give one of them a go if you haven’t, Dood.

4. King Dedede – Kirby Series

This is for my friend Elininis (look her up on Twitter). King Dedede is the main antagonist of Nintendo’s Kirby, appearing in most entries in the series and most of the Smash Bros series. He is considered a “frenemy” of Kirby rather than a straight enemy, due to his motives being greed rather than malice. Much like my favourite Nintendo baddie, Wario. His attacks are similar to Kirby’s own, spitting with some force, which seems irresponsible considering the series’ otherwise child-friendly aesthetic.

5. Piplup – Pokemon

Appearing as the starter Water Pokemon in Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, Piplup appears as a blue penguin – much like the others in this list so far! It evolves later into Prinplup and then Empoleon at levels 16 and 36 respectively. Piplup has appeared in two Smash Bros games – Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) and Super Smash Bros for Wii U (Wii U) and appears in several Pokemon side games, with a cameo in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

6. The Poor Penguin From Penguin Toss (Mobile + Flash)

The first game that came to my mind when I took on this task – I used to enjoy Penguin Toss more than my job, and so I became pretty good at it. One of those physics-based games, in which you press a key to select your angle, then again to set the power of your throw. Mr Penguin then goes flying across the terrain, landing with a thud and leaving a trail of blood as he tumbles to a stop. The simple aim of the simple game is to throw the hapless bird the furthest. It’s old now, but still available and still silly fun.

Honourable mentions

Penpen – an enemy in the Mega Man games

Penta Penguin – appears in Crash Bandicoot 3 and later games

Sgt. James Byrd – of Spyro

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