Hungry Hungry Hippos was a madcap board game for up to four players which, to be honest, relied more on luck than skill in order to win. Four plastic hippopotamuses lined the edges of a plastic playing board, and when you pressed a little switch on the back of the hippo it’s head shot forward and upwards before returning, which made it look like it was chomping away on some food.
Unlike most hippos, these plastic version dined on little white plastic marbles. A number of marbles were put in the middle of the game and each player then frantically pressed their little switches to get their hippo to eat the most marbles and win the game.
Each of the hippos was a different colour (none of them grey, the traditional hippopotamus colour) and apparently they all had names, presumably in an effort to inject some kind of character into them. The purple hippo was called Lizzie, the orange one Henry, green was Homer and Harry was yellow. Over the years replacement hippos were brought in (the original ones presumably bloated from a diet of plastic marbles). Henry changed colour to blue and Lizzie was replaced by Happy, who was pink.
The most recent version has changed the names again, and the current Hungry Hungry Hippo squad are Sweetie, Bottomless, Picky and Veggie (pink, yellow, orange and green colours respectively).
I remember the TV advert being aired incessantly in the run up to Christmas one year, which made me want the game immensely (sadly Father Christmas never delivered). I’ve embedded a clip which appears to be the US version of the advert, but I’m sure the lyrics sound eerily familiar.