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Some of my fondest childhood memories are of me sitting in the computer lab at my local library on Saturday mornings and playing hours of edutainment games. Think: Freddi Fish, Putt Putt’s Circus and Pajama Sam.
What I didn’t know at the time is that these franchises all came from the same publisher, Humongous Entertainment. And while I eventually upgraded to an at-home desktop gaming setup — complete with my own computer, and home, and collection of less elementary titles — nothing ever seemed to match my affection for Humongous Entertainment’s story-based missions and puzzles.
Even in recent years, with the Nintendo Switch as my console of choice, I would research ways to play Pajama Sam as an adult. And for a long time, it seemed like I’d never be able to reunite with my favorite childhood games. But when I saw the 6-part Humongous Classic Collection in the new section of the Switch Online Store, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement. I promptly paid $60 for the collection, because as we all know, you can’t put a price on nostalgia.
Now, perhaps I should have done more research about where else Humongous Entertainment has popped up. After I bought the six titles available as Switch games, I discovered that Steam had the entire collection. A Reddit forum informed me that you can find Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and even Spy Fox on the iOS App Store, too. But I’ve been playing what’s available on Switch, and here’s what it’s like.
The nostalgia factor is real
In playing Humongous Entertainment games, I found the same joy I get from re-watching obscure Disney Channel series from the mid-2000s on Disney Plus, or listening to NSYNC. Just by scrolling through the available titles in the Switch pack, I felt transported back to my childhood library.
The best part? Every character was just as I remember them. Freddi Fish and Putt-Putt are still the sweet local do-gooders, saving zoo openings or returning a missing heirloom. Pajama Sam is still living out every kid’s fantasy of cosplaying as a comic book superhero at night, landing in inventive locations to challenge common childhood fears. And of course Spy Fox is still making cringey (yet slightly amusing) puns throughout his daring missions.
Some games still make me think
To my surprise, not all the Humongous Entertainment games played as easily as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I finished each title within about 45 minutes. But some puzzles required creative thinking.
Freddi Fish and Putt-Putt weren't challenging, but Pajama Sam and Spy Fox both had one or two points in the story where I needed to test all my options to move forward. This checked out with what I remember from childhood, as I don’t think I ever finished games within the latter two franchises in my designated library computer time.
Either way, the games aren’t totally mindless. And that makes it that much more fun to play them now as an adult.
Switch controls kind of suck
The only damper on my reintroduction to Humongous Entertainment is how the games play the Switch. Since these games were designed for a computer mouse, moving the cursor around the screen with a joystick isn’t always smooth.
Playing on a 55-inch TV, finding the exact place to click to move between scenes can take a few tries. There are also a couple of puzzle moves that require timing, which I rarely achieved on my first attempt.
As soon as I’m done getting my money’s worth from the Humongous Classic Collection on Nintendo Switch, I’ll play the rest of the publisher’s games, either on Steam or my iPhone. I’m definitely curious to see how the experience compares.
Now, if you didn’t play any Humongous Entertainment games as a kid, I doubt you’d find any fun in playing them as an adult. But if you have memories of a talking purple car, or fox dressed like James Bond, I think you’ll successfully escape to your childhood for an hour or two with any of the titles in the Humongous Classic Collection.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.