From Sega Retro


Pengo Title.png
Publisher: Sega,
Atari 2600
Atari 5200
Atari 8-bit Family
System(s): Custom arcade hardware, Sega Game Gear, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit Family
Genre: Puzzle

Release Date RRP Code
1982  ?
Atari 2600
1983 $?  ?
Atari 2600
1983 £?  ?
Atari 5200
1983 $?  ?
Atari 8-bit Family
$? RX8045

Sega Game Gear
¥2,900 G-3102
Sega Game Gear
£24.99[2] 2202
Sega Game Gear
?F 2202
Sega Game Gear
DM ? 2202
Sega Game Gear
?Ptas 2202
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
₩? ?

Pengo (ペンゴ) is an arcade game developed by Sega and Coreland and published by Sega. It stars Pengo the penguin who must navigate a maze and defeat all the enemy "sno-bees" by pushing blocks of ice. It was released in 1982 and was a reasonable success.

In the original release, the main music track in Pengo extremely similar to the 1969 synthpop instrumental Popcorn. This was changed in a revised version (which also draws its maze instantly), and again in the many home ports and conversions. Also included is Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, third movement for the intermission screens.


Pengo intro.png

In Pengo, the main objective of the game is to eliminate all the snow-bees on-screen in the shortest time possible. Comparisons can be drawn with Hudson Soft's Bomberman franchise, though rather than laying bombs, Pengo must push blocks.

Every block in the level can be pushed in one of four directions, provided there is space for the block to move. If an "ice block" is aligned next to another block, Pengo will smash it. Pushing a block will cause it to slide across the screen until it hits a solid obstacle (i.e. a wall or another block).

In each stage, three "diamond blocks" exist, which cannot be destroyed. If the player can line them up in a row (or column) of three, a bonus is awarded.

Pengo is joined by a number of snow-bees, who typically wander around the stage acting as a hazard. If Pengo touches a snow-bee, a life is lost, but if a sliding block collides with a snow-bee, the snow-bee will be killed. More points are awarded for killing two or more snow-bees with the same block. Snow-bees can also be hit by Pengo when "stunned", caused by "wobbling" the edge of the stage (if a snow-bee is positioned on that edge of the screen) or by aligning the three diamond blocks.

Two types of snow-bee exist - a normal type, which simply wanders around the stage, following Pengo if it is close, and a more aggressive type, which can destroy ice blocks. Snow-bee "eggs" can also hatch from beneath ice blocks (which are highlighted at the start of each stage).

Similar to games such as Namco's Dig Dug, if only one enemy is left on screen, it will try and escape by running off to one of the corners.


Crushing a snow-bee with an ice block awards the player 400 points. It is 1600 if two are crushed in one push, 3200 if three and 6400 if four. Walking over a stunned Sno-Bee awards 100 points. 10000 points are awarded for aligning the three diamond blocks together if at least one is not touching a wall, but only 5000 if all are against a wall.

Smashing an ice block will award 30 points, or 500 points if it contains a Sno-Bee egg.

A bonus is awarded upon round completion, depending on time elapsed:
5000 points for under 20 seconds
2000 points for between 20–29 seconds
1000 points for between 30–39 seconds
500 points for between 40–49 seconds
10 points for between 50–59 seconds
0 points for 60 seconds or more

By default, Pengo begins with three lives and a bonus life is awarded at 30000 points. These values can be changed (anywhere from 2 to 5 lives, and the bonus life can be awarded at 50000 instead) through DIP switch settings.



Pengo was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit computer line and Sega Game Gear (where it was one of three launch titles for the system in Japan, along with Columns and Super Monaco GP). There were also numerous clones, such as Pengi for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron. Capcom's Don't Pull (Donburu), a game which features as part of Wonder 3, is based on Pengo. Pengo was also released as part of Sega Ages Memorial Selection Vol.1 for the Sega Saturn.

An enhanced version of Pengo was later released for the Sega Mega Drive in the form of Pepenga Pengo. Papenga Pengo also contains a reproduction of this game to play.

A 2010 version of Pengo was released in 2010 for Sega RingWide arcade hardware, adding 8-player support and a higher screen resolution.

Pengo the Penguin was recently found as an unused model in Sonic the Fighters.

Production credits

Arcade version

In the arcade version, the credits screen can be accessed in the attract mode by holding Up on both joysticks, holding both action buttons, and pressing Start.

  • Directed by: Nobuo Kodera
  • Programmed by: Akira Nakakuma
  • Designed by: Shinji Egi

Coreland Technology Inc. 1982.9.1

Magazine articles

Main article: Pengo/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Physical scans

Arcade version

Arcade, US
Pengo Arcade US Manual.pdf
Arcade, JP

Game Gear version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
65 №15, p110[3]
60 №4, p56[2]
80 №23, p61
54 №31, p34
70 №5, p20[4]
76 №19, p91
Sega Game Gear
Based on
6 reviews

Game Gear, EU
Pengo GG EU Box Back.jpgNospine.pngPengo gg eu cover.jpg
Pengo gg eu cart.jpg
Game Gear, JP
Pengo GG JP Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngPengo gg jp cover.jpg
Pengo gg jp cart.jpg
Pengo GG JP Manual.pdf
Game Gear, KR

Pengo GG KR cartback.jpgPengo GG KR Cart.jpg

Atari 2600 version

Atari 2600, US
Pengo Atari2600 US Silver Box Back.jpgNospine.pngPengo Atari2600 US Silver Box Front.jpg
Pengo Atari2600 US Cart Silver.jpg
Pengo Atari 2600 US Manual.pdf
Atari 2600, EU

Pengo 2600 EU Cart.jpg

Atari 5200 version

Atari 5200, US
Pengo Atari5200 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngPengo Atari5200 US Box Front.jpg
Pengo Atari5200 US Cart.jpg
Pengo 5200 us manual.pdf

Atari 8-bit Family version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
70 №34, p34[1]
Atari 8-bit Family
Based on
1 review

Atari 8-bit family, US
Pengo A8B US Box Front.jpg
Atari 8-bit family, US (alt)
Pengo A8B US Box Front Alt.jpg
Atari 8-bit family, US (1986)
Pengo A8B US Box Back 1986.jpgNospine.pngPengo A8B US Box Front 1986.jpg
Pengo A8B US Cart 1986.jpg


  1. 1.0 1.1 File:CVG UK 034.pdf, page 34
  2. 2.0 2.1 File:SegaForce UK 04.pdf, page 56
  3. File:PlayerOne FR 015.pdf, page 110
  4. File:SegaPro UK 05.pdf, page 20

Games in the Pengo Series
Pengo (1982) | Pepenga Pengo (1995) | Ge-Sen Love: Plus Pengo! (2014)
Pengo (LCD) (1982) | FL Pengo (1982) | Ninkuu Gaiden: Hiroyuki Daikatsugeki (1995) | Pengo (Pocket Boy) (2009) | Pengo! (Unrelease)