3-2-1 Penguins is a game suite produced by Big Idea, Inc. which is the producer of Veggie Tales and related stories/cartoons. The games are all based on characters/story lines from episodes of the 3-2-1 Penguins! series. In the section of Big Idea’s website that is for parents to read it states “Like many of you, we believe that too much of today's popular media is having a negative impact on kids' values and behaviors -- in effect making your job as a parent harder. We further believe, though, that media filled with the values and lessons of the Bible can have an equally positive impact, supporting, rather than undermining, your parenting.” (BigIdeaFUN.com-Parents) The goal of the games on the Big Idea website does not seem to be about spreading any particular lessons or values but instead to give children of all ages a place where they can play games that are fun and entertaining yet do not include things that parents would find inappropriate or detrimental to their children. It is attempting to “make the Internet a better place for your kids.” (BigIdeaFUN-Parents)
3-2-1 Penguins! is “a video series that tells the story of two young kids (Jason and Michelle) and four out-of-this-world penguins, as they explore the galaxy -- and learn important, Bible-based lessons and values along the way.” (BigIdeaFun.com-Penguins- About 3-2-1 Penguins!) The 3-2-1 Penguins! series uses colorful and enticing animations to entertain children while teaching them these lessons.
The 3-2-1 video series may teach Bible-based lessons and values, but the games themselves seem to be completely aimed at entertaining. In all of the games in the suite (six in all: Doom Funnel Chasers!, Hop!, Jelly Jammers, Light Brigade, Ship Lander, and Spaced Penguin!) there are no lessons taught, no morals are even really discussed or present. Most of the games are arcade or puzzle style games. For example Light Brigade is a challenge to place different colored tokens on a board to direct the path of walking light bulbs into the “Lightstation Kilowatt” and Hop! is a challenge to hop around onto different colored cubes to turn them all the same color. The only game that comes close to teaching a lesson is “Jelly Jammers” in which the player must control the character of Michelle and fill hot pastries with jelly for her Grandmum. The description of the game begins by saying “A helpful kid is a happy kid!”(BigIdeaFUN.com-Penguins-Arcade-Jelly Jammers) Actually playing the game does not teach a lesson but the context that the game is placed within does push the message of helping out adults and being a generally submissive/well-behaved child.
Alongside the game suite Big Idea includes a series of activities for children such as coloring pictures, connect-the-stars, and finger puppets that can be printed out as well as a group of downloadable computer wallpapers comprised of images from the cartoon series.
The games, the activities, and the downloads are all centered around the branding of 3-2-1 Penguins! as an image. They are comprised of characters and environments from the cartoon episodes but do not go so far as to really push the messages of Biblical values that the actual animated series does. In the “Info for Parents” section of any of the wallpaper downloads it says “We know how kids are. When they fall in love with characters and stories, they want to watch 'em over and over again. They want to immerse themselves in that world, from coloring books and toys to bed sheets and breakfast cereals!”(BigIdeaFUN.com-VeggieTales: Info for Parents (Jason & Michelle Wallpaper) The 3-2-1 Penguins! game suite seems to focus more on consumerism and branding than on teaching specific religious/moral values.