In Germany there is one franchise where 84% of the entire population recognize it. A gaming franchise where 98% of German gamers know it and have played it sometime in their gaming life. This franchise is Moorhuhn (aka Crazy Chicken). They are the famous chickens from Germany, with over 80 million worldwide downloads to back their name.
It was the promotional campaign of whiskey brand, Johnnie Walker in the fall of 1998 that set off the ignition for the popularity of Moorhuhn. Originally designed and developed by Dutch studio, Witan and advertising agency, Art Department (now known as Phenomedia) the campaign was released across 50 pubs in Germany where pub goers were invited by promotional campaigners to hunt innocent chickens on PC. Shortly after the campaign’s completion the game spread like wild fire through the web with the mystery of how it escaped and who was behind it till this day still remains unsolved. Was it one of the winners who received a free copy of Moorhuhn on CD or the faithful promotional campaigner who let it loose?
Moorhuhn became an overnight sensation infecting German computers nationally and even leaking over the country’s borders. Media caught onto the sensation, creating Moorhuhn inspired competitions and events raising the games popularity and consequently collapsing download servers!
And so Moorhuhn was born.
The first official Crazy Chicken game was released in the bliss of 1999 and consecutive titles followed suit, with PC releases of Crazy Chicken 2 in 2000, Crazy Chicken 3 in 2001 and in 2002 the chickens got a whole new look in Crazy Chicken Kart. The franchise expanded rapidly to other gaming platforms including Wii and Nintendo DS with the release of Carnival and Crazy Chicken X on PlayStation 2 as well as Crazy Chicken: Pirates on Nintendo 3DS. So far over 30 titles have been released with recent releases on iOS including Chicken & Tiger and the upcoming Crazy Chicken: Pirates.
The chicken’s popularity grew with the creation of Moorhuhn inspired comic books (above), a Moorhuhn Animated TV Series and even a comedic single was released, hitting the German music charts.
including t-shirts, bags, socks, underwear, plush toys
, cups, pens and anything else imaginable are all available for fans of Moorhuhn to purchase. The craze of Moorhuhn and its popularity is still holding strong with reports on HollyReporter.com
that German brothers, Douglas and Daniel Welbat have received funding from the German film board for a Moorhuhn movie.
The German economy also suffered severely from the Moorhuhn craze. It is claimed that more than 50 billion euros were lost each year due to the drop in workplace productivity and the rise in Moorhuhn game downloads during work hours!
Of course the franchise wouldn’t be complete without an entry of the phrase “Moorhuhnjagd” meaning “Moorhuhn hunt” into the Duden, Germany’s most important dictionary, right?
More than 10 years have passed since the chicken’s promotional pub-crawl over Germany and we too have also been a part of the craze, developing and publishing Crazy Chicken: Pirates and Crazy Chicken: Director’s Cut (coming soon) on Nintendo 3DS and DSi.
Now we are in the midst of releasing an enhanced version of Crazy Chicken: Pirates worldwide on iPhone and iPad, this September 26 and hope to continue to bring more of these crazy chickens to our gaming consoles!