You’re probably reading this article because your kids like Huggy Wuggy. The plush blue monster is the latest craze amongst young kids. But you might be asking – why is Huggy Wuggy so popular? And what do parents need to know?
But first, who – or what, is Huggy Wuggy?
Huggy Wuggy is the antagonist in Chapter 1 of the horror video game Poppy Playtime, designed by MOB games.
Poppy Playtime is available on Windows PCs, so kids install it on their home computer.
A bit about the game from games download platform Steam:
You must stay alive in this horror/puzzle adventure. Try to survive the vengeful toys waiting for you in the abandoned toy factory. Explore the mysterious facility… and don’t get caught.
Starting off as a blue plush cuddly toy who just wants to hug, Huggy Wuggy first appears to children as a static character stood still on a giant plinth.
As the game progresses, Huggy Wuggy disappears from the plinth and quickly morphs into a murderous 9ft monster, revealing rows of sharp teeth as he chases the player through the vents of the abandoned toy factory where he was created.
He does not talk, but can be heard laughing in the game.
If Huggy Wuggy catches the player, the player dies.
So why is Huggy Wuggy so popular?
I have to wonder, why is Huggy Wuggy so popular, and what is it about the character that appeals to young children?
At first I couldn’t imagine why my kids would want a scary monster for a toy! But then I had a think and read around the psychology behind monsters, fear, and suspense. Here’s what I came up with.
Huggy Wuggy helps kids to normalise and process their fears
Although he looks menacing, Huggy Wuggy may well help kids to normalise very real fears of being small and essentially helpless in a big scary world.
Bringing monsters to life through play helps kids process the “monsters” in their daily lives, whether this be what lurks under the bed in their imagination, or a growing sense of their own mortality.
It’s interesting to note that the player can survive in Poppy Playtime, showing children that they can face and overcome their fear of monsters, and live to tell the tale.
The Huggy Wuggy toy available at Amazon helps kids to take control of the monster and bring him into their world on their own terms.
Huggy Wuggy is fun
Due to his dual nature, Huggy Huggy is a familiar and accessible monster. “Awww, he’s just a cuddly toy. No…wait! He’s coming to get me!”
There’s a huge element of surprise with Huggy Wuggy, which is very appealing. In this way, Poppy Playtime, although nail biting and suspenseful, seems like a slightly more scary version of childhood games like hide and seek and peekaboo.
Kids love suspense…
Many adults and children alike love to play with fear. It injects drama into our otherwise mostly drama free lives. Scary moments trigger neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine – that create a stimulating and satisfying rush in our bodies.
As for my son, he found Huggy Wuggy on YouTube after hearing a friend at school talk about it. Bear in mind my son is 5 years old and still in Reception class. To say I was shocked is an understatement!
But we like to encourage his interests, so we installed the game on his dad’s computer and let him play it. The game is mostly a puzzle and memory game where the player has small tasks to complete. It’s great for strengthening the memory. The horror starts once all the tasks are complete. The player must run away from Huggy Wuggy, or else get “killed”. In a totally non gory way.
Now you know why I think Huggy Wuggy is so popular. Let’s take a look at some questions parents might have about Huggy Wuggy and Poppy Playtime.
Questions about Huggy Wuggy
Does Huggy Wuggy kill?
Yes, he does. But there is no blood. If the player stops he or she sees Huggy Wuggy appear very close up with his teeth shown.
But Poppy Playtime is not actually gory. According to players, the true horror shines through suspense and thrill of the chase.
Is he evil?
Probably. He mercilessly stalks the player of Poppy Playtime. He has very many teeth and can devour humans. According to Monster Wiki, he is an intelligent creature that is capable of formulating strategies to hunt and kill. I’d say that makes him pretty evil. As a potentially wronged employee, he probably has a lot to be angry about.
Does Poppy Playtime have an age restriction?
A minimum age of 8 years old has been suggested by Zach Belanger, chief executive officer of MOB Games. The game is PEGI 12+ rated.
Should I worry that my kid likes Huggy Wuggy?
One school has reported that its pupils are role playing the game in the playground and advise parents to be vigilant.
We are seeing children recreating a game on the playground with hugging and whispering nasty things in the recipient’s ear.
It’s easy to see why teachers and parents might not like children to play Poppy Playtime or worry about them pretending to be Huggy Wuggy.
There are concerns that kids might copy the behaviour seen in the game, namely whispering “nasty things” into a recipients ear. This doesn’t align with the game play, though, since Huggy Wuggy doesn’t talk.
However, kids might also come across spin off media on YouTube and TikTok, where all kinds of content about Huggy Wuggy is posted. So it’s worth being mindful that this exists, and could be influencing your child.
I believe many kids are simply using a vocabulary that offends adults, possibly with no intended malice. And a child that uses a game to intimidate another child is bullying, and could use any vehicle to bully his or her victim.
Ultimately, you know your kid better than anyone, so talk to them about the game. And of course, if they start having trouble sleeping or their behaviour worries you in any way, feel free to remove the game.
Final thoughts on why Huggy Wuggy is so popular
Scary games are fun to so many kids, my son included. Although I don’t relish the idea of him being in a game where he gets “killed”, I respect his need to join in with his friends and role play scenarios that help him understand his world.
This is why I’ll continue to let my son play Poppy Playtime and love on his Huggy Wuggy plushie.
By the way, I’m only a mum – not a psychologist, and these are just my considered opinions. If you’re worried about your child’s mental health, please see your doctor.
Do your kids like Huggy Wuggy? Have they played Poppy Playtime? What’s your opinion on the game? I’d love to hear your views in the comments section below.