1. To convict on trumped up evidence or without due process of law. 2. To subject to the practices of the kangaroo court.

- american underworld dictionary - 1950

A kangaroo is a hopping marsupial, of the family Macropodidae. Kangaroos are found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. They have powerful kind legs, long feet, short forelimbs, and long muscular tails for maintaining balance. The female has a pouch where she keeps her newborn kangaroo (joey). These jumpers are the chief grazers of the Australian plains, and they also live in herds. Large male kangaroos can reach a height of 7 feet tall, and weight over 200 pounds. Smaller members of the kangaroo family include the rabbit-sized wallabies and pademelons.

The word kangaroo comes from a northern Queensland language called Guugu-Yimidhirr, and does indeed mean kangaroo. It does not mean "I don't know", though this is a widespread legend.

As explained under Guugu-Yimidhirr, this was the language encountered by Cook and Banks when they first landed, and they took the local name as the generic Aboriginal name for the animal. In fact, it means specifically the black kangaroo; and also the Guugu-Yimidhirr kangurru could be written down variously in English, giving rise to the modern English pronunciation (with a G as in finger, whereas the original was as in singer).

So when years later people tried to find the origin of the word in an Aboriginal language, they probably pronounced it wrong and pointed to the wrong species of kangaroo. On drawing a blank with the natives, this gave rise to the belief that the kangaroo was named in error.

The true story is now well known among linguists and starting to permeate more generally, but cute memes about bamboozled explorers tend to survive. And some of the cute stories are true. The Malagasy creature the indri means "look at that!" in Malagasy. The Queensland town Toowoomba may come from the English "swamp".

Also song by The Molly Bloom from the CD "TEMPORAREALITY". Lyrics by C. Casey. Note: I am personally acquainted with the author of this song, and I have obtained his permission to post the lyrics here. (Time permitting, I will add analysis as well at a later date.)

I'm lying in my sweaty bed
short of breath smoking countless cigarettes
I can see your lean haunches in my head
sweet Australian dream midst all my other pets
I'm reaching out to caress your powerful tail
you're stretched out on my couch
languid lover your eyes glazed over and pale
I want to know the secret that you keep in that pouch
I want to see you hopping along by my side instead of locked up in some damn zoo
want to ride along in your pocket and scream to the world I love you kangaroo
I'll be your human fool
I met you at the zoo
I'll clean up after you
I'll tell you every night exactly what to do
I know you'll love me too won't you kangaroo?
I've been thinking it over and I know what I must do
got some darts filled with heroin and a Red Rider BB gun
sorry it has to be this way
it hurts me more than it hurts you
but you can see me on this grassy knoll and I know you'll try to run
I can tell you apart from your friends by the white spot on your back
it's true that once you do a kangaroo you never want to go back
when you wake in the morning we'll have brunch together and your eyes will glimmer in the sun
go and buy you some tennis shoes and have a lot of fun
I love you kangaroo
think you'd look good in shoes
I'll take you from the zoo
put you in a suit and a matching hat
empty my pockets for you
I love you kangaroo
oh my kangaroo
Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Atari
Model Number: CX2689
Rarity: 2 Common
Year of Release: 1983
Programmer:Unknown

Hippitty hop. Don't you want to be a Kangaroo too? Now you can with Kangaroo for the Atari 2600. Help Mama Roo rescue her stranded little Joey. Make her hop, climb, and leap her way up to the top of the tree (but watch out for those darn monkeys). Be sure and eat any fruit that you might see along the way (fruit helps keep a Kangaroo strong).

Kangaroo is based on the arcade game of the same name. Gameplay is similar to that of the Donkey Kong series. With the addition of missiles to dodge (well actually it is fruit, that the monkeys throw at you). This game requires a certain touch. I never could get very good at it (and I tried and tried). The arcade version is much easier.

Move the controller from left or right to hop, up or down to climb or descend ladders (or duck). Moving the controller diagonally will do a super leap (just a jump really). Use your red button to punch out the monkeys.

Helpful Hints
(From the instruction manual).

When a monkey moves toward you, ready to throw an apple, watch the direction of its throwing arm. If it winds back underhand, the apple will be thrown low, so jump over it. If it winds up overhand, the apple will be thrown high, so duck under it. As you progress to higher levels, apples will be thrown mid-level, so either punch them or jump over them.

Time your ladder climbing carefully so you can be out of the firing range of falling apples.

Monkeys are usually most dangerous when you move away from them, so try to move toward them so you can punch them before they can throw apples.

Time your jumps carefully. Mother Kangaroo can leap from the edge of a branch or log, but she must land flat on her feet. When preparing for a Super Leap, make Mother Kangaroo walk to the end of the log with her toes hanging over the edge. Then pull the joystick back and immediately push it up in the direction of her leap.

For a high score, climb up and down each screen until every type of fruit is picked.

Collectors Information

There were 3 different label variations on this title (2 different pictures, along with a color change). This game is valued at around $2 USD. As always, games with boxes and manuals are worth more.



The Arcade Version and the story of my Kangaroo machine

The arcade version of Kangaroo was designed by Sun Electronics (but licensed to Atari). This game was released in 1982. Gameplay is pretty much identical to the Atari version, with the addition of an extra level.

Kangaroo machines that came in a dedicated cabinet featured some wonderful cartoon sideart of a hopping Kangaroo. This brightly colored machine is a favorite with some collectors (and is difficult to find).

I acquired my Kangaroo machine in September of 2002. I was browsing the classified advertisements and saw this ad "Arcade game - Kangaroo, needs work $200". I didn't actually have $200 to spend, but I called the people anyway. It turns out that the machine had a bad monitor. I secretly got excited, and explained to the people that new monitors cost almost $300. They agreed to take $100, and I said I would be there in an hour.

Now the reason I was excited was because I had a freshly rebuilt monitor in perfect condition, so I knew I would have the game working in short order. I quickly called up my only friend who owned a truck, but he wasn't home. That meant I was going to have to use my car. Now you can get an arcade game in a Chrysler LeBaron convertible, but it isn't pretty, and it takes a ton of rope to tie the thing down properly.

The game was on the other side of town, about a half hour away. I got there and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was in almost perfect condition. I plugged it in to verify that it played blind, and then wheeled it out to my car. After manhandling it in, I tied it down, drove one block, and then promptly stopped and tied it down with 8 more ropes. Then I heard thunder! Rain would have been horrible at this point, but luckily the game gods were only toying with me, and then rain never came. My game made it home without incident.

I got my first real good look at it after I took it out of my car. I was very impressed with the sideart. Most people don't like to talk about it, but Atari tended to skimp when it came to putting pictures of monkeys on their games. Asteroids doesn't even have any monkeys on it at all! But luckily Kangaroo isn't like the others, it features over a dozen assorted monkeys adorning the cabinet!

I got out my spare monitor and did the switch. It went in without issue, but I had to install it upside down because not all game makers agree on which direction a vertical monitor should go.

Now I could actually play! This game came with a very high quality joystick. It was a red ball-top unit that used leaf switches and a rubber centering grommet. I can now understand why people pay so much money for old unused arcade joysticks, they are so much better than the new microswitch ones that there is no real comparison at all.

Next up on the agenda was cleaning the machine. The front cleaned up perfectly. Not a scratch anywhere on the front at all. I will have to repaint the coin door, but that is a simple project that I will do next time I am painting stuff black.

The sideart turned out to be in much better shape than I thought. It seems that 90 percent of what looked like scratches, was actually paint from something else, and it washed right off. There still were a few small scratches left, but they were all on the white area, which can be easily touched up!

Now that I actually own one, I can say that it is a great game to add to your arcade game collection. They aren't cheap, but they are certainly cheaper than the ever so popular Ms. Pac-Man. Ebay auctions suggest a price between $200 and $500 for this title.

Two weeks later I fixed the original monitor by replacing the vertical output transistors, which cost me $9.

If you're driving in Australia, particularly the Outback, try to avoid driving at dawn or dusk to avoid damaging your car vehicle. The reason? Kangas. Be they small or large, they are pretty hardy and can not only double back onto your vehicle and cause damage, but they can bounce away even if you knock into them hard.

(Why at dawn and dusk? They come out more towards dawn and dusk. You can see them pretty much any time, but most often around dawn and dusk.)

I had the misfortune to run into a small one just this evening. As soon as I hit it, I glanced in the rear mirror and, to my relief, saw it bounce away, clearly alright. My parents made me pull over onto the side of the road, and then took me out to the front of the car where I had hit the marsupial. Nothing was damaged, except a bit of the left-hand headlight (which was already damaged, and didn't stop it functioning properly anyway).

I got lucky.

If the kangaroo had been any bigger, and/or I had hit it any harder, I may have done even more damage to the car - and potentially, my wallet. In any case, Australians and driving tourists beware: running over kangaroos will normally hurt either the kangaroo or your car. Or both.

Kan"ga*roo" (?), n. [Said to be the native name.] Zool.

Any one of numerous species of jumping marsupials of the family Macropodidae. They inhabit Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands, They have long and strong hind legs and a large tail, while the fore legs are comparatively short and feeble. The giant kangaroo (Macropus major) is the largest species, sometimes becoming twelve or fourteen feet in total length. The tree kangaroos, belonging to the genus Dendrolagus, live in trees; the rock kangaroos, of the genus Petrogale, inhabit rocky situations; and the brush kangaroos, of the genus Halmaturus, inhabit wooded districts. See Wallaby.

Kangaroo apple Bot., the edible fruit of the Tasmanian plant Solanum aviculare. -- Kangaroo grass Bot., a perennial Australian forage grass (Anthistiria australis). -- Kangaroo hare Zool., the jerboa kangaroo. See under Jerboa. -- Kangaroo mouse. Zool. See Jumping mouse, under Jumping. -- Kangaroo rat Zool., the potoroo.

 

© Webster 1913.

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