Video Game / Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
is a series of children's computer games made by Humongous Entertainment
. Each game played out like a visual encyclopedia, where you would be going through the farm, the airport, or the jungle (depending on the game). You would be able to trigger the many click points
to see all the random inanimate objects come to life, as well as use the "What is this?" command to click on anything in the scenery and be taken to its definition in the index. Each game also included five mini-games, three which were always a coloring book, an "I Spy" styled Find It game, and Trivia. Two of them, on the other hand, changed from game to game. One of them was a puzzle game (Hangman in The Farm
, "What is It?" in The Airport
, and an unscramble-the-word game in The Jungle
), but the other was an arcade-styled game.
The games consisted of:
- Let's Explore the Farm with Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
- Let's Explore the Airport with Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
- Let's Explore the Jungle with Buzzy the Knowledge Bug
The series didn't last very long before falling to the wayside, mostly because they didn't quite live up to the popularity of Humongous' other games. Indeed, they are not as well remembered as the point-and-click Adventure Games
or the Backyard Sports
series. That said, they still have their own following in the Humongous fanbase.
Tropes in the Buzzy the Knowledge Bug games:
- Art Evolution: With Buzzy. In The Farm, he looked very stylized, much skinnier than normal, and rather stiff. The Airport fleshed him out a bit but he still moved rather stiffly. It was The Jungle where he was the most animated and most resembled the box art.
- Artistic License – Biology:
- The crow in The Farm has an orange beak like a blackbird. Real crows have black beaks (except for the white-billed crow).
- The beavers in The Farm have white teeth, when real beavers have orange teeth.
- The coconuts hanging from the palmtree in The Jungle have brown husks, and the in-game encyclopedia also states they have fuzzy outer coverings. In real life, coconut husks are green or yellow and are smooth on the outside.
- The tent bats featured in the The Jungle are clearly Honduran white bats, but they are portrayed with pink ears and noses while the real animals had yellow ears and noses.
- Macaws in the encyclopedia of The Jungle are drawn with three toes in front and one in back. Like all parrots, they actually have two toes in front and two in back
- Artistic License – Geography: In The Jungle, the Amazon, African and Asian jungles are all within an area a couple of miles wide, when in real life they are on opposite sides of the planet. Lampshaded by Buzzy:
Buzzy: In real life, these jungles are all in different parts of the world, but I'd be too tired to talk if I had to fly back and forth, so this is much better!
- Compilation Re-release: The games were repackaged into the "Junior Field Trips Collection" in 1997, two years after their initial releases.
- Dummied Out: Each game has unused content that can be found in the game files, and certain clickpoints and alterations to the dialogue can be accessed by messing with the INI files.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The original "Junior Encyclopedias" release of Farm is rife with this, with a completely different navigation bar, no minigames, and a much simpler opening sequence without The Fat Man's jingle to accompany it. Even with the Updated Re-release though, some weirdness remains, such as Buzzy's completely different design, a less fleshed-out index, and a lot fewer click points per screen. Using the Buzzy button also usually leads to him making some excited remark instead of telling the player a fact about the screen they are currently on.
- Holiday Mode: All three of the games have special things set for if you have a birthday entered in the INI file (explained in the help file), but Let's Explore the Farm takes it a step further and has special things set for Halloween and Independence day. On Halloween, you will see a Jack-o-Lantern in front of the farmer's home, and on the Fourth of July, the farmer's chimney shoots fireworks.
- In-Series Nickname: Two of them. They often just referred to them as The [Location] and the Junior Field Trips.
- Luck-Based Mission: Lost Luggage in The Airport takes this to an extreme in Level 99. There are several chutes all of the same type, where if you put a suitcase down one it could come out of any of the other five. It gets even worse when you see how not only is the chute they come out of random, but the direction they come out is random too. There is no way to stop a suitcase from going into the wrong colored basket if it doesn't go your way. The odds are stacked against you in every conceivable way, making it nigh-impossible to beat it. If you actually do manage to beat it, you get sent back to Level 1.
- Former developer Richard Moe later admitted he did this because he was tired of working on the game when he made Level 99 and just wanted to get it shipped, so he decided to be a sadist and make it Unwinnable by Design. He did say he regretted not giving a proper payoff in retrospect, though.
- Misplaced Wildlife: It's bizarre that an educational game series would exhibit this trope, but nonetheless in The Jungle, some wildlife is not found in the proper location. For instance, a tarsier is seen in the Amazon when in real life they are only found in Southeast Asia. Likewise an antbird is seen in the African jungle when in actuality they only live in the Amazon. This wouldn't be as bad if the in-game encyclopedia didn't state the same thing. ("The... Tarsier... is found... in the Amazon jungle.")
- Musical Nod: The Airport has music from Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon and the first Freddi Fish game playing in the waiting room.
- Pop Up Video Games: One of the main gimmicks.
- Shout-Out: So many. The Airport seemed to be the most fond of this, especially in the waiting room:
Paging Mr. Waldo
, Mr. Waldo, where are you?
- The HUD in Anteater Feeder, courtesy of The Jungle, is pretty much a lot like the one in a pretty popular first-person shooter. Right down to the mugshot, animated for about every in-game situation. Every.
- Updated Re-release: Let's Explore the Farm actually counts as this. A year prior to its release, there was a different version simply called The Farm and listed as part of the "Junior Encyclopedias" series rather than "Junior Field Trips." It featured a different user interface and no minigames, and predates the more familiar version by about a year.