Edutainment Game series created by the Learning Company for kids up to second grade. The series consists of several games, each one dedicated either to a specific grade level (apparently "baby" and "toddler" are grades now) or to a specific subject. The games for third grade through sixth grade instead feature The Clue Finders.It started in 1986 and became very successful in the educational market. In 2001, the games were given a rapid makeover - for example, the title rabbit and his lion friend Sam become more adventurous, their character designs have changed, and their mouse friend Matilda (or "Mat" for short) is replaced by a floating pink manual named Paige.
Artifact Title: An often forgotten fact is that the series was called Reader Rabbit was because the first game focused only on reading. They tried to avert this by calling other games Math Rabbit and Writer Rabbit, but this caused confusion and most people didn't like this change. All later games would revert back to Reader Rabbit, regardless of what subject was covered (eventually, the series stopped focusing on one subject and just focused on everything in the later installments).
Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Reader in the 1989-1991 games (where he wears a red sweater and blue overalls) and the 2001 version (where he wears a red shirt and blue jeans). Some of the other characters are this as well.
A Dog Named Dog: Baby Bear and Papa Bear, minor characters from the late 90s games.
Most of the characters from the late 90s titles were Put on a Bus in the 2001 rework. hint Only Sam the Lion and Reader Rabbit himself survived. Unfortunately this Reader Rabbit has had a complete redesign that it's questionable if it's the same one from the late 90s titles
Compilation Re Release: Reader Rabbit's Playtime for Baby and Reader Rabbit Toddler was eventually combined into a single disc release called Reader Rabbit's Playtime for Baby and Toddler, with a bonus Fly the Dreamship game thrown in the later versions of the disc (which stands out as a sore thumb because the Dreamship is not part of the pre-2001 canon that the other two games are).
A Day in the Limelight: Sam the lion, who is usually a supporting character, became the main character of 2nd Grade.
Mat has a minimal (or nonexistent) role in most of the other games, but she is the lead character in Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby, Reader Rabbit Toddler, Reader Rabbit and Friends: Let's Start Learning, Reader Rabbit Preschool and Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
Early Installment Weirdness: Reader Rabbit and Friends: Let's Start Learning has a few. Mat is drawn differently and Reader still retained his older 92-95 looks. Also, Wonder Pony talks- Wonder Pony doesn't speak in the later titles.
Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Reader only wears a red sweater in the 1992-1995 games and a red-and-blue-striped sweater in the 1997-2001 games.
Sam in the 2001 version only wears a green shirt, even though he wears no clothes in previous versions.
Hello, Insert Name Here: Reader Rabbit Thinking Adventures takes your name entry and matches it against a database of pre-recorded names available on the CD-ROM.
In Name Only/Name's the Same: Within the franchise itself to boot. There are effectively two games with the same titles from Reader Rabbit Personalized Preschool through Reader Rabbit Personalized Second Grade- one set from before the 2001 reboot, and another set from after. Seeking Baby Bear, Babs Beaver, Pierre Racoon, Charlie Chipmunk, Mat the Mouse or the other characters you so cherished playing with back in your childhood? The ones that are currently still being sold isn't the title you're looking for.
King of Beasts: Conversed at the beginning of Interactive Reading Journey, in which Sam was crying because he has no kingdom (despite being a lion, no less) and he tells Reader (who asks him what it means):
"I'm a lion, and a lion should be king. King of the forest. That's what a lion is. But I have no kingdom, I have no castle, and I have no crown!"
Meaningful Name: Reader Rabbit is a rabbit who likes reading. Also, Paige is a manual.
Poor Communication Kills: In one game, Reader leaves Sam a letter saying, "Dear Sam: Meet me at the castle, and hurry!" Since the castle is spooky and owned by a dragon, Sam assumes Reader needs rescuing. Actually, Reader and the dragon are friends.
Summer Campy: Averted with the theme of Reader Rabbit Kindergarten, in which the summer camp it takes place in, Camp Happy Tales, is intended to be, well, happy.
Updated Re-release: The personalized versions of some of the games. They adapt to the abilities of the player; if you're doing good, you get the hard stuff, and vice versa.
And before this, overlapping with Tech Demo Game, the inclusion of speech recognition in version 2 of some games.
Wrong Genre Savvy: In the third grade game, Sam believes he's the brave friend who rescues Reader Rabbit from the evil dragon. He's actually just picking up the widgets the dragon needs to finish a rocket ship.