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.
This game series provides examples of:
- Alliterative Name: Reader Rabbit.
- Alphabet Soup Cans
- 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.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mat is completely absent from the 2001 version.
- Most of the characters from the late 90s titles were Put on a Bus in the 2001 rework.
- Cool Boat: Reader and Sam's flying Dreamship.
- 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 in Reader Rabbit Kindergarten and the older version of Reader Rabbit Preschool.
- Direct-to-Video: An animated sing-along videotape that was included with a 1999 re-release of Reader Rabbit Kindergarten.
- And then there's the live action/animated "Read Now!" series, which was hosted by Sam and Mat and features several minor characters from the games.
- Dueling Games: The late 90s titles primarily competes against Jump Start titles.
- Dummied Out: The Windows version of the Personalized Updated Re-release (internally version 3.0) was suppose to support voice recognition, but was shipped with the feature disabled and there is no mention of it in the manual- the only way to learn about it is through obscure articles about the games' development. The feature could be re-enabled with some elbow grease (which involves installing the Microsoft Win9x Speech SDK, then tweaking the configuration file- you know you've succeeded when the loudspeaker in the game looks different). However, one quickly discovers why the idea was abandoned- speech recognition fails and mishears the commands half of the time. note
- Funny Animal
- 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.
- Hey, It's That Voice!:
- Penelope the Parrot is voiced by Tress MacNeille in Reader Rabbit Math Adventures Ages 6 to 9.
- Roger L. Jackson voiced Spike the hedgehog in Reader Rabbit Kindergarten and Sam in Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade.
- 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.
- The Musical Musical: The theme of Reader Rabbit 1st Grade.
- Nice Mice: Mat.
- Panthera Awesome: Sam.
- Pop Up Video Games
- Pungeon Master: Monstrous Mirror in 2nd Grade. Almost every time he shows up, he utters a pun, such as "Let me spend some time...reflecting on that!"
- Shout-Out: Pearl the Pi-rat often channels Ethel Merman.
- Papa Bear makes one to The Lion King with a Sam the lion puppet in Thinking Adventures
- Skintone Sclerae: Mat.
- 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.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: Edutainment games are not immune. 2nd Grade had a few mentions of a "secret chamber" that was only accessible if you achieved the rank of Dragon Fire. Apart from Sir Drayson mentioning it once you actually reach that rank, though, nothing is ever mentioned of it. There is a door in the dungeon that is labeled "Secret Chamber", but it is impossible to go back down there once you reach the third tower, and it's also impossible to reach Dragon Fire before hitting the third tower even with a perfect score on everything. Several rumors surfaced as to what this chamber actually was, but Dummied Out dialog seems to indicate it was a concept scrapped very late in development.
- You Dirty Rat: The Pi-rats.