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Literature / Press Start

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Press Start! is a series of children's early chapter books written and illustrated by Thomas Flintham as an Affectionate Parody of video games.

Set inside the world of a series of Fictional Video Games a boy, Sunny, plays as part of the Framing Device, the book series follows Super Rabbit Boy, your stock video game hero, and his video-game-esque adventures facing off Big Bad meanie King Viking, all while common (and usually classic) Video Game Tropes and Shout Outs to familiar video games are thrown around (even the characters are a Cast of Expies!).

Not related to the 2007 film Press Start, though both the book series and film are about video games.

Books released so far:

  1. Game Over, Super Rabbit Boy! (2016)
  2. Super Rabbit Boy Powers Up! (2017)
  3. Super Rabbit Racers! (2017)
  4. Super Rabbit Boy vs. Super Rabbit Boss! (2018)
  5. Super Rabbit Boy Blasts Off! (2018)
  6. The Super Side-Quest Test! (2018)
  7. Robo-Rabbit Boy, Go! (2019)
  8. Super Rabbit All-Stars! (2019)
  9. Super Rabbit Boy's Time Jump! (2020)
  10. Super Rabbit Boy's Team-Up Trouble! (2021)
  11. Super Cheat Codes and Secret Modes! (2021)
  12. Super Rabbit Boy World! (2022)
  13. Super King Viking Land! (2023)

Press Start! series provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: The series is an affectionate parody of video games as whole.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Jody Racer is light-green skinned.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Sunny of the Framing Story and his family has brown skin, yet have no specific racial characteristics.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Inverted with the sad prince, who turns out to be the Frog Knight bewitched under the Evil Wizard's curse.
  • Big Bad: Meanie King Viking, who just wants to defeat Super Rabbit Boy and destroy happiness again and again.
  • The Big Race: Super Rabbit Racers!, which parodies Mario Kart, has Super Rabbit Boy racing in the Super Cup Grand Prix with friends and foes.
  • Bland-Name Product: Super Funston and Funstation 64.
  • Advertisement:
  • Card-Carrying Villain: King Viking is evil and proud of it, and reminds his younger self that villains are always mean.
  • Cast of Expies: A majority of the characters are based on the familiar video game characters people know and love.
    • Simon the Hedgehog is the most obvious. He is blue and fast.
    • Super Rabbit Boy himself is based on Super Mario. They both, when consuming a Power-Up Food item, become taller, stronger, faster, and can jump higher, and of course are your familiar video game hero archetype.
    • Singing Dog, a white singing dog, is likely based on K.K. Slider.
    • King Viking resembles Doctor Eggman. They are both mustachioed fat Big Bads who engineer a robot army and sometimes ride Humongous Mecha. He also resembles Wario to a lesser extent, for their designs and roles as Foils to the hero.
    • One of the Animal Town villagers, a white mouse, wears Mario's classic "red-overall" outfit.
    • Pilb the Plob's disguise is based on the Pac-Man ghosts.
    • The ghosts in Robo-Rabbit Boy, Go! and their Queen Spooky are based on Boo and their King Boo.
    • Billip from All-Stars resembles Pac-Man and has a Power Copying ability like Kirby.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Super Rabbit Boy's Time Jump, it's mentioned that the Time Crystal takes 20 years to charge, which allows Super Rabbit Man, Old King Viking, and Super Rabbit Gramps to join in the fight from the future.
  • Clucking Funny: Nugget, a cowardly weird chicken who likes being a chicken.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The 13th book revolves around King Viking, who finds himself stranded on an island and needing to get home by fixing Captain Trevor's boat.
  • Demonic Possession: Queen Spooky's ghost army possesses King Viking's robots, turning them against him.
  • Elemental Powers: The Blue, Red, and Yellow Power Ups bestow the powers of water, fire, and light.
  • Excited Show Title!: The series and each book entry ends their title with an exclamation mark.
  • Evil Versus Evil: King Viking hates villainous competition and tries to defeat Queen Spooky himself, especially after she kidnaps Super Rabbit Boy.
  • Fictional Video Game: The Super Rabbit Boy games are all fictional, of course.
  • Framing Device: The outer-story has Sunny (and occasionally his family and friends) playing the video game, and his controls influence the main story taking place.
  • Fun-Hating Villain: King Viking has never experienced a shred of happiness and wants to destroy the fun of Animal Town.
    (from #1) He does not like happiness. He does not like fun And he really does not like other people who are happy and fun. Not one bit.
  • Gamer Chick: In #2, Rue, Sunny's younger sister, is able to find the pathway to the third Power Up without a walkthough. Sunny lets her play the rest of the game.
  • Genre Throwback: To old video games of The '80s and The '90s. The video game world is presented in an 8-bit Retraux style, the stories are simple as the Excuse Plots of old video games, and classic-style tropes are used often. Sunny even plays the games on Bland Name Products of old game consoles, often a Game Boy.
  • Green Hill Zone: Animal Town, an area of lush rolling hills serving as the first zone in #1.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Super Rabbit Boy often uses "bloop" in place of "Oh, Crap!" or a similar interjection.
  • Horny Vikings: King Viking, obviously. A Big Bad with a bushy beard and a horned helmet.
  • Konami Code: The Konami Code is used in the 11th book to make Super Rabbit Boy grow super tall.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Funny Animals, such as Super Rabbit Boy and the residents of Animal Town, are shown to be co-existing with humans such as King Viking and Jody Racer.
  • The Lost Woods: Wise Woods in #2, a thick forest where the Wisdom Tree lives.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: The Super Power Up in Super Rabbit Boy Powers Up!, said to be the most powerful Power Up, is what King Viking is pursuing to build his "unbeatable" robot and what Super Rabbit Boy has to find before Viking.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: #9 has King Viking time-traveling to meet his past self and stop Baby Rabbit Boy from ever gaining his powers.
  • Malicious Misnaming: King Viking and his cronies often call Super Rabbit Boy childish misnames such as "Smelly/Pooper Rabbit Boy."
  • Massively Multiplayer Crossover: Super Rabbit All-Stars! has Super Rabbit Boy competing with other video game heroes and villains in the All-Stars Games Tournament, a parody of Super Smash Bros..
  • Mecha-Mook: King Viking's Robot Army are the main mooks of the Super Rabbit Boy games.
  • Mirror Universe: The Mirror World in Super Rabbit Boy vs. Super Rabbit Boss!, where King Viking is the hero and Super Rabbit Boy, better known as Boss, is evil.
  • Monochrome Past: Flashbacks are colored in pea green like the Game Boy.
  • Nintendo Hard: In-universe, the first Super Rabbit Boy game is so tough by the end that Sunny doubts he'll ever beat it.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Subverted. While there are plenty of classic video game tropes, akin to the stereotypical depiction of video games, they are played rather for nostalgia of a good old retro video game days, and the Super Rabbit Boy games become more complex like modern video games.
  • Parental Bonus: The series packs plenty of video game references for the parents to be entertained with while reading the books to their children.
  • Pirate Girl: Pirate Princess.
  • Power Crystal: The Power Ups happen to be sentient examples, created by the Power Princess to reward her people. The Super Power Up is obviously the most powerful (not really, in which the most powerful turns out to be the Super Mega Power Up, who was created for dire cases and disguised as Plib).
  • Reality Warper: In Super Cheat Codes, the codes Sunny enters in the game warp reality to the characters inside it.
  • Righteous Rabbit: Super Rabbit Boy is the hero of the world and to everyone (except King Viking and Queen Spooky).
  • Robot Me: Robo-Rabbit Boy to Super Rabbit Boy, who debuts in Robo-Rabbit, Boy Go!
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Queen Spooky was locked inside the Moon Orb long ago, but Super Rabbit Boy accidentally frees her.
  • Shout-Out: The location of the Moon Orb is a recreation of a typical Dig Dug stage.
  • Space Episode: Super Rabbit Boy Blasts Off! has Super Rabbit Boy going to space on his rocket.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Rabbit Boy becomes Super Rabbit Boy with Power Up carrots.
  • Super Mode: #2 introduces Super Mega Rabbit Boy, Rabbit Boy's giant and rainbowy form as the result of All Your Colors Combined.
  • Time Travel Episode: A parody of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and possibly Sonic Generations, Super Rabbit Boy's Time Jump! has King Viking and Super Rabbit Boy traveling back in time.
  • Villain Team-Up: Super Rabbit Boy's Team-Up Trouble! has King Viking join forces with Miss Business to create chaos in Underland, forcing Super Rabbit Boy to team up with Mega Mole Girl to fight them off.