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Live Item

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A Live Item is a collectible in a video game that's also its own character. More often than not they're just standing around waiting for the player character to find them, raising the question of why they don't move around on their own or get themselves out of danger without having to rely on the player (the answer is, of course, "because otherwise there'd be no game", but no-one likes a smartass).

This may lead to Gotta Rescue Them All. Compare Escort Mission when they aren't "items", but entities that have to be guarded by you to move to a place.

See also Equippable Ally and Animate Inanimate Object plus its various subtropes, especially Living Weapon.

Not to be confused with an item that gives you extra lives or maximum lives.


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  • Day of the Tentacle has Weird Ed's hamster. Twice.
  • In Discworld II: Mortality Bytes, Rincewind can keep a mouse in his inventory, among other things like a suffragist, an actress, an undead sheep, the Librarian and a music band made of skeletons.
  • In the first episode of Farnham Fables, one goal is to rescue Gloria, a little girl who got lost in the forest. Fredrick puts her into his inventory after finding her, which actually represents the princes escorting her back to the village.
  • The Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) text game.
  • The classic IBM Adventure has the little bird, singing cheerfully, but it has to be put in the cage first.
  • King's Quest VI has a character/item called a Dangling Participle. It's sort of a lizard/rodent combination that's the size of a dog. And yet you can carry it inside your shirt with no visible lumps. There's also the Rotten Tomato, as well as the Hole-in-the-Wall, which has eyes and tiny arms and legs.
  • Monkey Island:
    • The Curse of Monkey Island:
      • Murray, a talking demon skull, constantly complains about being in your inventory.
      • You can get some lice and worms, as well as a jar of glowworms.
    • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, one of the items you need is a dog; not just any dog though, a Bloodhound. When you pick up the dog Guybrush stuff the dog in his pants and grins at the camera. You also get to put a monkey in your inventory at a later point in the game.
    • Escape from Monkey Island has the duck and the termites on Plunder Island.
    • Tales of Monkey Island has Murray as an item yet again in the third chapter (if you mouse over him, he'll snark at you), and in the fifth chapter Guybrush picks up another dog which he names Franklin.
  • Max is treated like an item in Sam & Max Hit the Road. He becomes more of a full-fledged support character in the Telltale Games adventures.
  • The Parrot in Starship Titanic. You can't take him very far, because he escapes, but you can put him in your inventory briefly.
    Parrot: Oi! Unhand me you, you, person! Stop it! I shall screech! I shall screech! SCREEEECH! Oh, screeeech! Don't say I didn't warn you! I'll peck you! Screeech!

  • Cave Story has the Ma Pignon (a talking mushroom) and the Little Man. Jenka's dogs are shown being carried on your head, but they also show up in your inventory.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: The Game Boy Color version has you collecting chickens for Baby Norbert. Hagrid only needs you to collect five, but you can get as many as you like from defeating certain enemies. You can amass a chicken army.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: At one point, you have to rescue a child from a cave. The child counts as any other item in the inventory.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Starting from this game, fairies can be kept in empty bottles; you can either use them directly to recover some energy, or wait until your HP is depleted so tbe fairy revives Link automatically. Occasionally, you can find and capture bees too, which are useful to defeat enemies (but unless it's a Golden Bee, it will flee after all enemies are dispatched). Lastly, after you beat Turtle Rock, you can see Zelda in your inventory screen in a crystal.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Starting from this game, it's possible to capture Poes after defeating them; there's a sidequest where you have to deliver ten Big Poes to a ghost collector to earn a new empty bottle. Also, a Pocket Cuccoo and Cojiro the Blue Cuccoo are quest items.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The game goes as far as squeezing a Deku Princess, and later Zora Eggs and a seahorse, into a bottle.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The game has Ooccoo, which can be used to warp out of certain dungeons. The game even says something to the effect of "You can treat her just like an item!" There's also the Bomblings, which are insect-like things that run forward and explode when they hit something.
  • The Dnyarri from Star Control II. It's one of the most important "items" in the whole game. As with most other creatures in the game, conversations with it are quite hilarious (and often disturbing). Of course, acquiring a Dnyarri is very, very dangerous business.
  • Star Fox Adventures has several of these:
    • There's a species of blue fungus that sleep at night, but hop around during the day, trying to get away from you if you try to pick them off the ground. To collect them, you have to smack them with Krystal's staff first. It's interesting to note that Rare had always wanted to feature "hard-to-collect collectibles" in their games, and the Jinjos originally meant to be like this in Banjo-Kazooie, but the idea didn't see the light of day until this very game.
    • There are also the Bafomdads, little four-eared rabbits that are found all over the place and serve the same function as Zelda's fairies and are found and collected like the fungus. Except they don't run from the player and you don't have to beat them into submission (instead you have to dig most of them out).
    • The FireFlies, which are green luminiscent insects used to light up dark areas, move around until Fox collects them.

    Fighting Game 

    First-Person Shooter 

    Party Games 
  • Mario Party 3: Unlike in the second game, Skeleton Keys are sentient. They take pleasure in opening the doors that get in their masters' way, and sorrowfully accept when a player is throwing them away.

  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • The series presents an interesting example, since every item you ever collect sprouts eyes and talks to you at some point. The most literal case is the Jinjos. They're weird little reptile-bird looking things who live in adorable little houses similar to The Smurfs. In the first game, they're mentioned in the manual to have been cursed by Gruntilda, and are thus unable to move from their spot until rescued by Banjo. In the sequel, however, they're just "scared", but short of that there's no reason why they can't just fly home.
    • Banjo-Tooie: Everything carried using Banjo's Taxi Pack move. Even the batteries from Grunty Industries are live (trying to kill you, of course).
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has wads of anthropomorphic money that usually yell at you to collect them to make them easier to detect, insult you when you finally find them, and at one point, hop out of the pocket of their new owner and return to Conker when he whistled for them. Almost everything else the player can pick up and carry around is alive, for the sake of Black Comedy.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! has Banana Birds, which are either won in a memory game or acquired through a trade. Donkey Kong 64 follows up the idea with its photo-shy Banana Fairies.
  • Earthworm Jim 2. As Jim, you have to chase a door on legs. Yes, that's right, the door is running away from you, and will eventually escape. You have to stop it by carrying an armoire with one door open and a leg sticking out of it (a human leg, and you never find out what it's attached to), setting it in front of the door's path, and tripping it up.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X5, 6 and 7 have these in the form of Reploids. You're supposed to be "rescuing" them, but effectively, they're items. You touch them and they teleport away, and you get a 1-up, and in some cases equipment as well. They apparently can't move an inch until you touch them, even if they're in mid-air. It's also possible for them to get killed, causing any equipment they had to be lost for the rest of the game. The implication seems to be that they're injured, so they need your help.
    • Mega Man Zero: The series has the Cyber-Elves. They look like fairies and give you various power-ups — but they explicitly die when you use them in this way, and the game punishes you for it by docking points from your mission scores. The third game introduced "Satellite" Elves, which are safe to use and work more like Equippable Allies.
  • In Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Michael rescues young children.
  • The lums from Rayman.
  • The Shantae series:
  • Sonic The Hedgehog features the tiny animals, adorable little woodland creatures that are being used as batteries to power Dr. Eggman / Robotnik's robots. Notable for averting the "why don't they just get out on their own?" question, but also for always being much smaller than our 3-4ft tall hero, even animals that would be enormously bigger in real life, such as elephants and gorillas.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Toad becomes one of these in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, where he must occasionally be carried to the end of specific stages. If you get him there unharmed, you're rewarded with three extra lives and the appearance of either a green mushroom house, red mushroom house, or star house, depending on the time you made. If Toad gets hurt, you just get one life. If Toad is knocked out, you don't get anything.
    • The Wario Land series occasionally features these. There are the Spritelings in Wario World and the Merples in Wario Land: Shake It!, to name just two.
    • Keyser in Wario Land 4. He's a living key that follows Wario to the end of the level and the next level's door when rescued.
  • Tomba! has Baron, and with the Mad Libs Dialogue the use text in the first game reads
    "Used the Baron"
  • In every level of the Toy Story 2 video game, you have collect five of something to get a Pizza Planet token. These items were typically living things like Bo Peep's sheep, wind-up mice, the green aliens, and the green army men.

  • The Xian Skull in Avernum III (previously Exile III) made by a revered wizard but mad enchanter. No reward for finding or gameplay value for keeping, yet it became an Ensemble Dark Horse for prophetically spouting random red herrings and non-sequiturs.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In the first two games, the character of Minsc is always equipped with Boo, a miniature giant space hamster. This creature takes up one of Minsc's quick item slots, and plays a large role in most of Minsc's hilarious attitude.
    • The first game also includes a quest where you carry a mage's apprentice, who has been turned into a chicken, in your inventory until you can return him to his master for de-chickenization.
    • Mages and sorcerers can also get familiars, which are usually kept in your pack. They can be let out to fight alongside you, but since the have very little health, can't be resurrected, and permanently lower your health if they die, it's generally best to keep them tucked away.
  • EarthBound (1994):
    • The Exit Mouse, who functions very much like Ooccoo from the Twilight Princess example above. When you use him, he will lead you out of the dungeon instantly. His own mother tells you to treat him like one of your items.
    • In this game (and its sequel, Mother 3), if you carry a Fresh Egg with you for too long, it will hatch into a rather noisy Chick and then become a Chicken. You can actually sell the chicken for a tidy sum, making them good Shop Fodder.
    • The Rope Snake in Mother 3. He starts out as a little more then an improvised grappling hook, but suddenly starts talking at the end of chapter 5 to point out that he doesn't have the strength to support three humans and a dog for a prolonged time. He later develops into a minor character, demonstrating his lack of self-esteem by repeatedly deprecating himself about his failure to perform his job. He also makes a cameo in Super Smash Bros., where Lucas uses him for grabbing ledges and opponents.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Daggerfall, horses, when not being ridden, are kept in the player's inventory. Even if they are also hauling a cart. People being escorted by you also don't appear in the game world, just as an icon on your HUD.
    • Official joke Downloadable Content for Skyrim adds the Space Core as such an item.
  • In the Fallout 3 DLC The Pitt, players can steal a baby as part of a quest, and it simply goes into the inventory.
  • The Djinn in Golden Sun games, creatures made of elemental energy that the heroes can equip to increase or transform their powers, unleash for specific effects, or use for Summon Magic.
  • Kingdom of Loathing
    • Turtle Tamers have the power to find and "tame" turtles. When they aren't Familiars, they're this trope. Some act as "potions" that give buffs for a certain number of Adventures (turns, basically), some can be used in combat, some can even be worn as equipment. For example, the padded tortoise can be worn as a shield, and the soft fake leather and foam padding lets you relax and regenerate HP between fights, while the giraffe-necked turtle boosts your combat initiative for 15 Adventures by acting as a lookout.
    • The Repair the Elves' Shield Generator has you equip a "spooky little girl" in order to find an important laboratory. She provides a small boost to item drops, presumably as compensation for basically having to do an Escort Mission.
  • In LISA the Painful:
    • Right near the building where the Men's Hair Club are hanging out, you can find a hen named Goldie and stash her in your inventory. She can either be returned to her owner Rooster or you can hold her hostage in order to recruit Rooster as a party member.
    • You can find a man named Toby in the Devil's Bathhouse, and he will be added to your inventory. Similar to Rooster, you can return him to his boyfriend Crisp or hold him hostage in exchange for Crisp joining the party. ...Or you could Take a Third Option and sell him for a hefty chunk of mags.
  • Nethergate features "Sylak's Talking Skull," which appears to be a Shout-Out to the above-mentioned Murray. Whenever a certain amount of time passes in-game it'll speak to you, usually to say something useless, often to say something useless and insulting, and every so often to give you a valuable tip.
  • The Mystical Key from Paper Mario. It wakes up Tubba Blubba when Mario removes it from its chest, leading to an Escape Sequence.
  • Phantasy Star II puts Teim in your inventory after you find her in the Tower of Nido. She's removed from it when her father Darum murders her.
  • Pok√©mon eggs are an inversion; they're effectively items that take up a character slot (until they hatch).
  • In Undertale, the Annoying Dog automatically appears in your inventory to prevent you from picking up a certain other item because "you're carrying too many dogs."

    Survival Horror 

    Third Person Shooters 

    Strategy Game 
  • 60 Seconds! and its sequel 60 Parsecs! both start with the player character running around a doomed location gathering as many resources as possible within a time limit. This includes the other members of your family and your fellow crewmates, respectively, who won't lift a finger to help you in your endeavors; leaving them all behind to collect other resources isn't an option, either, since you'll Go Mad from the Isolation.
  • Attack of the Mutant Penguins has lots of gremlins running around for the player to collect.
  • In Tactics Ogre, snapdragon'd characters turn into swords. They're alive, but not in any form you'd want. Drakonite magic in Tactics Ogre allows unnatural abilities.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • In Vangers, your passengers are regular items, and are carried around in your cargo hold. Sucks to be an Eleepod stuck between a pile of rockets and a can of toxic.

  • In Magience, Shiloh's scarf is alive.
    Rune: It's the pissiest fashion accessory I have ever met.
  • Awful Hospital: The Baby Kidney Stone and Evil Colorectal Polyp are happy to rest in Fern's Hyperspace Arsenal but are characters in their own right, with the Polyp chatting to Fern from her inventory and even stepping out to flirt with people. "Live" is a broader and more nuanced category in the Perception Range than Fern quite understands:
    Fern: You, uh, need to ride in my tote bag?
    Willis: Huh!? I'm a person, Fern, not a thing!
    Polyp: [from the tote bag] Yeah, FERN, jeez, ain'tcha know the difference!?!