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Video Game / Disney's Animated Storybook

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Disney's Animated Storybook was a series of point-and-click interactive storybook edutainment games for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh computers. Mainly focusing on Disney Animated Canon movies released during the Disney Renaissance (when the series was active), these Pop Up Video Games were developed by Media Stationnote  and published by Disney Interactive. Similar to the Living Books series, each game allows you to either read and play with the story by clicking on things to see short animations, or just have the story read to you. Most games also highlight certain words that, when clicked, tells you a simplified description (sometimes in the form of a small poem) of what they mean.

The Other Wiki features a ton of information about the development of this series. Read their article on the series over here.

Compare Disney's Activity Center, which was another line of edutainment games based on the Disney movies but sported a Minigame Game type of gameplay.

The following Disney works were adapted into an Animated Storybook (with years of the games' releases in parentheses):


Disney's Animated TropeBook:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Like in the film, some of the crowds in Hunchback are obviously CG.
  • Adaptation Distillation: 101 Dalmatians is primarily based on the Disney animated classic, but contains a few elements from the 1996 live-action remake, such as Roger being a video game designer as with that film.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The Toy Story installment completely changes the moving van climax, having Buzz and Woody actually make it into the van when in the film, RC's batteries die, and Buzz "falls with style" and they fly into Andy's mom's car.
  • All-Knowing Singing Narrator: Clopin in Hunchback, as with the film.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • In Toy Story, instances of this happen while Woody and Buzz duel at the gas station. The most notable being a Body Inflation Gag that involves Buzz putting a tire pump into Woody's mouth, inflating his head and having him fly about from the escaping air.
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    • In Hunchback, this happens in several pages: The Alley page has this as the main gimmick where the player can give Esmeralda a different item to accost the guards with. The Festival page has this occur with Jacques the tightrope walker if he happens to fall off. The Court of Miracles page does this with a gypsy trying to get carts out of the court, but ending up getting run over by them every time. Finally there is the Defense minigame where Hugo must knock the guards off their seige-ladders with crates, with the medium and hard difficulties having them losing their armor (exposing Goofy Print Underwear), or the pidgeons can simply peck them off.
    • In Hercules, Phil seems to be a magnet to these for two consecutive pages. First he is zapped by lightning, then he can get repeatedly shoved into the water by Meg.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Pages that involve minigames to progress can be skipped.
  • Art Evolution: Like Living Books, the art design for the earlier games' characters were more basic sprites with somewhat Limited Animation. Later entries got much better about this, with the art and animation getting closer to the level of quality that Disney is known for.
  • Automatic Level: Earlier entries had pages which just told the story and showed animations, without any hotspots to click on. "Read to Me" turns entire stories into this, just like in Living Books.
  • Banana Peel: In Toy Story Babyface's minigame on the page where Woody and Sid's toys thought up a plan uses a variation of this, using the Luxo ball, a t-shirt and a toy block as obstacles to avoid.
  • Boring, but Practical: The "Read to Me" options as with Living Books, although this is completely unavailable in Mulan.
  • Bowdlerize: Since this series was sold to very young kids, some of the films' darker and more dramatic content (such as Pocahontas and Hunchback) had to be pared down for their Animated Storybook forms.
    • The Lion King: The scenes of Mufasa being killed by Scar and the latter being betrayed by his own hyenas after his defeat are removed. In the case of the former, the page showing Mufasa getting Simba to safety at least states that Mufasa could not save himself from his brother.
    • Pocahontas: The scenes of Kocoum and later John Smith getting shot cut straight to black just as they are shot, although the sounds of gunfire were still there.
    • Hunchback: The explicit references to Christianity are removed and so is the beginning part of the story involving the death of Quasimodo's mother. Frollo's Disney Villain Death is represented in puppet form.
    • Ariel's Story Studio: Ursula's demise is getting turned into a polyp instead of being reduced to remains like in the film.
  • Brick Joke: Roger Radcliffe has four messages from various game publishers on his phone. At first they tell him how some of his video game ideas are not going to sell, but then by the final scene the same publishers are dying to work with him after his Cruella De Vil game becomes a hit. (Get it? 'Cause he wrote the song "Cruella De Vil" in the original film, and his occupation is different here...)
  • CamelCase: The series' logo rendered the title as Disney's Animated StoryBook.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The stories in the games are shortened from the original films. Mulan is particularly bad about this, being reduced to only five scenes with a separate tie-in minigame each.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: From Toy Story:
    Pizza Planet Announcer: "Sugar-coated candy now on sale in the side room!" (cue various kids rushing in one direction)
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Mufasa's death is played slightly differently in this version of The Lion King. He's still trampled to death by the wildebeests, but they don't show Scar personally tossing him in. That said, the narration states that Mufasa "couldn't save himself from Scar", implying that Scar tossing him in still happened.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • As detailed under Art Evolution above, the first three games had lower-detailed character sprites and bitmap-like fonts that glow when being read.
      • Toy Story, which due to its pre-rendered computer animation doesn't count for breaking the sprites trend, was the first to use higher-quality fonts.
      • The Hunchback of Notre Dame was the first entry to use higher-quality sprites and to pre-color special words (no need to click on an icon to highlight them first).
      • 101 Dalmatians was the first entry to use pre-rendered fonts without the glowing effect.
    • The first half of the series (save Toy Story) had the special words described with a simplified definition.note  The second half had the special words described through short rhyming poems with images (expect for Mulan which featured dialogue-free animations that usually featured Cri-kee).
    • The first two games used thick menu bars/borders, while the first five games had main menus to return to in order to reach the "pick a page" or quit options. Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame used simpler bars on the bottom of the "pages" for navigation, while Toy Story uses Buzz's pilot wings-styled emblem for the same thing. Later games got better with story navigation and dropped the need for a main menu, leaving an icon on a corner of the screen to bring up the "pick a page" and quit options. 101 Dalmatians, in particular, was really clever with its navigation system, hiding where the next and previous options are within the scenes themselves (marked by pawprint trails when they're found).
    • The first three games had their minigames separate from the story, but they were integrated into the story starting with Toy Story (they are still skippable, though).
  • Expy: This series is basically Disney's Living Books.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: In most games, words are highlighted as they are read, just like in... well, you should know by now.
  • Graceful Loser: In Mulan, there is a mahjong mini-game which you can play against Yao, Ling, or Chien-Po. If you choose to play against Chien-Po, he is so polite when you win that it seems like he loses on purpose.
  • Idle Animation: In Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, if you wait a long time on the options screen, Pooh will yawn and doze off. The same occurs on either of the story screens, only you'll be taken back to the options screen if you wait too long.
  • Irony: On the page where the gang meets Buzz in Toy Story, one of the click points has Rex play with Buzz's buttons and accidentally pop out his wings. Buzz warns him to be careful, as he could potentially hurt someone, all the while as Woody endures slapstick from exactly that.
  • Mini-Game: Every single entry had more than one of these; sometimes they were made part of the stories.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • Toy Story is the only game based on a Pixar film (and it was produced by them, too), and also the only entry that uses pre-rendered three-dimensional computer animation entirely.
    • Winnie-the-Pooh is the only franchise to get more than one entry, both of them being the only ones based on short films (even though they were bundled into The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh). Also worth mentioning, though The Blustery Day was never officially released under the Animated Storybook name, Winnie the Pooh Activity Center uses it as the basis for all of its activities and also includes an interactive story activity as well very much in the vein of these games, essentially rendering it as "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day Animated Storybook" with a different name.
    • The Little Mermaid and Mulan are the only two entries to involve "making your own stories" to print out. Both were released under the name of Disney's Story Studio, with The Little Mermaid being the only entry that wasn't released under the Disney's Animated Storybook name at all.
    • Speaking of Mulan, that game is the only entry in the series to see a console release.
    • 101 Dalmatians is the only non-Winnie the Pooh entry based on a Disney film from before The Renaissance Age of Animation. (It was partly made to promote the live-action remake.)
  • Pop Up Video Games: Every game in the series.
  • Produce Pelting: Players interact with the main menu of Hunchback by throwing tomatoes at pictures, with the cursor changed to a tomato. You can also throw a tomato at Clopin's puppet if you want to. Of course, the moment where this happens to Quasimodo is also portrayed in the game itself.
  • Punny Name: Toy Story features a slew of these in the Pizza Planet scene:
    Guy on PA: Mr. Pid, your dill pickle and ice cream pizza is ready. Mr. Stu Pid.
    Guy on PA: Honorable Sir Fizzup, your honey with extra cheese pizza is up.
    Guy on PA: We've got a large seaweed and anchovy for Lionel Train. Lionel, your pizza is ready.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: 101 Dalmatians looks like as it does in the original, except there is now some 1990s technology added. The Radcliffes' television is a large screen CRT with a VCR and a video game console, their phone is a wall-mounted handset with a built-in answering machine, they own a personal computer, and Roger's occupation is changed from songwriter to video game designer to support a minigame and some Brick Jokes relating to the phone.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The basis of the minigame of page 6 of Toy Story, but just to make things interesting, the player has to stop all the moving toys in the right position in order for Woody's trap to work.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Played With in regards to Ursula. The narration states that she was "destroyed", but in the visual representation, she was instead turned into a polyp.
  • Stock Sound Effects: In many cases, the sound effects utilized in each game are different from the sound effects heard in the movies being adapted. Sometimes classic Disney cartoon sound effects are used, and there are also several instances of familiar Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes sound effects used (Toy Story makes especially heavy use of the latter in particular.)
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: From Toy Story:
    Pizza Planet Announcer: "Young Green Warrior Reptiles are now available for autographs in the main room!" (cue those same kids rushing in the other direction)


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