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Video Game / I Spy

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Welcome, new players, to the game of I Spy. Please type in your name to give riddles a try.

Along with being a series of children's books, I Spy was also a series of children's video games. There were two for the Wii, three for the Nintendo DS, one for the Game Boy Advance, a few for the Leapster, and eight for Windows and Macintosh computers. The latter are the most well-known ones. There are also a few mobile apps and for educational handheld consoles. Many of them were surprisingly good.

The games in the I Spy series provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The Ghost Machine only creates one ghost instead of six in the Wii version of Spooky Mansion. Consequently, Skelly does not turn himself into a ghost.
  • Arc Words: From One-Eyed Pete's treasure hunt, "An eye patch is a clue. I left it just for you."
  • Athletic Arena Level: One level in Challenger! was centered around sports, with things such as athletes, balls, and trophies needing to be found.
  • Band Land: One level in Challenger! was centered around musical instruments.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: I Spy Spooky Mansion takes place in a haunted mansion.
  • Casts No Shadow: Inverted in regard to Shadow the ghost. Of the seven ghosts the player can create, he's the only one who has a shadow, while the others don't.
  • Circus Episode: I Spy Fun House.
  • Company Cross References: At the start of I Spy Spooky Mansion, the narrator says "Enter if you dare. You're in for a scare". A riff on the phrase "Reader beware. You're in for a scare." from the Goosebumps books, which, like the I Spy books, are published by Scholastic.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: The Shrinking Soup from Spooky Mansion Deluxe requires some out-there ingredients, including eyeballs, flower, MOLD, and caterpillar spice.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: Skelly the skeleton from Spooky Mansion speaks with a hushed, feminine voice. Skelly isn't too evil, just kind of mischievous, but the overall effect is still pretty creepy.
  • Dem Bones: A skeleton serves as your guide in Spooky Mansion.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The original PC game and its Updated Re-release School Days are vastly different from the future ones, playing out more or less like a hidden object Minigame Game instead of having a plot and an adventure to follow. They're also the only ones to include a Find Me riddle. The Junior games would be the only ones to follow this format past this particular entry.
    • invoked The first iteration of Spooky Mansion is the first one to feature a plot and an adventure, but it's still quite a bit different from the later games that follow this format. First off, there is only one adventure instead of three (this prompted a lot of complaints for the game being too short). Every picture also has only two riddles instead of three, and you solve them back to back instead of solving one at a time and holding the next one off until the next adventure. Also, quite unusually for an adventure-centered I Spy game, this one has minigames and a Make Your Own activity, and until the very end, they're not important to finishing the game. The Deluxe remake alleviates a lot of this weirdness by making the minigames integral to the plot, removing the Make Your Own entirely, and overall changing it to the "three adventures" format (the original way you got out of the house is now saved for the third and final time you escape).
  • Fusion Dance: In the deluxe version of Spooky Mansion, the last ghost, "Get Out", is made by mixing all 6 previous ghosts and Skelly.
  • Gimmick Level: In the PC games, a standard riddle is just like in the books — a standard picture with things to find. Other riddles will change things up a bit though; this includes making the screen span more than a single picture, making everything tiny and handing the player with a magnifying glass, using binoculars on a faraway view or a flashlight in a dark room, or giving multiple viewing angles for the same scene.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The skeleton sign a puzzle with "skeleton" in the PC version of Spooky Mansion (both original and deluxe). This is averted in the Wii version where he's named "Skelly".
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Skelly from the Spooky Mansion games, who appears to be rather young judging from his prepubescent voice, yet lives in a gigantic mansion which has a lab that can spawn ghosts, and inordinately uses Offscreen Teleportation, Behind the Black, and Your Size May Vary.
  • In Name Only: I Spy Mystery is not an adaptation of the book. Rather, it's a collection of puzzles from the other games (sans I Spy School Days and I Spy Junior), given some kind of unifying theme (e.g. food).
  • Innocent Aliens: The one-eyed aliens from I Spy Fantasy for PC. They have a cave full of Earthling objects that they're observing and pose no threat. The lab notes even say that they are friendly.
  • Level Ate: Challenger! had two levels centered around food. The first was centered around candies, while the second was centered around people and animals made from kitchen utensils and the foods they made.
  • Lighthouse Point: Naturally, being set in a seaside town, Treasure Hunt sends you out to the old lighthouses in search of clues. It’s more scenic than creepy, though.
  • Meaningful Name: The man in Treasure Hunt who retired from his piracy days is named A. Newman.
  • Mouse Hole: There's a mouse hole next to the entrance of the manor in I Spy Spooky Manor. In the deluxe version, the player character shrinks to go through it and escape in the second ending.
  • Mind over Matter: In the first ending of Spooky Mansion Deluxe, Skelly opens a window by waving at it from a distance, suggesting telekinesic powers.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In Spooky Mansion, the skeleton was unnamed. The closest we got was the note on the finished puzzle being signed "Skeleton," but it was never made clear if that was his actual name. The Wii version averts this by naming him Skelly.
  • Negative Continuity: On the alien planet in Fantasy, you have to repair the circuit board with random metal objects in order to blast off. In the first playthrough, you need to use a star in the cockpit. However, once the circuit board is fixed, the star appears in the same spot as before with no explanation how.
  • No Antagonist: None of the games have a villain to contend with. The closest might be the skeleton from the Spooky Mansion games, who would be Affably Evil if he even is evil, and the dragon from the castle segment of Fantasy.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The ghosts in the Spooky Mansion games are not the spirits of the dead. Instead, they are a mixture of ingredients put through a strange machine.
  • Port Town: Smugglers’ Cove from Treasure Hunt seems to be a pretty chill seaside town in the present day, although it was a Not-So-Safe Harbor a few hundred years back.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Every single riddle in the series is done in rhyme.
  • Rule of Three:
    • From Treasure Hunt onwards, each picture has three riddles. Prior to that game, they featured two riddles.
    • Fantasy features three locations: an alien planet, underwater, and a sand castle.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: There was a mini-game involving the Balloon Popper in School Days, which had three different ways it could work, but you needed to find the correct pieces in order for it to work. Track One simply had you find the train or grocery cart hidden in the same screen, while Tracks Two and Three required you to find specific pieces from the riddle sections of the game.
  • Scenery Porn: Much like the books, the pictures have some very impressive and stunning looking sets.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Lampshaded in Fantasy. One of the riddles asks for "FANTASY backwards," referring to a postcard from the planet Ysatnaf.
  • Space Zone: One level in "Challenger!" was centered around outer space, with things such as rocket ships, planets, and stars needing to be found.
  • Treasure Hunt Episode:
    • I Spy Treasure Hunt, natch. There's actually three different treasures to find in the game.
    • The underwater level of Fantasy involves you finding the mermaid's treasure.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: One of the postcards on the alien planet from Fantasy is dated March 26th, 2017.
  • Updated Re-release: The PC version of School Days is actually an updated version of the first game released on the PC, originally simply known I Spy. The only major difference between the two versions, however, is the inclusion of a new theme, Craft Projects, which has a new set of pictures along with riddles to solve.
  • Video Game Remake: I Spy Spooky Mansion was remade into I Spy Spooky Mansion Deluxe. This included adding a new riddle for each room, two new ways to get out of the house (essentially updating it to the "three adventures" format introduced in Treasure Hunt), creating new versions of certain scenes, and making the minigames part of the story.
  • Visual Pun: In Challenger!, one of the things you'll need to find in the first riddle in the Traffic level is a monster truck. The catch is it's not a pickup truck with oversized tires, it's a convoy truck with a Monster Brand advertisement on it.
  • Xylophones for Walking Bones: Spooky Mansion, which stars a mischievous skeleton who traps the player in the titular mansion, uses xylophone music prominently.
  • Your Size May Vary:
    • Skelly from Spooky Mansion. His size ranges from being small enough to fit inside a slipper to being about as tall as the player is.
    • The fuel crystals from Fantasy's space level. On the ship, they're as big as bowling balls, but their size can range from as big as moons to as small as nickels. Or even smaller in the microscope puzzle.