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"You'll never get past the game of Simon I locked this door with!"
A game in the Jump Start series of Edutainment Games. Originally released in 1996, this game has never been remade, though it has been given some minor alterations over the years. By the time of its last re-release in 2003, it was the oldest product still in the JumpStart line. It was discontinued only when Knowledge Adventure phased out the traditional JumpStart line in favor of a massively multiplayer online game located at jumpstart.com.
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Professor Spark lives in a Raygun Gothic Elaborate Underground Base built inside the mountain of the subtitle. His daughter Polly is a Spoiled Brat who may be best described as a Diabolical Mastermind version of Veruca Salt. One day, while the Professor is out, Polly fails a history quiz at school and decides the solution is to use Daddy's Time Machine to alter history, thus making her absurd quiz answers correct. With the help of Botley, a Robot Buddy who serves as Polly's Badly Battered Babysitter, you, the player, have to thwart Polly and Set Right What Once Went Wrong before the Delayed Ripple Effect will (supposedly) set in.

There are twenty-five robots Polly has sent back in time, one for each question on her botched history quiz. For each robot, you have to complete a Fetch Quest, collecting Plot Coupons from the various science-fiction-themed Mini Games inside Mystery Mountain. Once you have all four items and enough points, you're permitted to enter the time machine room. There, you're given a quiz which links the items, in a six degrees sort of way, to the place in history where the robot was sent. You then bring that robot back to the present and begin work on the next one, until all of them have been rescued. You can see a Walkthrough starting here.

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This game provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Some of Ms. Winkle's responses (when they are fixed, at least) depict her chuckling at the Cool, but Stupid answers, but she still marks Polly incorrect.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The ending is actually set up by a line Polly spoke in the opening exposition, "There's still one more question, the extra credit question and it's super hard. That's why I've been looking for you, Knotley." This was cut in later releases, making Polly's demand at the end of the game that Botley still has to do the extra credit question come out of left field. You can find out more here.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: The six-armed robot drummer, Bongobot.
  • Alphabet Soup Cans: Mandatory in a JumpStart game, right? Somewhat justified since it is Polly, a third-grader herself, who is trying to outsmart you.
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  • Alpha Bitch: Subverted. Being rich, blonde, and snotty, Polly has all the usual indicators. However, a throwaway line from Botley indicates Polly is unpopular at her school.
  • Anachronism Stew: Several of Polly's alterations don't go unremarked by Botley. Even if he didn't know the answers beforehand, he knows enough that stone-age humans didn't have televisions, vending machines were invented after coins, the boomerang was invented long before the postal system, the first wheel obviously couldn't have been a car steering wheel if it supposedly wasn't for locomotion either, ancient writings weren't done on word processors, and certainly humans must have understood the Earth was round long before they invented space travel.
  • Artistic License – History: The time-travel missions contain some errors:
    • The ancient Olympians competed in the nude, but the game shows them clothed for obvious reasons.
    • James Naismith was a college teacher when he invented basketball, but the game shows him introducing basketball to elementary-aged children rather than the college students he actually taught. Also, these kids are shown wearing modern clothes rather than clothing accurate to 1891.
    • In the radium mission, Polly supposedly changed history so that people never realized that radium was poisonous. Except she sent the robot back to 1898, when radium was discovered, not to the 1920s when radium's toxicity became known. When history is put back on course, Marie Curie is shown wearing her two Nobel medals. Of course, she won them in 1903 and 1911, so she wouldn't have them yet in 1898. And as usual, there's no mention of poor Pierre Curie. Pierre and Marie Curie worked together to isolate radium, but Pierre is half-forgotten now due to Marie's status as the token female scientist.
    • The game credits the Mayans for inventing chewing gum. It is true that the Mayans created chewing gum from tree sap, but they weren't the first to invent it. Chewing gum dates back much earlier, all the way to the Stone Age.
    • The game credits Ferdinand Magellan for discovering that the Earth is round. That is marginally better than crediting Christopher Columbus, but it still repeats the 19th century myth that Medieval Morons thought the Earth was flat. The correct answer should be the Ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes of Cyrene, who in 240 BC compared shadows in two locations to calculate the circumference of the Earth with remarkable accuracy.
    • This becomes an internal inconsistency in the case on the invention of tools. The Pollywood Squares quiz gets you to select "tools" by asking you what humans invented first, with "clothes" offered as a wrong answer. Then you go back in time to see a cavewoman inventing tools... and she's wearing clothes. She's also white-skinned although, as the game notes, tools were invented in Africa.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Botley
  • Banana Peel: Polly's little hovering shark thing leaves one in the generator room for Botley to slip on.
  • Big Bad: Polly serves as the game's antagonist.
  • Big Eater: Mort, the robot in the kitchen activity. You cook the food for him to eat.
  • Blatant Lies: Polly tries to tell these to her father after the former is caught blabbing to Botley about her evil plan.
  • Brainy Brunette: Dr. Spark, Polly's father. If you look closely, his hair is brunette and he's a genius.
  • Brick Joke: As easy to miss as it is, you can witness this if you return to the front door. The rocket Botley had inside him will reappear and still be flying.
  • Broken Bridge: This game goes out of its way to discuss why doors are inexplicably locked. The front door being opened by door chimes might be thought of as silly, but apparently Professor Spark doesn't want unauthorized personnel unrestricted access to his time machine, he put a lock on his kitchen months ago because his robots are not only eating machines but are gluttonous, and the door to the music hall is guarded by a constantly reset password so less musical robots don't pound too hard on the piano. Botley lampshades this and rhetorically asks why no one keeps the doors unlocked.
  • Butt-Monkey: Botley goes through a lot of Amusing Injuries throughout the game.
  • The Cameo: Clicking on the frog in the fishbowl on the second floor of the mountain will have him stand up and put on a hat resembling CJ's from JumpStart 2nd Grade.
  • Closed Circle: Mystery Mountain is self-sufficient, so there's no reason to leave.
  • Cool, but Stupid: Much like Anachronism Stew above, several of Polly's alterations work like this. Snowmen playing basketball, nurses serving dessert instead of medicine, using SCUBA gear on high-altitude diving boards, chewing gum made from super glue, recording an electric guitar on a phonograph, using the world's first paper for spitballs and paper airplanes, smoking dynamite, finding microorganisms bathing, placing jet engines on a bicycle in lieu of pedals, heating the whole cow to get safe milk from it, using boomerangs to deliver mail and toilets that explode after one use.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: In educational games like this it's expected for the player to be able to take his/her time, but this game ups the counter-method to extremes. Since Botley is characterized as overreactive, he would chide you if you strayed from his mission path. And if you insisted on straying, then Polly herself would chime in and taunt you that you were looking in the wrong place. But the messages Botley gave for idling too long nearly turned this into Guilt-Based Gaming, ranging from "You're hesitating, is something wrong?" to "Of all the times to freeze on me! WE'RE SOOO CLOSE!" and "Pull yourself together, man! Are you having second thoughts about helping me save the world?" At its worst, he calmly informed you "Look, it's nothing personal, but if you're not up to this, I can always go back to the schoolhouse and find someone else". It comes as a real shocker when your robotic exposition fairy admits to the player he believes he or she is probably broken, but that likely would be the case if you idled so often, probably because the player was too busy listening to the background music to listen to him.
    • The game actually has its own counter-measure against straying. It didn't hesitate to remind you that every time you activated an activity, it would use up some of the mountain's energy. Use up all the energy and the indicator light on the toolbar would turn red, and you wouldn't be allowed to play any of the games until you go down to the generator and power it back up. Straying meant more frequent trips to the generator.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Two of Polly's missions turn out this way. The first involves switching out Kellogg's corn flakes with ice cream, cold fish and worms (which becomes Hilarious in Hindsight for Invader Zim fans). The second one has Polly changing the world's first sausage by making the outer casing out of old socks. The Player can become this in the Kitchen minigame based on the way Mort chooses the toppings he wants.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Botley has his moments. Eggbert admits a couple times that he has difficulty recognizing humor, so many of his deadpan remarks are actually sincere.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: The most obvious examples of this are the cereal and cave painting missions. Even if Polly made the world's first paintings sad clowns on black velvet, the Virtual Collection still features a traditional cave painting that's left unchanged. And when Polly replaces the first cereal with fish and worms, Mort can still ask for a bowl of cornflakes.
  • Determinator: Botley.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Polly's father is out and he's apparently the only one who can keep her under control. At the end of the game, he returns home and punishes her.
    • Botley did mention how he was off to a time traveler's convention, which gives us a reason why Professor Spark came back as soon as he did.
  • Developers' Foresight: Attempting to replay a completed question replaces Miss Winkle's affirmation with Polly's wrong answer with her correcting Polly with the actual answer.
  • Difficulty Levels: Some of the mini-games come with three levels, which you can adjust with a button on the utility belt. If you're proficient, you'll eventually advance up the levels automatically. There are also some mini-games in which no leveling is available.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Polly's eyebrows float above her head, which is just as well since you can't see her eyes. Botley's eyebrows also float.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of the robots Polly sent back in time is Russian robot Cosmobot. Botley remarks, "Cosmobot and I never used to get along, but now we're pals."
  • Dreadful Musician: What the Maestro thinks about Polly's singing. She is not amused.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: It turns out that the Australian Aborigine who invented the boomerang did so while standing in a place with Uluru nicely positioned in the background.
  • Enemy Scan: Eggbert's Analyzer serves as a Specimen Scanner.
  • Enfant Terrible: Polly.
  • Entitled Bitch: Polly feels like she deserves a passing grade on her test, no matter what, and demonizes her teacher for not giving it to her.
  • Exploding Cigar: Polly insists that dynamite was invented for this purpose.
  • Exposition Fairy: Botley.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Not shown, but Polly jokes about making a sandwich out of earthworms, that a frog has jumped out of a frying pan, and that no one realizes broccoli is a flower when they eat it. Eggbert says he spends half his time keeping his specimens off her dinner table.
    • Mort, also, who doesn't have a problem asking for things like machine parts and green slime. But he's a Picky Eater and will reject anything that he didn't ask for or things he asked for in the wrong amounts.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Fembot: Six. Starting with Mrs. Beasley the art expert, the ones that have to be rescued are Rhonda, Amelia, Miss Battery Bot, Verna and Brunwella.
  • Fetch Quest: 4 items per robot to answer specific questions to where Polly sent a specific robot. Since there are 25 robots, you'll need 100 items.
  • Flower On His Head: Male example: Eggbert has a flower on a spring on the top of his head. Polly keeps calling attention to it, but Eggbert says he likes it.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Eggbert. Contrasted with Polly, who regularly cracks jokes that make her out to be an Enemy to All Living Things.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The game uses a power indicator that says how much energy is available to power the mountain, and when it gets dark orange or flashing red the games won't work unless the generator is recharged. However, if you have all four mission clues, you'll still be able to gain entry to and operate the time machine even with no power.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Polly.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am A Robot Today: The android cast won't let you forget they're robots, even with the exaggerated Eating Machine trope in effect.
  • I Can Explain: Polly pulls one of these when Professor Spark walks in on her at the end of the game. However, unlike most examples of this trope, it actually is what it looks like and Polly's excuse is a Blatant Lie.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The Shrinking Machine Room, obviously.
  • Insecurity System: The security procedure to open the front door of Mystery Mountain is... literally a game of "Simon". Yeah, brilliant move, Professor Spark — that'll keep out potential thieves and nosy reporters for sure. Okay, Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • It's All About Me: Polly's so self-centered, she declared herself the center of the solar system and everything revolved around her.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Polly's thought process on what sausages are made from. Her grandmother makes homemade sausages that her father claims taste like old socks. Therefore, Polly declares sausages must be made from old socks.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Botley says all robots eat like this. Polly mocks Eggbert for eating like this: it's not shown but Eggbert shamefully admits it's true because his schedule is so tight he tries to eat as quickly as possible. Mort is shown eating aggressively by eating the bowl containing the food, but unlike this trope he doesn't actually spill anything.
  • Lack of Empathy: Polly doesn't care as to whether or not her plans end up getting people back in time hurt or killed, just as long as she gets a good grade on her test.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Polly is given the chance to retake the test, but now the questions are in Latin, something not even Polly seems to know.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Polly's manner of addressing Botley.
  • Meaningful Name: Brunwella the Bombshell can mean either that she's very beautiful (Botley expresses that he likes her, see below) or the fact that she's used in demolition work.
  • Missing Mom: The absence of Polly's mother is never explained.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Polly says she'll award a mission clue if Botley accesses the work of art she wants from the Virtual Collection. After finding the right artwork, Polly butts in saying that didn't count because she thinks you only got it right through a lucky guess, and sends another puzzle to solve before giving up the clue.
  • Mr Fix It: Hank the Robot Handyman, who is found during the invention of tools.
  • Never My Fault: Polly never tries to blame herself for getting a failing grade on her test. She would rather blame Botley and say that he "made her do it" and for foiling her plans.
  • The Nicknamer: Polly likes calls Botley names like "Snotley," "Potley" and "Dotley."
  • No Equal-Opportunity Time Travel: None of the innovators in the game takes special notice of a futuristic android visitor, but many respond with either consternation or surprise about what their unexpected visitors are doing. Subverted with the First Olympic Games: historically females weren't allowed to compete in or even watch them, but the clearly feminine beauty queen Rhonda Robot is not only present but awarding the prize.
  • Noodle Incident:
    Polly: I felt faint and short of breath! No one has ever given me a zero before!
    Botley: Well, that's not quite true, Polly. I remember just two weeks ago...
    Polly: Be quiet, Plotley, this is my story!
  • The Noseless: Polly tells Botley and Eggbert on two separate occasions that they'd look better with mustaches under their noses, then backs up and says they don't have noses. Eggbert adds he doesn't have hair, either.
  • Oh, Crap!: Polly when her plot for an alternate history is thwarted.
  • One-Wheeled Wonder: Maestro. He is the only android designed this way; Mrs. Beasley and Eggbert hover and the rest are bipedal.
  • Only Sane Man: Botley.
  • Plot Coupon: The 25 robots. To get them back, you need 4 items to answer the "Who, What, When and Where?" regarding Polly's test questions. In short, you'll need 100 items. Not only that, you'll also need 1,000 invention points (easily obtained by playing the games) before you can continue.
  • Pop Up Video Games
  • Prolonged Prologue: Mostly, it's Botley and Polly going on and on with exposition, with some points needlessly repeated and little to no user interaction. It was edited down in later releases, though this resulted in the Adaptation Explanation Extrication mentioned above. Also, some Back Story information was cut, for anyone who cares about that.
  • Pungeon Master: Botley is the host of many an Incredibly Lame Pun. Monty Monitor practically speaks "pun".
  • Raygun Gothic: The whole aesthetic of the game's universe. This includes Polly's school, which for some reason is an Art Deco version of an old-fashioned, one-room schoolhouse.
  • Recurring Riff: About half the songs composed for the game have some thematic variant of the main theme worked into them, either as a base or as a short phrase.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Averted - Polly gets the questions wrong on purpose and makes up such ridiculous answers that she wanted Ms. Winkle to laugh. Ms. Winkle chuckles at a few, but tells Polly not to be so silly and marks her incorrect.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: For some reason, Monty Monitor has this, but Ms. Winkle does not.
  • Robot Antennae: Botley has one that always points to the side. He uses it to sense where clues are hidden.
  • Robot Buddy: Botley's self-awareness of his role got very close to deconstructing the trope.
    Botley: The Professor created me as a Prototype Companion Device. You see, he was having such trouble finding sitters for Polly, 'cause she scares them all away, so he invented me. I'm also programmed to be her friend, and believe me, that's tougher than it sounds.
    • This line was cut in all post-1996 re-releases to reduce the Prolonged Prologue. However, the following line "I'm not getting to the point, am I?" remains intact as a relic of it.
  • Robot Kid: Botley.
  • Robot Master: There are about 30 robots in this game, and they all belong to Professor Spark (with the exception of Noshi Origami, who is said to be on exchange from Japan). One could imagine how crowded Mystery Mountain is when 25 of them aren't lost in time or in storage.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Educational focus: Playing in the kitchen on higher levels leads to the units being used to measure not only get slightly less round, but bigger also. It's apparently not odd that Mort would ask for seven and a half cups of strawberries or six liters of prune juice to top one meal. Meanwhile, the molecular unit never goes higher than one million, which is far too few of anything to be noticeable.
    • Professor Spark's rockets can go to constellations in seconds. In reality, stars are light years apart, and constellations only exist from the perspective of Earth. But this won't stop you from learning about their positions and the myths behind them.
  • Self-Proclaimed Love Interest: Botley has shades of this when he claims that Brunwella the Bombshell robot is his girlfriend, then admits that she doesn't even know he exists, hastily adding that she'll notice him after he rescues her from the past.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Basically the entire plot.
  • Shout-Out: A front door that can only be opened by playing Simon? Do you think Dr. Brain is at that convention Dr. Spark is attending?
  • Sickly Green Glow: Not shown, but Botley worries this may be the case after Polly declares that radium's glow is battery-operated and is complimented as correct even though people who handle it still get radiation sickness.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Polly spends all of the game lounging in a room with monitors which display every room in Mystery Mountain. She communicates with you and Botley through various monitors around the Mountain, never meeting you personally — kind of like Khan.
  • The Sleepless: Eggbert insists that robot scientists do not sleep.
  • Spill Stain Sabotage: What Polly declares happened to Leonardo da Vinci so he could not build the helicopter he designed; she says someone spilled spaghetti sauce all over it.
  • Spoiled Brat: Polly. However, her father does punish her in the end.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Of the six robots who preside over a mini-game, only one (Mrs. Beasley of the Art Gallery) is female. Of the twenty-five robots Polly sent back in time, only five are female: Rhonda Robot, Amelia Ear-bot, Miss Battery-bot, Verna, and Brunwella the Bombshell.
  • Sudden Name Change: It's clearly "Spark" in this game, but Polly and her father's last name becomes "Sparks" as of JumpStart Typing.
  • Take Your Time: Throughout the game, Botley urges you to hurry and fix history before Polly's changes reach the present. Of course, you can take as long as you like and nothing will happen.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Polly's running of Mystery Mountain in her father's absence.
  • Underground Level: The Biosphere, before you actually enter. (And technically, the whole game takes place underground inside a mountain.)
  • The 'Verse: This game and JumpStart Typing take place in the same continuity. After the Continuity Reboot in 2000, this 'verse apparently ceased to exist, it's only relic being an In Name Only version of Botley living in the same universe as the other JumpStart characters. (Well, almost. Polly is in the JumpStart PowerPrep series.)
  • Victory Is Boring: Polly's justification for deliberately completing her test incorrectly despite knowing all the correct answers.
  • Villain Ball: Polly hides clues throughout the mansion that you need in order to stop her and even sometimes explains what you need to do to find them. Justified in that it's no fun if you can't combat her, she's a kid, and she's probably having more fun screwing with Botley than anything else.
  • Warp Whistle: The report card in the inventory will take the user to any game in the mountain. You can use it to bypass the doors to the kitchen and music hall.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Subverted. Botley says that Professor Spark landed a rocket on the moon before Neil Armstrong set foot on it, and quickly adds that he was kidding. The moon landing happened 27 years before this game's release, and if Professor Spark is estimated to be in his forties, that would mean he would have been only a teenager when it happened. The line is preserved in later releases, making this joke even more ridiculous as time passes.
  • You Answered Your Own Question: "The postage stamp was first invented by an Englishman named Rowland Hill. What country did the English inventor of the postage stamp come from?" Okay, it's probably not obvious to a third-grader, especially since "Great Britain" was given as a choice rather than "England". It's still funny.

Alternative Title(s): Jump Start3rd Grade

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