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Video Game / Stay Tooned!

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Stay Tooned is a 1996 video game developed by Funnybone Interactive and published by Sierra.

One night while you're channel surfing, an eclectic collection of cartoon characters escape from your TV thanks to your remote, which they promptly take from you. It is your goal to collect the keys needed enter the other rooms of the apartment complex you live in in search of the remote, which is the only thing that can send the toons back to Toonland.

It is notable for being a particularly random video game, with many, many cutscenes.

Not to be confused with Stay Tuned, which is about more or less the opposite problem.

Also not to be confused with Stay Tooned, the Canadian Docu-series created by Eric Bauza.

Stay Troped!:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • The city in the opening is CG, but once the Toons break out of your TV, the whole building shifts into hand-drawn cartoon graphics. A live-action person is seen in the hallway during the shift as well. Toonland at the end of the game is also CG, and so are a few objects in some side animations throughout the game.
    • A few rooms also flaunt 3D technology, and the game box shipped with two pairs of 3D glasses.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Katrina to Fiddle and Schmooze to Pixel.
  • Arc Words: At the beginning of the game, while your character is channel surfing, some of the shorts end with the phrase "red button", alluding to the red button on your remote you need to press to start the game proper.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Pretty much every one of the major toons.
  • Big Eater: Scoops. He even sings a song about how much he likes food.
  • Blue Boy, Pink Girl: Chisel and Pixel are brother and sister cats that are colored blue and pink.
  • Blob Monster: The Purple Glop, though he's more comedic than dangerous.
  • Bound and Gagged: In several minigames.
    • In the desert, Schmooze wishes for "a dynamite blonde on a Persian rug", and ends up with Katrina tied up with TNT about to blow.
    • During the final shootout, Fiddle is held hostage by a penguin.
  • Brick Joke: A live-action resident gets Tooned in the hallway during the opening. Late in the game, he shows up on the roof fighting a penguin.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fiddle. Being cartoon characters, he also qualifies as an Iron Butt Monkey.
  • Cats Are Mean: Inverted with Fiddle, who leaves encouraging messages and even a few hints, but played straight with Pixel and Chisel, who enjoy causing mischief, and will do anything they can to stop you from getting the remote.
  • Chained to a Railway: When you first enter the Wild West room, you have to place a set of bricks into a train tunnel so a train won’t run over Fiddle. After enough time has passed, regardless if you set up the bricks or not, a train will run over Fiddle, although there are three endings, which include:
    • The train running over Fiddle on the other side of the tracks.
    • Chisel whacking Fiddle off with a golf putt.
    • Schmooze saving Fiddle with the train running over the former.
    • Scoops mistaking Fiddle for dinner and eating the ropes tying Fiddle up, allowing him to run free.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Ben Howard, the game's programmer, makes various appearances in the game and even gives you some advice at the beginning while you're channel surfing. Unsurprisingly, the toons stop him from revealing too much.
    • Funnybone president Joel Fried voices Chisel and appears as himself in the diner and carnival rooms.
    • Funnybone's dog mascot also makes a number of random appearances in-game.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: One of the 3D-glasses rooms invokes this with a landscape full of distorted objects, set to a psychedelic rock track.
  • Disrupting the Theater: The Toons are watching the game's closing credits in a movie theater. When Frank enters the theater, he sits in the seat in front of Mr. Fishy, blocking his view. Mr. Fishy tells Frank that there are plenty of seats in the back, and now he can't see. When Chisel gets his sister Pixel a macadamia mocha ice cream, which she dislikes, she tosses the ice cream in the air, causing it to land on Frank, then leaves the theater to get an ice cream she does like. As a result, Frank thinks that Chisel was the one who threw the ice cream at him and beats him up in retaliation.
  • The Dog Bites Back
    • In Dr. Pickles' castle, Frank almost achieves this by preparing to give Pixel and Chisel the same explosive cigars they gave him in an earlier gag, only for Dr. Pickles to interrupt.
    • The Simon Says Minigame and Roman shooting gallery allow the player to attack the Toons, if they so desire.
  • Downer Ending: Combined with Gainax Ending, to boot. At the end, all the cartoons get back in the TV...but just as they transport back into Toonland, Chisel grabs you and takes you along with the others, and you remain trapped in Toonland as a cartoon. Quite a dark ending for a kid-oriented game.
  • Drop-In Landlord: Mrs. Finley, who sometimes appears in the hallway to pester you, or to be at the receiving end of the toons' hijinks. If you try to talk to her about it, she ignores the idea that the toons are about.
  • Drunk on Milk: Schmooze gets himself a little wasted while waiting for Pixel at his rooftop picnic. When she finally shows up, it turns out he was drinking apple juice.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Not trying to kill you per se, but there are several toons that enjoy causing mischief with you as the intended target. Frank at least gives you a heads-up about it at the beginning.
    Frank: "Watch out, 'cause us toons are gonna make your life miserable!"
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player character never talks, and is never seen due to the first-person perspective. In the ending, you see their hands and arms, but only after they went through a Toon Transformation, meaning that wasn't what they looked like before.
  • Floating Clocks: While traveling, the time machine passes by a modern clock, an abstract representation of a clock, an hourglass, and a sundial, in this order.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a handful of clues that indicate the remote is hidden in Mrs. Findley's meatloaf.
    • In Mrs. Findley's Image Song in the music video room, a shot of her meatloaf shows sparks coming out of it.
    • When you feed gravy to Scoops in your bathroom, he tells you via a sign that you can't get him without meatloaf.
    • One of the rats in the basement mentions overhearing Pixel and Chisel talking about meatloaf. Another tells you that Mrs. Findley is a person of interest you should be looking into.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: "Chisel, we can't let them get away with this!" "That's right, buddy. You're coming with us."
  • Grenade Hot Potato: At a random point on the second floor, Chisel tosses a bomb in your direction. The player can toss it back in his face if quick enough, but the entire hallway still gets scorched no matter what.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: A baby cries if you hover over the quit button before starting the game.
  • Haunted Castle: Dr. Pickles' headquarters, complete with a Torture Cellar in the basement with Pixel & Chisel tied up.
  • Image Song: All of the five major toons have musical numbers dedicated to them. Exaggerated with Scoops, who has an amazing singing voice and four songs about himself, but he only seems inclined to sing to the player and not anyone else.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Pickles, as part of his Mad Scientist image.
  • Interface Screw: One of the antics Pixel and Chisel get into at your expense involves them stealing your mouse cursor. Other pranks include fake error messages, pies "hitting" your computer screen, and MANY more.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Used in the Mortal Kombat parody Kartoon Kombat.
    Announcer: Tai Chi Chisel! Versus! Kung Fu Frank! *evil laugh*
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Pickles performs dangerous experiments on unwilling subjects.
  • Malt Shop: One of the rooms, themed after a New York-style deli.
  • Minigame Game: Despite ostensibly being a point-and-click adventure game, this game has far more minigames than a point and click adventure game should. Many of them are just for fun, while a few of them give keys and clues needed to beat the game. The endgame is a shooting gallery where you need to zap the main characters back to Toonland.
  • Mooks: The penguins, to a degree. Some are just minding their own business, but others won't hesitate to mess with you as much as the other Toons.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Not only does Killtron have four arms, but he's got a different weapon in each one.
  • No Fourth Wall: The game loves to exploit this trope, with the toons often tricking you into believing you've crashed the game, interacting with your cursor, and Ben Howard appearing in random places.
  • NPC Roadblock: There are several characters (who are chosen at random) who will block you from reaching the fifth floor and entering Mrs. Findley's room respectively until you do something for them.
  • Ode to Food: Scoops the Dog sings about his love for food while raiding the player's fridge.
    Come, let me tell you 'bout my favorite thing, makes me jump for joy, makes my heart wanna sing
    But the way to my heart isn't through my head, I don't want a hug, give me food instead
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: Dr. Pickles' plane-shaped time machine, hidden on the fifth floor. Each time zone you can visit effectively acts as a shortcut to many of the rooms in the apartment building.
  • Packaged as Other Medium: The game's package is designed to look like a cereal box, complete with blurbs such as "Unsweetened Multi-Game Experience!" and "Provides NO Essential Vitamins & Minerals".
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Surprisingly played completely straight for a kids' game. One of the channels you can flip to at the start of the game offers a pay-per-view of "The XXX Files: The naked truth is out there"
  • Pie in the Face: One of the many hijinks the toons can throw at you. Ben even gets hit with a live action variant at the beginning.
    Ben: "(slurp) At least it was chocolate!"
  • Plot Device: The remote is the only thing that can get the toons back into the television set. Naturally, it's hidden well, although there are quite a few hints that can help the player find it.
  • Plunger Detonator: Weaponized by the toons as one of the random traps in the hallway.
  • Police Are Useless: Calling the police department is fruitless as they are either constantly distracted or just lazy. The only thing that is remotely important to them involves donuts.
  • Portal Picture: In the third floor hallway, there is a painting of a pirate ship that leads into a real pirate ship.
  • Prepare to Die: Killtron says this word-for-word when he confronts you in the hallway. Subverted in that you can cut him off if you flip his power switch in time, and being shot by one of his blasters only teleports you to a random floor.
  • Promoted to Playable: Dr. Pickles would later appear as one of the racers in Eat My Dust, a racing game made by Funnybone.
  • Scatting: The game's theme song in the opening is a blues track, sung in this manner. A similar music video in the TV room, called "City Blues", also fits this trope.
  • Reaching Between the Lines: In one of the three paths to reaching Apartment 5D, the Cable Guy won't come over until you find his missing sock. The player gives it to him through the pay phone in this manner.
  • Schmuck Bait: Located in the casino room is a slot machine labeled "WIN THE REMOTE" that Pixel and Chisel comment as "the perfect hiding spot" for the remote. Ultimately subverted due to the fact you actually can win the remote from it, but the chances of it happening are slim-to-none. While the Casino Room doesn't cost anything, if the slot machine lands on three bombs or anvils, you cannot use the slot machine for the rest of the game.
  • Sequence Breaking: The time machine room. A shortcut to it exists in the castle, which effectively sidesteps the obstacle to reach the fifth floor. Not only that, but using the time machine also bypasses getting keys for the rooms it reaches.
  • Shell Game: Schmooze might pop up in the hallways and tell you that he's hidden a key under one of the shells in this typical game. He's lying. It's actually under his hat.
  • Shout-Out: Stay Tooned is full of them. The channel surfing portion at the beginning has Whinefeld, Frauds and Shlepardy, the latter of which is played later on.
    • One of the minigames is Kartoon Kombat, a comedic parody of Mortal Kombat. The playable characters are even dressed like the Kombatants; Tai Chi Chisel is Scorpion, Shaolin Skoops is Liu Kang, Kung Fu Frank is Raiden and Peking Pixel is Sub-Zero.
    • "Killtron! Magic Death Robot" is a spoof of Voltron. "POORLY DUBBED WITH HARD TO READ ENGLISH SUBTITLES".
    • The Beatles get a cameo after you solve the Simon-head minigame, much to the toons' surprise.
    • Minigames that have high scores will occasionally include one score left by someone named Graham.
    • The view of the Enterprise in the future room also bears a slight resemblance to the SCS Eureka from Space Quest V: The Next Mutation.
    • The fine print on the slot machine in the casino room mentions Lost Wages. The slot machine itself also functions similarly to the Slots O'Death from the original Space Quest.
    • A few of the stuffed animals seen in the carnival room are recolors of characters seen in Funnybone's Puddle Books series, specifically Ricky Fazzooly from A Day at the Beach with the Fazzooly Family and the titular Lie from The Lie.
    • The door housing the blueprint activity and all adjacent areas are slightly modified from Funnybone's 3D Jungle Train.
    • One of the carpet designs in the magic carpet minigame features the characters featured in the logo of The Cute Company, Funnybone's original company name.
    • The painting in your apartment depicts a mountain in a forest, with a signature from a "Ross".
  • Simon Says Minigame: When the Toons wind up half-buried in sand and surrounded by "sand sharks", you get to hit their heads with a mallet in this fashion.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool
    • Both Frank and Mrs. Findley are usually seen smoking a cigar. Needless to say, neither are the prettiest things to look at.
    • Pixel and Chisel will occasionally offer you one out in the hallway, which ends up being an Exploding Cigar.
  • Sound Test: One of the rooms contains a huge set of speakers and a projection TV, where the player can watch VHS tapes containing musical numbers for several of the characters.
  • Swallow the Key: In the Malt shop room, Pixel and Chisel mention tricking Fiddle into swallowing one of the apartment keys. To get it back, the player has to feed Fiddle more and more food until he explodes, destroying the diner in the process.
    Chisel (to Pixel): "Brilliant, schmilliant! Anybody would've thought of putting a key into a lime pie!"
  • Taking You with Me: At the very end, just as the cartoons are all back in the TV, Chisel grabs you and takes you back to Toonland with the rest of them.
  • Television Portal: The Toons enter your world this way by Chisel smashing the screen from inside. The player also ends up on "Schlepardy" when Frank turns on another TV to torture Pixel and Chisel with it.
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: In the carnival room, there is a strength test mini-game featuring Frank. Clicking will make him lift his hammer, and the longer you wait before clicking again, the more strength Frank will build up. Waiting too long causes Frank to fall over, but clicking at the right time will cause Frank to hit the target. What follows is a cutscene corresponding with the height, and if the weight reaches the top, the player will win a door key (the first time only, though).
  • Timed Mission: The Persian Rug minigame has Katrina tied to TNT, though the the time limit is quite generous.
  • Token Good Teammate: Fiddle. He's the only toon that's technically on your side when it comes to finding the remote, occasionally leaving encouraging messages and even a few hints near the apartment's floor plan.
    • Katrina as well. She never maliciously gets in your way like the other too. ns and is, at most, neutral to your quest in finding the remote. She also gifts you a key in return for filming her and Fiddle's wedding.
  • The Unfought: Despite appearing when you first enter the room, Killtron doesn't fight you in Kartoon Kombat, instead dancing and blowing himself up for no reason.
  • Unrequited Love: Schmooze can never get Pixel to like him even though he's smitten with her.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Fiddle is revealed to have a baritone voice in the end credits, the complete opposite of his voice throughout the rest of the game.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained what happens to the toons that are not required for the player to zap back inside the television set, such as Frank, Katrina or Dr. Pickles, although it's possible that that they were zapped into the television set as well offscreen.
  • Win Her a Prize: In the cutscene that plays when you first enter the Carnival room, Fiddle tries to win a prize for Katrina at the bottle toss game. When he fails miserably after just one try, Katrina tries and succeeds at knocking both the bottles and Fiddle down every time. The cutscene ends with Katrina having won many stuffed animals and having Fiddle hold them for her.


Video Example(s):


Mrs. Findley

Mrs. Findley, landlord of the apartment, sings a song about how she's "queen of the roost," "cream of the crop," "a miracle cook," and that "her taste is divine," but the visuals indicate otherwise while freely admitting she's a "tenant's worst nightmare."

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