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Western Animation / Cyberchase

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Clockwise from the left: Jackie, Matt, Inez, and Digit

"Cyberchase! We're moving, we're beating Hacker at his game..."
Opening theme

Cyberchase is an Edutainment Show that has aired on PBS since 2002, with thirteen seasons under its belt. Until 2007, the show was a co-production of WNET New York and Nelvana of Canada; WNET has produced the show on its own since then.

The series revolves around three Earth kids, Inez, Jackie, and Matt, and their "cybird" friend, Digit (voiced initially by Gilbert Gottfried and later by Ron Pardo), who lives in Cyberspace. Motherboard, ruler of the virtual world, calls the trio inside to help defend and repair it from The Hacker (Christopher Lloyd)—who is not a playful one, but an evil cyborg bent on conquering Cyberspace and spreading chaos.

Originally Motherboard's assistant, Hacker went rogue, was exiled for trying to destroy her, and returned to beam her a virus. She suffers only partial damage thanks to her chief technician, Dr. Marbles, but is still weakened and glitched. With Marbles forced into hiding, Motherboard then recruits the three Earthlies.

Most episodes involve the CyberSquad traveling to a unique or recurring "cybersite" (a planet-like body in Cyberspace) to thwart The Hacker's latest scheme.

On PBS airings, the episodes end with a live-action segment called Cyberchase For Real, where a pair of recurring characters, Harry (played by Matthew Wilson) and Bianca (played by Bianca DeGroat), and sometimes their recurring nemeses (Harley and Sleazé), demonstrate how the episode's math lesson can be used in their own lives.

After a three-year hiatus, the series premiered its ninth season in November 2013. The episodes from this season onward focus on environmental and ecological themes.

No relation to Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase.

Cybertropes, we’re movin'!

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    Tropes # to C 
  • 3 + 5 = 4: In one episode, the kids and Digit have to input exactly one cup of sand into a device to open a castle gate. Digit has a 2-cup and 3-cup measure, but is missing his 1-cup measure. At first, they try filling the 2-cup halfway, but are unable to get it precise enough. Then they figure out they can fill the 3-cup measure, pour enough sand from it to fill the 2-cup, and be left with exactly one cup.
  • 555: In "Crystal Clear", this shows up as the DTMF signals heard when Jules dials Motherboard's phone number.
  • Aborted Arc: Ledge, a major villain in Season 8, swears revenge on both the CyberSquad and Hacker. He's never seen again until Season 12's "Space Waste Odyssey," as a background character at Hacker's party, no bitterness in sight.
  • Acrophobic Bird: Digit is sometimes afraid of flying very high. It varies between episodes and whether his rotor is going to be broken.
  • Act Break: Surprisingly follows this trope despite being an Edutainment Show, and has a three-act structure with fades to black for commercial breaks, which are meant for international airings. When it airs on PBS Kids, it doesn't have commercial breaks.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Hacker uses this a whole lot.
    Hacker: "I'm a potent powerhouse of perpetual pestilence!"
  • An Aesop: Different learning styles and problem-solving methods can work just as well and make for powerful teamwork. All of the CyberSquad members do unique things to help them think and can offer different insights, skills, and strategies for the problems they encounter. Digit tends not to follow along well, but just by voicing his confusion, he accidentally offers a valuable outside perspective and crucial paradigm shift. There's a reason his Phrase Catcher is "Didge, you're a genius!" The moral gets further emphasis in "Problem Solving in Shangri-La", where Jackie needs a different approach to the Game of Nim that the team must win. Once she gets a nudge in the right direction and finds her own way of looking at it, she makes a key insight that wins the next round and leads the CyberSquad to the winning strategy.
  • Anchovies Are Abhorrent: In one of the Cyberchase For Real segment, Bianca wants to have a pizza with friends. One of them loves anchovies, Bianca's least favorite topping. When she makes a pizza herself, the pizzeria is closing and she's forced to have anchovy pizza.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Jackie has "Jax" (also spelled "Jacks"), Digit is called "Didge" (which extends to Widget as "Widge"), and Slider has "Sly" from his dad. Matt (and Slider and Digit) have "Nezzie" for Inez as much as she hates it being used by anyone who isn't Slider.
  • Affectionate Parody / No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Hacker was originally built by Dr. Marbles to help Motherboard, but he went rogue and had to be exiled to the Northern Frontier.
  • Alien Sky: Many cybersites have unusual sky colors, but usually aren't too strange. Stranger is cyberspace itself - as shown in the above image, everything exists in a green void, with vast ribbons of binary code meant to resemble the Milky Way, strange indeterminate structures, and floating masses of matter resembling printed circuit boards strewn throughout.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The crab prince's friends are identified as Stringie and Bow in the captioning and nowhere else.
    • The story of what happened before the events of the first episode (including Hacker's betrayal and Digit's origins) was relayed via the "How It All Started" webisodes on the Cyberchase website, which now take some digging to find. Downplayed in that it leaves unclear how Hacker orchestrated much of his plan.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: Matt risks this in "The Grapes of Plath" when he tests an underwater motorcycle with a limited air supply to see if it can get the CyberSquad far enough.
  • Alphabet Soup Cans: Pretty much every challenge the CyberSquad faces in the first eight seasons is resolved with basic to intermediate mathematical concepts. It is edutainment, after all. Later seasons downplay this with their focus being more on ecological concepts and environmentalism. Math is still involved, but there's less of a theme for the math problems in a given episode.
  • Ambiguously Human: Most of Cyberspace’s inhabitants are referred to as “cyborgs” (or similar nomenclature, like “cyboid/cybird” in Digit's case), which implies they are at least part organic, and many (including Slider, Coop, and Ledge) are completely indistinguishable from regular humans like Matt, Jackie, and Inez. But at the same time, they all seem to be fully native to Cyberspace (which is supposed to literally be the Internet) and a number of them like Hacker were literally “built” from scratch.
  • Amusement Park: R-Fair City is an amusement park where all the booths have fair games of chance.
  • And Call Him "George": Delete wants a bunny he can love, keep, and call George. His wish is (literally) granted in "The Fairy Borg Father". As part of his Wounded Gazelle Gambit in "Spheres of Fears", Delete claims Hacker sold George. However, "A Garden Grows in Botlyn" shows George is still there for Delete to knit for, suggesting the trope is subverted.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: From "Lost My Marbles":
    Motherboard: I am Motherboard. … I am protector of all Cyberspace.
    Inez: Right. And I'm Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Episodes like "A Crinkle In Time" and "Chaos as Usual" close on Buzz and Delete being indifferent to Hacker's misfortune if not happy, just to drive home how unlikeable he is.
  • Art Evolution:
    • In Season 5, the final season to use traditional animation, the colors were noticeably brighter. Digit also saw some changes with the design of his mouth for this season only: he was no longer drawn with his rounded buck teeth (though they would occasionally reappear in certain close-up shots), and the inside of his mouth was colored red instead of purple. Both of these changes were reverted when the animation switched to Flash.
    • Inverted in the sixth season and onwards when it transitioned to Flash animation, causing the movements to end up getting rather cheap-looking and stilted. The look of the new puppet-rigged approach has improved slightly since Season 8, but it's still noticeably jankier than when the show was traditionally animated.
  • Art Shift:
    • For the first four seasons, they were animated using Xeroxed pencils, while season 5 was animated using Xeroxed pens/markers, with thickened outlines and less sharp shading with visible gradients, giving it a less sketchy look.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Hacker grows to the size of a giant in "Shari Spotter and the Cosmic Crumpets" and goes to get revenge on his bots, Wicked, and the CyberSquad.
    • Hacker later turns himself into a Humongous Mecha to wreak havoc in "Measure For Measure". The CyberSquad only stops him remotely, by turning off the machine powering his transformation.
  • Bad Boss: Hacker frequently yells at and insults his henchmen. Dr. Bill calls him out on being a "bully boss" in "Penguin Tears".
  • Badass Pacifist: Master Pi comes up with a plan to drive off Hacker without resorting to violence.
  • Bag of Holding: Justified, as Cyberspace being some sort of virtual reality means that it doesn't have to follow real physics.
    • Matt's backpack. Not only can all of his possessions somehow fit into it, but so too can whatever measuring tool the CyberSquad needs at the time.
    • Digit himself is an even more egregious example, fitting everything from an oven and cooking supplies to Widget himself just in his chest hatch. It seems that objects in the hatch stop exerting physical forces. A magnet only starts attracting other things from inside once Digit takes it out, and he later struggles to lift a giant weight that was just in there.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In "The Snelfu Snafu", Hacker successfully dupes the kids into purchasing the encryptor chip that had secretly been loaded with an even more powerful virus allowing Hacker to completely take over Motherboard and gain control of Cyberspace.
  • Batman Gambit: In "The Snelfu Snafu", Hacker knows the CyberSquad will save a lot of money to buy the Encryptor Chip. He rigs an auction and gives them every opportunity he can to let them place the last bid while putting on the act that he wants it. With the tampered chip, the CyberSquad compromises Motherboard for Hacker, putting him in charge. And he gets all their hard-earned Snelfus.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the online story Double the Donuts, Buzz and Delete find a magic donut that will double as many times as it's told to. They're very hungry, so they tell the donut to double 20 times, and end up with 1,048,576 donuts.
  • Big Damn Movie: "The Cyberchase Movie".
  • Big Good: Motherboard is essentially the god of Cyberspace. Unfortunately, her position has been somewhat compromised.
  • The Big Race: The premise of "The Creech Who Would Be Crowned", with some Wacky Racing antics thrown in.
  • Berserk Button: Mainly by Inez, but Matt sometimes:
    • Inez being called "short" or "tiny".
    • Inez being called "Nezzie," although this usually only applies to Matt.
      Matt: "Okay, okay Nezzie!"
      Inez: "Don't call me Nezzie...Matthew."
      * Beat*
    • Matt, whenever Slider shows him up.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "Digit's B-Day Surprise" and "Buzz and the Tree" for Digit. The latter indirectly reveals his birthdate by simultaneously being set on Arbor Day.
    • "Space Waste Odyssey" for Motherboard, complete with Digit singing an original birthday song.
  • Body Uploading: Not referred to as such, but the “portals” the human protagonists, Jackie, Inez, and Matt, use to travel to and throughout Cyberspace qualify since they are literally transported Inside The Internet.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When Motherboard loses her memory in "The Case of the Missing Memory", she calls Matt "Nezzie". In response, he borrows Inez's "This is not good. This is not good at all!"
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In "A Whale of a Tale", Hacker reprograms Glowla's giant trick whale, Spout, who goes on a rampage.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Pyramidia is a desert containing pyramids and a Riddling Sphinx.
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Buzz and Delete, Hacker's incompetent henchmen. Frequently shown arguing with each other.
  • Captain Ersatz: Shari Spotter and Professor Stumblesnore.
  • Cartoonish Supervillainy: Hackernote  almost every episode is up to a plan to try and seize control over all of Cyberspace, and is only able to be foiled by the combined efforts of three children, a cybernetic bird, and elementary-to-middle school level math.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Catchphrase:
    • Jackie says "Make room! I gotta pace!" when she needs to think. Not to mention her "Am I having a moment, or...?" and "Ew! Ew! And double EW!"
    • Inez has "This is not good. This is not good at all!" and "Don't call me Nezzie!"
    • Matt has some sports-related catchphrases like "Time out." and "Touchdown!"
    • Digit says "Bada-bing, bada-boom!", "(Even) I knew that!", and "Never fear, the Didge is here!", along with his recurring exclamations "Wuh-oh!" and "Yoikes!"
    • Motherboard, unfortunately, gets "Hacker alert!"
    • Hacker—"That's THE Hacker to you!"
    • Buzz and Delete take turns with "The Boss isn't going to be happy about this!"
    • Delete uses an And Call Him "George" refrain whenever bunnies come up.
    • Bianca's "Wait a minute!"
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Most of the show maintains a fairly light tone, but it periodically has darker and more desperate storylines that can become outright Nightmare Fuel for the target audience. "The Snelfu Snafu" and "Hackerized!" are well-attested examples.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Matt and his yo-yos, which are initially just a minor detail until “The Grapes of Plath” where they are used as a measuring device.
    • Jackie and her hair scrunchie, which is used to measure circumference in several episodes.
    • In "The Cyberchase Movie", Inez was held up with a bowling match that she choked with a gutter ball in the last roll. In the climax, the only way to lock the Emergency Reset Button and save Cyberspace is for Inez to bowl a heavy, ball-shaped safety lock into a socket across the room.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Digit’s history as a cook, which turns out to be exceptionally useful for a cookbook cipher in food-themed Aquari-Yum, entering bake-offs in "A Time to Cook" and "A Recipe for Chaos", and whenever the CyberSquad needs measuring cups.
    • Slider’s experience with tools and tinkering ends up being what saves Motherboard in “The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2”.
  • Child Prodigy: Inez mostly, with her Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and mathematical skill despite being the youngest of the kids. This also applies to Matt and Jackie as well to a lesser extent, as both also demonstrate very quick advanced mathematical thinking for their age.
  • Chirping Crickets: One of Digit's jokes in "Measure For Measure" elicits nothing but a clownish honk noise.
  • Circus of Fear: The Amusement Park world of R-Fair City takes on this aesthetic during Spout's rampage in "A Whale of a Tale". The dark red sky doesn't help.
  • City of Canals: Canalia, which makes one of its residents, Pearl, concerned when the water levels have been dropping.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Wicked, who constantly pines over Hacker in their bizarre on-off romance.
  • Clone by Conversion: In "Hackerized!", a machine generates a gas that turns people into Hacker clones. Downplayed to enhance the Not Himself premise. Hackerization retains the characters' build, facial structure, and most of their outfits, while imparting attributes like Hacker's green skin, protruding chin, hairstyle, and pocket protector.
  • Compulsive Liar: The Crab Prince becomes this when he succumbs to a glitch in "The Grapes of Plath".
  • Computer Virus: Hacker infects Motherboard while her firewall is down, forcing her to call upon the CyberSquad and kicking off the events of the show.
  • Continuity Nod: Happens often; there are many recurring characters, and plenty of episodes form larger Story Arcs that have permanent ramifications for Cyberspace. Later seasons began to ignore the events of a lot of previous storylines, though.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The characters get very close to lava on several occasions. They are in a computer world; maybe it's supposed to be video-game lava?
    • In "A Perfect Fit", standing on a buoyant tesselating tile bridge is enough to cut off the heat. Digit even gets splashed with a few droplets as a quick gag.
    • Multiple episodes involve entering lava-filled volcanoes. Sometimes the characters bother wearing protective gear, but there's no time for Digit to do even that in "The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2", for example.
  • Cool Gate: Motherboard controls the Portal Network that allows quick travel within Cyberspace, and between Cyberspace and the real world. The portals are translucent pink ovals and lead through a swirling void called the vortex, which is filled with 3D-rendered mathematical objects.
  • Cool Ship: Hacker has the Grim Wreaker and the heroes sometimes use cybercoupes. The vehicles seemed to be designed as a big draw of the show early on, as they got specific attention and bios in promotional material.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: All the cybersite leaders who attend Motherboard's meetings at the Cyber Grand Tower conference room. Also, the rogues' gallery that Motherboard invited to Control Central in "The Case of the Missing Memory".
  • Cyberspace: The main setting, juxtaposed with the occasional Framing Device on Earth.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • Played for dark laughs in "Fortress of Attitude", where Hacker sets up a noisy, annoying robot so as to make various worlds surrender. The kids notice the cassette playing the sound is guarded by lasers, and they calculate the exact amount of rope that Digit needs to hover just above them. Hacker comes to bust them, and reveals the off-switch for the lasers. As Matt puts it, "Why didn't we think of that?"
    • The feud subplot in "The Halloween Howl" could've been averted if Inez got Jackie to turn the diary's page earlier and realize she wasn't secretly insulting her friend.
  • Cowardly Lion: Digit acts the most freaked out about everything in general and struggles to overcome his fears, yet still plows headlong into dangerous situations when needed.
  • Crapsaccharine World: All the Cybersites fit in their own cozy niche and feature citizens living relatively happy lives, but they are constantly being attacked and disturbed by Hacker (and to a lesser extent, other villains like Ledge).

    Tropes D to G 
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Slider's father Coop. He had to go on the run from Hacker and couldn't put his son in danger.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Delete got to have one in the Fairy Borg Father.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Played With in the odds episode, as the Hacker is deceived in this manner. When Matt's yo-yo outside one of two doors, the Hacker believes the CyberSquad had been launched into cyberspace and chooses to go through the other door. He winds up getting launched into cyberspace instead as the protagonists watch from a safe distance before admitting they were merely guessing which door would launch the unlucky opener into cyberspace at random.
  • Depending on the Writer: Is Hacker's wig gel used for styling his wig or gluing it to his head? Does it come in cubes or a tube? Considering what Hacker's like, this inconsistency might actually make sense.
    • Magnetite’s properties are also rather inconsistent. While we're told the stuff has varying effects on cyber citizens, in at least one episode, it has the effect of making any cyber citizen that isn't Digit fall asleep. However, the Magnetite in that episode was a different color than the Magnetite that first appeared, so Magnetite may come in different varieties.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Despite the fact that Hacker is defeated in almost every episode (with the Grim Wreaker even destroyed in several cases), he always manages to come back at full force in the next episode.
  • Deranged Animation: In the pilot/“The Poddleville Case”, everything in Poddleville exists on bizarre CGI planes of Alien Geometries, which Jackie Lampshades frequently. The episode's animation in general also qualifies; being done by Studio B Productions, it employs their very rough and exaggerated style which stands in jarring contrast to the more clean and quasi-realistic look of the Nelvana-animated main show.
  • Desecrating the Dead: In "A Perfect Fit", Buzz damages Gigabyte's lifeless body while Hacker and Delete are trying to re-energize it. Gigabyte was briefly alive before.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Hacker does this during a racing challenge and a cooking challenge. During the cook-off, it backfires on him since the last part of the competition doesn't allow cellphone service so he can simply have someone else make his soufflé for him.
  • Dilating Door: In "Secrets of Symmetria", Ava's factory's door has a very impractical rotating mechanism that must be timed properly to pass through.
  • Diligent Hero, Slothful Villain: Hacker is portrayed as the Slothful Villain in select episodes, such as "A Time to Cook", where he secretly has pre-made meals flown in for each stage of the Cooking Duel that the kids try to win fairly
  • Disappeared Dad: Slider's father Coop. Eventually fixed when the CyberSquad helps Slider rescue him.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Part of the design for all the characters and especially evident in the non-humanoid ones.
  • The Ditz: Delete, who is both too kind and too obliviously naïve to accomplish almost any task Hacker assigns him to.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Many inhabitants of Cyberspace are this, but Digit takes the cake with the seemingly endless array of appliances stored in his chest hatch. Failing that, he can shapeshift his beak into power tools and appliances.
  • Down to the Last Play: It comes to this in the slugball game for Memoryville's Key to the City, which turns out to be a Skeleton Key. Hacker's team wins. Luckily, the CyberSquad is still able to beat Hacker at his game by finding out about the one door that the key shouldn't be used to open.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: On a few occasions, Digit will be restricted from flying. Notably, he is the first to fall victim to Hackerization, which would naturally prevent him from shutting off the device at the top of a mountain.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The original pilot, which was produced at least three years before the show debuted (tested three times in 1999 and aired once as a sneak peek in March 2000 on WNET, with a re-dubbed and re-edited version airing in January 2002 as part of the first season as "The Poddleville Case"). It's full of Deranged Animationnote  and bizarre jazz music, Jackie narrates the story, neither Digit nor Dr. Marbles appear (the final aired version has a mention of Digit dubbed in, however), and the Grim Wreaker has a black front window, instead of an orange one. Also the For Real segment accompanying the recut version is hosted by an unnamed presenter portrayed by Kareem Blackwell (best known as Quinn on Are You Afraid of the Dark?), and not by either Bianca or Harry, who had yet to be cast at that point.
    • In Season 1, Motherboard is mostly shown from a static angle; the closing credits headings use the font Mata (of Spider-Man and PlayStation infamy) instead of also using Wevli, and the Nelvana logo is a still print logonote .
  • Easily Conquered World: Cyberspace is typically in danger of being conquered by Hacker. On one occasion, he didn't even need to lift a finger in order to conquer cybernates. Nowadays, other villains have threatened to take over Cyberspace, such as Wicked or Ledge.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The stolen Egg of Benedicta in "A Tikiville Turkey Day". The Tikians believe it causes prosperity and plentiful harvests, and send the CyberSquad to retrieve it from Hacker's clutches. Creech eventually realizes that the site's verdancy is a reflection of its citizens' cooperation and care for each other, which was lost in the panic of Hacker stealing the egg.
  • Elevator Floor Announcement: Digit performs this role himself in “Raising the Bar” since the building’s elevators are disabled.
  • Elvis Impersonator: Hacker in "And They Counted Happily Ever After", when he becomes the King of Happily-Ever-After and calls himself "The big E.E.!" (Evil Elvis). His bio on the official Cyberchase site also mentions his general obsession with Elvis Presley.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Inez hates it when Matt calls her "Nezzie".
  • Endangered Soufflé: Matt and Digit are competing in a televised cooking competition with Hacker and Delete. Delete tries to sabotage Matt and Digit's soufflé by creating a loud noise to make it fall flat, but Digit, who has repeatedly been stated throughout the series to have some degree of cooking skill, says that it was possible to re-inflate the soufflé by using a certain number of drops of water on it at a certain rate.
  • Enemy Mine:
  • Evil Redhead: Wicked, Cybersite Happily-Ever-After’s resident Wicked Witch and occasional romantic interest to Hacker.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Digit has one in "R-Fair City" when trapped captive in a cage.
    Digit: Okay, I can deal with not winning the hat—but why am I in a cage? Beat A cage?! A cage! Lemme outta here!
  • Exposed to the Elements:
    • Inez and Jackie. In certain episodes when they travel to very cold or snowy cybersites, both girls are well protected at least from the waist up, but Inez still wears shorts. And if you thought that was bad, Jackie still wears an even tinier skirt, which leaves the majority of her legs open to freezing temperatures!
    • Even Cyber-citizens have this too sometimes.
  • Expy: Anyone who's watched Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog will notice how similar Hacker is to Robotnik. They're both the Large Ham Big Bads of their respective series, and Hacker's lackeys are also expies of Scratch and Grounder. Granted, Hacker is still a pretty funny villain.
  • Extradimensional Shortcut: The vortex serves this role when used to travel across Cyberspace, rather than to or from it. It's usually rendered with 3D objects, and there's little information on what it even is beyond serving as a tunnel between portals. But it's fast, unparalleledly fast, clocking the user at 1,000 cybermiles per minute.
  • Eye Glasses: Inez's and Shari's character design. Like Arthur, Inez is shown with Black Bead Eyes when she takes her glasses off.
  • Eye of Horus Means Egypt: Pyramidia and the Eye of Rom use various fractions of the design.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Prior to the events of the pilot, Hacker turned against Motherboard after he had been built to help her.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Averted in "Secrets of Symmetria", where the CyberSquad has Digit disguise himself as a robotic double of Hacker when the latter is attempting to destroy Symmetria. The guise they assemble for him is almost perfect… except they forgot about Hacker's pocket protector, allowing the real Hacker to expose Digit as a fake to his cronies.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: A lot of the mystery episodes are written this way, so viewers can solve the conundrum once they know about the math topic of the week. Others have less to do with the educational angle but are still solvable.
  • Fairy Godmother: In "The Fairy Borg Father", Zanko serves as Delete's. We also see Roarke from the Eligibility Department of the Fairy Borg Father Program. "Unhappily Ever After" reveals that the king of Happily Ever After used a fairy borg father, too.
  • Fake Defector: Every time Digit goes back to Hacker's side. Delete has also pulled this with the CyberSquad a few times, but genuinely wants to help on other occasions.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: The show occasionally refers to distances or lengths in "cybermiles" and "cyberinches", and weights in "cybergrams". However, the occasional mention of "inches", "meters", etc. (without the "cyber-" prefix) is seen.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Inside Hacker" opens In Medias Res with Matt shrunk down inside the villain's body, on a mission to tamper with Hacker's H-Drive.
  • Fat and Skinny: Buzz (short and stout) and Delete (tall and thin).
  • Feud Episode:
  • Floating Continent: Most of the cybersites. Poddleville is in the minority of spherical, planet-shaped sites. Sure, they're all in (Cyber)space, but it seems like gravity points straight down between the cybersites as a strange side effect of 2-D Space.
  • Flying Broomstick: Used by Wicked, natch. In "A Broom of One's Own", the CyberSquad test-drives her new line of brooms.
  • Foreshadowing: The events of "Hackerized" don't seem so out of the blue when you remember that previous episodes repeatedly demonstrate that the Earthlings can eat and drink various foodstuffs in Cyberspace, and thus can be affected by substances the same as any Cybercitizen. It's just that they've dodged being affected by transformative powers before, aside from the odd Shrink Ray.
  • Forced to Watch: In "A Crinkle In Time", Hacker brings Slider to Clock Rock, counting down the time until his friends are trapped in Tick Tockia forever.
  • Forced Transformation: Though always eventually undone, there are many examples.
    • Wicked is implied to have turned the prince of Pompadoria into a raven. On-screen, she turns Hacker into a porcupine and a crow, and Sorcerer Abernathy into a firefly.
    • Hacker's schemes at Frogsnorts have also leveraged magic to turn Professor Stumblesnore into a salamander and a mouse.
    • The most extreme example comes from "The Fairy Borg Father". Delete makes a wish that turns everyone in Cyberspace, except for himself and Zanko, into bunnies. The Earthlies are also unaffected since they were in the real world at the time.
  • Forgotten Framing Device: Some episodes start with a Framing Device on Earth and don't return there in the end. After Season 5, the real world appears as sparsely as Dr. Marbles, and the Earthlies might just be hanging out in Cyberspace for the same narrative purpose as an establishing scene on Earth.
  • For Want of a Nail: If the kids didn't argue over a library map they were all trying to use in the first episode, then Hacker wouldn't have infected Motherboard and the whole show would never have happened in the first place.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Averted in the series proper but played straight in the pilot.
  • Framing Device: Earth is often used as this, with the characters encountering a problem that the day's adventure in Cyberspace helps them solve.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Gigabyte, the robot Hacker tries to bring to life in "Castleblanca" and "A Perfect Fit".
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Baskerville, a yellow werewolf-cyborg typically sporting a green Badass Longcoat.
  • Funny Photo Phrase: In the end of the season one episode, "Sensible Flats", one of The Hacker's henchmen Delete gets to take a picture of him telling him to say, "Chaos". The Hacker does, but only for the flash of Delete's camera angers a nearby herd of buffalo and charges against the villains.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In "A Change of Art," Hacker's glowing sculptures are powered by a HASER beam, or "Hacker Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation."
  • Game of Nim: In "Problem Solving in Shangri-La", the Earthlies are pitted against Hacker to win a version of this game played with dragons. They all struggle to find the winning strategy, until Jackie realizes to solve the last move and work back from there to control previous turns.
  • Gambit Roulette: A heroic example in the odds episode, where the kids essentially just guess which door will eject Hacker out into Cyberspace and lead Hacker through it since the odds are 50/50.
  • Ghost Pirate: Ivanka the Invincible, “the most legendary pirate in all of Cyberspace” who now resides at the bottom of the sea.
  • Glitch Entity: Cyberstatic is a large amount of electrical energy that can scramble the data that makes up a cybersite and reduces the site to a glitchy mess. In "A Battle of Equals", Hacker reverses the polarity on Dr. Marbles' cyberstatic satellites to infect three cybersites with cyberstatic, infecting Motherboard's Control Central with a far heavier dose. The CyberSquad shuts every satellite down in time to mitigate the damage.
  • Global Currency: Snelfus are the standard currency of most cybersites…
  • Global Currency Exception: …except for a few of the more isolated ones like Nowhere, which comes to use donuts instead.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: When Hacker is trapped in Tick Tockia "forever", all he can do is imitate the cuckoo who dragged him inside, while wearing a ghastly expression.
  • Good Parents: All the kids’ parents, though scarcely mentioned, are depicted benevolently, and Slider’s father Coop is also the Big Good of the arc following “The Snelfu Snafu”. Creech's dad, Max, has earned the title of Cyberdad of the Year as of "Father's Day".
  • Green Aesop: Some early episodes dabbled in this. The cyberstatic that Hacker spreads in "A Battle of Equals" is openly an allegory for pollution. Come Season 9, environmental lessons are the main focus and played much more realistically, ousting much of the pure-math logic that Cyberspace had previously operated on.
  • Grim Up North: The Hacker's home is the Northern Frontier.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: Wicked casts a spell to make Buzz and Delete more muscular in "Team Spirit".
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Happens frequently, usually with characters associated with certain cybersites. One of the later episodes featured several of the most recent characters teaming up with the regular CyberSquad, effectively tripling the cast. They were divided into multiple teams to each defeat one of Hacker's challenges.

    Tropes H to M 
  • Halloween Episode: "Trick or Treat", "Hugs & Witches", "The Halloween Howl", and "Watts of Halloween Trouble". "Castleblanca" can also be considered a Halloween episode given its titular setting…
  • Halloween Town: Castleblanca, complete with creepy organ soundtrack and The Night That Never Ends.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: The website used to have an original birthday song performed by Inez. "Space Waste Odyssey: Part 1" opens on another one by Digit.
  • Harmless Villain:
    • Buzz and Delete aren't very dangerous despite Buzz being fairly intelligent.
    • Hacker himself becomes this by the later seasons due to Villain Decay both in- and out-of-universe. By Season 13, his evil plans include learning where ducks migrate, using a searchlight to try to see a comet, and pretending not to enjoy a picnic.
  • Hate Plague: The Spell of the Mean Green in the titular episode. It enchants Motherboard to spread a Hate Plague one corrupted cybersite at a time, turning their citizens hostile to each other.
  • Hates Being Nicknamed: Inez does not like being called "Nezzie" unless it's coming from Slider.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Digit used to be one of Hacker's henchmen along with Buzz and Delete, but he left Hacker and joined the heroes' side after he betrayed Motherboard.
  • Heart Drive: The memory chip in Hacker's H-Drive, according to "Inside Hacker", where the kids have hatched a plan to swap the chip out to change his personality. In a later episode, Hacker programs several personality-themed CPUs for Plantasaurus to be controlled by, and leaves it up to his bumbling henchmen to insert the correct one.
  • Home Base: Motherboard Control Central is very often where the CyberSquad recieves their mission briefing and stays when they aren't needed on a cybersite. Motherboard and Digit (and formerly Dr. Marbles) live there, whereas the Earth kids are portaled into Control Central to plan and regroup.
  • Home Field Advantage: In one episode, the gang visits Radopolis and competes in a skate-off with the villains, where they find themselves losing at first because the competition rink is different from the practice rink due to Hacker's villainous meddling.
  • Hope Spot: Whenever it seems like the characters can finally rid Motherboard of the virus. Particularly harsh in "Fit To Be Heroes", where the new Encryptor Chip really seems to be working for a moment.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Digit carries far more in his chest hatch than should be able to fit. Naturally, mainly played for comedy, but can bleed into more serious scenes as it seems to just be how the hatch works.
  • Idea Bulb: Delete's antennae spark with electricity on the rare occasion that he has an idea. Interestingly, early material cited these discharges as the reason for his memory being bad. Also, there have been a few occasions where Digit's "cyber cam" (the ball on a wire on his baseball cap) flashes when he understands something.
  • Identity Amnesia: Hacker after getting into an accident in "Raising the Bar." He gets better, at the expense of Buzz developing the same amnesia.
  • Idiot Hero: Matt, at times, though it's more a result of his recklessness than him actually not being bright. At his rashest, as in "A Whale of a Tale", he leaps into life-threatening situations and is impossible for his friends to dissuade.
  • I Have Your Wife: Capturing Marbles has no leverage for Motherboard, since if he's released then he can repair her with an encryptor chip. The kids on the other hand, would be easy pickings to make Motherboard relent to Hacker or at least bargain with him. Fortunately, negotiations never go past the "I have your wife" video call on the rare occasion that Hacker manages to nab them.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In "Digit's B-Day Surprise", Hacker exploits Digit's feelings about his clumsiness which escalate into this.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: Digit disguises himself as Hacker in "Secrets of Symmetria". In the end, the real Hacker notices that the fake's pocket protector is missing — the one asymmetrical part of his design.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The heroes are shrunk down via Shrink Ray in "Inside Hacker", "Soil Turmoil", and "The Lilting Loons", and due to one of Zorgon the Evil Wizard's potions in the novel, Cyberchase: The Search for the Power Orb. Hacker has also been affected by a shrink ray in "Trading Places", and this trope is one of the ways Wicked has gotten revenge on him.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Happens in episodes like "The Hacker's Challenge" and "Blowin' in the Wind".
  • Inflating Body Gag: "On the Line" tries to play this somewhat seriously, with Hacker transforming himself into a floating balloon to slip into Motherboard Control Central. He deflates when the transformation is reversed.
  • Inside The Internet: The basic setting of the show, Cyberspace, is supposed to be a literal physical representation of the internet.
  • Insistent Terminology: Hacker always insists on being known as "The Hacker".
  • It's All My Fault: Digit blames himself for what happens to Motherboard in "The Snelfu Snafu", since he was the one who put in the Encryptor Chip.
  • Jackass Genie: Warren the Wayward Genie, who is a feared tyrannical conqueror (who still abides by his mother).
  • Kaiju:
    • In "A Whale of a Tale", Hacker reprograms Spout, a giant robotic whale, to go on a rampage through R-Fair City.
    • Hacker takes the idea for Plantasaurus from a horror movie and brings the monster to life. The plan falls flat because Buzz and Delete put in the CPU with the wrong personality.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ledge. In his first appearance, he not only manages to completely “Hackerize” Sensible Flats and take it over without any difficulty, he outright ''turns the CyberSquad against each other by exploiting their shortcomings'', with Inez only being able to stop him because she was lucky enough to avoid the gas’s initial effects.
  • Landfill Beyond the Stars: Discardia and another cybersite named the Garbage Dump both fill this role. The cyberjunk that surrounds the dump makes it hazardous to fly near. Perfectamundo also nearly succumbs to this fate when their own garbage piles up in "Trash Creep".
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Inverted with the villainous Hacker and his protruding, upturned jaw. Just look at that thing, you could cut steel with it!
  • Large Ham: Hacker. Jackie also has a habit of announcing that they're "DOOMED!" very loudly.
    Jackie: Cyberspace is doomed, doomed I tell you, DOOOOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-OOMED!
  • Law Procedural: "Sensible Flats" features the CyberSquad defending Hacker in Judge Trudy's courtroom, in exchange for the anti-virus code to cure Motherboard. Hacker is later tried for pollution in "The X-Factor", but is innocent this time.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Listen for a soft techno beat when the kids go into educational mode. The extended, more synth-heavy version that is used occasionally is somewhat reminiscent of the Microsoft Windows XP setup tune.
    • The victory theme.
    • Crisis Zone.
    • Buzz and Delete's theme, a fittingly bumbling chromatic string melody over techno drum beats.
    • An orchestral piece that sounds similar to the theme from Jaws is used in almost every episode whenever the kids are in danger or are being chased by villains. This is likely stock music, as it was also heard in a few episodes of Arthur.
  • Licensed Game: Quite a few were made on the PBS Kids website, the most notable being an educational Point-and-Click Adventure Game called The Quest, often advertised at the end of episodes.
    • There's also two CD-ROM games released, Cyberchase: Castleblanca Quest and Cyberchase: Carnival Chaos.
  • Lily-Pad Platform: A variant appears in the episode about arithmetic and geometric progressions. The kids must get across a wide river, and all they have is a single large lily pad about four feet across. When they put the pad in the water, it starts magically reproducing, generating a new full-size pad every couple of seconds, and the new pads do the same thing. So the total number of lily pads doubles every couple of seconds. It isn't long before they have a bridge of lily pads stretching all the way across the river.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: The CyberSquad gets into a fair few of these. Sometimes used to build quick suspense during an Act Break.
  • Logical Weakness: When Buzz is transformed into a giant ring donut in "Measure For Measure", Jackie and Matt get past him by diving through the center. The Earthlies, Coop, and Slider also manage to roll Buzz away.
  • Logic Bomb: In "Size Me Up", Hacker plans to infect Motherboard with a new virus called a "logic buster". Her hard drive would not have survived.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: One episode had Hacker attempting to kidnap a rabbit to complete his lucky charm collection.
  • MacGuffin: The Encryptor Chip, the replacement for Motherboard's vital component that Hacker damaged, at least in the early seasons. Some episodes or arcs will have specific items that the heroes need to obtain to resolve the plot.
  • Magic Skirt: Jackie's small blue skirt/skort, which pretty much never moves.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Part of Wicked's plot to scam the buyers of her magic brooms in "A Broom of One's Own". In "Spellbound", she casts a spell on all the citizens of Pompadoria to make them adore her and do whatever she says.
  • The Maze: The CyberSquad gets a GPS to navigate the Sandmaze in Pyramida, but it breaks before their return trip, forcing them to remember their steps in reverse. Cyberchase: The Quest features a minigame based on this. There is also Merlin's Maze within Frogsnorts, where Hacker traps Shari Spotter.
  • Mechanical Animals: All animals in Cyberspace use this motif to some degree—even Digit is a robotic cybird.
  • Medium Blending: Most of the characters and props are in Thick-Line 2D, and were cel-shaded until Season 6, which introduced a more automated shading effect. Motherboard, the mathematical objects in the vortex, and the Establishing Shot of Poddleville are all usually rendered in 3D, as is the occasional prop (like the ark in "The Cyberchase Movie"). The backgrounds are nearly always lineless after the early episodes, and use bold texture fills.
  • Mega Maelstrom: The show is really fond of this. Sometimes, the whirlpool is an obstacle that the characters need to avoid. Other times, they get sucked in but are spit out high into the air.
  • Midair Bobbing: Hacker floats in this way after turning himself into a balloon in "On the Line".
  • Mini-Me: Widget highly resembles a smaller Digit. His backstory is unclear, beyond the original website calling him Digit's pet, strangely enough.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Delete is rather kind, loves bunnies, and usually doesn't seem to understand the impact of his boss's villainous orders. When Hacker tries to ruin things like Delete's favorite holidays, the bot is livid, and even quits to help the CyberSquad on one such occasion. He is contrasted with Buzz, who, though still incompetent as a henchman and like a sibling to Delete, is loyal to Hacker's cause and has distant designs on taking his boss's place.
  • Mistaken for Transformed: In "On the Line", Matt is chased by a green and purple snake while he knows Hacker has the Transformatron. Interestingly, he's correct to think that Hacker just transformed himself, but doesn't see the evidence until just after the snake backs off.
    Matt: If you are The Hacker, I like the old look better…
  • Monster Is a Mommy: In one episode, the Monster of the Week Choocrocca turns out to be a mother protecting her baby. They use the baby's body proportions to figure out how tall the mother is from her footprint, and use that to narrow down which cave she's hiding in.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Digit used to work for Hacker, but joins Motherboard's side when he learns of Hacker's evil doings. Expanded material on the website reveals that Hacker forcibly dragged him onto his exile ship anyway, so he was always a Minion with an F in Evil and tried to sabotage Hacker.
  • The Movie: Season 9 featured The Cyberchase Movie, a two-part, hour-long special in which the CyberSquad learn about the importance of living space in animals' habitats. They also re-encounter Dr. Marbles; and yes, they once again get the better of Hacker. "Space Waste Odyssey" is also considered a movie, which retroactively suggests the first two-parter special, "The Snelfu Snafu", might be as well.
  • Moving the Goalposts: When engaging in a skating competition against Hacker in Radopolis, Hacker reveals there's a rule that allows him to change the real arena if he wins a current round. The kids figure out that while the perimeter is the same, the area is smaller after the first two rounds. Jackie bombs her segment, Matt does fairly well despite faceplanting, and Inez eventually realizes that she needs to do small tricks to fit in the arena, getting a full score. They then turn the tables on Hacker and use the rule to make the area even smaller and mess with his last skater.
  • Multi-Part Episode: "The Snelfu Snafu", "The Cyberchase Movie", and "Space Waste Odyssey" are double-length episodes that are each split into two parts. "The Snelfu Snafu: Part 1" ends with a To Be Continued… caption.
  • Musical Spoiler: In "The Snelfu Snafu", this gives away the twist. When the Encryptor Chip is retrieved at last, it should be a cause for celebration. The protagonists are appropriately happy about it. So why is the music a tense, hanging violin note, which then yields to sinking bass piano the moment the chip is inserted?

    Tropes N to R 
  • The Napoleon: Inez does not take kindly to being called small or any of its synonyms. However, she has no problem with calling herself the smallest, as shown in an "EcoHaven CSE" where the kids compare footprints.note 
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes:
    • Hacker has this attitude with his evil plans, and struggles to come up with new ones on multiple occasions. In "An Urchin Matter", he has a file cabinet of unused schemes queued up for when he has the money to make them happen.
    • Averted at the end of "Back to Canalia's Future". After losing the chance to use Pearl's time machine, Hacker tries to build his own; it just happens not to work.
    • A heroic example in the chase for the Encryptor Chip, which would cure Motherboard if restored. As the virus destroyed her original chip, the new one is an exact replica that Professor Archimedes finished in "Eureeka". Instead of having Archimedes start on another replica, the CyberSquad searches for the existing one and sacrifices it in Season 3.
    • In "Fit To Be Heroes", the CyberSquad finds a template for the Encryptor Chip within Control Central, not realizing it was for an early model. Though still not involving Archimedes, they do try to complete it, learn it was for an early model of the chip, and are never shown searching for other versions' templates.
  • Never Say "Die":
    Digit: Excuse me! We're talkin' life and d- you know what here!
    Hacker: Oh, just a swarming cloud of envy and disease; death and destruction; wickedness and misfortune - and there's nothing that Motherboard can do to stop it!
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Digit idolized the current champion of "The Fearless Chef" (a cross between Iron Chef and The Amazing Race) but when Jackie and Inez tried to rescue him after he was kidnapped, he was quickly revealed as a bit of a Jerkass. And a coward.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • After Hacker's first attempt to destroy Motherboard, Dr. Marbles elected to banish him to the Northern Frontier rather than decommission him. This would come back to bite them all back later when Hacker returned with the virus that crippled Motherboard.
    • In "The Snelfu Snafu: Part 1" the group enters an auction to win a copy of the Encryptor Chip that will fix Motherboard's virus. It turns out that the contest was actually set up by Hacker who created a fake Encryptor Chip. Once inserted into Motherboard's computer she is overwritten and replaced by Hacker, allowing him to take over Cyberspace for the first time!
  • The Night That Never Ends: Inverted in "A Perfect Fit", where the heroes realize they only need to block out the sun for one moment to stop Hacker from resurrecting Gigabyte.
  • No Ending: Because of how the show keeps being resurrected every few years for new seasons, there has never been any kind of conclusive ending with either Hacker being defeated for good or Motherboard being cured of the virus.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Downplayed with the Encryptor Chip. Only one prototype has been found as of "Fit To Be Heroes", but Professor Archimedes created an exact replica of the final chip back in "Eureeka", mid-Season 1.
  • Not Me This Time: In "The X-Factor", Hacker is tried in a town meeting for polluting Perfectamundo, blocking sunlight with spots forming on the cybersite's glass dome. Besides his penchant for chaos, his factory is giving off orange steam that matches the color of the spots. Hacker proves his innocence by shutting down the factory for a while and pointing out that orange spots are forming regardless.
  • Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: In "Digit's B-Day Surprise", Digit's friends cover up his Surprise Party by claiming it's for Judge Trudy. Digit is upset enough at this to let Hacker manipulate and nearly reprogram him. Thankfully, the partygoers are ready to reveal the surprise in what is, unbeknownst to them, the last moment.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Hacker shifts between this and Harmless Villain depending on the occasion and how dire the show gets.
  • Notzilla: Chewcrocca.
  • No Antagonist: "Buzz and the Tree" is the first episode not to feature Hacker. The focus is instead on healing Buzz and Delete's friendship.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In "Escape from Merlin's Maze", a letter from Matt that Shari finds really from Hacker has three, all of which are pointed out after the fact: 1) Matt hates his full name so he'd never sign anything as "Matthew", 2) being your average 11-year-old boy, he would never sign anything with a heart and 3) he has no idea what Merlin's Maze is or where it is.
  • Page-Turn Surprise: Inez did this unintentionally in her diary by splitting the word "meaningful" across two pages. Jackie only reads the first page and thinks Inez was calling her "mean".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Hacker often uses transparent disguises to trick the protagonists. As fair play goes, he also sometimes falls for them, like in "Inside Hacker" where Jackie and Digit pretend to be repairpersons to retrieve Matt from him.
  • Pet the Dog: Anytime Hacker decides to show he has a heart.
    • Buzz and Delete overall have a lot more of these than Hacker, including a literal dog petting moment when they watch over and play with Presto, the magician's dog, and grow quite attached to him.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Didge, you're a genius!" when Digit makes a helpful observation, especially when he doesn't realize it.
  • Physical God: Zeus, ruler of the cybersite Mount Olympus.
  • Pig Latin: In "Codename: Icky", Matt tries using this to talk to Inez and Jackie without the eavesdropping Hacker understanding. Hacker knows it and responds in turn, to Matt's surprise over the next few scenes, and forcing the CyberSquad to invent more secure codes.
  • Pilot: Episode 7 "The Poddleville Case" was created as the series pilot in 1999, evident from having different character designs and music from the rest of the series. The 1999 version was found and released on the Internet Archive in 2021, and still has some differences from the version that aired as part of the series in 2002, including:
    • The show's logo was different originally.
    • In the original version of the episode, everyone had a different voice actor.
    • Jackie serves as the narrator during the pilot, presenting the episode like it was a flashback. Additionally, two scenes at the beginning and end of the episode featuring her were removed, the opening one shows her about to make breakfast before being summoned to Cyberspace, and the closing one shows her resuming her breakfast and deciding she'd rather have cereal than eggs.
    • Certain lines were redone, removed, or added between the original version and the aired version. Notably, the power pods are always referred to as "eggs" in the original, drawing a parallel to Jackie's Framing Device where she makes breakfast on Earth.
    • The portal sequence was redone between the original and aired versions to have it look more like the one used in other episodes.
    • Motherboard looked completely different in the original version, more like a sine wave with floating blue eyes. The aired version uses her final design.
    • New scrolling sequences were added in the aired version, possibly to compensate for time lost when certain scenes were removed.
    • Since Digit was added later in the show's production, he doesn't appear in either version. However, the aired version has Inez mentioning his absence.
    • Certain scenes were digitally redone in the aired version.
  • Planet of Hats: Most of the Cybersites the kids visit are based around one specific theme. Perhaps justified in that they're based somewhat off websites.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Digit, although not specifically a parrotnote , is an avian who can perfectly mimic anyone he hears.
  • Power Crystal: A number of mystical energy crystals serve as Plot Devices in several episodes and story arcs.
    • The Crystal of Kalamoor.
    • The Prism of Penguia.
  • The Power of Friendship: The CyberSquad always beat Hacker with their teamwork.
  • The Power of the Sun: Planning to bring his robot monster, Gigabyte, back to life in "A Perfect Fit", Hacker tries to harness a special alignment of the cybersun atop the Giant Pyramid of Petaluma.
  • Punny Name: For starters, we have the Wild West-themed town of Sensible Flats. The people are sensible and the land is flat, but the phrase "sensible flats" usually refers to women's shoes (i.e. the opposite of impractical high-heels).
  • Putting On My Thinking Cap: Jackie paces, Inez does a headstand, and Matt plays with his yo-yo.
  • Put on a Bus: Dr. Marbles was extremely prominent in the first three seasons, but he's only appeared twice since then. The common explanation is that he's in hiding, trying to develop a cure for Motherboard under the radar, and it's always a special event when the heroes or villains find him. In "The Cyberchase Movie," he's been gone long enough to grow a beard.
  • Pyramid Power: There are powerful beings, artifacts, and rituals surrounding the Egyptian-style pyramids of Pyramidia and the Mesoamerican-style step pyramids on Jimaya.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Cyber-quicksand appears in several episodes exhibiting this property, and even has version numbers indicating how fast it sucks.
  • Race Against the Clock: In nearly every episode, the kids have a limited time to stop Hacker.
  • Recycled In Space: ReBootWITH EDUCATION!
  • Remember the New Guy?: Wanda in "Designing Mr. Perfect." While Wicked's wand has been around for as long as Wicked, it hasn't been shown as a sentient being before. However, everyone seems to be aware of this and know her by name with no introductions necessary.
  • Reverse Psychology: In an episode where the trio has to beat Hacker in a Game of Nim, the kids have figured out that they can get a guaranteed win if they go first and make the right moves but they know that Hacker will refuse if they ask to go first. So they tell Hacker to go first, which succeeds in making Hacker grow suspicious and insist that they go first instead to which they cheerfully agree.
  • Riddling Sphinx: One of the characters with a clue to the Universal Vortex Opener's location in "A Fraction of a Chance". Naturally, the Sphinx is found on cybersite Pyramidia. Digit and Wicked must figure out how many sand cones to feed it.
  • Road-Sign Reversal: Hacker stops to cheat in this way during "The Creech Who Would Be Crowned". It doesn't work on Creech, since she's already worried about taking a wrong turn after her last race.
  • Robot Me: Hacker makes a robot clone of an old schoolmate, Max, to crash the Father's Day parade in his honor and ruin Max's reputation.
  • Role Swap Plot:
    • In "Trading Places", Buzz and Delete become smart and take Hacker's place as the episode's villains.
    • In "Raising The Bar", Buzz becomes the boss when Hacker suffers Easy Amnesia and seems to revert to a people-pleasing assistant personality. As Delete is unaffected this time, he hates what his friend has become and works to return things to the status quo.
  • A Rotten Time to Revert: In one episode, the Hacker becomes a giant robot thanks to his transformation machine and tries to lift a castle. However, Cyber Squad manage to reverse the effect, and the Hacker is reverted to normal while he's still holding the castle, resulting in him being crushed under it - though he survives and vows to return.
  • Running Gag: Hacker's wig gel, all of the Earth kids' catchphrases, Wicked's jealousy, Sam Vander Rom and Erica Ram.
  • Rushmore Refacement: In "The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2", Hacker has made a "Mount Hackermore" out of one of the mountains on cybersite Nowhere. There's a similar gag in "Measure For Measure" where he places a Hacker-headed Sphinx on Pyramidia.

    Tropes S to T 
  • Sea of Sand: Pyramidia amounts to this when the characters have to stray from the Build Like an Egyptian architecture.
  • Secret Word: To find the Universal Vortex Opener in "A Fraction of a Chance", Digit and Wicked use fractions as this. They must solve a riddle using the previous fraction to be given their next hint.
  • Series Continuity Error: "Hacker Hugs a Tree" is a glaring contradiction to how Hacker's exile was presented in previous material. Where previous flashbacks had him launched away in a cyberpod, with Digit secretly in tow, Hacker is here shown to reach the Northern Frontier alone by portal. Season 12 also introduces Harmony, Hacker's niece, and Bridget, Digit's cousin. They imply that unmentioned relatives were created alongside Hacker and Digit, something never suggested before.
  • Series Goal: Cure Motherboard's virus; fend Hacker off in the meantime. Stymied in "The Snelfu Snafu" when Hacker sabotages the Encryptor Chip, the main cure the heroes were vying to find, though other options remain.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • "A Perfect Fit" gives Hacker a once-in-a-year opportunity to bring Gigabyte to life, after a similar plan failed in "Castleblanca".
    • "On the Line" squeezes another episode out of the previous season's Hacker's Transformatron Story Arc.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • Inez is about as sesquipedalian as a nine-year-old can get.
    • Creech can get like this too. In fact, it's how they met in the Tikiville race episode. Matt and Jackie decided to make fun of Inez's vocabulary which led to her quitting the CyberSquad temporarily and working with Creech for most of Creech's introduction episode.
    • Buzz and Delete in "Trading Places" when they're made extra-smart.
  • The Shangri-La: Literally appears as a Cybersite, complete with the unflappable, all-knowing Master Pi. There are also dragons. Lots of dragons.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: In Shari's introduction episode, she refers to Inez and Jackie as Matt's girlfriends. He's quick to say that no; no they're not.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first episode, when Motherboard introduces herself to the kids, Inez responds with, "Right, and I'm Xena: Warrior Princess." Also, in the same episode, the kids end up on an island, and Matt doesn't know where to go. Inez asks if someone will please just vote her off this island. Jackie replies, telling Inez not to worry because they have a way to survive.
    • Swipe is reported to have stolen the ram from King Ramalamadingdong and the dip from Queen Dipdedipdedip, both references to "Who Put the Bomp" by Barry Mann.
    • Mr. Zero laments that people think he is a nowhere man.
    • In "Hugs and Witches" Digit exclaims that the world he and the CyberSquad are currently on is scary and that he keeps waiting for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to show up.
    Inez: Uh, they were the same person, Didge.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Inez is The Smart Guy of the three main characters and the smallest (but she doesn't like being reminded of that), although all of them are smart. Buzz is shorter and smarter than Delete, although both of them… not so much.
  • Sixth Ranger: Slider, who appears occasionally with the others.
  • Skate Heaven Is a Place on Earth: And it's named Radopolis. …And it's not literally on Earth, but still.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Falls firmly on the idealistic side, with occasional forays into cynic territory for about 5 minutes.
  • Slow Doors: Featured in the Tomb of Rom in "Clock Like An Egyptian". Thanks to building a timekeeping device, the CyberSquad gets through them just in time.
  • The Slow Path: In "Hugs & Witches", Hacker traps Lady Ada Lovelace and Dr. Marbles inside her time machine, which is operated from the outside and set to travel to the beginning of time. The CyberSquad turns things around on Buzz and Delete, who are implied to have to wait out returning to the present.
  • Speak in Unison: In "A Broom of One's Own", Wicked's brainwashed army says "Wicked is our leader, we do what she says" in unison very often.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": "That's 'The Hacker' to you!" Serves as one of the page quotes. Digit, having worked for Hacker, seems to sometimes still include the "The" by habit.
  • Spelling Song: The last line of the theme song spells one half of the word "Cyberchase".
    The chase is on! Let's wait/And C-Y-B-E-R-chase!
  • Spot the Imposter: In "Secrets of Symmetria", Digit's Hacker disguise thoroughly fools Buzz and Delete. When Hacker himself shows up, the bots are in a position to decide who the fake is.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Try as they might, the CyberSquad are never able to get the cure for Motherboard's virus, which is a necessary Plot Device to keep the show going. The debilitating effects of the virus were the reason that Motherboard had to recruit the CyberSquad to help her; and if Motherboard got cured, then she wouldn't need to summon her "Earthlies" to Cyberspace anymore. Although they're increasingly shown already being in Cyberspace for recreation, and uncovering Hacker's scheme by coincidence.
    • Immediately after major events (like Hacker taking control from Motherboard for a time), everything goes straight back to the kids foiling Hacker's plans.
    • In addition, Hacker's been the recipient of any number of misfortunes following the destruction of his plans - he's suffered potent viruses, been blasted off into Cyberspace, even bewitched good by Wicked - yet at the beginning of each new episode, he's somehow exactly back to normal.
  • Stock Audio Clip:
    • A clip of Hacker screaming ("YAAAAHHHH!") is used several times in the early seasons.
    • Inez's gasp. It is even used in the introduction segment before the show's funding credits.
    • Inez's giggle from "R-Fair City" (when catching Hacker trying to cheat at a carnival game) is re-used in several subsequent episodes.
    • In "A Battle of Equals", a glitched Motherboard speaks only in scattered words sampled from dialogue from other episodes ("Hacker alert! Find... Find... Find...").
    • Several characters have small grunts and laughs that are frequently re-used. It's particularly obvious with Buzz for a few seasons after his voice actor changed, but his stock audio didn't.
  • Story Arc: Uniquely for an Edutainment Show, there are many:
    • The initial arc involved the kids trying to retrieve a new and rare Encryptor Chip (a device of Motherboard's destroyed by Hacker's virus, that would enable her to completely recover), culminating in the "Snelfu Snafu" two-parter. Since it spanned the entirety of the show's first Nelvana/WNET run, it can be considered a Myth Arc.
    • The second story arc in seasons four and five involved Hacker using a Transformatron built by him and Coop and searching for its power source, the Network Interface Card (or NIC for short) and the kids trying to keep it away from him.
    • The third and current story arc starting around season eight focuses on Hacker trying to reverse his decayed villain image after years of being defeated by the CyberSquad, and newer villains, like Ledge and The Zusk, trying to usurp Hacker's spot as the top villain in Cyberspace.
  • Strawman Political: In-universe; Matt tries this when Hacker goes up for election in "True Colors". It doesn't end too well.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: Three Earth kids sent Inside The Internet.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Hacker to Buzz and Delete. Constantly.
  • Team Pet: Digit to a certain extent as a cybird, although he also often serves as The Lancer and The Heart to the kids.
  • Teleporter Accident: In "Be Reasonable", Hacker and the bots are ejected from the Cybrary by teleporter pad. Unlike when the CyberSquad traveled by one, it doesn't work quite right. Their physical features are shuffled between them.
    Hacker: It can't be! I'm a duncebucket!
  • Tempting Fate: From "Return to Sensible Flats":
    Buzz: Hey, Boss! An angry mob is coming this way fast!
    Hacker: Relax, you neurotic numbskull! It would take a herd of wild buffalo to knock down that gate!
    (A herd of wild buffalo knock down the gate)
    Delete: Did you say "buffalo", boss?
    Hacker: Zip it.
  • Thick-Line Animation: It was a show made in the early 2000s, so it’s bound to be this.
  • Threads of Fate: In one episode, the Cyber Squad meet the three fates of Greek myth. One of the fates cuts a string when someone's time is up.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Except in this case, it's made up of two girls and one boy.
  • Time Machine:
    • In "Hugs & Witches", Hacker traps Lady Ada Lovelace and Dr. Marbles in Lovelace's time machine, which is set to return to the beginning of time. The CyberSquad steps in to free them, and Buzz and Delete end up trapped inside once the countdown finishes.
    • In "Back to Canalia's Future", Child Prodigy Pearl invents one to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the water levels are going down in Canalia. Hacker steals it but can't manage to travel to the time he wants. He returns to the present and tries to bring the machine to the Grim Wreaker, giving the CyberSquad a chance to retrieve Pearl's time machine.
  • Title Theme Tune: The theme song is bookended with the show's name, in spoken and half-spelled form: "The chase is on! Just wait and C-Y-B-E-R-chase!"
    • The Spanish dub pushes this even further. The second verse seems to run out of lyrics and resort to restating the show's name.
      Aqui vamos, Cyberchase / Estamos por entrar / Juntos hasta el final / Ya llega Cyberchase / ¡Preparense! Pues sí / ¡Ya comienza Cyberchase!translation 
  • Token Trio: Matt, Jackie, and Inez, although it subverts the typical example by having two girls and Matt being the only white character.
  • Totally Radical: Radopolis's hat.
    • More. If you read the kids' profiles Matt's favorite music is "anything by Will Smith". Seriously?
    • Basically, this show is from the early 2000s and it shows.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Donuts for Buzz.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: When Hacker seizes control of Radopolis, Matt steps in and strikes a deal with Hacker that if they beat him in a skateboard competition, he'll be forced to leave. If he wins, the CyberSquad must never return to Cyberspace. Matt accepts the deal, much to the horror of the others. It isn't until they come dangerously close to losing and Hacker demands that Inez be made his cheerleader that he realizes how foolish his actions were.
  • Trauma Button Ending: The kids are scared by Hacker's growing toy frog in "Trick or Treat", and end up running from a kid in a frog costume once back home.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Dr. Marbles built Hacker, who turned against Motherboard and him. Ironically, Hacker built Digit, who turned against him for Motherboard and Marbles. Widget breaks this cycle.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Jackie and Inez to Matt.

    Tropes U to Z 
  • Ultimate Job Security: Motherboard and Dr. Marbles. Hacker once tried to beat Motherboard in an election, but failed.
  • Under the Sea: Aquari-Yum is a giant fishbowl filled with food-shaped landmarks. Later cybersites like Mermaidos and Coralina involve underwater exploration, but they also have land, whereas Aquari-Yum is fully submerged.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Wicked and Hacker are like this when they aren't fed up with each other.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the very first episode, "Lost Your Marbles", we learn that it was the kids' attempt to use a library map that allowed Hacker to breach Motherboard's defenses.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Even cybercitizens will call the universe containing Earth "the real world", with Delete in "Secrets of Symmetria" being one such example.
  • Vetinari Job Security: The reason why Motherboard needs Doctor Marbles so badly? He's the only one that can fix her, providing the Ultimate Job Security. Not that this prevents him from being Put on a Bus
    • In one episode, the drum player from one of the best bands on Mount Olympus was kidnapped and convinced by Hacker that he'd be better appreciated as a solo act. The rest of the team was already thinking of dumping him, as they didn't think that he added anything to the band. Turned out, he was the most important member, since he seems to be the only one who can keep the rhythm and who plays on every beat (the day's lesson). Without him, the music was awful. The drummer is eventually convinced to come back and he reunites with his bandmates, who finally realize how important he is.
  • Villain Decay: Hacker used to be a Gadgeteer Genius who committed some grand crime Once per Episode. After the show ran for so many years and had the kids defeat Hacker so many times, this was eventually heavily lampshaded. As of Season 8, Hacker is trying to renew his evil image because no one in Cyberspace is afraid of him anymore. The Story Arc involves a humanoid borg named Ledge trying to outsmart him as a villain; Ledge being Hacker's former fan until becoming disillusioned when Hacker dismissed him for his failure.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Happens a few times, most notably inside the Hacker statue in “Fortress of Attitude”.
  • Weird Currency: The "Trading Places" episode has donuts being used as currency to trade ship parts with.
  • The Wild West: Sensible Flats is based on an Old West town. Hacker seems partial to the place, and wins a plot of land there to use as a secondary base of operations.
  • Wily Walrus: Walter is a crafty prankster walrus who guards the Ice Palace. He stalls the marching penguins and refuses to let them enter unless they solve a problem.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Downplayed; the kids all met each other before entering Cyberspace, although literally only a few minutes beforehand. Digit is a stranger to them all at the beginning, however.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Delete uses one to convince the CyberSquad to come to the Northern Frontier so Hacker can trap them. While it's used to set up Delete's acting skills, Digit knows the bot too well to believe the gambit, and gets in an "I told you this would happen!" once the trap is sprung.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Cost Creech an important race in her backstory in "The Creech Who Would Be Crowned".
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Discussed in "Watts of Halloween Trouble" when it looks like the frozen portal system has trapped the Earthlies in Cyberspace.
  • You Mean "Xmas": "Starlight Night" seems to combine elements of Christmas (gift-giving and caroling) and New Year's Eve (relighting the stars of Cyberspace in a fashion similar to the countdown to the midnight balldrop in Times Square). Inverted with "A Tikiville Turkey Day", where despite the title, the holiday is exclusively called Thanksgiving within the episode.
  • Younger Than They Look: When the CyberSquad finds Coop, they discover this trope applies since he was time warped from magnetite exposure. At first, Slider refuses to believe the old man in front of him is really his father; fortunately Coop still remembers the secret handshake he and Slider shared before his disappearance.

Stay right where you are—it's Cybertropes For Real.

  • Butt-Monkey: Harry. Toned down in the later seasons' sketches.
  • Cousin Oliver: In Season 11, new characters were added: Bianca's nephew, Jaden, and Harry's niece, Courtney. All of the segments featured the adults accompanied, assisted, and educated by the children. In Season 12, Bianca and Harry were dropped from the show entirely, effectively being replaced by Jaden and Courtney, and even younger characters were added alongside them: Jaden's cousin, Kimmie, and Courtney's friend, Alex. In Season 13, all of these characters were replaced by entirely new children, who have no known relation to Bianca or Harry. Since Season 12, adults are no longer prominently featured in the segments.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The For Real segment accompanying "The Poddleville Case" does not feature either Bianca or Harry, with the presenter instead being an unnamed host portrayed by Are You Afraid of the Dark? actor Kareem Blackwell. In lieu of playing a character with a specific everyday problem as was customary for later segments, Kareem instead just gives the audience a straightforward documentary-style tour of the STOMP stage show in New York City.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: A rare variant where the character IS wearing underwear, In "Harry Does Lunch" when Harry is asked to return the Captain Pomodoro costume after being fired he runs home in red longjohns covering his crotch with a newspaper (despite the fact that what he's wearing would cover up necessary parts)
  • Hanging Judge: In "Harry Makes a Mess", Harry imagines one sentencing Mr. Sleazé to a fifty-year laundry-cleaning prison sentence, all for reading off a false blanket claim in a stain remover ad. The judge's decision is final, even when both parties protest that it will destroy Sleazé's family, and she doesn't let Harry withdraw the charges. Lucky it was a Fantasy Sequence.
  • Lots of Luggage: One of the segments has Bianca going camping with her friend. The friend mocks her for taking three bags. Bianca says it's nothing, only for the friend to open one bag and remove a sequined party dress.
  • No Fourth Wall: In contrast to the main show; both Bianca and Harry speak to the viewer directly when explaining their predicaments and devising solutions to them, also providing instructions for viewers on how to find any activities referenced on the official website.
  • One-Steve Limit: While For Real host Bianca DeGroat goes by her real name, Matthew A. Wilson has his name changed to Harry Wilson instead. This is likely because the animated portion of the show already has a main character named Matt.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: In one of the segments:
    Mr. Sleaze: It's... Sleazé.
  • Recursive Canon: The true plot of the Cyberchase: Know Your Dough Marathon is that Bianca and Harry are playing fictional versions of themselves that viewers are familiar with. They interact with the director and crew. Harry needs the money from hosting the marathon so he can afford a dinner date in the final episode's For Real segment… which is in-character and makes no mention of being scripted like the marathon itself.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of "Keeping it Positive", Harry fails to make the team, but sees a flyer for an astronaut training program. Oddly enough, the segment with the program was a Bianca segment.
  • Undercrank: Fast motion is frequently used in the "For Real" segments, especially in the early seasons. One of many examples is when Bianca measures an entire running track twice to see if the inner and outer lanes are the same distance to the finish line despite having different starting positions. She tires herself out from this and collapses when the actual race starts.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Cyberchase For Real seems to be set in a completely different universe from nearly everything else Cyberchase-related, with any references to the main animated show only made within the context of it being a fictional series in-universe. Numerous episodes see the hosts go to the actual Cyberchase website and print off activity sheets that they encourage the viewer to also check out themself, for example, and in "Bianca's Dogged Pursuit", Matt helps Bianca out… as a lifeless plastic figurine on her Cyberchase alarm clock.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: In "The Dumas Diamond", Harry imagines himself receiving a yacht as a reward for returning the titular lost diamond to its billionaire owner — and shows up to search for it in a ridiculously over-the-top captain's hat and blazer.


Video Example(s):



Cyberchase's end credits are accompanied by an instrumental version of the show's theme song.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / EndingTheme

Media sources: