Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Living Books

Go To

  • Adaptation Displacement: Some of the games are more well-known than the books they were based off, which is a little jarring given that the games included the original books. Specific examples:
    • Many of the Arthur books are far more well known than their original iterations. In fact, some people have thought that the games were based off the show, despite being released several years beforehand.
    • Sheila Rae, the Brave is more well known than the book.
    • Harry and the Haunted House and Ruff's Bone are both more well-known than the books, but this is justified since those were made to be Living Books.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A fair amount of fans pretend D.W. The Picky Eater isn't a Living Book, saying the series ended with Arthur's Computer Adventure instead. Most of this results from it being outsourced to Media Station, a company previously known for producing generally cheaper quality Living Books clones and most of the Disney's Animated Storybook series.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • D.W.'s Dub Name Change to Dorita in Spanish has become quite humorous as the show has progressed. We have since learned that being called Dora is one of her Berserk Buttons.
    • In the "Frankenfish" activity in Arthur's Computer Adventure, the names of the fish will be changed into portmanteaus of the actual species. One portmanteau is Sharktopus. Even more hilarious is that the design of this Sharktopus is a shark with an octopus head rather than octopus tentacles.
  • Advertisement:
  • Growing the Beard: The first two titles aren't quite as well remembered as the other games in the series, and most people point to The Tortoise and the Hare as the first game to show this.
  • Memetic Badass: The paper airplane in Arthur's Teacher Trouble became this thanks to its heavy metal theme.
  • Memetic Mutation: SAID MOM. Explanation 
  • Narm:
    • During the climax of Sheila Rae, the title character lets out a few screams after taking her bravery a bit too far. Apparently the German dubbers didn't quite understand this, because in that version she lets out the dullest possible sounding scream ever. Throw in the imagery that should look nightmarish and you get an unintentionally hilarious scene.
    • Advertisement:
    • The entire "I hate spinach" sequence in D.W. the Picky Eater. In stark contrast to the TV version that makes it over-the-top in all the right ways, this one could not be further from the opposite. First off, her animation when throwing a fit is very bizarre and rubbery, and she doesn't even yell that loud nor even cause that much of a ruckus. Follow it up with Mrs. Read very unconvincingly saying "I'm so embarrassed" and going back to smiling right afterwards, then Mr. Read very flatly saying "no more restaurants for you," and you get a dramatic scene that hits just about all of the wrong notes.
  • Nausea Fuel: The ice cream shop in Arthur's Reading Race has some...interesting ice cream flavors to say the least. Anybody up for some Frog Chip (which may or may not include a frog inside) or Toenail Crunch? (And yes, the latter flavor is indeed depicted as having toe nails in it.)
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The eponymous location of Deep Dark Sea, a bonus game included with Arthur's Computer Adventure. Upon entering this area (only in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans), the already darkened screen becomes even darker, looking like a dimly lit room. That in of itself is pretty unnerving, but then you meet the creatures that inhabit the area...
    • In the same game (within a game), your character has a limited amount of air. Letting it run out causes your character to float away off the top of the screen as a rather horrifying Scare Chord plays. (Bonus points if it was in the above-mentioned area.) Expect discussions about Arthur's Computer Adventure on videos pertaining to the game to include one person mentioning how badly the Scare Chord scared them when they lost at Deep Dark Sea.
    • The first two games have hotspot scenes that are a lot more disturbing than later games. A glaring example is the flour sack in Arthur's Mom's kitchen: Its label is a circle, and if you click it, an arrow lands a bullseye and the flour sack stars coughing and moaning in pain, then its contents pour out ever so slowly as if it was bleeding internally and it falls to the ground in a puff of flour. How did this get past the censors?
    • The thumbnail for the "Frankenfish" activity in Arthur's Computer Adventure. Clownfish should not be that nightmare-inducing.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: These were immensely popular with kids back in the day, and they were used a lot in classrooms.
  • Older Than They Think: The series could be considered a prototype version of the Kinetic Novel genre, despite coming out way before the term (or its related term, sound novel) was even invented.
    • The Living Books concept itself had been done before, albeit less successfully, with an obscure Apple II game called Explore-a-Story by Learningways, Inc..
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Considering the general consensus on D.W. the Picky Eater (which was made by a completely different development team and is considered very shallow and cheap compared to the other games), and the fact that almost none of the knockoffs succeeded as well as the original series (the GT Interactive Mercer Mayer games notwithstanding, some of which were actually good enough that people thought they really were Living Books games), this trope generally seems to be in full force here.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: When the games originally came out, almost nothing like them had ever been done before. A piece of software with the look and feel of a fully animated hand-drawn cartoon (rather than blocky looking sprite-based graphics) that you could actually interact with was seen as nothing more than a fantasy before these games came out. They also were one of the first very successful examples of an Edutainment Game that found its perfect sweet spot, that is a game that really was educational without the players even realizing it. In fact, it was so successful that it was considered a Killer App for CD-ROM drives as far as families and schools were concerned (keep in mind, CD drives were still hardly gaining a foothold back in 1992 when the first game was released; although it didn't affect CD drive sales as much as, say, Myst or The 7th Guest, it still says something that many parents and teachers reported buying them just for the sake of running Living Books games). Nowadays, with it establishing the "interactive storybook" subgenre and an onslaught of clones, plus plenty of other hand-drawn computer games coming out in the years down the line, it can be easy to write them off as dated and unremarkable by comparison, and in fact many contemporary players still lump them in as "just another one of those storybook games where you could click everything," neglecting to realize they essentially grandfathered the concept.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Any time a camera-moving effect is done. Back in the day, this looked stunning.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Some of the click-points lead to some...trippy animations. And the characters rarely react to them. Possibly justified in the Dr. Seuss adaptations.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: