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Video Games may have acquired a (not entirely undeserved) reputation of frequently being more outlandish that other narrative media, but most of the stuff you find lying around in them is actually quite logical, given the context, and works the way you'd expect it to. There's ammo to be fired from guns (except when it's Abnormal Ammo), first-aid kits and food to replenish health, and situational objects like batteries and mana that provide an extra boost when necessary. However, every now and again you find that one kind of items you're expected to pick up and find is, in fact, a living creature.
A Live Item is exactly what you'd expect: a collectible in a video game that's also its own character, and they have two traits that make them unique (and induce Fridge Logic in the gamers that hunt them out). The first is that they're often something very specific to the franchise in question, and therefore something you'd either never encounter in real life or never know how to use (or both). The second is that these aren't princesses to be rescued; more often than not they're just standing around waiting for the player character to find them, raising the question of why they don't move around on their own or get themselves out of danger without having to rely on the player (the answer is, of course, "because otherwise there'd be no game", but no-one likes a smartass).
Not to be confused with an item that gives you extra lives.
- Jinjos from Banjo-Kazooie. They're weird little reptile-bird looking things who live in adorable little houses similar to The Smurfs. In the first game, they're mentioned in the manual to have been cursed by Gruntilda, and are thus unable to move from their spot until rescued by Banjo. In the sequel, however, they're just "scared", but short of that there's no reason why they can't just fly home.
- This series presents an interesting example, since pretty much every item you ever collect sprouts eyes and talks to you at some point.
- Also: Everything carried using Banjo's Taxi Pack move in Banjo-Tooie. Even the batteries are live (trying to kill you, of course).
- Sonic the Hedgehog features the Badniks, adorable little woodland creatures that have been transformed into robots by Dr. Eggman / Robotnik. Notable for averting the "why don't they just get out on their own?" question, but also for always being much smaller than our hedgehog hero, even animals that would be enormously bigger in real life, such as elephants and gorillas.
- Jet Force Gemini featured the Ewok-like Tribals, who fell victim to Video Game Cruelty Potential just as often as they were rescued.
- Star Fox Adventures had several of these, most notably a species of blue fungus that slept at night, but hopped around during the day, trying to get away from you if you tried to pick them off the ground. To collect them, you had to smack them with Krystal's staff first. It's interesting to note that Rare had always wanted to feature "hard-to-collect collectibles" in their games, and the Jinjos originally meant to be like this, but the idea didn't see the light of day until Star Fox Adventures.
- There were also the bafomdads, little four-eared rabbit/gerbil/cheetah-spotted pika-rat things that are found all over the place and serve the same function as Zelda's fairies and are found and collected like the fungus. Except they don't run from the player and you don't have to beat them into submission. (instead you have to dig most of them out).
- Dead Rising has Queen wasps.
- Donkey Kong Country 3 had Banana Birds, which were either won in a memory game or aquired through a trade. Donkey Kong 64 followed up the idea with its photo-shy Banana Fairies.
- In Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Michael rescues young children.
- The Mystical Key from Paper Mario.
- In The Legend of Zelda series, there's faeries. And occasionally bees and Poes.
- The last of which technically being an Undead Item.
- in Zelda II the Adventure of Link at one point you have to rescue a baby in a dungeon. The baby counts as any other item in the inventory.
- Majoras Mask goes as far as squeezing a deku princess into a bottle.
- In Ocarina of Time, a Pocket Cuccoo and a Blue Cuccoo are quest items.
- Twilight Princess has Ooccoo, which can be used to warp out of certain dungeons. The game even says something to the effect of "You can treat her just like an item!"
- There's also the Bomblings, which are insect-like things that run forward and explode when they hit something.
- The Exit Mouse, who functions very much like Ooccoo from the Twilight Princess example above. When you use him, he will lead you out of dungeon instantly. His own mother tells you to treat him like one of your items.
- In this game (and its sequel, Mother 3), if you carry a Fresh Egg with you for too long, it will hatch into a Chick and then become a Chicken. You can actually sell the chicken for a tidy sum, making them good Vendor Trash.
- The Wario Land series occasionally features these. There are the Spritelings in Wario World and the Merples in Wario Land: Shake It!", to name just two.
- Keyser in Wario Land 4. He's a living key that follows Wario to the end of the level and the next level's door when rescued.
- Cave Story has the Ma Pignon (a talking mushroom) and the Little Man. Jenka's dogs are shown being carried on your head, but they also show up in your inventory.
- Conkers Bad Fur Day had wads of anthropomorphic money that would yell at you to collect them to make them easier to detect, insult you when you finally find them, and at one point, hop out of the pocket of their new owner and return to Conker when he whistled for them.
- The Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text game.
- The Dnyarri from Star Control 2. It's one of the most important "items" in the whole game. As with most other creatures in the game, conversations with it are quite hilarious (and often disturbing). Of course, acquiring a Dnyarri is very, very dangerous business.
- Murray, a talking demon skull, from The Curse of Monkey Island isn't technically alive per say, but otherwise fits the trope. He constantly complains about being in your inventory.
- You can also get some lice and worms, as well as a jar of glowworms.
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: LeChuck's Revenge, one of the items you need is a dog; not just any dog though, a Bloodhound. When you pick up the dog Guybrush stuff the dog in his pants and grins at the camera. You also get to put a monkey in your inventory at a later point in the game.
- Escape from Monkey Island has the duck and the termites on Plunder Island.
- Tales of Monkey Island has Murray as an item yet again in the third chapter (if you mouse over him, he'll snark at you), and in the fifth chapter Guybrush picks up another dog which he names Franklin.
- Nethergate features "Sylak's Talking Skull," which appears to be a Shout-Out to the above-mentioned Murray. Whenever a certain amount of time passes in-game it'll speak to you, usually to say something useless, often to say something useless and insulting, and every so often to give you a valuable tip.
- Toad becomes one of these in New Super Mario Bros Wii, where he must occasionally be carried to the end of specific stages. If you get him there unharmed, you're rewarded with three extra lives and the appearance of either a green mushroom house, red mushroom house, or star house, depending on the time you made. If Toad gets hurt, you just get one life. If Toad is knocked out, you don't get nuttin'.
- King's Quest VI has a character/item called a Dangling Participle. It's sort of a lizard/rodent combination that's the size of a dog. And yet you can carry it inside your shirt with no visible lumps.
- Not to mention the Rotten Tomato.
- Or the Hole-in-the-Wall, which had eyes and tiny arms and legs.
- Max is treated like an item in Sam and Max Hit the Road. He becomes more of a full-fledged support character in the Telltale Games adventures.
- In the Discworld II: Mortality Bytes, Rincewind can keep a mouse in his inventory, among other things.
- "Other things" is an understatement. You can keep a suffragist, an actress, an undead sheep and a music band made of skeletons. Oh, and the Librarian.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl even goes as far as to feature them in the Character Roll Call.
- The Game Boy video game based on the first Harry Potter book has you collecting chickens for Baby Norbert. Hagrid only needs you to collect 5, but you can get as many as you like from defeating certain enemies. You can amass a chicken army!
- Played with in Tactics Ogre. Snapdragon'd characters turn into swords. They're alive, but not in any form you'd want. Drakonite magic in Tactics Ogre is a path to abilities others might consider to be...unnatural.
- The lums from Rayman.
- In Baldur's Gate and its sequel, the character of Minsc is always equipped with Boo, a miniature giant space hamster. This creature takes up one of Minsc's quick item slots, and plays a large role in most of Minsc's hilarious attitude.
- The first game also includes a quest where you carry a mage's apprentice, who has been turned into a chicken, in your inventory until you can return him to his master for de-chickenization.
- Mages and sorcerers can also get familiars, which are usually kept in your pack. They can be let out to fight alongside you, but since the have very little health, can't be resurrected, and permanently lower your health if they die, it's generally best to keep them tucked away.
- Earthworm Jim 2 had, um...a surreal example of this. As Jim, you had, at one point, to chase a door on legs. Yes, that's right, the door is running away from you, and will eventually escape. You had to stop it by carrying an armoire with one door open and a leg sticking out of it (a human leg, and you never find out what it's attached to), setting it in front of the door's path, and tripping it up.
- Tomba has Baron, and with the Mad Libs Dialogue the use text in the first game reads
"Used the Baron"
- Turtle Tamers from Kingdom of Loathing have the power to summon these. Naturally, they are all turtles.
- In Vangers, your passengers are regular items, and are carried around in your cargo hold. Sucks to be an Eleepod stuck between a pile of rockets and a can of toxic.
- In The Elder Scrolls II Daggerfall horses, when not being ridden, are kept in the players inventory. Even if they were also hauling a cart. People being escorted by you also didn't appear in the game world, just as an icon on your HUD.
- The Parrot in Starship Titanic. You can't take him very far, because he escapes, but you can put him in your inventory briefly.
- The Xian Skull in Avernum 3 (previously Exile 3) made by a revered wizard but mad enchanter. No reward for finding or gameplay value for keeping, yet it became an Ensemble Darkhorse for prophetically spouting random red herrings and non-sequiturs.
- Mega Man X 6 and X7 have these in the form of Reploids. You're supposed to be "rescuing" them, but effectively, they're items. You touch them and they teleport away, and you get a 1-up, and in some cases equipment as well. They apparently can't move an inch until you touch them, even if they're in mid-air. It's also possible for them to get killed, causing any equipment they had to be Lost Forever.
- In every level of the Toy Story 2 video game, you have collect five of something to get a Pizza Planet token. These items were typically living things like Bo Peep's sheep, wind-up mice, the green aliens, and the green army men. This arguably made it disturbing that you were able to collect them like normal items such as coins.
- Attack of the Mutant Penguins has lots of gremlins running around for the player to collect.
- Pokémon eggs are an inversion; they're effectively items that take up a character slot (until they hatch).
- The Djinn in Golden Sun games, creatures made of elemental energy that the heroes can equip to increase or transform their powers, unleash for specific effects, or use for Summon Magic.