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Edutainment Games from the Learning Company in which the eponymous Kid Heroes have exploits which more-or-less fit into the Adventure show genre of The Nineties, collecting Alphabet Soup Cans on Fetch Quests since Only Smart People May Pass. The main characters are:

The games are aimed at kids aged 8 to 12, with specific games for third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders (having been a follow-up to Reader Rabbit, another Learning Company series, which is aimed at kids aged up to 7). In addition, there are four other games devoted to mathematics, language arts, logic and miscellaneous subjects.


Tropes:

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  Owen: "Why is it that wherever we go, we always find large pits to cross?"

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 Fletcher Limburger: Well.... peanuts, anyone?... that's what folks are saying— and there's an old superstition about a monster and a lost city.

Santiago: Superstition!

Leslie: Lost city?

Joni: Monster?!

Owen: ...peanuts?

All: OWEN!

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 "I swallowed my mint."

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  • Fan Nickname: Because nearly every game package shows Joni as pointing toward something, some people refer to her as "the pointing girl."
  • Fearless Fool: Joni in the earlier games, played as a Running Gag.
  • Fetch Quest
  • Five-Token Band: Joni is white, Santiago is Hispanic, Leslie is black and Owen is... something other than white which is never made clear.
    • Wikipedia describes him as Asian, which isn't incongruous with his last name and how he's drawn, but this was never really confirmed in-game.
    • For what it's worth, two of the kids' adult relatives have shown up, Joni's uncle and Leslie's grandfather. Both spent the entirety of the game they appeared in needing to be rescued.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: 6th grade's plot comes about because of waste dumped in the water supply.
  • Generation Xerox: The apparent reason why the human residents of the island in grade 5 still act and dress like they're from the time periods when their ancestors wound up there.
  • Gentleman Thief: Crime has caught up with the one in grade 5's game--he's in a stockade. He buried a lot of cryptiles in a patch of Man Eating Plants, and given your need is willing to loan you the maps.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Of all the series to parody this . . . grade 4 introduces Egyptian gods towards the end, who provide the main characters with magical boons to help them defeat Set. Said gods would fight him themselves, but the passage leading to him is marked with a sign: "You must be under this height to defeat the forces of Chaos." (And the height is forty feet, no less!)
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Sir Alistair Loveless III? Voiced by none other than Charles Martinet.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: The 4th grade setting, though not as badly as in some other series. It helps that Set was fairly evil even in the old myths.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: you can carry anything in "the backpack" -- including bridge planks in the 6th grade game.
  • Lampshade Hanging: During the spelling catwalks challenge:
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  Owen: "Why is it that wherever we go, we always find large pits to cross?

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    • They also Lampshaded the use of Fetch Quests in Search and Solve Adventures.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Every main game except 4th grade.
  • Lighter and Softer: Interestingly, the grade 4 game is this even compared to the grade 3 game, and has much more of a sense of humor.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Characters dress the same in every main game except grade 4 and Math.
  • Lost World: In the 3rd game.
  • Meaningful Name: Joni's last name, befitting her wild personality.
  • Mr. Fixit: Santiago.
  • Mythology Gag: Upon meeting the sarcastic sphinx, Leslie says, "It seems somewhat odd that we would encounter a character like this in an Ancient Egyptian pyramid." He then replies, "Who were you expecting? Reader Rabbit?"
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sir Alistair Loveless III in grade 4.
  • Obviously Evil: Even without the name, the above-mentioned Alistair Loveless might just as well be walking around under a neon sign reading "BAD GUY".
    • Humorously enough, even That Other Wiki observes in its article on the game that there's something off about him. "In one scene, he cackled manically for a long time in the typical villain fashion, before coughing and explaining that he swallowed his mint."
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Malicia in Reading. As you might expect, she's completely bonkers.
  • Parrot Exposition: Once in a while.
  • People Jars: In 5th grade, the aliens keep humans and animals in a type of these before they eat their brains.
  • Princess Classic: In Reading, the alien princess is both this and The Aloner, though she's holding up comparatively well. For a reason: she's the villain in disguise, trying to take advantage of the MacGuffin Delivery Service.
  • Real After All: In the first game.
  • Redheaded Hero: Joni.
  • The Reveal: Every main game except 4th grade. Noticing a trend?
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: 4th grade--can't have an Egyptian setting without one of these! Somewhat subverted in that the Sphinx talks like Groucho Marx, and knows you'll outwit him because he's read the game script.
  • Totally Radical: Nearly all of Owen's dialogue.
  • Robot Buddy: LapTrap.
  • Science Fantasy: It's never entirely certain what the series is, though it generally leans more towards Science Fiction (with 4th grade as a noticeable exception). Interestingly, all the games with proven Speculative Fiction elements also use Plausible Deniability.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Nearly all of Leslie's dialogue.
  • Schizo-Tech: One can't help but wonder how grade 3' s "Numerians" built a computer a thousand years ago.
  • Shout-Out: Some are intuitive, like Mathra. Some are less so, like a flower that quotes My Fair Lady.
  • Take Your Time: A form of Gameplay and Story Segregation here; obviously you wouldn't want to get put under a time limit when you're trying to do Long division!
  • Talking Animal: Several.
  • Tech Marches On: The kids keep in contact with each other using "videophones" invented by Santiago. At the time the games were made, commercial camera phone did not exist in North America and regular cell phones were not widely used by children anyway.
  • That's No Moon: 5th grade's island is a bit unusual, to say the least. It's a spaceship, and the aliens have been harvesting human brains.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: The vending machine in Search and Solve and the Gates in Reading. This is actually the entire point; it's to test out your hypothesis. This doesn't stop it from being frustrating for people of any age.
    • Those who had played games like Mastermind or Lingo would be will familiar with the gates challenge in reading...however, you have to GUESS what letters are in the correct or incorrect places.
    • The gate challenges in 3rd Grade's Monkey Kingdom are very much like this especially on CHALLENGE difficulty. Oftentimes the appropriate addition, subtraction, multiplication AND division tiles will all be visible and you just stand there throwing sneezeberries at them hoping that they're correct.
      • But once you know where the letters are, you can just hit them, even if the numbers don't match up.
  • Unobtainium: Cryptiles in grade 5.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Yeah, the games can crash on some computers and make it unwinnable...however, the mentioned Trial and Error Gameplay mini-games can be made unwinnable. If the jams in the vending machine puzzle are clustered to one area and your guesses are all on the other side...you run out of guesses and can't win that game. In the gates challenge, you can easily run out of guesses considering you know how many letters are in the right or wrong places...but you don't know which ones they are.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Malicia in Reading tricked Joni and Owen into assembling the Amulet of Life for her, then when she tried to grab the completed amulet from them, got the wrong one, but she fortunately already had Leslie and Santiago imprisoned in her mountain so naturally, Joni and Owen would walk right on up and bring the amulet to her anyways to rescue their friends.
    • The Big Bad of Mystery Mansion Arcade also has this, where the mysterious villain, none other than Carmen Sandiego who has organized it all traps the villains after they fail, and the kids even ask, "Wait, did she want to catch us, or them?
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: In grade 6, our heroes actually do, negotiating with the antagonists.
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