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Simon Hosting the Living Books Sampler.

Living Books Series

The Living Books samplers were either standalone CD-Roms given away for free in magazines and the like, or built-in catalogs with the games. They would allow you to sample a page of each product out at the same time. These were always hosted by Simon Hosting, the purple bird from The Tortoise and the Hare. The stand-alone CD samplers were sometimes included with the games themselves, but most of them had them built in. Unlike the standalone demos, English is the only language that can be tried on each of the titles (with the exception of Just Grandma and Me V2, since it allows you to swap it with a UI in-game), and the Read to Me function is excluded. Every sampler opened with Simon telling the user:

"Hello! I'm your host, Simon. Welcome to the Living Books Sampler. Click on the arrows to select the sample of one of our great stories, and then click OK. Okay? Okay!"

When the user selected a product: "After the first part of the story is read to you, use the mouse to click all over the screen and find lots of hidden surprises. When you're done, click on the page number button to come back here. Have fun! See ya!"

Standalone CD SamplersEdit

Sampler 1Edit

The first sampler features the following products:

  1. The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight
  2. Dr. Seuss's ABC
  3. Just Grandma and Me
  4. Arthur's Teacher Trouble
  5. The Tortoise and the Hare
  6. The New Kid on the Block
  7. Ruff's Bone
  8. Little Monster at School
  9. Arthur's Birthday
  10. Harry and the Haunted House

This sampler was actually made before Dr. Seuss's ABC was out, although it has no differences from the real game besides having no music (which strangely carried into the other samplers with few exceptions) and having a man's voice instead of Icabod's voice announcing the title of the book. It was also included on The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight, hence the absence of it on this disc. There's no fading on this sampler except when the engine forces it to fade, which means every transition is just a normal cut. When the game is quit, Simon gives out information on where to buy the games, and how to contact Living Books by their old phone number (which is now defunct).

Sampler 2Edit

This one is very similar to sampler 1, except this one includes every title that uses the 512 x 384 resolution. The products are:

This one is mostly identical, except for the opening and closing screens. Simon does not give out contact information when the game is quit, instead just leaving on a simple "Okay, bye now!" This one still lacks the fading just like the previous sampler. For Sheila Rae, the Brave, the opening portion has a black background instead of white in the real game, and also plays as if it were in "Read to Me" mode, since you can't click on the pictures to navigate.

Sampler 3 Edit

This is the biggest collection of demos of all 16 Living Books games. The products are:

Due to an engine upgrade, the background noise is always heard even during a running click point. This leads to several problems, but of particular note is Sheila Rae, where the dog is heard growling through the entire demo even when he's supposed to be interrupted. The demo of Stellaluna had the prototype version again as in previous games before it was released. This demo also has the opposite fading method -- rather than having no fading, fading happens between every screen, even when it shouldn't. This sampler was included on Arthur's Computer Adventure and The 1998 Release of Arthur's Teacher Trouble, but it is separate from the program. Due to running in 640 x 480, all of the 512 x 384 titles now have a watermark at the bottom of the screen. Simon went back to giving contact information here, and it also includes a code to get money off an order.

Sampler 4 Edit

This contains every single title that has been released in the series, which include:

The same version of the Dr. Seuss' ABC demo (the one having no music and having a man's voice instead of Icabod's voice announcing the title of the book) returns to this sampler from now on. This sampler can also be found on the newest release of The Tortoise and the Hare, but it's separate and not part of the game itself. Once again, Simon went back to giving contact information here, and it also includes a code to get money off an order.

Other SamplersEdit

There was a much older sampler CD, but it was just a collection of the V1.0 demos all packed onto one disc, with no extra interface.

Starting with Dr. Seuss's ABC, a sampler was integrated into each product. They all would feature demos of all the games that precede it. Some exceptions:

Quit Edit

  • "Are You Sure you want to Quit?"
  • (If the user clicks on the Red Bird) "Okay. Let's go look at some more."
  • (If the user clicks on the Green Bird) "Okay, Goodbye!