Disney's Animated Storybook was a series of point-and-click video games released by Disney Interactive for the PC and Mac. The games included both Disney and Pixar licenses. They were generally created on very tight budgets and had tight schedules. For example, Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King was released "an astonishingly short six months after the movie's release, just prior to Christmas". They have the same plots as their respective movies, albeit abridged due to the limited medium.
- Disney's The Lion King Animated Storybook (November 1994)
- Disney's Pocahontas Animated Storybook (1995)
- Disney's Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree Animated Storybook (1995)
- Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame Animated Storybook (1996)
- Disney's Toy Story Animated Storybook (1996)
- Disney's Hercules Animated StoryBook (June 1997)
- Disney's 101 Dalmatians Animated StoryBook (1997)
- Disney's Mulan Animated StoryBook (1998)
- Disney's Winnie The Pooh & Tigger Too Animated StoryBook (1999)
The Lion King was the very first film to be given as "interactive story life". Mare Teren, VP of entertainment for Disney Interactive said the games would be animated by Disney animators. He said on games like Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King, his team "worked hand in hand with the group in feature animation", and added that the film's directors and producers worked with the games' designers and artists. In the early days of Disney Interactive, the Storybook games were originally outsourced to third-party developers.
By 18 Feb 1995, Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King (released in November 1994) had sold over 200,000 copies. Disney Stories: Getting to Digital notes that it wasn't until this title that "Disney achieved its stunning visual quality in an interactive digital story on par with that in the animated films".
While the majority of the storybooks were in a traditional animation style, the Toy Story had similar CGI graphics to the movie. It consisted of a 15-page electronic book.Its advertising campaign said: "with hundreds of clickable gags and five mind-challenging interactive games, your eyes won't believe what your hands are doing".
There are a series of icons that the mouse turns into when it runs over objects, depending on how one can interact with them - for example if there is a minigame, or if it just does a little animation. The method of going from page to page is often very creative and unique to the storybook, for example in the 101 Dalmatians one where there are a series of inked feet leading to the exit (a reference to when the dogs roll in soot to evade Cruella De Ville).
Disney Stories: Getting to Digital says Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King is "a winner that everyone can enjoy, from toddlers to adults".
Entertainment Weekly says of Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story, "all the familiar scenes are included, augmented by the kinds of point-and-click activities that will keep tots happily humming away". It notes that Jim Hanks, Tom Hanks' brother, provided the voice of Woody. It conlcudes by praising the animation: "Most CD-ROM movie adaptations present scenes from the original flick in a truncated, non-interactive manner that can be mildly off-putting for both kids and adults. But the sequences in Animated Storybook (which so closely mirror those in the film) have an immediate, you-are-there quality. And that, in itself, is as neat a trick as any attraction at Disney World". It gave the game an A rating.
Entertainment Weekly said Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King was "Hakuna monotonous", yet gave it a rating of B-. The site gave Disney's Animated Storybook: Hercules a rating of B.
When comparing the Hunchback and Dalmatians Storybooks (which were released around the same time in 1997), Sun Sentinel said, "Even though the Hunchback [film]'s tale is deeper, more lustrously animated and gives kids more to do, our experts preferred [the] Dalmatians [storybook]". It gave Dalmatians a rating of 3 stars, and Hunchback a rating of 2 stars.
Allgame gave Pocahontas 4/5 stars. It gave Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, 101 Dalmatians, The Lion King, Toy Story, and Hercules scores of 3.5/5 stars. Winnie the Pooh & Tigger Too, Mulan, and the Disney's Classic Animated StoryBook Collection (a compilation of the 101 Dalmatians, Winnie the Pooh & Tigger Too, & Toy Story) were given a score of 3/5 stars. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was given a rating of 2.5/5 stars.
A review in The Austin Chronicle said of Disney's Animated Storybook: Disney's 101 Dalmatians, "The dogs are adorable and Cruella is deliciously wicked. The style elements, too, are vividly woven in". Ot praised the inclusion of brain-stimulating puzzles, and a theasaurus feature for "highlighted words in the narration". It adds "the true genius of a disk like this is that Mom or Dad won't mind serving as a booster seat for son or daughter at the family computer hutch".
Superkids gave Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King a rating of 3/5 stars. Coming Soon Magazine gave the game a rating of 85%, adding "it has many things to attract young children like animal characters and great artwork".
WorldVillage gave Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story the ratings of: Ease of Use - 5, Learning Value - 3, Entertainment Value - 4, Graphics - 5, and Sound - 3. It added that the game is "indeed a work of art".
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