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"JUMANJI" is the video game version of the board game. In this case, "JUMANJI" adapted to modern times by transforming the inner game board and took on a new video game cartridge appearance in 1996, so that Alex Vreeke's could plug it into his video game console. Akin to the board game's random inner-dimension travel, this video game would take the players to the inner-realm of "JUMANJI" .
After Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle set the "JUMANJI" board game adrift in a river, it was then found by a pair of French girls. The board game (somehow) made it's way back to Brantford, New Hampshire in 1996 where it was found on a beach again, this time by Mr. Vreeke, who then took it home to the Vreeke House, thinking his son Alex Vreeke would like it. However, Alex did not like the board game, as he said "Who plays board games anymore?". "JUMANJI", seeing that Alex was more interested in video games, knew it had to adapt to modern times and tastes in order to attract interest and in the middle of the night, changed its game board into a video game cartridge, leaving the empty box behind. Alex then took immediate interest and started to play the game, playing as Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough. However, Alex became McDonough and became trapped within "JUMANJI" and suffered the same fate as Alan Parrish; the boy who disappeared from Brantford.
Twenty years later, the "JUMANJI" video game console was donated to Brantford High School, then found by four students in the school basement (they were there to help recycle old magazines as a way to serve detention). The four students, Spencer Gilpin, Anthony Johnson, Bethany Walker, and Martha Kaply then started to play the game, were taken into "JUMANJI", and literally became the avatars they chose:
- Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Spencer)
- Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Fridge)
- Professor Shelly Oberon (Bethany)
- Ruby Roundhouse (Martha)
Inside the world of "JUMANJI", the group met the game's field guide Nigel Billingsley, instructing them to return the Jaguar's Eye to the Jaguar Shrine and lift the curse, and would be able to leave the game after they save "JUMANJI" and call out its name. Eventually the four found their "missing piece": who was Alex in the form of Seaplane McDonough, who believed himself to be gone from home for only a few months, when it was really 20 years. Together they won the game and were returned to the real world by Nigel Billingsley. Though the rest of the players returned to 2017, Alex was sent back in time to 1996 to the moment he left, altering his family's sad history.
Once they completed the game and returned to their real selves, they used a Rhino brand bowling ball to destroy the "JUMANJI" game to prevent anyone from playing it again.
Despite the four friends growing close after playing "JUMANJI", Martha and Spencer had drifted apart. Spencer's life had been much harder compared to the others. This leads to Spencer to attempt to repair the partially broken game cartridge and game system that he had recovered in the alleyway where they smashed it. Spencer does this to regain the thrills he once had as Bravestone. Although Spencer seemed to have fixed "Jumanji" and it pulls him back into the game, he does not end up as Bravestone, but instead as a new character named Ming Fleetfoot. Fridge, Martha and Bethany notice Spencer's disappearance. They then hear "Jumanji" drums, find the game partially repaired and realize that "Jumanji" took Spencer back, reluctantly urging them to play once more to bring him home. But before they could even choose their avatars, "Jumanji" pulled all of them back in anyway and forced them into randomised avatars: Martha retained Ruby Roundhouse, Fridge became Shelly Oberon instead of Mouse Finbar, while Eddie Gilpin became Smolder Bravestone instead of Spencer, and finally his friend Milo Walker had become Finbar. However, Bethany remained trapped outside the game world and sought the help of Alex to get "JUMANJI" working again. After getting the game going again, Alex returned as Seaplane to aid them, along with Bethany, who had become a horse named Cyclone. At the end of the adventure, the dying Milo chose to remain in the game world as Cyclone while the rest of the team were returned to Spencer's basement.
Following the adventure, "JUMANJI" remained in the basement of Spencer's house while the friends vowed to never play again. However, the console was found by a hot water heater repairman and Spencer's mother. The man activated it, presumably sucking in himself and Spencer's mother and unleashing a herd of ostriches upon Brantford.
The video game version of "JUMANJI" plays almost as it did when it was a board game, but added some extra features as the result of its transformation.
- Unlike the board game version in the 1995 film when players only appeared to get sucked in when their clue specified it, the video game always sucks the players into the game itself like the animated series and will not allow players to escape until they fulfill the gameplay. When players choose their characters in the real world, they will actually be able to take on the lives of their avatars.
- Like the original board game version, the video game returns players to their original time periods no matter how much time has passed once the game is won. Unlike the board game, the video game does not completely rewind history as seen with Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle. In their case, only they retained memories of the events in "JUMANJI" with everything else being relegated to an alternate timeline that Judy and Peter Shepherd could not remember. With the video game, all of the teenagers remembered everything that happened in the original timeline, including the dilapidated version of Alex Vreeke's house coming from his twenty years trapped in "JUMANJI". They had no memory of a timeline where the house was pristine due to Alex's return to 1996 changing history. According to Alex, time inside of "JUMANJI" is "funny." As a result, twenty years seemed like only a few months to him.
- After Spencer and his friends entered the game world a second time, "JUMANJI" returned them all back to his basement, as if no time had passed. However, the game returned the group all at the same time despite there being several hours difference between when Spencer entered and most of the others and at least a little while's difference between when they entered and Bethany and Alex returned. In this case, the game's time control didn't intervene to return everyone to the exact moment each group left, likely because of the small differences in time.
Plot of the Game
Jaguar Shine Adventure
According to legend, anyone that dares to blind the Jaguar Shrine by taking the jewel that makes up its eye will be consumed by the gem's power and a curse will fall upon the realm. Professor Van Pelt hired field guide Nigel Billingsly to lead him and his men to the Jaguar, to study the jewel for his documentation. He inevitably made this legend come true when he gained the power of the fabled "Jaguar's Eye" which gave him mind control over all fauna within "JUMANJI" . Nigel Billingsley knew that Van Pelt would cause harm if he was allowed to keep the Eye, so he took the eye from him and ran, but was spotted before he could successfully escape. He sent a letter to Dr. Smolder Bravestone, a former friend and colleague of Van Pelt's to ask for his assistance returning the eye to its resting place. It became Bravestone and his colleagues' mission to head to "JUMANJI" to return the Eye to the Shrine which it was taken from.
Mountain Fortress Adventure
The Jumanjian conquerer Jurgan The Brutal has returned to "JUMANJI" and brought his savage horde with him. Jurgan and his horde decend from their mountain fortress and make their way to the Avian Province, home of the sacred Falcon Jewel, a mystical item worn around the neck of the village elder and has been guarded by the people of the province for hundreds of years. The Falcon Jewel is a fertility jewel, and as long as the jewel can see the sun, the waters will flow and the land will flourish. Jurgan stole the jewel, and stowed it in darkness, hidden from the sun. With the jewel locked away, a drought fell upon the land. To save "JUMANJI" once again, Nigel Billingsley sends forth a letter to Dr. Smolder Bravestone and his associates, requesting for their return and assistance in recovering the Falcon Jewel and showing it to the sun. Nigel warns Dr. Bravestone that this adventure will be like no other, since it was Jurgan who killed Bravestone's parents when he was just a boy.
"JUMANJI" has multiple video game cliches and tropes within its world, such as friendly NPCs that only have programmed responses, multiple lives, markets, a villain who leads a private militia, magic satchels, character weaknesses, and several others.
|Dr. Smolder Bravestone||Avatar||Archaeologist
|Franklin "Mouse" Finbar||Avatar||Zoologist Expert
|Professor Shelly Oberon||Avatar||Cartographer
|Ruby Roundhouse||Avatar||Killer of Men|
|Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough||Avatar||Pilot
|Professor Russell Van Pelt||NPC||Final Boss|
|Jurgen the Brutal||NPC||Final Boss|
|Boy at Bazaar||NPC||Guidance|
|Professor Van Pelt's Army||Enemy foot-soldiers|
|Jumanjian Army||Enemy foot-soldiers|
- The nature of the new "JUMANJI" gameplay is identical to the animated series version of "JUMANJI" in several ways;
- Players that choose to play will be taken into the dimension of "JUMANJI" itself and cannot leave until they have solved their turn.
- Previous "JUMANJI" game players have been known to exist such as Alan Parrish. It is even implied that when the video game "JUMANJI" players run out of their lives, they will die for real, and their deaths will be permanent akin to the implications in the animated series that previous players had died completely or ended up becoming members of the Manji Tribe or Jamazon Tribe.
- The plot of the 2017 film bears a striking resemblance to the animated series episode El Pollo Jumanji, concerning "JUMANJI" being played in Brantford School and taking two boys and two girls into the "JUMANJI" realm, meeting a long time trapped player and having to deal with Van Pelt while learning to get along with each other.
- Although he shares names with the imperialist game hunter Van Pelt, Professor Van Pelt is actually closer to explorer Ashton Philips. Both are greedy treasure hunters who think of nobody's wellbeing but heir own. Both of them meet their ends while still intending to claim riches for themselves. They even betray their own agents when they feel like it.
- In "The Next Level", it was shown that while the console was smashed two years ago, the video game cartridge itself survived relatively intact with just a chunk of the plastic missing.
Behind the scenes
- It is unknown why the video game version was for up to five players when the board game version only allowed up to four. However, it appears to be impossible to win unless all five players are in the game with each player's talents being required to pass the levels. For example, only Shelly Oberon could read the map leading to the various levels, only Ruby Roundhouse could get past the guards at the transportation shed, only Franklin "Mouse" Finbar could defang the black mamba and only Seaplane McDonough could fly the group across the canyon. When Alex attempted it on his own, he could not succeed.
- Conceptual art for the 1995 film’s logo reveals that a fifth token in the shape of a Lion idol was planned for the game, but ended up being unused in favor of a 1-4 player game. The fact that "JUMANJI" ended up having up to five possible avatars when it transformed into a video game may be coincidental or a reference this early development (albeit only four players could play at once).
- In the same vein, the Mountain Fortress Adventure's two new avatars were also vital to completing the game: Ming Fleetfoot's talents were needed to steal the Falcon Jewel while Cyclone's flying abilities were needed to go above the clouds and show the jewel to the sun. In contrast, Seaplane's abilities were not required at all to beat the game with his role being reduced to Alex's avatar with which he assisted the team using the knowledge Alex had gained from his twenty years stuck in the game world.
- Though it's unclear how the console ended up in the detention room, it was in a box marked "donate" suggesting that Old Man Vreeke donated it to the school following his son's disappearance.
- In the same vein, its unclear why the game was in the basement again in the altered timeline since Alex was returned to 1996. However, in that timeline Alex likely simply ensured it would end up there so that the others would find the game and rescue him as they did originally.
- The "JUMANJI" video game form resembles an Atari 2600 cartridge and console. It is odd that it didn't turn into a CD-based game, given that the Sony PlayStation was the console it was exposed to.
- Despite the video game using the new "JUMANJI" logo font, the game cartridge and the Map of "JUMANJI" both use the original font style.
- An easier way for Spencer to restore the game might've been to find a replacement console somewhere since the game itself took the form of the video game cartridge and the console was simply Alex Vreeke's old video game system that he'd plugged it into.
- The drumming that "JUMANJI" uses to attract players appeared to have changed, as it sounded different in Welcome to the Jungle when compared to the original movie.
|Books||Novel • Film novel • Zathura|
|Media||1995 film • TV Series • Zathura: A Space Adventure • Welcome to the Jungle • The Next Level|
|Games||Board Game • Jigsaw • Trading Cards • LCD Game • PC Game • PS2 Game • Mobile Game • 2019 Game • Fluxx • Stickers|