Most JumpStart games take place in fictional universes that vary from the real world in various ways, such as containing anthropomorphic animals or sci-fi and fantasy elements. Continuity between JumpStart games is usually nonexistent, but characters and universes may appear in more than one game.
All the classic grade-based games feature different characters and settings with little connection to each other, and the characters from different grade-level games were not seen together in any games, apart from cameos.
General characteristics of universes
The basic premise of the Preschool - 2nd Grade universes were rather similar, all featuring anthropomorphic animals in schoolhouse environments. In most games, humans and non-anthropomorphic animals were shown to exist as well.
The 3rd - 6th Grade games contrasted with this in several major ways - for one, not featuring many anthropomorphic animals and featuring humans more prominently, for another, in having more adventure-based plotlines with high stakes. While it is not hard to imagine the Preschool - 2nd Grade games taking place in the same universe, the universes in with the 3rd - 6th Grade games took place were very disparate - 3rd Grade taking place in what seems to be a future world and containing a huge amount of sci-fi content, 4th Grade (1996) focusing on fantasy elements, 5th Grade taking place in the real world but including some sci-fi elements, 6th Grade featuring significant sci-fi elements but not to the same extent as 3rd Grade, and perhaps most unusually of all, 4th Grade (2000) taking place in an entirely realistic world with no fantasy or sci-fi elements.
Recurring classic/updated universes
Games other than the main grade-based series always re-used a cast of characters from the grade-based games. In games that were based on both grade and subject, the characters from that grade were always reused.
Note that non-main characters from main characters' native games may appear in spin-offs as well (e.g. Bebop appearing in JumpStart Reading for Kindergartners, Polly Sparks appearing in JumpStart Typing, etc.).
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
Starting in about 1998, a continuity was introduced in which the characters from the Preschool - 2nd Grade games all exist and interact with each other. Eventually, this became the standard universe in which most JumpStart games, at least those for that grade range, took place. Perhaps its most prominent appearance is in the JumpStart Advanced series.
In the early days of this "merged universe", minor characters from games, such as Bebop, Cecil, Roquefort, and Jack, would appear. But for the most part, only the main characters from the classic games - Casey, Eleanor, Kisha, Pierre, Hopsalot, Frankie, CJ, and Edison - appear in this universe. They are usually shown living in a town called JumpStartville, which, according to JumpStart Around the World, is located on an island off the coast of California. (This is also alluded to by CJ in JumpStart Languages, when he says, "Hey, the United States is just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live!")
Despite the presence of anthropomorphic animals, the JumpStart world for the most part seems very similar to our own, having the same geography and history, and also includes non-anthropomorphic animals and humans. (Humans are rarely shown interacting directly with the main characters, but their presence is sometimes acknowledged, such as in pictures.) JumpStart Explorers somewhat deviated from this by depicting historical figures as anthropomorphic animals.
Characters from the 3rd - 6th Grade games were also occasionally shown to share a universe (in JumpStart Adventure Challenge and the JumpStart Spy Masters series). Adventure Challenge features the characters in a place called Adventure World, perhaps mimicking to the "Adventures" subtitle the characters' native games had, but it is not clear if the characters actually live here or not. In the early days of the shared universe, it seemed that the Preschool - 2nd Grade characters and 3rd - 6th Grade characters may have lived in the same universe, as early maps of JumpStartville would show a gateway to Adventure World. JumpStart Spy Masters does not take place in Adventure World and no connection with any other JumpStart games is shown.
Today, the JumpStart universe retains many characters from that shared universe (Frankie, Hopsalot, Kisha, Pierre, Eleanor, and CJ), and also includes Botley. This world contains both fantasy and sci-fi elements, though fantasy elements tend to be especially plentiful. The different worlds and lands in the game tend to contain different kinds of elements - FutureLand is heavy on sci-fi while Windy Hollows is oriented around fantasy, and other areas tend to be more realistic, such as DownTown.
Like previous versions of the JumpStart universes, anthropomorphic animals and humans exist alongside each other, the humans usually being Jumpeez. There are also other kinds of creatures, such as Punk-Punks, mythies, fairies (such as Ivy), and Petz.
- It is not clear if anything in the classic universes has any bearing on anything in the shared continuity, as specifics about the characters' pasts are almost never brought up. This leaves one to wonder who created Botley (if the events of 3rd Grade are not considered canon) or why Botley left Mystery Mountain (if the events of 3rd Grade are considered canon).
- In Adventure Challenge, Jess and Zack are wearing the same technologically advanced gloves they wore in 6th Grade, leaving one to conclude that at least some things in 6th Grade must still be true. This could signify that the events in other characters' games happened as well, but if so, it is not clear how this is possible considering how they took place in very different settings.