National Geographic Animal Jam
|Developer(s)||Smart Bomb Interactive|
|Publisher(s)||National Geographic Society
Smart Bomb Interactive
|Release date(s)||September 10, 2010|
|Genre(s)||MMO, Virtual World|
Animal Jam takes place in the world of Jamaa, where players can travel through various ecological environments such as prairie, rainforest and desert. Each environment features different interactive facts, games, and virtual shops. Players are represented in the game with customizable animal avatars. Players can accessorize their avatars, decorate their dens (virtual houses) and adopt virtual pets. Players interact with one another through chatting, trading/gifting, or by participating in multiplayer games and parties. Players are rewarded with achievements for collecting facts in the game, making friends, and decorating their dens. Players also earn the in-game currency, Gems, by completing games. Gems enable players to make in-game purchases of additional avatars, accessories, dens, and den items.
- 1 Development
- 2 Environment
- 3 Membership
- 4 Communication and safety
- 5 Educational Elements
- 6 Mobile apps
- 7 Game economy and trading
- 8 Gameplay environment
- 9 Criticsm and reception
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The game was developed in 2009 by Smart Bomb Interactive. A beta was launched July 27, 2010 where they wanted kids feedback on how to improve Animal Jam. In May 2011, Animal Jam announced it had surpassed 1 million registered players. By August 2012, the game surpassed 6 million players worldwide. and in March 2013 the game had surpassed 10 million players.
Animal Jam is divided into multiple lands and parties. You start in the world of Jamaa Township and travel by clicking on a place from the map. Each player is provided with a den for their avatar, that can be decorated with den items (purchased with gems in the den item shops or earned by playing adventures). Club Members are able to upgrade their dens and purchase additional Member Only den items with Gems, or earning beta den items. Gems can be earned by playing minigames. Jammers can also travel underwater with underwater animals including seals and penguins which can also travel on land.
Animal Jam has several membership offerings (1 month, 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month), as well as various gift card options available at retailers throughout the world. Each retailer has a special code with an exclusive type of playable animal or a bonus diamond pack with gems. Membership grants players' access to member-only animals to play as, virtual pets to care for, additional customization options, dens to live in and customize, and more.
Communication and safety
There are several forms of communication in the game that are all monitored by a safety chat filter, each with a variety of parent controlled safety chat options for their child's accounts. Safe Chat is allowed to be activated for members. These options can be set using the Parent Dashboard associated with the child's account. New accounts start out with Restricted Chat, which allows you to type from a preselected dictionary of words. There is a Bubble Chat option that does not allow you to type although the user can select from a limited list of sayings. The third type of chat option is Safe Chat or free chat, where the user may type their own messages. However it is still filtered through a safety chat and a warning will appear if you try to use potentially unsafe words that could be inappropriate. Other users will not see any message appear if your message includes certain words or phrases.
You can also send "Jam-A-Grams", which is the in-game messaging system. Each Jam-A-Gram includes a background image selection, a stamp image selection and a list of sayings you can send. Only members can type in their own messages, but even if you have Safe Chat when you're a Club Member, you can't use the Safe Chat on a Jam-A-Gram. There is another option to attach a gift to send to another user which is a Members Only feature, and you can only open the gift if you're a Club Member.
Animal Jam is very educational as it has many places to learn about animals.
The Sarepia Theater is a place where Jammers can watch a few short educational National Geographic videos.
Brady Barr's Lab
Brady Barr's lab is a place where Jammers can go on expeditions, do experiments and learn all about land animals. There is also a theater instead of short films. Jammers can watch videos that answers other Jammers questions and leave questions of their own. You can ask Brady by clicking on the "Ask A Question" button under the videos. In expeditions, Jammers watch an interactive video of Brady Barr finding a Giant Python. The interactive part is Jammers have to choose options of what Brady should do.
In Tierney's Aquarium, Jammers can go to the workbench and watch educational videos about sea equipment. In the theater, Jammers can watch answers and ask questions by clicking on the "Ask a Question" button. There is a touch pool in the aquarium where Jammers can touch certain animals. If you have a water animal, then you can get to the underwater section of Jamaa through a second touch pool. There is also a minigame of spotting fish and sea creatures.
In the museum, Jammers can look at exhibits and learn about animals and donate to help endangered species with gems.
At the end of certain games, it shows a fun fact with the window that shows you how many gems you have won. For an example, "You won! Fun Fact! Bears hibernate in the winter!"
Tunnel Town is a mobile app released in 2013 by Smart Bomb Interactive. In Tunnel Town, players have to care for their bunnies, get furniture, plant crops to feed the bunnies, and earn achievements.
AJ Jump is Smart Bomb Interactive's second game on the app store. It is a game where players jump on to platforms as a kangaroo, get gems and decorate and give powerups to their kangaroo. There is also a setting to link to a player's Animal Jam account. If you win a certain amount of things, you can earn a pet Joey. When you link to your account, when you log in you will get a pet Joey if you've reached a certain height in the app.
Game economy and trading
The in-game monetary system is the use of gems that you can earn by playing mini-games and buddy games. There are also gem gift certificate codes that can be purchased in the Animal Jam Outfitters Shop. There is a daily gem bonus that you get during your first daily log on that you spin for a random amount which is multiplied by how recently you logged on last (times 1, 2, or 3). However you earn your gems, they can be spent at the various shops throughout the lands and parties of Jamaa for den items, pets, clothing and accessories. There is no option to trade or gift gems to other players. Every two weeks or so, a game in the land is updated to 'double gems'. If you play that game, you can earn more gems than playing a regular game. There is a Gem Donation area in the Conservation Museum that you can donate any gem amount towards helping an endangered animal of your choosing. The trading system was introduced into the game in March 2011 after players petitioned the designers to create a safer way for trading items between players. The new currency is "diamonds". Members get them weekly but non-members can win them in the daily spin.
The Gem donation box in the Conservation Museum is one way that Animal Jam helps support the mission of the National Geographic Society to inspire kids to care about the planet. A significant portion of all revenue Animal Jam collects goes to support National Geographic's worldwide conservation efforts. By June 2012, players enabled the Animal Jam creators at Smart Bomb Interactive to contribute over $3 Million to the National Geographic Society's work. The Play Wild Fund was introduced in November 2011 to allow players to choose which animals and conservation efforts they wanted to donate to.
On April 12, 2012, monkeys went endangered in Jamaa. Jammers could no longer create monkeys during this time. Players donated 100 million gems, to help save the endangered monkey population. The monkeys were saved and returned to Jamaa on August 30, 2012.
Animal Jam is divided into multiple lands, oceans, parties, and games. Each account is provided with a free basic den, which is a lockable home that can be decorated with den items. Players are able to shop for den furniture and clothing. Only members can shop for different dens, apart from an underwater one for everybody called the 'Sunken Ship'. Each location in Jamaa features different habitats, shops, pets, games, journey book animals, educational videos, and reading information. There are even a few hidden areas and Easter eggs for explorers to find.
Criticsm and reception
|Mr. Dad||National Geographic Animal Jam|
|National Parenting Publications Awards||National Geographic Animal Jam|
|Mom's Choice Awards||National Geographic Animal Jam|
|Life Buzz Award||National Geographic Animal Jam|
|About.com Readers' Choice Awards||National Geographic Animal Jam|
- "National Geographic Animal Jam surpasses 6 million young players". PRNewswire. August 2012.
- Takahashi, Dean (May 2011). "National Geographic virtual world Animal Jam hits a million kids". VentureBeat.
- Grubb, Jeffrey (March 2013). "National Geographic’s Animal Jam reaches 10 million players — iOS spin-off in the works". VentureBeat. Retrieved October 2014.
- "Seal of Approval Winners, Father’s Day 2011". Mr. Dad. June 2011. Retrieved October 2014.
- "National Parenting Publications Awards :: Virtual". National Parenting Publications Awards. Retrieved October 2014.
- "Mom's Choice Awards - Store". Mom's Choice Awards - Store. Retrieved October 2014.
- "Jodie Lynn's Life Buzz Award Program". Jodie Lynn's Life Buzz Award Program. Jodie Lynn. Retrieved October 2014.