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Video Game / Animal Jam

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Animal Jam is an Fantasy "online playground", plus quasi-Edutainment Game, by WildWorks (formerly Smart Bomb Interactive), who were previously known for producing a few Licensed Games, and formerly in partnership and under brand of National Geographic Society. It's like Club Penguin, except with a wider variety of animals (which does include penguins) and set in a fantasy world.

This game takes place in Jamaa, a Sugar Bowl country created by the deities Mira and Zios, that is populated by technicolor Civilized Animals and comprised of several different biomes. Not all is peaceful, however: Phantoms, octopus-like creatures that are Anthropomorphic Personification of pollution, are causing havoc by invading the lands and seas, spreading pollution wherever they go. It's up to the player and the Alphas to stop them by going on "Adventures", though doing so is completely optional. Although it is arguably one of the most fun parts of the game.

Aside from adventures, you can play various mini-games to earn gems (the game's currency), buy pets, dress up your player character, decorate your home and befriend other players.

On August 18th, 2015, WildWorks also released Animal Jam: Play Wild! for Android and iOS, which features a different item selection, improved graphics, more animals and different customization options from the browser game. In May 2020, Play Wild! was rebranded as simply Animal Jam, while the PC game has become Animal Jam Classic and no longer receives much in the way of new content.

In April 2019, a Darker and Edgier (and more fantastic) Spiritual Successor, Feral was announced and released as a beta in September of that year. However, it closed in February of 2022 following the revelation to (and subsequent backlash from) the playerbase that WildWorks was developing a blockchain-based game known as Cinder using's assets.

Not to be confused with the Jim Henson puppet show with the same name.

This game provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to E 
  • Absurd Altitude: In the Sky High minigame, you can jump from cloud to cloud so high that you can reach the exosphere and live.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: The standard for the playable animals and Alphas alike.
  • Achievement System: Players earn trophies through playing games and performing various tasks throughout Jamaa.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Sure, the game is playable and fun enough without a paid membership (which is subscription-based), but a large majority of the content is locked off to non-members. No wonder this is the main criticism of the game, as players have felt the membership restrictions are enforced too much. Paid members:
    • Get access to all 40+ animals, and have up to 1,000 animal slots. Non-members are only permitted to have two slots and a very shallow pool of animal species to pick from, which notably excludes all flying animals and the ever-popular arctic wolf.note 
    • Earn diamonds weekly, and access a special daily spin which earns them diamonds every day. Remember, the only other ways to earn diamonds are to buy a gift card, win contests on the Daily Explorer, get lucky in the Daily Spin, and (during December only) log on the day diamonds are given in the advent calendar.
    • Can buy and use all of the clothing and den items in the game, a majority of which are members-only.
    • Are able to make "Masterpieces" and turn them into den items, whereas non-members can only do so with the use of precious Masterpiece Tokens.
    • Can buy all the pets. Non-members can only buy a hamster, sea horse, and pets that are unlocked by Animal Jam Jump, a paid app, and toys.
    • Can buy all dens (barring discontinued ones), most of which are only available to members.
    • Can play all of the adventures, including the members-only Forgotten Desert (which itself requires a flying animal, and gives out some highly sought-after items as rewards).
    • They can host create-your-own parties and social media-like Jammer Boards. Non-members can only comment on others' boards.
    • You have to buy membership to get free chat.note 
    • Downplayed with the inventory limits. A nonmember that used to be a member will also gain the members-only inventory limit boost.
  • All There in the Manual: Wanna learn about the plot and lore of the game? Just check out the Daily Explorer blog and Novelization.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The playable animals can be customized in a wide variety of different colors and fur patterns.
  • Amusement Park: The Summer Carnival, which occurs every summer. You can whip up your own cotton candy, play carnival games, earn (or buy) tickets, and buy carnival-exclusive items.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In adventures set to hard mode and Sky High, the reward is clothing, rare or not, which can be used to dress up your avatar. This is sometimes subverted, as certain clothing items, such as the Glove, Sword and Rare Spiked Collar, do have some effect on gameplay during adventures.
  • Animal Religion: Everyone in Jamaa believes in Zios, Mira, and the Jamaa lore.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Several Co-Op Multiplayer mandatory adventures, such as Graham's Workshop, now have only one spot for a player to hop onto to trigger something. This means no more nagging other players, who will usually ignore.
    • Having trouble trying to trade for an item you really want? Have a bunch of unwanted goods and need gems, diamonds or sapphires? The My Shop feature allows you to simply buy coveted items from other players outright, eliminating a potentially long and luck-based Chain of Deals, or sell items for premium currency. The mobile game makes things even easier by adding a search function to find a user shop carrying the item you want. The only caveat for non-members, however, is that they have "fees" deducted from their earnings when selling items this way. Paid members, naturally, don't have this issue.
  • Artistic License – Geology: In Graham's Workshop, you can pan for silver and it will show up in pure state. However, in real life, silver panning is possible but very rare and will usually be found combined with other metals in nature.
  • Art Evolution: Besides from the in-game avatars and environment, the early art was gritty, with dark lighting, realistic looks, and barely any emotion. As the game progressed on, art became more happy, with bright lighting, cartoon looks, and lots of action going around.
    • The Artifact: The art style used for the avatars in-game could be considered his, since they barely look like the current promotional art style.
  • Atlantis: The Atlantis Party, which is for the underwater animals.
  • Band Land: The Jam Session party, which has instruments people can play.
  • Beauty Contest: The Best Dressed minigame, which relies on others to winnote .
  • Boss Battle: The Phantom King in climax of ''The Hive''. It can be fought in the final volcano room and all you have to do is to place boomseeds on it when it slams down and also evade the phantom minions.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Balloosh.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: The bunnies are portrayed as cute and innocent.
  • Character Customization: Players can customize their animals' colors and even dress them in clothing.
  • Character Level/Experience Points: Exists in the adventures. Experience points can be collected by either slaying phantoms and completing the goals required. The level shapes, which are used to display the player's level, consists of a circle, diamond, and square, depending on how much Experience Points they have.
  • Christmas Episode: Jamaalidays, complete with a gift-giving advent calendar, white snow, and Christmas decorations all over the place.
    • Christmas in July: Starting in 2014, the Jamaalidays Party launches in July for a short period annually.
  • Civilized Animal: Every anthropomorphic animal, including the players and Alphas. They mostly walk on four legs and exhibit animal mannerisms, yet can do human activities and build human-like civilizations. and However, Liza is more of a borderline Funny Animal.
  • Cock Fight: The owl's animated short involves two owls trying to win a female owl's heart, by showing off their talents. Neither wins and a penguin wins the female owl's heart instead.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Club Geoz, complete with techno music, two arcade games, and disco lights! Well, before it got torn down and replaced by the Alpha Headquarters.
  • Creation Myth: As said on the original website:
    And so it was that the Sky Father was named Zios. He created many stars and planets, and set them in motion. But after eons of creation, he became lonely. So he created the Sky Mother, a grey heron, and named her Mira.

    Mira was beautiful and kind and they were very happy together. She loved Zios deeply and often told him how talented he was, encouraging him to create. Together, Zios and Mira created their masterpiece: a lush land filled with oceans, mountains, meadows, and all kinds of plants and animals. They named this special world Jamaa, and for hundreds of years, the world and its animals were at peace.

  • Darker and Edgier: The adventures tend to be like this. For example, darkness hovers around, animals are kidnapped, phantoms go around putting the players to sleep, and laser beams cut through. In The Search of Greely, Greely is trapped inside ice and must be freed.
    • The Twister minigame is pretty dark and sad. You have to control a swallow that is trying to outrun a tornado while not rushing into any flying debris.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Originally in the adventures, if a player ran out of health and had an item in possession, they would still carry the item when respawned. This allowed adventures to continue easily. However, in the later updates, the player will drop the item when their health runs out, which causes frustration and more searching. Aside from that, however, being defeated isn't much of an issue since the player has infinite chances, and the worst that happens is being sent back to the nearest spawn point.
  • Digital Avatar: Your animal is one.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Subverted with the Twister minigame. Debris will get into your way as you try to outrun the tornado. It's only safe once the tornado disappears out of view.
  • Ear Notch: The foxes and bunnies have this, even though they're not evil.
  • Edutainment Game: Downplayed. Animal Jam claims to be educational, by giving players educational info about biology through videos, games, and fun. However, it's mainly played for non-educational purposes and players rarely learn from it. Even the Cash-Cow Franchise and The Merch turn shy away from education.
  • Emoticon: In the game, you can use emoticons, mostly faces of a yellow ambiguous speciesnote . Members have access to animated emoticons.

    Tropes F to N 
  • Fan Art: Yes, this exists. Players can submit their Animal Jam fanart and get them published in-game. Even fanart of series outside of Animal Jam get published.
  • Fantastic Racism: According to the second episode of "Jamaa Legends", "Unrest in Jamaa", the animal species stopped cooperating with each other and neglected their Heartstones, which led to the phantoms' uprising.
  • Fantasy: Thanks to the mumbo jumbo of magical gemstones, phantoms, Alphas with magical powers, and all sorts of fantasy stuff, it's safe to say that Animal Jam is basically a fantastic metaphor of biology, the animal kingdom, and ecology.
  • Fetch Quest: The adventures are mostly composed of these, often with players finding keys or gemstones to doors or portals, while dodging phantoms of course.
  • Forced Tutorial: The Training Grounds, which teaches the player the mechanics and tactics used in the adventures. This adventure must be completed before starting the real adventures. And a bit egregiously, the Training Grounds have to be completed with every new animal that you create if you want to use them on an adventure.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: The land animals normally walk around on all fours, but some will hop up on two legs when commanded to dance or play.
  • Four-Seasons Level/Holiday Mode: Jamaa Township (and some of the other areas)'s setting changes depending on the season and time of year.
  • Furry Confusion: Your animals can all keep pets, some of which can even be smaller versions of their own species - Pet Tigers, Joeys, Foxes, etc..
    • Not to mention, all of the animals you need to click on for your Journey Book. It gets slightly bizarre if one juxtaposes the playable flamingos against the giant, realistic one at Crystal Sands. Since 2017, red pandas can be all three: playable, a pet, and a more realistic version in Mt. Shiveer.
  • Furry Reminder: While the animals are anthropomorphic, some of their actions to make them follow this trope. After all, it is called Animal Jam and for a very good reason.
    • The play option for the monkey has them beating their chests, something that monkeys are notorious for doing in real life.
    • Similar to the monkey example above, the play option for the wolf has them howling like a real wolf.
    • Pigs play by... well playing in the mud.
    • Sloths look comfy when sleeping.
    • Hyneas laugh because... well, they're hyenas.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Your den can be decorated to your heart's content.
  • Item Crafting: Graham's Workshop allows players to hunt for resources and "craft" them into furniture and clothing.
  • Game Within a Game: The mini-games, of course! You can buy arcade machines for your den, as well as visit the Sol Arcade and certain spots in each game area.
  • Gangplank Galleon: Kani Cove. It has a sunken pirate ship!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Even though the game has moderation, it didn't always catch players performing what resembled sexual acts (a male animal jumping on a sleeping female animal used to be a common sight) and arranging furniture to spell out profane words. This resulted in complaints from parents; see this news report for an example.note 
  • Ghibli Hills: Of course, there's beautiful nature everywhere, even with the towns, buildings, and such.
  • The Ghost: The minor Alphas. They are only seen as statues.
    • Captain Meville also fits this trope. He is mentioned in the name of the juice hut in Crystal Springs, however is never seen.
  • Gotta Rescue Them All: In all adventures, the player must free all of the caged animals in order to either continue or complete. Once freed, they'll either just stay there and dance or go over to and jump on an entrance to another area.
  • Götterdämmerung: The Sugar Apocalypse the phantoms brought highlighted the departure of Zios and downfall of Mira.
  • Green Aesop: The plot of the game involves phantoms, as personification of pollution, destroying the land of Jamaa and trapping animals. By that, a green lesson can be learned in the adventures.
  • Green Hill Zone: Jamaa Township. Subverted with Appondale, which is pretty yellow.
  • Green Rocks: Such jewels are used to unlock portals in the adventures.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: The 2016 commerical, "Epic Adventures Await", has a scene in which Liza and the animals are dancing to the disco in Club Geoz.
    • This can be invoked by the players in Club Geoz (when it existed) itself, thanks to it being disco-themed.
  • Halloween Episode: Night of the Phantoms, complete with phantoms (of course), Halloween decorations, and Jamaa Township being Always Night.
  • The Hero: Normally it's Liza, but in the adventures, it's the player.
  • Heli-Critter: The bunny's play action is itself spinning its ears and then flying for a brief moment.
  • Homage: Cami's Frog, a den item which was only available in the beta, is a replication of Cami's frog plush. Cami is a leukemia survivor and the daughter of one of the WildWorks staff.
  • Ice Palace: There's a den called the Snow Fort, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Joke Level: The April Fools' Party, which is an upside down castle with tons of weirdness.
  • Jungle Japes: Temple of Zios.
  • "Just So" Story: Each animal species is stated to have their own Heartstone, which makes each species unique.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Half of "The Hive" takes place in a lava-filled volcano, with phantoms.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Used in the Great Escape adventure to unlock doors.
  • Locked Door: In some RPG-style adventures, a key must be found in order to unlock a door and continue the adventure.
  • Loot Boxes:
    • The gift boxes won on the Daily Spin
    • The chests given out as rewards for completing an adventure
    • The pet egg, which hatches out a random pet
  • The Lost Woods: Sarepia Forest
  • Luke Nounverber: The formula for a name you can give to your animal is "(Adjective) (Adjective)(noun)". The formula for a name you can give to your pet is "(Adjective)(noun)".
  • Major General Song: “Modern Major Kangaroo”.
  • The Maze: Most of the seasonal adventures are basically this. They will usually have gems, keys, and treasure chests laying around, and there will be a giant treasure chest at the center.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Some new items released in the game require either external gift cards or merchandise that have to be bought for real money.
  • Minigame Zone: Sol Arcade holds all the minigames (except for the basic multiplayer games and food making games), although all minigames can be found somewhere.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The blue penguin in Kimbara Outback. Although they do indeed live in Australia, they live on the coast, not in inland deserts.
  • Missing Secret: The infamous breaking bridge in Coral Canyon and frozen pond in Mt. Shiveer. Many players jumping on it would cause the bridge or pond to crack further and further... but nothing eventual seems to happen. Doesn't stop the Urban Legends of Zelda though.
  • Money for Nothing: Gems, the games' primary currency, are very easy to come by. On the contrary, most of the clothing and den items are fairly cheap (when they aren't just being handed out for free by the games and adventures or earned through trading), meaning you'll eventually find yourself with gems in the hundred thousands and very little to spend them on. Not even My Shops are much help, since most players sell their items for the far more coveted premium currency. Notably, while players can convert their diamonds/sapphires into gems, there exists absolutely no option to exchange your gems for diamonds/sapphires or any other such Money Sinks.
  • Monster in the Ice: In Mt. Shiveer, a frozen plesiosaur can be seen.
  • Mordor/Polluted Wasteland: Wherever phantoms hang out. It's not pretty.
  • Nature Lover: The game teaches you to be one. No explanation needed.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The recent advertisements display happy colorful animals doing various activities, such as riding a roller coaster, using a computer, and building a robot, that you cannot do in-game.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Romance is pretty much devoid in Jamaa, with its Valentine's Day stand-in being Friendship Festival. The only mention of romance is Mira and Zios' relationship, which is just that.
  • Not So Extinct: Thanks to the Heartstones, extinct animal species can be introduced.
  • Now, Buy the Merchandise: Animal Jam is obsessed with advertising its Merch through Jamaa Journal and automated Jam-a-grams.
  • Number of the Beast: Typing in "666" or "sixty hundred sixty six" will get censored and pop up the "message may not be appropriate" message.

    Tropes P to Y 
  • Palmtree Panic: Crystal Springs.
  • Patchwork Map: Taken to the next level. The game takes place in Jamaa, which contains every biome known.
  • Pet echidnas and platypus, which can hatch out of a pet egg
  • Play Every Day: Each day the player logs in, the multiplier on the Daily Spin increases by one until it reaches a maximum of "x3". Miss a single day, and your streak gets kicked back down to "x1".
  • Player-Generated Economy: Since players are able to trade and send gifts to each others, this allows players to run their own economy. However, with the rares, chaos may occur, especially since a large percentage of the playerbase is made up of young children and bratty teenagers.
    • Then there's a members-only "My Shop" den item, where you can sell the items you have.
  • Pop Quiz: "Temple of Trivia" sets players to compete in a quiz Game Show about the natural world.
  • Precursors: The ancient animals (which are extinct species), mentioned with the Temple of the Ancients.
  • Premium Currency: Diamonds serve as a sister currency to gems. Diamonds are earned by buying real world items, getting lucky on the Daily Spin (or using the members-only spin), going on each week (for members only), and getting certain gifts on Jamaalidays. Diamonds can be used to buy exclusive clothing, furniture, music, dens, and gems.
  • Put on a Bus: There are regular announcements in which an animal will be "traveling", which means that it will not be available as an animal to pick out soon. This is to make room for new animals.
  • Racing Minigame: "Jamaa Derby" and "Splash n Dash". "Jamaa Derby" involves horses that have to jump over obstacle, while "Splash n Dash" involves dolphins also trying to dodge obstacles and swimming through rings.
    • Some multiplayer modes of minigames are this, such as "Wind Rider".
  • Removable Shell: Turtles can take off their shells in one of their animations.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Pretty much almost all of the animals, but definitely all of the pets.
  • Role-Playing Game: Animal Jam may be a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, but more on the casual side. The Adventures are the real roleplaying games.
    • Players often roleplay in a casual way, most commonly in a Warrior Cats-esque clan roleplay or "house" roleplay.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: The game's chat and word filter is hit hard with this, to the frustration of many players, but is especially obnoxious when trying to pick a username to sign up with.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Subverted with Coral Canyon and Kimbara Outback. Like in reality, they are filled with plants and rare ponds.
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game: Mira Says is definitely this, you basically let Mira press the buttons and you must repeat what she pressed.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Mt. Shiveer. You can even slide down ice.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: The alleged "trapdoor spider" in Kimbara Outback does not live inside of a spider-sized hole in the ground, with a trapdoor made of dirt and webbing which it can close over the hole. Instead, it lives in a web resembling that of a funnel-web spider.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography: In the adventures, especially in the recent ones, the setting gets darker and more nightmarish as the player progresses through the adventure and meets more phantoms.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: When the phantoms came in and destroyed most of Jamaa.
  • Sugar Bowl/Utopia: What Jamaa looked like at first (and probably what most of it looks like now)
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Penguins, seals, polar bears, and dolphins can stay underwater for a very long time without drowning. Well, how can someone die in-game while socializing in an MMO?
  • Thanksgiving Episode: Feast of Thanks, complete with Thanksgiving decorations and an autumn setting.
  • Themed Stock Board Game: The game has its own version of Monopoly Junior. Sadly, it's only available in the United Kingdom.
  • To the Tune of...: "Geckos" to The Can Can Song
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: In August of 2017, a Solar Eclipse event was launched to celebrate the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse. Solar Eclipse-themed toys were released for a limited time.
  • Under the Sea: Every ocean area, which requires either a sea or "both-terrain" animal to go to.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Friendship Festival, which is basically Bowdlerizes Valentine's Day to be about platonic relationships. There are still romantic colors and hearts around, though.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: In April 2020, the game was replaced with its Play Wild 3D counterpart and its original 2D Flash version was archived as "Classic", then announced to be only playable on desktop by the end of 2020. Justified as Adobe Flash is to be discontinued at the end of 2020.
  • Virtual Pet: Downplayed with the pets, as they're nothing more than mere interactive decorations that can be dressed, placed in the house, or follow the player around.
  • Volcano Lair: Where King Phantom is located, thanks to "The Hive".
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Can be done when a player switches animals.
    • In "Greely's Inferno", the player can transform into a phantom temporarily.
  • Whale Egg: In the Nest of Eggs den item, an egg can hatch into various animals, including a rabbit, if clicked.
  • Wild West: To celebrate the release of the coyotes, items related to the west were released.
  • World of Funny Animals: In Jamaa (and possibly the whole world the game takes place in), everyone is a Civilized Animal and no humans can be sighted among the animals. However, humans are put into the game's educational content, such as a page in the Otter Mini-book and the videos showing Brady Barr, because Most Writers Are Human.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Most holiday events are renamed in the game, just to satisfy all cultures. Valentine's Day is Friendship Festival, St. Patrick's Day is Lucky Day, Easter is Spring Festival, Fourth of July is Freedom Day, Halloween is Night of the Phantoms, Thanksgiving is Feast of Thanks, and Christmas, as well as Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and winter holidays in general is Jamaalidays. The themes and decorations still don't obscure the original holidays, though.
  • You No Take Candle: The Tiki statues in the "Tiki Trouble" adventure speak in broken English.

The Spin-Off apps, Tunnel Town, Animal Jam Jump, and Dash Tag provides examples of:

  • Absurd Altitude: The main goal of Animal Jam Jump, similar to the Sky High example given above
  • Alien Animals: Dash Tag has two: Angel, who looks like a cat, and Ruby, who resembles a fox.
  • Ballroom Blitz: In the intro of Tunnel Town, a mobile app, the phantoms approach a bunny couple during a formal party. Despite the male bunny joining up with 2 of his friends, they fall into the phantoms' portal and get Trapped in Another World, thus bringing up the objective of the game.
  • Construction and Management Games: Tunnel Town is pretty much this, even though there's not much hassle. All you do is furnish your burrow, feed the bunnies, and breed them.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Tag with Ryan, a Ryan ToysReview video game developed with the help of WildWorks, can be summed up as Dash Tag but with Ryan ToysReview characters and suns to collect. The Animal Jam-esque font and settings and the fact that Combo Panda replaces the chasing panda make this easy to find out.
  • Endless Running Game: Dash Tag is supposed to be this.
  • Expy: Shadow the Cat in Dash Tag is this to Shadow the Hedgehog. The description even calls him an edgelord.
  • G-Rated Sex: In Tunnel Town, a dance floor furniture can be used to breed 2 bunnies, which will produce an egg after a few hours.
  • Underground City: Present in Tunnel Town, though it's more of an underground house
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Done with the mobile apps, most notably Animal Jam: Play Wild!
  • Whale Egg: Bunnies hatch out of them in Tunnel Town

Hey buddy, you better get a whoop-whoop!

Alternative Title(s): National Geographic Animal Jam