National Geographic’s Animal Jam is a colorful, virtual world for children to explore. It is targeted to ages 5-11. Animal Jam has a thriving virtual community of over 1 million registered users, quite a success story in the world of children’s online gaming.
To play Animal Jam, you simply create a free online account and enter the world of Jamaa, a place where anthropomorphized pandas, tigers, wolves, monkeys, rabbits, and koalas roam freely, playing games and buying kitschy merchandise for dressing up their very un-animal-like “dens.”
Players choose which animal they want to be, and are given a fairly impressive amount of options for customizing their little animal avatars. Players simply roam freely through Jamaa’s of seven different regions, each representing a particular kind of ecological environment. Just navigating the world of Jamaa is something of an adventure.
Although it is a fairly small world, there’s quite a bit lot packed into it: mini-games lurk in every corner, as do shops where players can use the game’s currency, “gems,” to buy clothes for their avatar, decorations for their homes, and even pets. Even several hours into playing this game, you still would find a shop or game lurking in a previously unnoticed corner.
Not to mention all of the little clubs and stores that you can get into that let you play games, answer trivia, and put your artistic skills to the test! You can even watch movie bytes in the Sarepia Theatre. In addition, you can make friends with other avatars and play games against them.
The world of Jamaa is filled with icons that bring up facts about the natural world and man’s interactions with it. Clicking on one gives you a fun fact about plants, animals, or even the history of human uses of and adaptations to the natural environment. There are also some buildings, like the Chamber of Knowledge, that contains mini-National Geographic magazines on more saccharine topics like frogs and pandas.
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Pets come in four kinds (puppies, kittens, frogs, and ducklings) and by playing a slot-machine style game, you can customize your pet to have zany colors, hair-styles, eye colors, accessories, etc. Your avatar is allowed to hold up to 4 pets at a time. If you should tire of one of your pet’s looks, or decide it’s not rare enough to suit you tastes, just go ahead and “free” your pet to make room for the new one.
Jamaa Township region so packed with players trying to chat, trade, or recruit others to den parties that you will feel like in a real city center.
This virtual pet world game is very much fun!