Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Old Jamaa

Hey Jammers! DoomyPanda here. ^_^

I've been thinking about how much AJ has changed over the years. I've always seen Jammers be nostalgic for beta testing in 2010, but as of late I've seen that nostalgia move forward to 2012, and even 2013!

People still miss beta testing in 2010, but as the years passed on, the previous ones were missed just as much.

Thus, like every other rapidly changing game with a strong community, there developed a yearning for the general past of AJ. "Old" AJ, if you will. 

Animal Jam Stream has been around for a long time, and through so many changes to Jamaa, I've been there to whine and complain about them. 

Things change, but the reasons why they did become muddied and unclear as time goes on. One of the most interesting changes that took place involved what we all know today as the Alphas:

Yep. That's them alright.

However... this is also them:

The Alphas had their looks changed around 2013 after a long "absence". Alphas were there from the beginning but AJHQ had not acknowledged them for an inexplicable period of time up until their much-anticipated "return" in 2013.

When they came back, their outfits and style had been changed to look less like mystical leaders and more like bright and flashy superheroes. Y'know, to theoretically make them more popular with young kids.

Along with that, their perceived ages and even personalities were changed as well. The most dramatic was Cosmo, who had gone from being a studious old mentor with a pretty visible beard to being "one of the youngest" Alphas who liked to joke around and prank people. Yes, even the mythology changed.


So, which do you like better? Leave a comment and we'll see who wins in this battle. 

The change that personally annoyed me the most was the one that happened with Liza. For one thing, she doesn't even look like a panda anymore!



They made her skinnier and younger-looking to probably try and make kids like her more, but that kinda ruins her integrity in my opinion. Have you ever heard of a skinny panda? Sounds pretty terrible, right? 

It doesn't make matters any better that during the time I joined, pandas were one of the least popular animals. Whenever I'd walk into a room, some kid would always say "fat panda lol". I didn't care what they had to say, but this change to Liza really made it feel like AJHQ held the same weird mindset that pandas were supposed to be skinny. 

All in all, the Alpha that looks the most different from their corresponding AJ animal is definitely Liza. 

However, the appearances and the stories were not the only things that changed about the Alphas. They even had a different name!

It's true! Prior to their reintroduction in 2013, the group of wise animals we all know and love were called Shamans. 

In the real world, Shamanism is an important practice found all over the world that involves using belief in the spirit world to help people and the environment. A notable example of Shamanism helping the environment is found today with the Tucano people of South America, where shamans act as ecological managers to prevent overhunting and overfishing.

For Jamaa, belief in the spirit world for the shamans was reflected in Mira and Zios. If you don't know already, Mira and Zios in AJ's official mythology are the benevolent creators and caretakers of Jamaa, Mira being the pretty blue heron and Zios being the embodiment of sunshine. Kinda like the sky. c:

It's cool how AJHQ made Jamaa have a fun mythology rather than just be every other kids' game.

Even after the name change in 2013, I still called Liza and the others Shamans for a while until that started to confuse people. I kinda like how the word "shaman" sounds more than "alpha". 

So, why was the name changed?

The reason for Shamans to become "Alphas" was because quite a few young kids misinterpreted Shamans as evil. In so many outdated cartoons they're wrongly portrayed as the villains, so it's no wonder some kids got upset. Unfortunately, I remember some kids who even quit AJ because of this! D:

AJHQ didn't want any more Jammers to leave, so rather than correct them they decided to just change Shamans to "Alphas" and turn them into cartoony superheroes so kids would in no circumstances get the wrong idea.

Sadly, I think this new flashy look-at-me art style just doesn't fit well with Jamaa's environment. Whereas the old appearances of the Shamans seemed to really be a part of The Lost Temple of Zios, Sarepia, or Appondale, these new ones just stick out from Jamaa's earthy landscape. I hope that makes sense.

Moving on from the Shamans (yes I'm gonna call them that again), another significant thing that people miss about Jamaa are-- you guessed it --old items.

This is a screenshot from a shop called Coral Corner that used to be located in Coral Canyons. It sold a variety of items from pottery to plants!

What I love about Coral Corner was how hidden it was. Nowadays, shops in Jamaa are flashy and defined. Coral Corner was a lot more... secret. Secret and mysterious.

That may have been part of why items sold here became so popular after its closing. You see, I have a theory about what makes old items so sought-after today. 

It's all in the chunky, earthy art style!

The Globe is a good example of the natural chunkiness we all know and love. Continents on it aren't as visible as say, the Large Globe at the Schoolhouse Party, but this older original one is quite a bit more popular. 

Along with the chunkiness, the color scheme is more earth-toned and easier on the eyes, and consequently can go with almost any den! It's a real favorite because it illustrates the unique art style that Jamaa was built upon.

Any of you remember the Beta Party?

All of the items here were not from beta testing, but AJHQ recreated that distinct style years later.

What I'd love to see is for AJ to release more items of this style in regular shops. They'd definitely be super popular! *cough*AJHQPLEASEDOTHIS*cough*

There are so many things that made Jamaa what it was, and if I'd count them all in this post I'd probably go insane from sleep deprivation. So, here's a screenshot I found of the old AJ background. Do you see the large gong where Jammer Central is today?

Thank you so much for reading. See you in Jamaa! :)


  1. I'd really wish they made beta-style items in AJ >.<

    1. Same. I wonder if it's more difficult, though... I don't think daily items were a thing back during beta testing, so maybe they spent more effort making beautiful items. Nowadays when items need to be out every day, perhaps it's more difficult and time-consuming to stick to an art style.

    2. @Cookycupcake

      I agree.


      I also agree!

  2. This post makes me feel so nostalgic!! Aaahhh.....
    This is a bit unrelated, but back before the Shamans came back as the Alphas, I was drawing this huge fan-fiction comic thing about the backstories of phantoms, as well as the backstory for one of my AJ characters. Liza was the central character, and most of it was just my own ideas :O I think that I might've thrown it away, but if that's the case, I really wish I didn't... That thing would be ancient history by now :,)


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