Archiving Tamatown

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hwd45

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For a few months now I've been working on projects outside of Tamagotchi and so I haven't really been thinking about Tamagotchi a great deal. One thing that always pulls me back, though? Tamatown.

Cracking passwords was so 2019. Let's take a look at what made Tamatown what it was, and where it is today. For the purposes of this post I'll mainly be covering the V3/4 Tamatowns since that's where most is lost, but I will be covering other Tamatown variants in upcoming posts.

I'm sure I don't really need to introduce Tamatown to many of the users here, but perhaps it would be worth some context regardless.

What was Tamatown?
Tamatown was an online Flash game first launched in 2006 alongside the Tamagotchi Connection V3. Future Tamagotchi versions would also get their own respective "Tamatowns", with the V4 version being an updated variant of the V3 Tamatown, the V5 Tamatown being an entirely different game called the "Tama and Earth Expo" and the Music Star Tamatown being a mass-multiplayer online game called Music City. Music City later got renamed to "Tamatown" once again upon the release of the Tamatown Tama-Go.

The Japanese versions also received their own versions of Tamatown. The Entama, released in 2005, had a game similar to Tamatown V3 often called e-Tamago. The Uratama had a variant of this website called "Uratamatown", and the Tamasuku had its own online world, too. Many of the games on the international sites were translations of games from the Japanese site.

What happened to Tamatown?
Beginning in 2012, the Tamatown servers started to faulter and die. People found that the website had been down for months with apparently no recovery in sight. This was confirmed to be the case in February 2013 when it was officially confirmed that all versions of Tamatown would be going down for good. The only remnant of Tamatown that was left was a game on new.tamatown.com replacing Music City - a language selection screen. Selecting English or Spanish would take you to the shutdown page, while clicking Portuguese would... uh, take you to a Portuguese translation of one of the games. I don't know why. I'm assuming the Tama-Go still had a market presence in Brazil or something.

The V3 and V4 Tamatowns actually stayed up for quite a bit longer in Europe. They would eventually shut down on the European website some time in June - July 2013. That extra time allowed some of the files to be archived... but not many.

Where was Tamatown?
This might seem like a silly question. Clearly, Tamatown was found on tamatown.com, right?

Curiously, there were actually multiple different domains that Tamatown occupied, and all of them have to be checked in order to comprehensively search for the files.

European regions used www.tamagotchieurope.com, but the truth is that there was actually a second address - www.tamagotchi.eu. If you go to that address now - as of writing this post - you still get the thank you message that was left behind when the site shut down.

The US is a slightly more complicated case:

  • The site originally started at both www.tamatown.com and www.tamagotchitown.com
  • When the V4 came along the two Tamatown versions were split off into v3.tamatown.com and v4.tamatown.com
  • The V6/7 Tamatown used the amusing address new.tamatown.com
  • After it shutdown, what was left was moved to bandai.com/tamagotchi/new

Being an international version, the V5 Tamatown was stored at a different address, too.

What remains of Tamatown?
Sadly, not a lot. Here's a list of the most important Tamatown files (swf and mp3) for which we have some archived record of on the Wayback Machine, for the V3/4 Tamatowns:












File


Version


Language


Notes


Archive Link




tama_shell.swf


V3


US


Loader. Earlier version.


Link




Later version.


Link




Low bandwidth version.


Link




DE


 


Link




intro.swf


V3


US


Intro sequence.


Link




Low bandwidth version.


Link




DE


 


Link




town.swf


V3


US


Location.


Link




DE


Location.


Link




mall.swf


V3


DE


Location.


Link




toys.swf


V3


DE


Location.


Link




music.swf


V3


DE


Location.


Link




tama_island.swf


V3


SP


 


Link




vote_off.swf


V3


SP


 


Link




parents.swf


V3


US


Location.


Link




Low bandwidth version.


Link




grandparents.swf


V3


US


Location.


Link




Low bandwidth version.


Link




king.swf


V3


US


Location.


Link




Low bandwidth version.


Link




tama_shell.swf


V4


US


Loader. Earlier version.


Link




Later version.


Link




UK


 


Link




DE


 


Link




HE


 


Link




intro.swf


V4


US


Intro sequence.


Link




UK


 


Link




HE


 


Link




town.swf


V4


UK


Location.


Link




HE


 


Link




song1.mp3


V3/4


-


Main Tamatown theme.


Link




mall.mp3


V3/4


-


Mall music.


Link





A few of these files are actually available in multiple versions! Some might be identical though, I've not fully checked yet. I do know for a fact that the Tamatown theme uses an identical file across both versions of the site so I'm assuming the rest of the audio files do too.

These files were recovered across several different variants of the site so it's a bit patchwork in places. If one were to reconstruct Tamatown as several have done in the past, they'd find that one minute everything is in English and the next minute they're in a German shopping mall. And entering the clothes shop is strictly forbidden.A few of these files are

It should be noted that the Japanese sites, including the V5 website, are significantly better archived to the extent that they can be almost entirely recovered. Some of the games are close matches for the English games, too.

What is lost?
A lot. A lot. So much. Once again, the known lost files (of which there may actually be more unknown ones too) for the V3/4 Tamatowns - brace yourselves:










File


Version


Notes




clothing.swf


V3


 




Unknown


V3


A game referred to as "suitcasegame" in the shell swf, may be part of clothing.swf




racegame.swf


V3


 




arcade.swf


V3


 




Unknown


V3


The claw game in the arcade. Referred to as "clawGame" in the shell swf.




Unknown


V3


The ring toss game in the arcade. Referred to as "ringtossGame" in the shell swf.




Unknown


V3


The race game in the arcade. Referred to as "japanracegame" in the shell swf.




foodcourt.swf


V3


 




school.swf


V3


 




theatre.swf


V3


 




Unknown


V3


Movie 1.




Unknown


V3


Movie 2.




Unknown


V3


Movie 3.




townhall.swf


V3


 




travel.swf


V3


 




Unknown


V3


A game referred to as "namethattuneGame" in the shell swf, unknown location




Unknown


V3


A game referred to as "tamasaysgame" in the shell swf, unknown location




mall.swf


V4


 




clothing.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


A game referred to as "suitcasegame" in the shell swf, may be part of clothing.swf




toys.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Slot game in the toy store.




racegame.swf


V4


 




music.swf


V4


 




arcade.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


The claw game in the arcade. Referred to as "clawGame" in the shell swf.




Unknown


V4


The ring toss game in the arcade. Referred to as "ringtossGame" in the shell swf.




Unknown


V4


The race game in the arcade. Referred to as "japanracegame" in the shell swf.




Unknown


V4


The darts game in the arcade.




Unknown


V4


The football game in the arcade.




foodcourt.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


The burger game in the food court.




Unknown


V4


The pizza game in the food court.




school.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


The calendar center in the school.




theatre.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Movie 1.




Unknown


V4


Movie 2.




townhall.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Town Hall game.




travel.swf


V4


 




parents.swf


V4


 




grandparents.swf


V4


 




king.swf


V4


 




office.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Office second room, may be part of office.swf




bank.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Bank game.




postoffice.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Post office game.




preschool.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Dance game in the preschool.




hospital.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Waiting room game in the hospital.




station.swf


V4


 




Unknown


V4


Mame city.




Unknown


V4


Hardware store in Mame city.




Unknown


V4


Mame work building.




Unknown


V4


Work building game, not sure if it's part of the above swf.




Unknown


V4


Guruguru town.




Unknown


V4


Convenience store in Guruguru town.




Unknown


V4


Meme work building.




Unknown


V4


Work building game, not sure if it even exists.




Unknown


V4


Patchi forest.




Unknown


V4


Gym in Patchi forest.




Unknown


V4


Kuchi work building.




Unknown


V4


Work building game, not sure if it's part of the above swf.




ending.swf


V4


Logout animation.




grandparents.mp3


V3/4


 




king.mp3


V3/4


 




foodcourt.mp3


V3/4


Music that plays in the food court.




school.mp3


V3/4


Music that plays in the school.




townhall.mp3


V3/4


Music that plays in the town hall.




arcade.mp3


V3/4


Music that plays in the arcade.




travel.mp3


V3/4


Music that plays in the travel centre.




theatre.mp3


V3/4


Music that plays in the theatre.





This may not even be all the lost files. I've only listed files that were known to exist here. There is almost certainly more. The ones marked in purple are files that I'm not even sure existed in the first place since there's far too little that is still known.

On top of these there's a tonne of lost character swfs that would've been used to display different characters. I won't list them here because there's hundreds of them spanning across each Tamatown version. There's also a countless number of versions for each swf file - updates, alternate language versions, low bandwidth versions and the like.

What about those Tamatown revivals?
Some confusion I've seen with regard to Tamatown is the extent to which they can be "revived". Certainly, there's been attempts at reviving the site in the past, and some of them were pretty good - what people often misunderstand, though, is that none of these revivals were able to recover anything that was already lost. Tama-Palace in particular wrote several articles hyping up loociano's revival as though it'd only be a matter of weeks before Tamatown was completely up any running again, but the fact of the matter was that the only files he was hosting were ones that had already been archived.

There has been some luck in replacing the lost games with ones from the Japanese sites but... they're not exactly the same? There's missing music, missing functionality and a number of locations were never on the Japanese sites.

Essentially, attempting to truly revive Tamatown would mean finding a way to recover the lost files.

Where do we go from here?
I think there's three main approaches that we can take to archiving the history of Tamatown, and none of them are going to be particularly easy.

Web archives
All the Tamatown files from the domains I mentioned above have been covered, and as far as I know, there aren't any more. If other archiving sites were around back then and they've made their own archives, then we may get lucky, but as far as I can tell the only archives that exist are the ones we're aware of.

Essentially, I wouldn't waste time looking for more archived files online. They just aren't out there.

Saved files
One obvious way to approach the matter is just to find people that actually saved some of the Tamatown files. Problem is, not only are these people already few and far between, but they would've saved them on computers they owned around a decade ago if not longer - computers that may not even exist anymore, let alone work - and these people are most likely not into Tamagotchi anymore, and certainly aren't lurking on a forum site they might have considered frequenting 14 years ago.

What is known, though, is that there are people who downloaded some of the files. While I'm not so sure how many people would've downloaded the swf files, there certainly was discussion about some of the character swfs from later Tamatown variants and also how to download the music from the site. It is entirely possible that a good number of people would have done that back in the day, so if anyone reading this post just happened to have downloaded any of the music files from that era (or, indeed, the swfs) then perhaps you might want to seek out those files.

Cached files
A last ditch effort which I've heard might be effective is looking in old PC cache data to find the missing files. Some versions of Internet Explorer had a habit of not clearing their "Temporary Internet Files" folder so it would get crammed full of junk from tonnes of websites.

Allegedly swf and mp3 files were amongst those that would've been cached. Making life a little bit harder, these files wouldn't have been named correctly (and likely had seemingly random filenames) and may have even had their file extensions totally removed, too. I wasn't aware of this when I looked through an old PC for these files before, so I may just have to look again.

In essence? One potential solution would be to dig out an old PC that used Internet Explorer to access the website a number of times, find the Temporary Internet Files folder (I may provide a better tutorial of how to do this in the future because I recall guides online not being all that helpful, you may have to go to the folder directly instead of by moving through different folders. I think there may be multiple folders with this name, too.), copy its content elsewhere and try changing the extensions of extensionless files to mp3 or swf to see how programs that can run these file formats interact with them and determining if any are the lost Tamatown files.

What exactly is my point in posting this?
I don't know, something between heightening awareness and calling to action, I suppose. I truly believe it's possible to recover at least some of the lost files, so I think broadening the range of people that know how to help can only be a positive thing.

I'll continue to post updates and findings as they come and - in the event I do find anything - I will of course be archiving the materials and putting it all here. If anyone would like to help in this endeavour - even if it ends up being fruitless - sharing it with other people that used Tamatown during its height would be extremely helpful. And if you're a bit techy and still own any of those old PCs you once played Tamatown on, then hopefully I've given you something to do whilst bored in lockdown :D  

 

hwd45

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What can i do to help? I feel like i should help somehow
The "Where do we go from here?" section of the post above lists the main things that can be done to help. If you never used Tamatown while it was active, though, there's not much that can be done.

Though perhaps building up links to videos on Tamatown would be a good idea - it's actually incredibly hard to find videos of the V3 Tamatown for example. Mainly though, I want to approach this topic with the goal of recovering those Tamatown files.

 

hwd45

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KurbusMax said:
Okay, I'll be making a few edits to ensure the Tamatown versions aren't being mixed. Just to be clear, only the V3/4 Tamatowns shared files with eachother - V5, V6/7 and V8/9 (Dream Town) were all entirely different entities.

-----

Anyway, it probably won't need saying but I'll just remind everyone that while collecting some videos of the website will be really useful for seeing its full functionality, the goal of this project is first and foremost to recover the lost files. So I'm hoping it doesn't get too derailed by other goals :)

 

KurbusMax

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by the way if you want to tell me something just write it somewhere on the doc

also if you see this feel free to help

i'm gonna make a website for us btdubs

what's the URL gonna be

 
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hwd45

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While I can't help on the topic at hand, I just want to say that that's some pure dedication you got there, and for a wonderful cause. I really hope that you could manage to make this a reality some day.
Thank you!

---

I had intended on doing more frequent updates on this post, but something else in my life kind of got in the way of that. Regardless, I've got some details planned for a future post on the V6/7 Tamatown which I'm sure people will find interesting. I've also bought some equipment to use in transferring data from old machines etc in order to look for cached Tamatown files, though I've not been able to gain access to those old machines yet. I'll update whenever I get a chance to look for those files.

 

Purimatchi!

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Thank you!

---

I had intended on doing more frequent updates on this post, but something else in my life kind of got in the way of that. Regardless, I've got some details planned for a future post on the V6/7 Tamatown which I'm sure people will find interesting. I've also bought some equipment to use in transferring data from old machines etc in order to look for cached Tamatown files, though I've not been able to gain access to those old machines yet. I'll update whenever I get a chance to look for those files.
This has peaked my interest! I am not sure what I can do, but I can talk to bigger Tamagotchi accounts on other social media platforms and get them to put word out if you need something specific! I am more than sure that there are people that may be help if you get stuck! Let me know if you need any assistance, or at least post it in this topic! I want to see all of these restored in all their glory! 

 

321Boom

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Thank you!

---

I had intended on doing more frequent updates on this post, but something else in my life kind of got in the way of that. Regardless, I've got some details planned for a future post on the V6/7 Tamatown which I'm sure people will find interesting. I've also bought some equipment to use in transferring data from old machines etc in order to look for cached Tamatown files, though I've not been able to gain access to those old machines yet. I'll update whenever I get a chance to look for those files.
You're welcome, I just thought I'd give you a small pat on the back for encouragement :)  It shows you put a lot of effort into this with the list of links to the .swf files, and also another list with what's missing as well! I really do hope you manage to fulfill this dream of yours some day, cause it shows you have lots of dedication to make this happen, and it would be really cool having one of the 'old dead sites' back up and running again!

Understandable, real life problems get in the way of passion sometimes, happens to the best if us. Wow, also working on a V6/7 archive? You REALLY do seem determined to get the the old sites up again! That would really be cool if so, while I never used them, I read that lots of people loved the old Tamatown (and mock the new On app case it feels very lacking in comparison) and I'm sure lots of fans of these Tamas would be super grateful and appreciative :)   Wishing you the utmost luck in managing to transfer some useful data from these old machines, keep chasing the dream! 

 

hwd45

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This has peaked my interest! I am not sure what I can do, but I can talk to bigger Tamagotchi accounts on other social media platforms and get them to put word out if you need something specific! I am more than sure that there are people that may be help if you get stuck! Let me know if you need any assistance, or at least post it in this topic! I want to see all of these restored in all their glory! 
I think the most that most people will be able to do is spread awareness! A lot of these files, I think, will be found through checking old internet caches, so hopefully spreading awareness will help find more people who once played Tamatown and are willing to look through their old caches.

You're welcome, I just thought I'd give you a small pat on the back for encouragement :)  It shows you put a lot of effort into this with the list of links to the .swf files, and also another list with what's missing as well! I really do hope you manage to fulfill this dream of yours some day, cause it shows you have lots of dedication to make this happen, and it would be really cool having one of the 'old dead sites' back up and running again!

Understandable, real life problems get in the way of passion sometimes, happens to the best if us. Wow, also working on a V6/7 archive? You REALLY do seem determined to get the the old sites up again! That would really be cool if so, while I never used them, I read that lots of people loved the old Tamatown (and mock the new On app case it feels very lacking in comparison) and I'm sure lots of fans of these Tamas would be super grateful and appreciative :)   Wishing you the utmost luck in managing to transfer some useful data from these old machines, keep chasing the dream! 
Thank you!

 

Purimatchi!

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I think the most that most people will be able to do is spread awareness! A lot of these files, I think, will be found through checking old internet caches, so hopefully spreading awareness will help find more people who once played Tamatown and are willing to look through their old caches.
Got it! I will try to spread the word and see if we can get things filled in!

 
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