Wonderville 3D (lost Shockwave 3D educational game; 2004)

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Wonderville3D screenshot.gif

A screenshot of Wonderville 3D.

Status: Lost

Wonderville 3D is an educational, Shockwave 3D based webgame, originally released in 2004. It was created by the Science Alberta Foundation in Calgary, with the development contracted out to Rare Method (formerly Idea Machine.)[1] The game was developed in the span of three months[2] by a team of five artists, animators and programmers,[3] and was intended to teach elementary school science concepts linked to Alberta's science curriculum.


In the game, you control an avatar on a hoverboard, and - equipped with your handy PDA - are free to explore a small town at your own pace. In addition to the town, players can enter buildings such as the school, library, town hall, store, Nancy's house, and Professor Faber's secret hideout.[4][5] The game is single player, and does not require an account or have any online multiplayer functionality. Approaching specific objects in the environment causes a lightbulb icon to appear, which when interacted with provides access to science facts called Everwonders, videos about innovative new technologies, and activities.

The Crew

A cast of cartoon characters formed the Wonderville Crew, who would appear throughout the world of the game. The main protagonists for users to identify with were Tommy Fitzgerald, the imaginative/technical type, and Marie DuPont, the athletic/academic type. Tommy is the 6th grade technology expert, and is a programmer and a gamer, while Marie is "a cross between MacGyver and a young Lara Croft."[6] There were also several minor characters.[7]

  • Professor Faber, who has a laboratory in the secret hideout and invents "all manner of machines and thingamajigs."
  • Dr. Nancy Faber, a research scientist, NASA astronaut candidate and professor at Wonderville University.
  • Haley Littlemoccasin, who is of Blackfoot and Cree descent and likes native dancing, basketball and hockey.
  • Gary Goegedder, the kids' teacher, an amateur archeologist and science enthusiast.
  • Crash the Robot and Proton the Cat, who provide comic relief.
  • The Wondernik, a mobile navigator and analyzer, and Wonderville's mascot.


Wonderville had over 100,000 visitors per month since the site launched and was considered a success. Tom Choi, the manager of digital initiatives at Science Alberta Foundation, noted that "while our target audience is children and youth ages 8 through 12, we've found that kids as young as 4 and grandparents as old as 94 are interested in Wonderville... science learning is fun and it has such a broad appeal to a general audience. So Wonderville has been hugely successful in that fashion."

Wonderville 3D won the FWA (Favourite Website Award) Of The Day for April 13, 2004.[8] On November 30, 2004, Wonderville 3D was featured as a case study in the showcase section of Macromedia.com. According to Brent Lowrie, the team lead at Rare Method, it was "quite an honour to be highlighted on the Macromedia website. As the case studies are also marketing vehicles for them, they only feature the best of the best and it is high testament to the quality of product we are able to produce here."[9]


Wonderville 3D was removed from Wonderville's site in 2011, and replaced with a standard web search interface instead. Wayback Machine only captured the loader movie for Wonderville 3D. The necessary external assets, listed below, are missing. When attempting to play the game in a browser with the Shockwave plugin installed, it gets stuck loading indefinitely.

File Status
main.dcr Lost
sounds.cct Lost
characters.cct Lost

There is no found gameplay footage of Wonderville 3D, although there are a handful of screenshots from various articles, as well as an animated trailer set in the town from the game.

LMW user TOMYSSHADOW contacted Wonderville's support, who stated in a phone conversation that Wonderville 3D likely exists in their archives, but that it is uncertain if the game could still be legally released, and that it would be difficult to host a server for because of its dependence on ASP.NET. Rare Method, the contractor who developed the game, was acquired by the marketing agency Arcane on April 4, 2007.[10] According to a 2017 email conversation between TOMYSSHADOW and Eric Vardon from Arcane, nobody still at the company had any involvement with Wonderville 3D.


The activities took the form of various minigames which would explain scientific principles in more depth, such as Robot Factory, which was about simple machines, or Energy Street, which was about power consumption. All of the activities that could be seen in Wonderville 3D are listed below.

Note that these activities are not strictly a part of Wonderville 3D itself, so they don't count towards a partially lost status for it. However, Wonderville 3D did contain links leading to them, so they are mentioned here because of their notability in this context.

Activity Status
Robot Factory Found
Energy Street Found
Phases of the Moon Found
You bet your Hide Found
Build a Tipi Found
The Wetlands Found
Airborne Activity Found
Water Treatment Activity Found
Fingerprint Activity Found
Tree Cookies Found
The Forces Of Wonder Found
Crash Test: Power Shootout Found
Photosynthesis Found
Medieval Levers Found
How We Hear Found
Operation Light & Shadow Partially Lost

Several of the activites that were linked from Wonderville 3D are still available on Wonderville's current site (albeit behind a paywall.) None of the activities are lost, with the exception of Operation Light & Shadow, which is only partially playable.

Operation Light & Shadow

Operation Light & Shadow is one of the activities that could be accessed from Wonderville 3D. In the minigame, you as your avatar need to take down a security system by using the principles of light and shadow. The minigame is in Flashpoint Archive, but is only partially playable. After completing eight levels, the "secret bonus room" is unlocked, but upon attempting to enter it, the game becomes stuck loading indefinitely. It is unknown why this error occurs, because the minigame does not request any additional external assets, and there is no Shockwave 3D World for the secret bonus room like there is for every other level. There are dialogue sound files, indicating the intended ending, but in its current state these lines of dialogue are unused in the minigame itself.

The build of the minigame in Flashpoint Archive was taken from Wonderville's site in 2020. It is possible that this build is incomplete compared to the original release in 2004. However, this is impossible to verify because Wayback Machine did not capture all of the external assets for the minigame.

Tom Choi explained the premise of Operation Light & Shadow as follows.

"The inspiriation [sic] behind this game was a security system. You know when you see a movie and they've got lasers around a valuable object and someone has to defeat the security system to get to this object. So that's what the next concept is going to be. So Tommy will be asked as a 'white hat', as a good guy, to test the security systems for Nancy Favour. [sic] And you have to use the principles of light and shadows, such as mirrors, such as prisms to refract colours, hand glasses to focus light, to break these systems and learn. So they'll learn about the principles of light and shadows and how these principles are around us in everyday lives."




An animated trailer for Wonderville, set in the town from Wonderville 3D.