A programmer published interest in releasing a free version of Toontown Online after it was taken down from the public. The game will run the exact version of Toontown Online players know. Alpha testing is planned to begin in a week.
An untimely ending
Shortly after the servers were disconnected to Toontown Online, programmers announced plans to open an alternate version of the game. This exact replica of Toontown Online will be free to play. The programmers behind the project hope Disney will not challenge the legality of the issue.
Disney closed Toontown Online today after 10 years of service. This massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) was targeted at children and provided a family-friendly atmosphere that won several awards, including Game of the Year in 2003 by Computer Gaming World and the Safe Gaming Award by Wired in 2005.
Social networking sites like reddit and tumblr were buzzing with news of the shutdown. Users planning to login shortly before the game unplugged were unable to connect to the server for as long as ten minutes before it was reported to shut down at 11:59. When trying to connect, the error message, “Could not connect to gameserver-lv.toontown.com:6667. Try again?” generated. Users logged in when the game was pulled received a notification that they were kicked from the server.
The new build is called Toontown Rewritten and it was announced by reddit user alex_newtron at approximately 2:30 CST. The thread’s title is “Toontown Rewritten: We’re back”. The Toontown Rewritten FAQ states that Alpha Testing should go up in a week for selected users. No criteria to pick these users have been released yet.
The software seems to work. A thread posted to the subreddit /r/toontownps by alex_newtron on August 28, 2013 displays a recording of a build being tested where a user creates a toon named “Fuck You” and after switching between the toon creation program to the game program, the toon is displayed as a ‘Toon to Play’ on the game’s splash screen.
There was a video embedded here, but it was removed from youtube.
Regarding server space and finances, the Toontown Rewritten FAQ states that the game “isn’t nearly as expensive as you would think to maintain. Hardware prices have substantially dropped compared to what they were when Toontown first launched in 2003, and the folks over at Toonbook have provided the funding and servers necessary to run Toontown Rewritten.”
Considering Toontown Online is intellectual property of Disney, it is possible new builds may face lawsuits by stealing software. However, so-called ‘abandonware’ is commonly regarded in the gamer community as up for grabs. The Toontown Rewritten FAQ defended their situation by saying, “We make absolutely no profits whatsoever and will refuse any donations given.” And “Disney is no longer making any money off of the Toontown trademark, meaning that we aren’t stealing any profits from them. Ultimately, the Lawbots will decide our fate.”
To keep up with updates, subscribe to /r/toontownps. I reached out to the user who posted the information on reddit and will update according to their response.
This post was originally meant to be a media evaluation of paradigms and art used in Toontown Online. However, the author believed this story was more pressing. The other story will be posted on a later date.