Hey Poptropicans! In this post: a shop update, fan art features, a fan comic, and surprise visitors. Let’s pop into it!
Another week means another rotation at Adventure Outfitters, and the hot new item is the Acidic Dinosaur costume for members. 🦖 Spring looks have also made a reappearance, including the Record Spinner and Spring Floral Dress. Plus, last week’s Pride costumes are still here! 🏳️🌈
On Instagram, the Pop Creators have been sharing more batches of fan art on their stories, including a couple of Poptropica Bingo challenges from happyclonetrooper. You can add them to your own IG story and cross off islands according to the color key for an extra layer of fun. 💡 Check out the features below, and click to enlarge:
Over on the Pop Creators’ Blog, there’s a new guest post from Muddy Kid, also known as Pegs from our PHB and PHC community!
Pegs, who also writes as PegaKid Studios Official on the blog, shared the first part of her Poptropica webcomic, The Adventures of Ruby. You can read the whole thing on the Creators’ Blog, which includes captions for the text in the speech bubbles. 💬
To hear more from Pegs, you can find her on the PHC.
We also just found out that the Poptropica Creators were at our Pride Palooza this past weekend! 🌈 They dropped a comment on our Instagram post to say they “may or may not have popped in for a bit to play some arcade games.” Wow! Say hello next time, Creators — you can pop in on our Discord server, the PHC. We still have a special role for Pop Creators from when Skinny Moon would drop by.
That’s it for this update. Share your thoughts in the comments, catch up on more news below, and keep on popping on, Poptropicans!
Hey Poptropicans, we’ve got more insights on our favorite game from former Poptropica headJess Brallier! Previously, we shared the publisher’s reflections on Poptropica as the biggest kids’ site and how storytelling with games made it so.
I’ve been asked that many times. But I truly don’t know today’s product. I don’t look at it. It’s history to me.
Yet there was a time when I cared about Poptropica with nearly all (I do have a family) my heart. It was my life.
The post goes on to share more about what changed within and outside of Poptropica: all the challenges it faced in its later years, which Jess himself did not have the opportunity to face.
Poptropica was owned by Pearson, and in 2012, their CEO Marjorie Scardino stepped down and the education company was taken over by John Fallon. Jess does not name the new guy in his blog, but he quotes the new Pearson head as having told him in their only meeting:
Children do not like animation, the learning that happens on Poptropica is not worthy, and I’m going to sell it.
Pearson CEO (possibly John Fallon)
To add to the troubles, Poptropica was built on Adobe Flash, a dying technology, and needed a million-dollar investment to rebuild the game. According to Jess, “that meant pausing Poptropica’s generous P&L (profit & loss) for 18 to 24 months.” He laments that of all the millions that are thrown around, none of it landed on Poptropica.
And there was another issue: “Poptropica’s audience was rapidly moving over to mobile apps.” So make it an app, right? Poptropica did eventually do that, but Jess wasn’t a fan. Turns out, it’s expensive: you make it per Apple’s or Google’s requirements, then pretty soon the requirements change, and you have to hire more hands to re-build your app. On and on it goes, draining your resources — to say nothing of the issues of discoverability in the app stores.
Next he pivots to Funbrain, “a vital traffic feeder to Poptropica.” Funbrain was aging like Poptropica and needed re-building too. But while Funbrain successfully got its upgrades, Poptropica didn’t quite get all the resources it needed to keep flourishing (as we can see from the trajectory of the game then and now).
With Poptropica’s global audience being much larger than Funbrain’s and bringing in more money, Jess writes that the investments should have gone more to the “fresh” Poptropica, “not its older and not so cool sister.” Alas.
We had a product built upon Flash, a dying technology.
An ownership that thought ten million kids from around the world were idiots.
No viable mobile model to move to.
And a diminishing feeder.
In another post titled “Sales!,” Jess writes about his experiences in commercial publishing. Poptropica gets a small mention when he talks about the benefits of having non-sales staff collaborate together with sales staff:
I encouraged the same at Family Education Network (Funbrain and Poptropica), sending designers and editors out with the advertising sales staff. That made for a team of good people intent on publishing great stories AND figuring out how to pay for it (including that team’s own salaries and any additional staff they may hope to hire).
Picking up from the dismal summary of Poptropica’s woes, Jess moves on with an upbeat note about the fun of Poptropica comics and the success of the subsequent graphic novel series.
The comics caused us, for the first time, to create real characters (beyond the millions of random avatars created for our stories and by our users). Which was essential because brand extensions, including merchandise and other media, ride on the back of characters. Our two protagonists, Jorge and Oliver, were a classic and funny duo. And it was such a delight to see them hilariously hopping around the Poptropica Islands.
But that didn’t erase their other troubles. So Jeff Kinney, Mitch Krpata (Poptropica’s lead writer, whom we’ve interviewed on the PHB), and Jess spent two days in a conference room to hash out Poptropica’s mythology… and out of that came their pitch for an animated TV series.
In other words, just what is Poptropica? Why does it exist? What’s the REAL story behind all these islands? Where is Poptropica? How do you get there? How do you get away from it? Is there an evil genius behind all of it? Good grief, are we talking time travel and wormholes?
We’ve seen hints of these plans before. Back in 2015, Poptropica tweeted a pic from a script read session with the graphic novel characters (Jorge had orange hair here, too). But the cartoon never materialized, and we never found out much about it (though Jess did share the secret screenplay with Thinknoodles when they met in New York City).
Anyway, Jess shares that he, Jeff Kinney, and a film/TV agent spent a week pitching Poptropica: The Animated Series in Hollywood. They got good responses, but didn’t land a broadcast deal. Jess writes that if it had been today, they definitely could have gotten one, considering all the demand in streaming. So… maybe the current creators could follow up on that? 👉 👈 In our 2020 interview with the current CEO of Poptropica, they did say it was something they’re “always considering”!
So we now had a Poptropica mythology and cast of characters.
With Poptropica comics we had a proven and simple form of storytelling that could fly around social media without reliance on our own app. And we could do the same with short form animation.
We had a bestselling book series.
And we had a passionate global audience ready to welcome an animated TV series.
Ironically, at that moment, Poptropica was in its most perfect position ever.
From here, things seem to be looking up from where that other post ended! But Jess ends his post with an ominous hint for the next one: “Tomorrow: The end of the Poptropica I knew.” Stay tuned with us!
Ask Poptropica Siri is a Q&A segment here on the PHB where you, dear readers, are invited to send in your Poptropica questions to have them answered with all the wisdom you can expect from a Smart Icicle.
Welcome back everyone! From all your questions last time, looks like everyone wants to know more about me in Poptropica. Well, I’m happy to answer! Time to get on the question train.
Who is your favorite villain? ~Pegs
I have lots of favorite villains from Poptropica, glad you asked that. My favorite villains are Dr. Hare, Captain Crawfish, Black Widow, and Binary Bard. Not only are they the aliases of the Poptropican Creators irl, but they also make great appearances in the game. We meet these villains in Super Villain, 24 Carrot, Counterfeit, Skullduggery, and Astro Knights Island. Sometimes in Reality TV as well.
Who is your favorite Super Power Island villain? ~Friendly Shell
I liked Copy Cat and how she makes copies of herself. If my Poptropican could choose a super power, I would want hers.
Who is your favorite pet/follower? ~Sliver Horse
My favorite pet is the bunny because it looks so cute in the game. My favorite followers are the Alicorn and Gary from SpongeBob Island: Kamp Koral. It would be cool if Poptropica added more magical creatures soon (if there’s ever a phoenix follower in Poptropica, I’m buying it since I have a LEGO set of one).
How can you send in your questions to Ask Poptropica Siri?
That’s a great question! You can use the following methods:
📧 Send an email to askpoptropicasiri (at) gmail (dot) com. This way, you’ll get to keep your questions a surprise when they get answered on the blog.
💬 Comment on the latest Ask Poptropica Siri post. Your questions will be publicly visible before they appear in a Q&A post, but this allows others to interact with your question if they so choose. If you don’t have an email address, you can enter a fake one in the email field when you post your comment.
Also before I go, I would like to promote a little something from my blog. I’m doing an appreciation week for a TV show, The Masked Singer. (Click here to learn more about the show and here to watch one of my favorite performances from the show.) Anyway, see you soon!
Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by Silver Tiger. Enjoy!
Hello Poptropica fans everywhere! My name is Silver Tiger. I am a newer player to Poptropica, but have learned a lot and been inspired by the Poptropica Help Blog… so I decided to contribute to it. Here we go, welcome to my first Poptropica clubhouse tour!
Alright, how about we start this off by taking a quick right to my puppy playland. This is where my slightly spoiled husky puppy named Jet spends his time! Let’s see, he has his own special puppy bowl, puppy food, puppy bone, spacious puppy mini house, puppy night light, and pretty much everything in my house! Maybe slightly spoiled isn’t the right word…
Okay, now to the left! Over here is my ice cream machine, also known as: sugar rush, anyone? Also my comfy chair and my pictures of my invisible friends are located here too. Basically this is where I go to hang out. WHAT IS THAT?! Oh, yeah, my collection of super villain action figures are here too. Phew, just action figures! But just in case they come alive, I have my camera and Amelia to keep an eye on them.
Above me is my bedroom. My warm pink bed and my collection of Harry Potter books are here, so I can just sit in bed and binge-read all night! Also notice my three stylish night lights. No scary night monsters are sneaking up on me!
If you go up again, you come to my workout area. I can play football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Oh, just in case you’re wondering, I have a basketball hoop over to the left but it was hard to include it in my screenshot. My punching bag is here too, so I can get super buff. To stay hydrated, I have my own water dispenser. And last but not least, Steve, my warrior suit of armor is here to remind me that when playing sports, you must be valiant!
Here is my garden! Does anyone know the names of these plants? I only know the cactus and palm tree. One thing I wish is that Poptropica would have more jungle-like plants for sale in the clubhouse shop because it would be fun to add a rainforest feel to the place. It would be really cool. And I am not just saying this because I want to yell “Tarzan?!” every time I walk in!
So now our last stop is my gaming floor. Here I can play Poptropica or blog to my heart’s content. Then I can take a break by staring at my fake jellyfish named Strawberry and Blueberry, or by riding on my hoverboard. If I get thirsty, I can grab a cup full of ice cold slushie to soothe my thirst.
Well, that’s my tour! Since I have never blogged before I would really appreciate feedback. If you all have any tips or ideas to make my future blogs better, feel free to tell me in the comments! Thanks!
Howdy, Pridetropicans! Earlier last week we rallied our lovely readers to join us for our second party celebrating theLGBTQ+ community, the PHB’s Pride Palooza. We had a gay ole time! 🏳️🌈
While we recognize the surrounding nuances of opinion regarding LGBTQ+ topics, here at the PHB, we are safe space and believe everyone should be shown kindness and respect no matter who they love or how they identify. That’s why we had this party and why Pride Month is celebrated all around the world.
All the attendees gathered in the Blast-Off Arcade to go head-to-head in Star Link, Balloons, and Sky Dive. I had a pretty good winning streak, myself, though I will admit I lost a couple of times.
Digital doodles and a fair amount of disconnections from switching tabs away from Poptropica also made the night eventful. It wouldn’t be a Poptropica party without the art and the server hiccups, now would it? Here are a few that didn’t make it into the recap collage:
Artwork by Ayman, BrittScarlet, Purple Paw, and Slanted Fish.
The PHC is always open for Poptropicans to talk and hang out, and we strive to be an inclusive place where everyone can have a good time. Pop in and join us anytime.