In the first three episodes of Poptropica’s Survival Island, you’re trapped in the woods and are trying to survive: first you build a fire, then you catch a fish, then you send a distress signal. The story could have stopped right there, with you being rescued – but instead, it was just the beginning of something a little more sinister… and our quest for survival became a much more dangerous game.
The Most Dangerous Game (TMDG) is a short story published in 1924 by Richard Connell. Since Daily Pops of Survival’s fourth episode and beyond have surfaced, we’ve speculated that the island could take a twisted turn in the direction of this classic literary work — and now that the Survival series has come to a close, let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences between the two tales.
If you’d like to read TMDG, you can click here for the full story. For our Survival Island Guide, click here. Note that for the remainder of this post, there will be SPOILERS for both Survival and TMDG!
:: The Characters ::
the good guys
- Survival: Let’s start simple: you’re the protagonist in Survival Island, just trying to survive and hopefully return home. However, Poptropica adds a unique new character to the story: Max McGullicutty, who, after leaving many hints in previous episodes, finally appears in episode 5 and plays a hand in your rescue.
- TMDG: Rainsford, of course, is our hero. Unlike our Poptropican, however, he’s already an experienced game hunter – he just hadn’t expected to have the tables turned on him!
the native hunter
- Survival: Myron Van Buren (MVB) is the native bad guy on the island, and like Zaroff in TMDG, he’s gotten good at hunting animals – but what he really wants in his collection is a human. And there you are! Even as it looks like he’s gotten you trapped, he admits that he hunts people just for the thrill of it.
- TMDG: General Zaroff is the big game hunter living on the island, and he’s gotten tired of hunting animals. So what could be more thrilling? Hunting humans, of course! He offers the same deal to the humans who wash up on his shores: they can go home free if, and only if, they survive three days without being hunted. (So far, no one has.)
the servants & hounds
- Survival: MVB has Winston, his personal assistant, who speaks when needed. He also has a chef who poisons you with no qualms about it. Later, you feed a piece of the tainted meat you had to a dog outside the cabin (this part is different).
- TMDG: Zaroff has a strong and mute servant called Ivan, who is so intimidating that Zaroff’s captives would rather flee as prey instead of face certain death at the hands of Ivan. But similar to MVB’s dogs sniffing around Max McGullicutty’s base, Zaroff’s hunting hounds are constantly prowling around the jungle for Rainsford.
:: The Setting ::
- Survival: Survival Island, according to the official description, takes place in the Yukon. When we first arrive in episode 1, it’s snowing, but this clears up by the next episode. Since we’re in Canada, it’s not surprising that we meet a couple of beavers!
- TMDG: The island Rainsford ends up on is called Ship-Trap Island, which his friend has warned him against as it is a place sailors dread and avoid. Rainsford is from New York, but the island is in the Caribbean.
the human hunter’s house
- Survival: MVB takes you, against your will, into his cabin in the woods. Like Zaroff’s chateau in TMDG, he has a dining hall, but his collection of stuffed and mounted animal heads is housed in his personal trophy room. Unique to the Survival Island story, however, is our attempt to escape MVB’s (not so) humble abode.
- TMDG: Zaroff’s lavish dining hall contains the kind of hunting treasures we see in MVB’s trophy room. Both homes contain a bedroom for the heroes, who find it difficult to fall asleep.
:: The Plot ::
- Survival: Your blimp crashes and now you’re stuck in the cold forests of the Yukon, in Canada. In order to survive, you must find warmth, food, and a way to call for help – and all the while, someone living on the island has been watching you. Upon picking up your radio signal, the mysterious Myron Van Buren (MVB) takes you to his home – but you realize, too late, that something is not quite right.
- TMDG: On a Rio-bound yacht, two big-game hunters, Whitney and Rainsford, chat about whether their prey can feel fear. Later, Whitney heads to bed, but Rainsford stays up a little longer and hears gunshots in the distance. Trying to get a better look, he loses his balance and falls into the water, eventually swimming to the “Ship-Trap Island” Whitney warned against earlier.
the hunt is on, and you are the quarry
- Survival: Just as we thought we’d escaped from MVB, he catches on, and at the start of Survival: Ep. 5, a chase sequence involves us making our getaway as his hounds come pounding after us – but we make it safely into Max McGullicutty’s secret base. Max’s plan involves us acquiring a rope, whistle, and gear in order to take down MVB.
- TMDG: Once Rainsford is in the woods, he’s alone – but with past hunting knowledge, he’s able to set up various traps that wound Zaroff and hurt or kill his helpers.
the epic defeat
- Survival: At the final scene, it looks like Van Buren’s won — that is, until Max McGullicutty comes charging on the back of a bear you freed earlier! As if that wasn’t enough, MVB is then pushed onto the sawmill’s spinning water wheel, where you leave him to be slapped by beavers. An epic conclusion to a long-winded Poptropica adventure!
- TMDG: Towards the end of the tale, Rainsford is cornered by Zaroff’s hounds – so you can hardly blame him for jumping into the sea below. Disappointed that he did not get to make the kill himself, Zaroff returns home – and to his shock, Rainsford is alive and waiting for him by his bedside! They duel, and afterwards, Rainsford concludes that he has never slept in a better bed.
:: The Verdict ::
Both stories share some similarities — the human hunter, the desperate escapes, and even the hound dogs — but ultimately, each story also comes with its own unique little details that make it stand out as its own clever adventure tale, and to call them copies of each other would not do either of them justice at all. Anyway, if you enjoyed Survival Island (especially episodes 4 and 5!), you may enjoy reading The Most Dangerous Game, and vice versa. Tally-ho!
I hope you enjoyed this post comparing the two exciting stories told across two different mediums! For more posts about Survival, check out the PHB’s Survival Island post category. As always, keep popping by the Poptropica Help Blog for the latest and greatest in Poptropica news, tips, and more. 😀