Blast from the Past

What Might Have Been: Poptropica’s Concepts in 2006

Hey guys, BT here to talk about an interesting post on the Creators’ Blog, featuring a few words about Poptropica’s history from its founder, Jeff Kinney.

On today’s post, Jeff talked about how Poptropica was originally going to be like before it became the island-hopping adventures we know and love today. It turns out that Poptropica, as a first concept, was going to be just daily missions in single-scene rooms– even with a common room mixed in to it.

If you look at this picture, you’ll see a massive grid of tiny squares to represent these rooms, possibly representing the single-scene rooms you go through… and holy guacamole, that’s a lot of them. Another thing you may notice is that Poptropica’s signature color seemed to be originally yellow, much unlike the well-known light blue color that is currently associated with the game.

Also, there’s the inventory, which is represented by an MP3 player because….. kids like MP3 players? And finally in this picture, you’ll notice a tiny sketch of a map, which details what each room would be (some labeled with question marks, others more certain), such as the Common Room, “Game Show” (huh, the Creators were a bit ahead with the name there), “The Pit“, “Springs and Ladders“, and “Terror Tower“. 

Now before I move on to the next picture, I want to look back at another conceptual Poptropica picture the Creators posted way back in September 2010:

There again is that yellow color. The original Poptropican appearance looked more like one of those kids from one of those cartoon PopTarts ads, and it had the boy, girl, and grade spinners similar to Funbrain’s other games.

Now I’ll go back to the new post. This is the second picture associated with Poptropica’s concept…

Wow, what a difference. O.O This is the Inventory in ’06 Poptropica. There is prominently a piece of paper telling the player a “misson” (Professional spelling, ’06 Creators.) telling to snap a picture of a character from China with blue hair (Hey, Fishy! Have you seen any person with blue hair?) I have no idea what that mission is supposed to be.

Another thing that caught my attention is the “spells” and “gadgets” categories. Wait… our Poptropicans might’ve had the ability to use spells? That’s interesting…

Now before the post ends, Jeff briefly mentions how Poptropica was originally going to be called Poptropolis, stating that the reason why they changed it is because of a competitor that ended up sharing a similar name… and I know exactly who that competitor was.


In case you don’t know, Nicktropolis (today known as NickClub) was a virtual world spawned by the childrens’ TV channel Nickelodeon, well known for Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly OddParents, and the Avatar series, among many other shows.

In January of 2007, 8 months before Poptropica became public, Nicktropolis opened: a Club Penguin-esque virtual world with live chat and minigames (honestly, this game made up a lot of my elementary school childhood – it was even the time I first came up with my “1313cookie” username!).

It was because of this old game that Poptropolis became Poptropica, and instead of just a single-room mission-stravaganza, it is the island-hopping adventures– each island with its own distinct storyline.

To me, it’s pretty interesting to see Poptropica as it could’ve been, and I can tell you right now: I love the game for the way it is, and the choice the Creators made back then to make this game about saving the islands, was the right one.

BT out!

22 thoughts on “What Might Have Been: Poptropica’s Concepts in 2006”

  1. Wow. The old designs are quite… jarring, and I’m glad they didn’t go with that bright primary yellow! Part of Poptropica’s charm is its unique graphics, and somehow the idea of having the inventory as a (now old-school) MP3 player just kind of ruins that. 😮

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with blue hair, unless you count Codien’s Poptropican (whom longtime PHB readers may remember). 😛 I also have to admit I’ve never heard of Nicktropolis, much less played it, so thanks for the background info on that! Great post, BT. 😀

  2. So different compared to what we have now. 😛 But, I guess if Poptropica had decided to use that, then we probably wouldn’t have found it as strange.

  3. I like the new Poptropica design. It’s cool. And when Nicktropolis still existed, I always played it! It was so fun! I always went to Bikini Bottom because it looked cool 😛 and I still play Club Penguin to this day, and I’m glad Disney bought it because the parties are awesome!

  4. Well they still used Poptropolis I suppose, but this is really cool. I however do prefer the amazing, neck-less design of our Poptropicans c:

  5. This broke me. Just…no.

    I could actually imagine Jeff Kinney thinking of the stick figure design because his books, the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series, have that stick figure design. As for the Funbrain-like spinny wheels (what a great description), it is shocking yet obvious at the same time, seeing that Funbrain and Poptropica have ads everywhere for the other website, so the fact that they had similar graphics makes sense.

    But can I be honest? If Poptropica ever announced that they had decided to completely change into their first thoughts for the game, before they changed it I would have my Poptropican walk onto the Lunar Colony stage and yell, “GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!” Then if Poptropica said they were officially going to change Poptropica, I would throw my Poptropican into the Underworld. Then I would throw me (real me) into the Grand Canyon. Lovely, right?

  6. I think that the person from China with blue hair might be Hatsune Miku a “singer” she’s a computer generated person, and if you go to her concerts then she’ll he a hologram… With blue hair… Lol

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