Hey Poptropicans, it’s Slanted Fish.
Here’s a topic we haven’t explored much on this blog: Poptropica and age. I’m writing this from my perspective as a 20-year-old who’s been playing for almost a decade, which means I’ve seen the game grow from its humble beginnings to the big franchise it is today. And, it means I’ve grown up with the game from childhood to adulthood.
It’s often purported that Poptropica is a “children’s game,” but how accurate is this description? The answer may be a little more complicated than it seems.
Since this ended up being pretty long, I’ve broken it up into a few parts that will be posted over the coming days. In this post, I’ll go over who the game is made for as well as what kinds of people make up the actual community. Let’s begin!
Who is the game for?
Strictly speaking, Poptropica is a game for kids. It’s got kid-friendly content, has cartoonish graphics, and is marketed towards young kids, particularly pre-teens. When you register for an account on Poptropica Original, the age options are between 6 to 15. But by popular demand, in Poptropica Worlds, your age can go up to 99 – suggesting that Poptropica can be for all ages.
Still, even with this notion of “all ages,” there is a certain age group that Poptropica aims at in particular. One Poptropica Creator, Mitch Krpata, said in an interview that “a kindergartener could probably play the game but might not get much out of it. The sweet spot is around ages 8 through 12, when kids can both read the dialogue and understand the larger story. After that, you may still enjoy it, but (laughs) you may want to move on to your PlayStation 4.”
So, who is the game for? Technically, pre-teens and maybe younger teenagers, but it’s not like there’s an Age Police Force to stop you if you’re older than 15 and want to play. However, as I’ll discuss in the next section, this snapshot is only scratching the surface.
Who else is playing?
Some of you reading this may know that I got into Poptropica (and blogging about it) at the tender age of 11, in 2008, when you could fit all the islands of Poptropica on one map page. Even though the game was much simpler in those days (no store, no membership, no customizer!) I enjoyed it a lot. So much so that I started a blog.
Over the 9 years I’ve been involved in the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and the wider Poptropica fandom community, I’ve seen this idea of a Poptropica “age group” been broken down many times. Although the 11-year-old me who remembers the day Super Power Island came out definitely fit into the standard when I first started playing, I no longer do, and have not for many years. Still, I’m far from the only one.
One of the first to join this blog’s staff team was Codien, who at the time was 16, an age that seemed old and far away to many of the PHB’s readers who seemed mostly to fit the 8-12 range. As years went by, it seemed many in the fandom community also got older, and it became more common to find Poptropicans who were 13, 14, 15. More years passed, and 16, 17 weren’t so uncommon either. In fact, right now, the PHC chat hangout has several regulars who are currently college-aged, including myself.
PHB surveys we’ve conducted in the past few years reveal that the readers of this Poptropica fan site are not all in the expected 8–12 range. Our 2014 survey reveals that the largest group has been 12–14, with 46% in 2014, a trend that continued in 2016 and increased to 60% in 2017. Ages 9–11 were the second biggest group of PHB readers in 2014 and 2016, at 30% and 35% respectively. But in 2017, they were overtaken by ages 15–17, which made up 28%, an increase from previous years.
Of course, although some people have aged with the game as I did, others are also new faces popping up. They may be only now finding Poptropica in their teens, or are re-discovering it from digging up childhood memories, as many have reported in their My Place in Poptropica stories. At the same time, other people will lose interest over time, and that’s fine too.
There is at least one age outlier, though, and that is the gaming YouTuber Thinknoodles, who recently hit age 40. In Think’s case, although he once was an avid Poptropica player, his more recent videos have prioritized other games over Poptropica, suggesting his own fading interest. As of this writing, he has yet to post his promised walkthrough video for Crisis Caverns Island, which came out over two months ago.
And of course, the Poptropica Creators will play the game too, at least to evaluate the job they’ve done if not also for personal enjoyment.
To be continued…
Thanks for reading Part 1 of “Poptropica and Age”! What did you think? Your comments are appreciated!
In Part 2, I’ll talk about why there are so many older kids in this fandom and how it affects the community. Stay tuned!
31 thoughts on “Poptropica and Age, Part 1: Who’s Playing?”
I agree. Poptropica might be mainly targeted to kids, but it can get really dark sometimes (Ghost Story, for example), and some islands may also be hard to complete (like Astro Knights). Nice post, Fishy! 🙂
I agree, and Mitch also talked about the dark parts in that interview. It’s a nice touch from Poptropica that gives us deeper themes to appreciate. 🙂
yes, agree. when i was about 5 or so,i had a very hard time understanding the story plat of some islands,such as wimpy wonderland or 24 carrot. however,i did complete easy poptropica, time tangled,nabooti on my own by the time i was six. i think the best time to play is arount 8 or 9.
when you are younger,the story plot and puzzles is hard to understand,and poptropica gets a bit boring for older kids.
Yeah, when I was in 4th grade I couldn’t beat a single island! But even though I’m in 6th grade now, I still have trouble with some islands. But then, some puzzles become easy like the yeti puzzle on cryptids island and the Slide puzzle in crisis caverns
Look, it’s fine if you want to play the game every once in a while as a teenager or adult. But blogging about it? Making fan art? That’s just a little too much. You gotta move on eventually…
Well that varies for everyone. If that’s not your thing, don’t continue. But there are lots of people who enjoy continuing with the game in ways they enjoy most. It’s not hurting anyone. 😂
I’ve already quit the game. But, when you get to a certain age, you need to focus on other things. More important things. Like school, college, getting a job, learning how to drive…
That’s subjective, but we can agree to disagree. “Eventually” may be sooner for some such as yourself than others, but I think it’s fine either way. If you can balance your responsibilities and have time left over to pursue something else you enjoy, why not?
I talk more about this in the next couple of posts in this series, though, so stay tuned if you’re interested in that discussion.
Why not? As long as it doesn’t get in the way of your life, it doesn’t hurt to make something transformative of the game.
Yeah just look at Perfect Sky she moved on. Perfect Sky we still remember you 😉
“…When you could fit all the islands of Poptropica on one map page…”
Wow I’m actually crying. 😪
Nostalgia is strong with Pop! 😢😂
Wow the Nostalgia must be so strong that it made you!!!!!! cry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old Poptropica players represent! Lol I didn’t know that I joined Poptropica at around the same time and age as you, Fishy – what a coincydink xD. Looking forward to the next parts.
Oh hey, that is a cool coincydink. High five! 😀
Old Pop player representing!
Yeah, I don’t really play Pop as much as I did in 2012-13, but I still do enjoy the game despite its flaws. 13-14 seems to be the best age for playing this.
Nice. Pop definitely seemed to be at its peak around 2012, when they could release islands almost every month. At least it’s still around to be enjoyed today.
I can’t say I’ll still be playing in college, but for now I really don’t care that I’m “too old to play Poptropica.” It’s all up to what your interests are.
Yup, and even though I do now, it’s not so much about age as it is about interest. As I’ll bring up in the next parts of the series, it’s also not so much about the game than it is about the other parts of the fandom, too.
I played heavily from 2009-2011. Spent a lot of time playing the game and participating on the forums. I can’t play the game anymore because the nostalgia would be too immense. Glad to see the blog still chugging along after all this time.
That’s pretty cool that you were around on the forums back then! The game has evolved quite a bit since those days but it’s still got the same core ideas to it. Thanks for popping in. 🙂
Mainly 6 to 10 year olds are playing Poptropica. Like only about 5% of the Poptropica players are in the community. So Poptropica and age whos playing. 6 to 10 years old. Final answer
Nobody has the numbers on that, so I can’t verify your 5%. But as this post discusses, it’s a little more complicated than that. Certainly there are many 6-10 year olds playing, but there are also people outside of that range.
The community is far bigger than you expect – there are TONS of people over on deviantart. I get so many notifications for new submissions everyday from We-Love-Poptropica; it’s crazy! Don’t forget there are also all the commenters on Poptropica blogs, YouTube videos etc.
Making content isn’t required for you to be a part of the Poptropica community.
Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The more I think about it there is alot of people in the Poptropica community who do not have a blog or youtube channel. they only comment on blogs and chat on the PHC. But I still think that only 5% out of all the Poptropica players are in the community because most of them are young kids who do not know about chatting and stuff like that.
I still play but when I enter common rooms generally there are less than five Poptropicans there to friend, chat, and battle.
Im 18 and gradutated, I have been playing the game since my 4th grade.
Well, even though there’s an age group related to who can play Poptropica, I think that everyone should be able to enjoy the game.