What’s up, Poptropicans? The year is wrapping up, and that could only mean one thing—it’s time for our 2018 rewind!
Every year, we reflect back on the events regarding Poptropica and the community surrounding it. So, what happened this year?
Part 1: Poptropica (Worlds & Original)
2018 started out with what would probably be the biggest event of the year—the member release of Poptropica Worlds’ third full island quest, Greek Sea Odyssey, in February. (It released to all in mid-March.) Check out our Island Review!
Things unfortunately took a turn for the worse as the end of the month approached… Several employees (all with senior positions) were sadly laid off. Because of this, we made some speculations regarding Poptropica’s financial status.
In March, the misfortune continued when @Poptropica unexpectedly unfollowed hundreds of accounts (including me… not salty at all, ahem) on Twitter, with no follow-up explanation. (Though the PHB’s official Twitter, @Poptropica_Help, is one of a few still followed by Poptropica.) It caught many people off guard, to say the least. Even former Poptropica social media manager Skinny Moon had something to say about it.
Wow. @Poptropica unfollowed me. Harsh.
— Jessica (@PopGirlJess) March 7, 2018
On the flip side, March Prizes went on throughout the month, where special items were hidden on a different island each week. If you found it, you got to keep it!
April brought us a few new series on the Poptropica Creators’ Blog which included Outfits of the Week, Island Highlight, and Guess the Island—all of which have since discontinued. The writing wasn’t exactly high caliber, either.
Also in April, the Creators began rotating items in and out of the shop on a monthly basis, resulting in fewer items available at any given time but also the return of some rare, limited edition items. This still continues today!
In May, a Zombie Photo Machine appeared on the Poptropica Worlds app. Spooky…?
In July, Poptropica released their Poptropica Stickers app for iMessage on iOS devices. Soon after, they held a Poptropica Sticker Design Contest, with the winning designs debuting on the app in early October.
Not much happened in August, but September was a great month for Poptropica. First and foremost, Poptropica celebrated their 11th birthday by releasing a funny-looking Birthday Candle costume—free for everyone!
Also, the long-awaited return of Realms finally became a reality, and Poptropica announced their Halloween costume contest (where the winning design would be added to the store). Finally, the “Dr. Hare’s Secret Lab” mini-quest returned for a limited time with a recolored rabbot costume as the prize.
In October, Poptropica released a brand new login screen, complete with new customization options for appearance and names. Fancy!
Poptropica also held a small-scale #SpookyPop Photo Booth contest, featuring just a couple pics on their Instagram. In larger news was the Home Island overhaul, which brought unopened buildings like the Blast-Off Arcade, Pet Barn, and more.
November saw the release of LEGO Island, which was not so much an island with a quest as it was just a space for LEGO ad games. The Blast-Off Arcade also opened, and the retired mini-quest D.C. Diner returned for a limited time.
December started out with the 12 Days of Member Gifts, an extension of the monthly Member Gifts benefit with, for the first time since it began, new original items. Snow arrived on Home Island, text chat arrived at the Blast-Off Arcade, and towards the very end came the biggest feature of all: clubhouses!
In the new year, we can look forward to a redesigned friends profile and more coming to Poptropica…
Part 2: PHB & Community
The PHB posted three times as much as the Poptropica Creators’ Blog this year—about 180 posts to their almost 60.
In fact, at 59 posts in 2018, it’s the Creators’ Blog’s lowest yearly post count yet—even lower than the 64 from when the blog began in mid-2008. While they did maintain a social media presence, the lack of a personable social media manager left a disconnect between players and Creators worsened by infrequent updates.
To make up for the missing communications on the part of the Pop Creators, we at the PHB have been hard at work bringing you the latest and greatest in all things Poptropica. Here’s what we’ve been up to this year as a community:
In January, we welcomed Fierce Flyer to the PHB team, and invited everyone to share their ideas in a discussion post asking, “What Islands do you want to explore in Poptropica?” which garnered 100 comments.
During the month of February, we featured an extensive guest post titled “Dear Jeff Kinney: Poptropica is wimpier without you,” calling on Poptropica’s original creator, Jeff Kinney, to pay more attention to the current state of Poptropica. We also brought back Pop the Difference, a PHB special game, and hosted our annual Readers’ Survey.
The Readers’ Survey results came in March, which showed, among other things, that the older populations of PHB readers (ages 15+) has increased. We looked at the question of “What’s going to happen to Poptropica Original?”, as well as featured another detailed guest post, this one making a case for a Poptropica movie. Meanwhile, the Creators finally put up a couple of posts on their blog.
Inspired by the Creators’ rehashed blogging and frivolous tweeting, we kicked off April with a prank that brought just that to the PHB. That month, we also debuted a new series: Pop Fan Artist Spotlights!
May wasn’t so eventful, but June came with another new PHB series: Pop Places IRL. Then in July, Sporty Boa joined our staff, and the PHB started an Instagram @PoptropicaHare (follow us!). We also hosted our fourth annual Poppies awards, celebrating 10 years of the Poptropica Help Blog in the occasion. What a milestone!
In August, we held our first ever PHB Header Contest, and the winning design (by Gentle Dolphin) was displayed as our blog banner for the month of September!
October was the time for our yearly costume competition—this time, our 10th one, and with two themes: casual and creepy. Also, Gentle Dolphin joined our staff, and to round off the spooky season, we released a “Guess the Horror Scene” special.
November and December were quieter months here on the PHB, but they were surprisingly active ones for Poptropica (see above). To conclude 2018…
There is one final section to go in this Rewind post, and that’s the tributes for the 4 PHB staff authors who left this year. (Poptropica isn’t the only place with departures, but at least these were willingly so.) Thank you, again, to these delightful Poptropicans:
Happy Lobster (2016–2018) 🦀
Before joining the PHB team, Happy Lobster blogged on several Poptropica fan sites, including his own, the now-defunct A Quota of Poptropica. Having worked with the PHB for about a year and a half, HL has contributed some fun posts including a Pop-over of Inside Out characters, a Pop 5 for beautiful scenes, and more. Wherever he goes, we hope he stays happy!
Purple Claw (2017–2018) 🐾
Purple Claw brought with him a critical eye and a penchant for joy. Prior (as well as during) his time with the PHB, PC ran a Poptropica fan site called Clawtropica and the Poptropica Bloggers Network, a directory of small Pop fan sites. Among his PHB posts are a review of the New New 24 Carrot Island, a Pop 5 of the most detestable updates, and an educational perspective on Pop. Peace, Pea Sea!
Silver Wolf (2017–2018) 🐺
Long before blogging with the PHB, Silver Wolf was running her own Pop fan site, Poptropica Tips for Poptropicans (PTFP). Since joining the team, Wolfy has written on topics like a Pop 5 for immersive islands, YouTubers playing Pop, and mysteries like closed doors in player homes. She’s a talented writer and animal lover, and we wish her all the best!
Brave Tomato (2012–2018) 🍅
Ah, Brave Tomato, a PHB legend. The longest-staying PHB staffer thus far (other than Slanted Fish, the creator of the PHB, who’s still around), BT has been with the blog since 2012. In her six years here, and more within the greater Poptropica community, BT has done a lot: she’s revisited most of the islands on her YouTube channel, created tons of Poptropica fan art and fan fiction, and more. Named the 2018 recipient of “Best PHB Author” at the Poppies, BT is known for her love of mythology, accuracy in Pop theories, and hunger for lore, among many other great qualities. We give her 10/10 fresh, brave tomatoes.
That’s 2018! We the Poptropica Help Blog have been around for 10+ years now, and we look forward to even more poppin’ times with all of you. Thanks for being a part of our journey, and we’ll see you in the new year. Keep on popping, Poptropicans!