Surf’s up, Poptropicans! Catch the waves and ride on over to the latest island to surface in the Poptropica seas… American Girl: Joss’s Island.
Yup, as you can probably guess, this isn’t your typical island with a quest—instead, it’s Poptropica’s most extra ad yet, here to promote “American Girl” dolls, and specifically its “Girl of the Year 2020”: Joss Kendrick, surfer.
It’s not the first time Poptropica has built an island solely for advertising—the same tactic was applied with LEGO Island in 2018. Anyway, there’s quite a bit to do on Joss’s Island, which you can find on both mobile and desktop, including HAXE! (Thanks for the tip, Perfect Fish.)
Upon arriving, you’ll hear a jaunty, upbeat tune playing—and there’s more sound to come. But first, a quick overview: you can talk to the doll characters to see what’s going on, like the fact that you can click on interactive objects around the island. There are four buildings you can enter (from left to right): the cinema, Shine Athletics Gym, American Girl Place, and SoCal Board Shop. And if you head left, you’ll see a sign that tells you you’re in Huntington Beach (which is a real city in California!).
As Joss herself will tell you, there are four free prizes to be had on this island. You can pick up a Shine Bright Shirt by the entrance of American Girl Place, a Cheer Competition Jacket above the RV by the SoCal Board Shop, your very own Joss’s Tassel Bag to the left of your parked blimp, and a Catch a Wave Hoodie above the cinema. As usual, members get to keep ad prizes forever!
Inside the SoCal Board Shop, you can play a surfing game with mechanics similar to the cheetah run on Reality TV: Wild Safari. By clicking multiple times, you can jump higher as you ride the waves. However, in both my and Perfect Fish’s experience, it seems there are some invisible obstacles in the game causing it to be hard to win. Still, if you manage to beat it, you’ll win Joss’s Surfboard (thanks, Scrooge200!).
Moving on, there’s the American Girl Place, which is basically one fancy building to promote various parts of the American Girl franchise. If you head to the right, you’ll find a little restaurant with a video you can watch.
Next up is the Shine Athletics Gym, where you can play a Rock Band-like beats game where the goal is to lead a cheer squad by pressing buttons as they come along each of the three colored stripes. If your volume is up, you’ll hear the song “Go Joss” as you jam along. If you do well enough, you’ll win an adorable little Seal Pup that can go on your head!
Finally, there’s the cinema, which is of course playing all things Joss. You can watch eight videos in there: two are music videos, “Go Joss” (the soundtrack to the aforementioned beats game) and “Surf’s Up”; there’s also a doll stop-motion animated series of Joss’s story in six episodes.
That’s all for American Girl: Joss’s Island! What did you think of this most ambitious ad in the history of Poptropica? Did you momentarily get your hopes up about a new island on the map? Will you wear the new prizes? Don’t you think Poptropica should make the Seal Pup the next pet? Comment below!
As we wrap up the month of April, we come into our final week of the weekly store updates. While the costumes have switched around this week, they’re ones we’ve seen throughout this month, so nothing new.
Will we see the weekly updates to the store continue in May? Time will soon tell, as the next month fast approaches…
Last but not least, the Poptropica.com homepage got a little update! We’ve mentioned the new “Pick a Character” screen, but now, when you scroll down below that, you’ll find three square images highlighting Poptropica’s features: Connect with friends! Play epic adventures! Adopt your own pets!
So, although friends in Poptropica has been a little lacking after the post-Flash update, and has yet to appear in HAXE, perhaps this is a reassurance that friends will continue to be a priority for Poptropica’s future.
On another note, if you look at the links below those pictures, you’ll find one that wasn’t there before: Do Not Sell My Info (for CA Residents). That’s CA for California, not Canada, by the way. Apparently, residents of California can request to opt out of having their details shared with the third-party partners of Sandbox Network Inc, Poptropica’s parent company.
Of course, they will “need to verify your identity to process your request.”
As for the rest of us, um, Poptropica’s been selling our data…??? In their words: “Sandbox Networks Inc. (“SNI”) does share customer information with carefully selected third parties in order to create a superior customer experience and for permitted business purposes.”
It’s not clear what “customer information” entails here, but Poptropica doesn’t collect much personal info to begin with, so it’s probably nothing to worry about. (And to be fair, many other websites are already involved in legal data selling.) What we do know is that when creating a Poptropica account, you’re asked for your age (although this may be disappearing with the new HAXE setup), a username and password to log in with, and you can also connect an email account to your Poptropica account later on. Plus, the aforementioned “carefully selected third parties” are likely advertisers like American Girl, who want to know who they’re advertising to — which is fair enough.
Now that you’ve made it this far into the post, I hope that long title at the beginning finally makes sense. 🙂
That’s all for now. Catch you in the next wave! 🌊