App, Paradise Island, Sneak Peeks, Social Media

Airways and Animal Jam ✈️🦊

Hey Poptropicans! In a stunning turn of events, Poptropica has suddenly, somehow managed to do the unexpected: shared actual sneak peek images of something they’re working on, and post a controversial tweet.

Let’s fly into the first thing: sneak peeks! Over on the Creators’ Blog, they shared a post teasing “new stuff” they’re working on. As is the case with their communications these days, the writing is sparse, leaving much to the imagination. But whatever Poptropica Airways is, it’s about to make a landing.

Could planes be the new blimps? That might explain the recent disappearance of the beloved, Poppies-award-winning blimp decor in clubhouses, even while blimps continue to be our Poptropicans’ mode of inter-island travel. But if that’s the case—even conceding that planes might be a more modern form of travel—Poptropica would certainly be losing a very iconic part of its identity! Even the Creators’ Blog uses the blimp in their branding.

And what to make of the blimp photo on the clerk’s desk? Is it a tribute to a soon-to-be past, or will blimps be relegated to being the beat-up rafts to the Phoenix Warbirds of the air? (That’s a Skullduggery Island metaphor, btw.)

Or is this part of a new island adventure? The post does also say they’re working on converting islands, with Time Tangled and Mythology in progress right now—which seems to leave little room for the planning and developing of an entirely new island. But who knows?

Now onto the next juicy news: yes, for the second time in 2020, Poptropica managed to tweet something controversial. (In case you missed it, Poptropica briefly endorsed Joe Biden for US president on Twitter.)

It all started when the Poptropica app reached #1 somewhere in Apple’s App Store, knocking out Fortnite for the top spot. Of course, this called for a celebratory post (and story) on Instagram that started innocently enough, mentioning how they’d outlasted games like Club Penguin and Animal Jam.

But Poptropica’s tone was a little more over-the-top with the gloating on Twitter. In addition to a similar post sharing the same news, Poptropica also responded to a Twitter thread from Animal Jam co-founder Clark Stacey by saying, “First #clubpenguin and now #animaljam too? It’s lonely at the top. #poptropicaforever.” Poptropica’s tweet was pulled in less than a day, but we saved some pics, plus Mr. Stacey’s unamused response, which remains.

Mr. Stacey’s original Twitter commentary had been about the struggles of kids’ game developers being incentivised to create their games for a general audience rather than specifically for the kids category of game lists, as well as Apple’s ambiguity about why they were rejecting game updates to Animal Jam and other kids’ games. And instead of offering sympathy from a fellow kids’ game developer, Poptropica decided to gloat.

The Animal Jam co-founder swiftly called them out for being “childish” and “sloppyheaded,” adding that “the Poptropica I know was above this sort of thing.” Which brings us to the question, what’s up with Poptropica’s lackluster communications to players lately? Since Skinny Moon left in 2017, the years of general silence (with occasional vague updates) that followed were unimpressive enough, but this year’s (albeit deleted) Twitter blunders are bewildering. We sure do miss the days when Poptropica had a dedicated social media manager who took the time of day to respond to players’ questions!

By the way, Fortnite’s fall from the top spot is likely related to the game recently being pulled from both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store for trying to circumvent the stores’ 30% “tax” on in-app purchases by offering a direct-payment option away from the app stores.

In-app purchases give a cut of the cost to the app stores.

But Poptropica does the exact same thing: even though you can buy a Pop membership through an in-app purchase (which gives a cut of the costs to the app store), you can also buy a membership directly on Poptropica’s website, which would allow Pop to keep 100% of the earnings. No matter where you buy the membership, it gets applied to your account on the app (as well as on the computer). So perhaps some sympathy for the predicaments of games like Fortnite is in order. After all, Poptropica could very well be at the same risk.

You can buy a membership on the app and directly from Poptropica’s website.

That wraps up these peculiar updates! What do you think Poptropica Airways will be? Thoughts on Poptropica’s Twitter habits? Hoorays for the app’s achievement? Sound off in the comments below!

~Slanted Fish 🐠

20 thoughts on “Airways and Animal Jam ✈️🦊”

    1. From what I can tell, it’s probably Haxe considering they have on of the default avatars in their, and at this point, there’s probably no point in bringing updates (especially one’s like this one) to Flash… because.. you know.

  1. All I got to respond with Poptropica is… what the heck??

    And also, I could’ve sworn there was a new social media manager, unless if I’ve mistaken her for being one.

      1. I may be 100% wrong about this, but I wonder if Blue Tooth really existed, or was just a persona with no connection to the person behind the social media, unlike Skinny Moon/Jessica, who were clearly one and the same. I mean…”Blue Tooth”? That screams of “plz like us ar3n’t w3 so c00l! W3 sp3ak int3erw3bs 2!!!”. I feel like whatever person/team is handling the social media doesn’t care about actually working to build a connection with fans, but realized that the “Skinny Moon” manager did a good job gaining hype when Poptropica itself was doing next to no updates. So they tried to copy that–and stopped when they realized they were incapable of replicating that without the heart behind it.

  2. I keep looking back on how funny it was how Disney tried to sue Club Penguin Rewritten (fan project made from the same game) a few years after they just dropped it when they felt like not milking it anymore.

    1. …Poptropica Rewritten, anyone?

      I remember a while back some people from the PHB and other sites tried to create a fan game called Orb Legend, or something along those lines. Sad it never came to fruition.

      1. Orb Legend has been worked on on-and-off by its visionary, HPuterpop (a former PHB staffer), and others, but its progress hasn’t been shared much with the public. It’s also not so much a “Poptropica Rewritten” (replica)—instead it’s its own thing (new storylines, characters, etc) inspired by the style of Poptropica.

  3. *slow clap* And that, my friends, is how an online game dies.

    But really, does Poptropica hire a new social media manager every week or something? We’ve gone from attempts to connect with their audience, to cold distancing, to trying to be like Wendy’s Twitter. Except for the fact it was completely out of character and rude, unlike Wendy’s established snarkiness.

    Also, no offense, but Poptropica has not outlasted Animal Jam. Both games at this point are still around, but have dwindling fanbases and are having desperate attempts to gain money and new fans (i.e. chasing trends, increasing membership-only stuff until its stifling to players who can’t have it). The difference is that Animal Jam is at least making a half-decent attempt to make some sort of spinoff.

    This really disappoints me. I used to be a huge fan of this game, and actually once was able to contact a couple of the Creators. That inspired me so much as a young artist and writer, and I remember loving the memorable characters and playing quests…actually interesting elements they could have taken advantage of and expanded. But they didn’t, and what they’re doing now is just prolonging the digging of their grave.

    Anyone else wish this could all just become public domain or something when it’s (sadly) all over, so maybe the fans and people who grew up with it could perhaps have an attempt to relive the glory days?

    1. [Reply to the public domain part] Well, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. I mean Club Penguin Rewritten has had a fantastic run for over three years, so I don’t see how a rewritten Poptropica wouldn’t be plausible. They could just either have the game on a flash emulator (flash will only be gone for browsers), or fans could make it from the ground up in a different engine.

      1. True! And (in response to Slanted Fish’s comment above, which I can’t reply to on that thread for some reason) it’s cool Orb Legend is still a thing! I assumed it was abandoned since there hasn’t been any talk about it on here. (Any chance for more people to still become involved…?) I actually much prefer the idea of a Pop spinoff doing its own thing and expanding on the world and characters, rather than just a remake. There’s a lot of potential!

  4. Just what is the dev team’s budget at this point? I’m honestly curious how much they have to support this 13 year old game.

      1. Especially since how they’re desperate to milk the game with membership (more) now, of which ironically is a bad move only serving to make players step away. I mean there’s a reason why Club Penguin island barely even went past a year of living.

  5. I remember half way through the final year of the official Club Penguin (before anyone knew it was the final year), I was doing the EPF quest of which was this weird sucking up color thing I guess. Once I got to the end of the quest, I got rewarded with none other than a **mere pin** (that is a little icon you can put on your player card, nothing special). I was not given a clothing item, furniture, not even a background, but a pin. All that just for a pin of which wasn’t even a cool one; it was just some air conditioner thing. I honestly think this was the lowest they went with that game.

    Later on, I honestly didn’t even bother with most of the other parties including one which was based off of this high school beach movie or whatever the heck (or it could’ve been a third Frozen party, idk). I did participate in the anniversary party which was fine, but the Halloween party was pretty lame at best including the quest within it. After that, I quit Disney Club Penguin for good, I didn’t even think the goodbye party was even worth my time.

    Even if Poptropica dies because of its membership greed, at least it won’t be from a sometimes greedy monopolistic company.

    1. It’s no surprise Club Penguin went that route, since it *is* owned by Disney.

      Unfortunately, I think the membership greed is more of a symptom than a cause of Pop’s decline. I think it all began when they focused more on being “cool” and doing more fashion/social stuff rather than focusing on the actual islands. The quality of writing in Greek Sea Odyssey was noticeably lower than previous islands, even the “newer” ones (i.e. Poptropicon, Survival). But since the whole point of Poptropica is the islands, with all the other features just being fun accessories, that tampered at least my interest in it. It’s kind of like putting really good tasting icing on a cake made of cardboard.

      1. I could’ve put better wording than ‘membership greed’, but I digress.

        BTW, I couldn’t come up with a better analogy myself.

What's popping, Poptropicans?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s