Fan Art Features, Social Media, Web Development

Mocktropica strikes back: #DrBeev features and video ad in-betweeners

Hey Poptropicans! We’ve got a couple of Mocktropica-adjacent updates to share this weekend. Let’s start with the fun one…

With the end of September comes the conclusion of Poptropica’s #DrBeev mini art contest to draw the beloved furry doctor of Mocktropica Island in one’s own style. Check out the beev-tiful creations they featured on their Instagram story on Thursday:

Although they mentioned a prize of 10,000 credits in their original post about the drawing challenge, we haven’t heard any word yet about anyone receiving the prize. We’ll let you know if we get an update!

Dr. Beev isn’t the only thing Poptropicans are drawing! Have you seen the Poptober drawing challenge yet? It’ll give you plenty of ideas for Poptropica inspired creations throughout the month of October!

Check out this artwork from the PHB’s own Lucky Joker for the first Poptober prompt, “Island.” In this case, he went with Ghost Story Island and the love triangle of the tale. Learn more about Poptober here!

“Triade D’amour (Poptober Day 1: Island)” by Lucky Joker

And for more Poptropica fan art, check out Community Creations! This month’s theme is “Monsters.” ๐Ÿฒ

In other not-so-fun news, an unwelcome surprise may now greet you as you travel from scene to scene in Poptropica: full game screen video ads.

With sidebar ads, footer ads including a video ad already, and now the full game screen video ad, the Poptropica browser is literally all ads.

The ads so far have been for kids’ products like Nerf guns, Minecraft Dungeons, and LEGO Mario. (Thanks to Dangerous Icicle and Gentle Dolphin for their reporting.)

The ads are about 15 seconds long and are not skippable. So far, these ads only appear in the Haxe version of the game. They don’t show up every time, but they do appear every now and then, and a regular loading screen will come up after the ad itself ends.

And yes, they’re rather annoying.

This isn’t the first time Poptropica has tried to do this, either. Back in 2014, video ads also appeared in between scenes to advertise for Galactic Hot Dogs, a book series owned by Poptropica’s parent company StoryArc Media which also has its own Poptropica island. After receiving much backlash from players, the video ads disappeared within a month.

Plus, doesn’t this bear some resemblance to yet another aspect of Mocktropica Island? Mocktropica has turned out to be something of a prophecy for Poptropica’s current state for quite some time now…

A scene from Mocktropica Island where the player is charged for simply trying to leave a scene in the game.

With this stunt, Poptropica seems more desperate than ever to make money from and for the game. We don’t know what their financial situation looks like, but can only make guesses from moves like this one that it seems, more than ever, that things aren’t going well.

Video ads you’re forced to view are an easy way for Poptropica to make a buck, and definitely much quicker than creating a whole island for advertising, but it comes at a great cost in a different way: the players’ user experience. Who wants to play a game where the screen is all ads? And ultimately, there is no Poptropica without the players.

So for Poptropica to be willing to sacrifice that, despite their long track record of creating actual non-intrusive engaging ads in the past, is a big sign that either they care more about lining their pockets than their players’ experiences, or they’ve hit a low enough point they’ll do whatever it takes to make enough to keep Poptropica afloat.

We may love Dr. Beev but we certainly don’t love the other elements Poptropica is borrowing from Mocktropica Island! Do you agree? What do you think? Share with us in the comments and on the PHC!

“Poptober Day 2: Carnival” by Magniventris

On a lighter note, we hope you’ll join us for Poptober and Community Creations this month! And there’s at least one more big event to look out for this spooky season: the PHB’s Halloween costume contest! Details dropping very soon, so stay tuned… ๐ŸŽƒ


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