It’s a familiar cry. Bring the old islands back to Poptropica! Ever since a huge chunk of islands went off the map due to technical incompatibility, Poptropicans everywhere have been calling for their return, including here on the PHB. But it’s been years, and gone they continue to be.
So let’s talk about that. The Poptropica Creators have no doubt heard the cries and have even promised to find ways to bring back the classics. But as time goes by, with few of the originals to show for it, players are getting restless. From the PHB, here’s our call to the Pop Creators, on behalf of nostalgic fans everywhere: here’s what it takes to keep the spirit of Poptropica alive and well.
🏝 Know and celebrate the old islands
Poptropica used to have over 40 original islands, each a world filled with stories to explore. With the Flash-to-Haxe transition, we’re now down to about 10, and several are incomplete episodic adventures.
And the islands that Poptropica has put out in the past several years have shifted in style of gameplay — there’s a lot more handholding and a lot less exploring. So first things first, Poptropica needs to remember what made the old islands so special to so many of our childhoods.
Old Poptropica islands used the medium of interactive gaming to tell compelling stories to the kids who played them. But the newer islands seem to have one without the other: Reality TV: Wild Safari was all games, no story; while Fairytale Island gave us fun tales but without much participation in them from the player. A really successful island, like Mystery Train, manages to do both: puzzles and narrative together.
The Poptropica of the past several years have shown us that the Creators are straying further away from this vision of what made Poptropica so loved before. Players have compared this worrying trend to Mocktropica Island, the parody turned reality. More recently, a Creator’s clueless comment on Instagram revealed a lack of knowledge about Betty Jetty, a beloved character from an old island, which ultimately speaks to a lack of awareness for iconic parts of their own game.
So please, Poptropica Creators, revisit those old islands and experience their magic. Know the lore of the Poptropica worlds we grew up with, and let that intoxicating blend of gaming and storytelling guide you into making the next great island adventure.
⌛️ Slow down on the secondary features
While Poptropica hasn’t been pushing out their A-game in islands lately, we have been getting a lot of funky new features (and losing quite a few others, but we digress). Part of that is keeping up with today’s gaming tech needs with the Flash-to-Haxe transition, but all this focus on new, not-island stuff has made Poptropicans wonder what it’s all for.
Sure, it’s fun to see Home Island get a seasonal makeover or try on a new costume from the store. But why are the Creators so obsessed with redesigning Home Island? What’s with all the pop-up screens telling you what to do, or the remaking of features like the menu that were fine the way they were? Even assuming that these updates are well received, they should not be the main focus—they’re secondary aspects.
All the efforts spent in making these updates is time taken away from preserving the spirit of Poptropica through the old islands. Every inconsequential makeover or new pet item feels, to the nostalgic player, like valuable time that could have gone towards getting closer to bringing the old islands back. Which brings us to the last point…
⏩ Port the old islands to Haxe
Sounds obvious and probably easier said than done, but that’s really what a lot of players are looking for right now. Poptropica owns all that content, and the fanbase is eager to play them, so what’s the holdup?
When asked in late 2020 about whether 2021 holds new islands or the return of old ones, the Poptropica CEO answered:
We’re working on a mix of both, plus some remasters of the old islands. We’re also looking at ways to allow players to access the old islands once Flash isn’t widely supported anymore.Abhi Arya, Poptropica CEO
Remasters are all well and good (well, unless they turn out watered-down like the remastered Mythology Island), but this reinventing could be one reason things are taking a while. But while we wait for those, what about giving us the old islands in their original form? That still takes work, but presumably less work than rewriting old islands.
From that same Q&A:
We know how much the Poptropica you grew up with means to you and want to make sure you can always play that version.Natalie Shahmiri, Poptropica general manager
Poptropica has heard and promised, but we’ve been waiting a while. It’s been 7 months since that promise in our Q&A with them, nearly 2 years since the old islands vanished from the map, and coming up on 5 years if we’re counting from Poptropica’s first attempts at rebuilding itself for an era without Flash via the now-defunct Poptropica Worlds. An update would be nice. More old islands would be even better. 💙
What say you, Poptropicans? Whether you’re a new or old player, share your thoughts in the comments so the Creators can hear more voices on how fans feel about the state of the game today!
Explore, collect, compete!
— the Poptropica Help Blog —