This interview was originally published on the Poptropica Creators’ Blog along with a call to go vote in the 2021 Poppies. Enjoy!
1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica?
My younger brother found Poptropica on Funbrain and introduced it to me. Back then, we would go on Funbrain to read Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid before it became a printed book series!
2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated?
- Most underrated character: Elf Queen from Twisted Thicket. She doesn’t seem to get mentioned much in the fandom, but her leafy design is absolutely magical, and her storyline very fitting for our modern climate crisis.
- Most overrated character: Dr. Hare, who might just be the most marketed Pop character (he even had a whole LEGO campaign at one point!). But we love him anyway.
3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through?
It’s hard to pick a favorite scene as there are so many that are visually stunning! But to highlight a few, I love the aesthetics of the Imperial Garden on Red Dragon (especially the cherry blossom trees), and the various interactive puzzles on Nabooti, such as the mancala game and the fox-chicken-cornfeed conundrum.
4. What was your inspiration in creating and furthering the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB)?
I was inspired to create a blog after seeing lots of fan blogs for other online games I enjoyed at the time, especially Club Penguin (rip). I stumbled into a Poptropica focus somewhat accidentally when setting up the site on WordPress: while thinking about the URL, I discovered that poptropica.wordpress.com was untaken, and it felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. So that was the PHB’s first URL, which illustrates the dearth of Poptropica fan sites at the time, and how we were able to fill that gap on the internet.
What inspired me to keep going was everything else that followed. I was amazed by how quickly the site grew in readership, fueled by all the amazing things Poptropica has been doing, especially in the heart and depth of storytelling through gameplay in its myriads of island adventures. Even as the game changes and people come and go, what I enjoy about the PHB is how it continues to be a space for Poptropicans to share their ideas, fan art, and friendships. If you’re interested, I’ve written more about this on the PHB’s Philosophy page.
5. How has your PHB career surprised you?
As the previous Q&A touches on, I’ve been surprised by the rapid popularity of the PHB (it reached 1 million views in its first year, and 13 years later, has over 35 million). But I’m not too concerned about the statistics—I’m more interested in cultivating the quality of people’s visits, and to that end it’s been a blessing to hear from so many Poptropicans over the years who’ve enjoyed what the PHB offers.
Another surprise is the creativity and intensity of so many fans’ Pop-inspired passions, which help shape what the PHB brings to the fandom, from personal My Place in Poptropica stories to discoveries of Pop Places IRL. It’s definitely not a one-person operation—credit goes to the many, many Poptropicans who make it all possible!
6. What does the Pop community mean to you?
To me, it’s as simple as a gathering of people who enjoy Poptropica. They can be of all ages — some are even in their twenties like me. Poptropica fans are creative (just look at all the fan art, blogs, and videos), clever (we enjoy solving puzzles and finding trivia), and concerned (we support each other and sometimes critique for the good of the game we love). Above all, we’re united in our passion for Pop!
7. From your perspective, how has the community changed over the past 12 years?
The biggest change I’ve noticed personally is that the kids have gotten older. Though Poptropica has always been aimed at kids, it’s fascinating to see how teens and young adults (myself included) still participate in the fandom, often returning from childhood nostalgia and sticking around for the community and inspired storytelling (perhaps even creating some of their own). Of course, young kids are still around. From my perspective, even children are capable of enjoying Poptropica’s more sophisticated stories, particularly those from the classic islands.
8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL?
Poptropica’s many whimsical worlds — from the medieval madness of Astro-Knights to the genie glamor of Arabian Nights — have inspired my art and writing, and widened my appreciation for digital storytelling and cultural connections.
As for the PHB, it has given me a space to write about something I care about, to carefully consider how to express ideas, and help the blog’s staff and guest writers do the same. Having our content read by so many fellow fans is a responsibility, privilege, and a great encouragement to keep building the blessing.
The skills, friendships, and passions developed over many years of playing and creating carry over to other areas of life too. For me, that has included earning my undergrad degree in English and pursuing a career in communications. With all the diversity in Poptropica and its community comes great potential for many more Poptropicans!
- Costume: Fish kimono from Red Dragon
- Island: Shark Tooth
- Backstory/Lore: How islands appear in the world of Poptropica through a central spot in the sea called the Nexus, as described in Poptropica graphic novel #4: The End of Time.
- Hero: Max McGullicutty from Survival
- Villain: Scheherazade
Thank you, Poptropica Creators, for hosting this interview with me (and for calling the PHB “the leading fan-run Poptropica blog” in the original post 😁). Keep on popping on, Poptropicans! ✌️
~Slanted Fish 🐟🐡🐠💙
9 thoughts on “Interview with Slanted Fish from the Poptropica Creators 🎤🐠”
Cool interview! And Max McGullicutty does not get enough credit like he should.
Thanks, Barefoot Knuckle! And yes, mad props to Max. 🐻
Yeah! Your backstory is really nice!
Thanks for the kind words! Everyone’s got a story.
Yea but there are people like me who forget their backstory. Because well in My MPIP I wrote that I discovered pop because of Thinknoodles but the truth was that I just found it either on Jeff Kinney’s thanks at the end or I found it on the app Store. I found Thinknoodles when I was looking for a walkthrough!
Human memory isn’t always reliable, that’s true. But writing things down—as I’ve been doing for the past almost 13 years here on the PHB—can help!
Yeah I’m glad i started a journal a month ago
Yeah Scheherazade would be #2 on my villains