Blast from the Past

2021 Poptropica Rewind: Dreaming of Regeneration 🧒💭

Almost to New Year’s, Poptropicans! Congrats on surviving another year with Covid — but this roundup isn’t about the pandemic. We’ve got plenty of variants to talk about with Poptropica, so strap in for the PHB’s 2021 Rewind!

Poptropica in 2021 has been unlike any other in years past. With the end of Flash in 2020, they’ve had to rebuild the game on a new engine, Haxe, which has brought about some interesting changes. Let’s pop into it! ⏪

🏝 Islands, Mini Games & Side Quests

With most of Poptropica’s original islands wiped out by the end of Flash, Poptropica began the year on Haxe with a lot to live up to. While fans have been rallying for the return of the old islands since what feels like forever, Poptropica took a mixed route.

The 2020 Dream Island Contest had promised three new islands inspired by fans, and two of them arrived in 2021. Fairytale Island was a short adventure into storybook classics with modern twists, while Goofball Island was a little longer, offering up a wacky world of contrasts between the silly and dull.

But that’s not all. More than islands, side quests and mini games made up most of this year’s adventures, with at least eight: Legendary Swords: Match 3, The Greatest on Home Island, Lost Cubs, Candy Crazed, Amelia’s Mini Quest, Hoptropica: Birthday Edition, Rumpel’s Challenge, and the Baron’s Crusade. And a case could be made for placing Fairytale in this category as well, as this “island” was really made up of three side quests strung together.

Ad “islands” also made a comeback in 2021, with American Girl: Kira’s Island, three SpongeBob Islands (two for Kamp Koral), and Clifford Island. That’s five, up from just two last year.

For those holding out on the old islands, we finally got something near the end of the year: Mission Atlantis, Ep. 1: Into the Deep and Arabian Nights, Ep. 2: Lair of Thieves were both re-released to Haxe for members. Meanwhile, the PHB has continued amplifying the voices of Poptropicans everywhere with a Pop Petition to bring the old islands back, and even released a can’t-miss music video for the cause.

Got a long list of ex-islands…

🛍 Shops & Customization

This year also brought on a new era for consumerism shopping fun in Poptropica, with the opening of two rival stores: Amelia’s Adventure Outfitters and the Baron’s Airship, both on a revamped Home Island.

While Amelia’s is a rebrand of the longstanding Poptropica Store, now with weekly updates, the Baron’s is a new concept for Poptropica, carrying items from the lost islands, fan-made costumes, and arriving just for a short stay each month. Plus, their respective side quests have both revealed some interesting lore about their rivalry — but we’ve only begun to scratch that surface.

And while the clubhouse store isn’t new, this year we’ve been getting more items to decorate with and seeing a lot more Clubhouse Tours here on the PHB. There’s also been an increase in clothing items for pets — even matching ones for players!

As for player customization, we got a brand new character customization screen, which helpfully categorizes our collected costumes, allows us to pick from individual parts, and combines the Colorizer (though it also has its share of unhelpful bugs). Sadly, with this update also came a controversial change: the loss of the Costumizer, which allowed players to copy clothes from other characters. RIP. Now, this much-loved feature is only available on PoptropiCon Island, where it’s built into the quest.

In short, there’s no shortage of customization in the new age of Poptropica. Despite the disappointing disappearance of the Costumizer, players have more options than ever to express themselves on Pop — to say nothing of backdoor glitching methods!

🏅 Contests & Social Media

While Poptropica is no stranger to contests, 2021 seems to have hosted their biggest bunch of them yet, with just about one for every month. This year Pop hosted the Fairy Fan Art Challenge (winners here), Fairytale Fanfic Challenge (read the winning entries here), monthly costume contests which began in May (which adds up to 7), Coloring Creation Challenge (collection of chosen art here), and Goofy Clubhouse Challenge (winners here), for a total of 11 official contests.

We didn’t quite get to that level here on the PHB, but we did have fun hosting about six contests: three rounds of Guess That Poptropican (check out rounds 1, 2, 3, and answers to rounds 1, 2, 3 here), Pop the Difference: Round 4, and our 13th Halloween Costume Contest: Grim & Whimsical (winners here).

Poptropica has also been making use of social media to promote their contests and other shenanigans. Speaking of which, their activity has been popping off, much more than in the past several years combined.

Plus, the Pop Creators’ Blog opened up calls for guest writing, including among them posts from various PHB staff: Purple Paw, Popsonas and an interview with Slanted Fish, plus Gentle Dolphin’s Declassified Costume Creation Guide, to name a few. Great way to share our passions with more Poptropicans, though we also take guest posts here on the PHB!

Pop also opened a TikTok account in April 2021, posting short clips that often bank on nostalgia of the game’s glory days as well as highlighting newer content, which has seen some success in numbers. On Instagram, they now often comment on posts of Poptropica fan art, featuring tons on their story. They also had a moment of going viral on Twitter in May, with #Poptropica trending for about a day. It’s been a busy year!

🤩 More You Don’t Want to Miss

Behind Poptropica’s persistence are all the fans who both celebrate and critique the game, and our roundup of the year wouldn’t be complete without sharing some highlights from the fandom.

Here on the PHB, we’ve shared some standout posts over the year (including guest posts!), and we’re always updating our PHB’s Greatest Posts collection. Here are some great reads you’ll want to make time for:

In addition to all the fantastic content above, we also can’t miss spotlighting our mini-series analyzing the words of former Poptropica head Jess Brallier, who in June released a series on his personal blog about his experiences building the game’s brand for over a decade through ups and downs. Read it in order:

  1. Pop Creator Jess Brallier spills on “storytelling, games, and Poptropica”
  2. The biggest kids’ site hosts Big Nate and more greats, as told by Jess Brallier
  3. Poptropica’s production problems and almost an animated series
  4. Poptropica’s Mocktropica story: how new management undercut its own game

We’re also continuously impressed by all the fan art, with our monthly Community Creations series now rounding off its 5th year. Keep up the amazing work!

Plus, this year we introduced our monthly membership giveaways, bringing the premium Pop experience to kids who might not otherwise have gotten the opportunity. One of our ways of spreading joy!

Throughout the year, we’ve also hosted a few parties: the PHC Open House in April, Pride Palooza in June, Poppies fan awards in July, and a Grapple-Pap Party in December. It’s always fun to get together and game on — plus, our PHC Discord server is always open! 🎉

Thus concludes the first calendar year away from Flash! It’s certainly been quite the year for Poptropica on Haxe, with an unusual mix of dream islands, side quests, and more propelling a new generation of gaming and storytelling for Poptropica. Did it live up to your hopes and dreams? Regardless, let’s give it time to grow.

Looking ahead to 2022, we’re excitedly anticipating Secret of the Jade Scarab Island, the final winner of the 2020 Dream Island Contest. Thanks for reading this round-up, and pop back over here next year! 🥳

We’ll take a pop of islands yet, for old times’ sake.

~ 💙 the Poptropica Help Blog

✏️ P.S. While you’re here, sign the Poptropica Yearbook by leaving a comment!


8 thoughts on “2021 Poptropica Rewind: Dreaming of Regeneration 🧒💭”

  1. To be completely frank, 2021 was a disappointment for me. For one thing, the best stories are islands. Poptropica promised it would be the year of stories, but we got way more mini-quests than anything.
    I said in my MPIP that I loved early Poptropica, and it’s true that we’ve been begging for old stuff for a really really long time. Poptropica seemingly ignores it. Sure, we have 2 new islands brought back, but that’s nothing compared to the changes they have made. It feels as though 2021 just started yesterday, and it’s already ending. And to be honest, it’s not much better than how it was when 2021 started in my opinion. Really, they haven’t accomplished anything really good for original Poptropica 😦

    I’m sorry if I’m sounding really negative in this comment, but I feel ignored by the creators and inexplicably disappointed. Here’s to hoping for 2022. 🤞😔

  2. eyy, it’s early! i was expecting it to be posted in jan 1 2022, but it was a mediocre year for me.

    they did manage to put SOME of the classic islands in the map and goofball had a pretty good plot, but… they haven’t accomplished anything REALLY good, and there are some things about the game i’m worried about. i can understand they are trying very hard to put the rest of the classic islands in the game, but i’ll be surprised if they do upload all of them in the map in one day, since they’re not working as hard as in the good ol’ days.
    anyways… let’s hope for a better future in 2022, hopefully it won’t go the same path as club penguin and toontown after this decline.
    also… everyone remember to continue to stay safe during this pandemic, even if you already got your covid-19 vaccine, always wear a mask in public and bring your own bottle of hand sanitizer or wipes with you. and wash your hands with soap and water and just wash up when you get back home from the public.
    please do not delete my comment

  3. Happy almost new year!
    Compared to past years, 2021 wasn’t great in my opinion. It’s frustrating that the creators are putting so much energy into side quests and shops while neglecting old island ports and new Dream Island creations. They obviously view the PHB, or at least pay attention to fans on social media (how else would they have known about the holiday party?) so why are they ignoring everything else we’ve been saying? Did they read the petition about bringing back old islands? Did they simply choose not to comment on it?
    Right now, I don’t have a lot of hope for Pop’s future. It’s had a very impressive run: 14 years, and still people play it! But if things continue the way they’ve been going, with the majority of the content being broken-up side quests and customization (without a customizer), I can’t see it lasting much longer.
    I don’t want this to be all negative though. Even if the game itself dies, we can still chat about Pop, post about it, write about it, draw it…etc. And if all else fails, there’s always Flashpoint!
    I’m glad I found my way into this community. It’s been a lot of fun writing for the PHB, and interacting with people who share my interests! After joining the PHC, I discovered many other corners of the Pop community, and I’ve met many awesome people and had many great experiences in them as well as here.
    I hope to be more active in writing here during the new year. I’m excited to post the last couple installments in my Dream Interpretation series – they’re taking time to write, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end. Plus I’ve got a couple ideas for new series… 😏
    Anyways! Happy holidays again, and here’s to 2022 bringing improvement where it’s needed. 🎉

  4. At the start of the year I was really sad that everything, literally everything was gone! Over the time, my mood improved. We got a few islands back, goofball was a hit and the baron’s costume contest were so good! This year has gone fine. Excited for 2022!!

    1. I truly wish I had your level of optimism for the new year. I hope I don’t sound too negative, but I feel like the more we ask for old stuff back, the more the creators make new, glitchy stuff. It’s really infuriating how they seem to appreciate the PHB and other fan websites, but they completely ignore our Pop Petitions and comments about how much we just want old features and islands.
      Perhaps the creators will dig themselves out of the hole they’ve fallen into, but it also seems a little too late for that. I just wish that the creators will wake up in the new year and realize they’re kind of destroying the game. With every update, it drifts farther and farther away from the original Pop we love. Fingers crossed they’ll realize their mistakes and try to fix them.

      1. Yes, thats it true. They should stop focusing on new things after jade scarab otherwise it will take so much time to get the islands back and most of us are probably gonna quit. Just be active on this blog

  5. While I am glad of the new islands that Poptropica is doing, they should also work on bringing back old islands. On the Poptropica creators blog, I posted a comment about an idea about how to bring back these old islands, because I only joined poptropica this year, and I would like a chance to get to play the old islands. My comment is in the latest post on Poptropica creators blog and in about 2 other of the latest post under the name Pink Crush

  6. 2021 was full of unexpected updates and islands. At first, the year started off very boring, with useless side quests. Fairytale Islands was a huge disappointment, and the side quest was Members-Only. Since I wasn’t a member back then, I was really mad that they didn’t even let me finish the story without a Membership! I was about to quit, and then Mission Atlantis made a comeback! It was Members-Only, but I didn’t mind too much, I was just happy that the classic islands are coming back. Soon after that, Goofball Island was released! It was epic for me, despite that it was so short. I was finally able to use the quest feature while playing an island! It felt to me like it was the only “real” island in 6 years, the last one was Escape From Pelican Rock Island in 2015. Then I won the Clubhouse Contest, and that made me wanted to play more. The year ended with a bang, Arabian Nights 2 made a comeback! I was a upset that I wasn’t able to play it because it was Members-Only too, but that changed after I won a free Membership! For me, this year was really great. I hope 2022 will bring more episodes and classic islands back, as well as Search for the Jade Scarab Island. 🤞🤞🤞

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