Creators' Blog Guest Posts

Interview with Purple Paw from the Poptropica Creators 🎤💜

Hello! Welcome to the next part of our series with the Pop Creators interviewing members of the PHB team. As you may have seen on Poptropica’s blog, this turn goes to Purple Paw. Let’s get started!

Illustration by Gentle Dolphin

1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica?

Surprise surprise, Funbrain! I’d been playing through our long lost friend, the Arcade, and had seen an ad for Pop on the side of the screen. My sister already knew a bit about it, and we set up a shared account. We continued playing together for a few years after that.

2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated?

It’s near impossible to talk about overrated characters without mentioning Dr. Hare — 24 Carrot was but the beginning of his career. Personally, I also think Amelia gets a little more attention than she’s worth.

As for most underrated, I’d have to go with Captain Ziggs from Steamworks Island. He’s already gone by the start of the island, but we later learn that he raised the drawbridge to keep the plant monsters at bay before presumably being cornered in his apartment. It’s largely thanks to him the citizens of Steamworks made it to their cryotubes in time. Quite the unsung hero!

3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through?

It’s definitely difficult to choose, but in my eyes nothing beats Binary Bard’s dream from Super Villain Island. That galaxy artwork is spectacular, and the whole concept of the dream itself is so inventive! The Sacred Tree Hollow from Twisted Thicket, with its mystical forest aesthetic, ranks high on the list for me as well.

4. From your perspective, how have you seen the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and community change over time?

It’s always shifting and changing alongside Pop itself. People will come and go often according to those changes; the end of Flash in 2020 brought both a resurgence of new fans excited for the future of the game, as well as those who became less active in the community after the loss of the classic islands. It’s amazing to see how long the PHB’s lasted and how many different people have come here over the years, whether they plant roots or just stop by briefly.

5. How has your PHB career surprised you?

I’d say I’m most surprised by the sheer amount of ideas, endeavors, and incredible creations that have graced the PHB, during my time as a staff writer and before! Artwork, fanfic, crossovers, animations, fan islands, even fan-made games—there’s so much creativity in the Pop fandom and the PHB holds a good chunk of it.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when joining the staff team, but it’s been a great experience thus far. The support and interactivity that can come from posting my own ideas is really gratifying. I’m thankful to be a part of it!

6. What inspires you?

As an artist myself, I’ve always been inspired first and foremost by other people’s artwork. I love viewing all the unique styles and methods of creating art and learning about how they’ve evolved throughout history. Getting outside and enjoying nature—whether by hiking, gardening, or finding a nice place to sit and enjoy the view—is a source of peace and inspiration for me as well.

7. What does the Pop community mean to you?

A lot. It’s become a significant part of my life—alongside meeting a fair amount of my good online friends here, the community’s become an outlet through which to channel my creativity and to view other peoples’ creations as well. Poptropica’s highly nostalgic for me, and it’s really nice to know and interact with other people who relate to that.

8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL?

Plenty of writings, ideas, and pieces of art from my earlier childhood and the present have been heavily inspired by Pop. I remember writing stories based on the events of Astro-Knights and Twisted Thicket, and I even attempted to write a whole play revolving around Night Watch (attempted being the keyword there… ahem). Its myriad of characters even helped me overcome my avoidance of drawing people!

Even now, I still find joy and comfort in the many amazing islands of Pop. It remains special to me, and I can say with certainty it’s made a huge impact on my life.

9. Outside of Poptropica and your PHB involvement, what are you passionate about?

My ungodly amount of art and writing projects. Even though I abandon them frequently, I still care about them equally and do my best to continue them whenever life (and my overactive brain) permits.

Favorites

  • Island: Cryptids
  • Backstory/Lore: Myron Van Buren’s family tree on his cabin wall
  • Character: Princess Elyana
  • Villain: Black Widow
  • Costume: Daphne Dreadnaught’s steampunk design

Thanks, Poptropica, for being such a big source of inspiration for so many! Hope you all enjoyed getting to know me a little more in this Q&A, and if you like, you can check out more of my writing and art here on the PHB. You can also read this interview on the Pop Creators’ Blog. Pop on!

~💜

Uncategorized

Bonus Dream Interpretation: Zeus⚡

Hello again, and welcome to the final subject in my Dream Interpretation series: Zeus! (Catch up on previous posts in this series here.)

We thought the Main Four were Super Villain’s antagonists, but check again…the real mastermind behind it all is none other than the Greek god of thunder himself. What does Zeus’s dream say about him?

Wait! There’s more to the story!

After his disguise is shed and his true identity revealed, Zeus is immediately thrown into one of the Main Four’s now empty cryotubes and trapped inside his own mind. Featuring an upside down Mythology Island with an inverted color palette and randomly scattered letters that, when assembled, spell out an override code, Zeus’s dream is very weird — but also might be the easiest to interpret.

Right off the bat, the inverted colors and anti-gravity effects likely mean Zeus is very shocked and disoriented at the moment; you could say he’s had his whole world turned upside down, figuratively in real life and literally in the dream. One moment he’s on the path to world domination, the next he’s fighting the player with the power of the totems behind him, and now he’s in cryostasis! The upside down world could also mean Zeus is worried his life will never be normal again.

The labyrinth sector of Zeus’s dream points generally to the same issue, but it’s slightly different. While representing confusion, labyrinths in dreams can also symbolize unending stress and complications or an unsolved problem that keeps repeating itself. Makes sense, seeing as Zeus has now been foiled by the player twice. How much more will it take to execute his villainous scheme?

Once you exit the labyrinth, you’ll find yourself on the Tree of Immortality. The tree could show Zeus recovering from his recent defeat and finding new hope; encountering a tree of life in a dreamscape might symbolize a new motivation, or it may be saying that although life is difficult, there’s always room to bounce back and continue. Good news for Zeus, but not so much for us in this case. 😬

The Tree of Immortality is also the first place in his dream where we see Zeus, and he’s not feeling too friendly towards us at the moment. He’ll attack by whizzing across the screen every time you find a letter.

Peace was never an option.

Similar to the Black Widow’s dream, attacking someone could represent taking action against a threat or overcoming issues. Zeus isn’t wasting any time firing up his fighting spirit and launching back into battle!

Then there’s the matter of the scattered letters. I think it’s possible Zeus has a mind map — in other words, he stores important information throughout his brain and can easily access that info later, similar to the detective Sherlock Holmes.

After you’ve located all the letters in the Tree of Immortality, you’ll find yourself in the final location, an upside-down Mount Olympus. Mountains in dreams symbolize huge challenges and obstacles, or a growing need to prove yourself. Here, Zeus’s attacks become more frequent; he’s onto our plan, and he’s determined to ruin it.

Something else worth mentioning is Zeus’s abilities in his own dream. While we can only jump, Zeus soars across the screen like the thunder god he is. However, he’s still limited by this anti-gravitational world — he can’t hover in midair with nothing beneath him like he’s normally able to, and instead must find a rock or a branch to steady himself.

Upon picking up the last letter, you’ll be freed from Zeus’s dreamscape with the override code in hand, and everything in Erewhon Prison is set right. Except for the four escaped villains. Just a minor detail that might’ve been overlooked.

In conclusion: Zeus’s dream as a whole displays a realization process of sorts. In the beginning, he’s confused, in shock, and very unsure what to do or where to go. He then reminds himself that he’s quite literally king of the gods — no cryotube or bobble-headed avatar can stand in his path and get away with it! He must not give up. Zeus doesn’t appreciate being exposed or showing weakness, which is perhaps why he’s so quick to forge on and attack the player the moment they appear.

Unfortunately, Zeus isn’t taking much time to think here. His undying need to prove himself and live up to his reputation overpowers any sensibility he might have, and he refuses to pause and adjust to his new circumstances, which is perhaps why he’s unable to fly properly; and why his dreamscape hasn’t righted itself yet. Maybe next time, he should take everything into account before attempting to overthrow Poptropica.

…and with that, Interpreting the Main Four’s (Five’s?) Dreams has come to a close! It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading them too.

Dream on,

~💜

Contests, Poppies

🏆 Poppies 2022: Let the Nominations Begin

It’s that glamorous time of year… the Poppies are here! 🥳🏆😍

The Poppies are our annual Poptropica fan awards, hosted here on the Poptropica Help Blog for all to enjoy. It’s our eighth year celebrating, and we’re once again welcoming you to tell us where to shine the spotlight.

The festivities will lead up to a community-wide vote, culminating into a grand party where the award winners will be announced and the PHB celebrates its 14th birthday later this month. 🎉 More on that soon!

To kick things off, the nomination round is open for one week from now until Wednesday, July 13. In the comments of this post, name up to three choices per category listed below! ✅


Poptropica Awards

🏔️ Best Side Quest: Side quests are becoming a prominent new method of storytelling in Poptropica. While some serve to continue preexisting islands (Rumpel’s Challenge, Blitz on the Fritz), others (the Baron’s Crusade, Hoptropica, etc) stand on their own. Which ones do it best?

🏝️ Best Dream Island Winner: Last Poppies, we nominated our favorites from the countless fan island submissions; this year, we’ll review those lucky three that were brought to life in-game! Dream Island contest winners include: Fairytale, Goofball, and Jade Scarab. (Due to the limited options, all three are automatically nominated.)

😀 Best Returning AS3 Island: While many beloved classic islands are still missing from the map, plenty of AS3 islands that originally went down with Flash have been ported over to Haxe and/or Steam. Which AS3 island’s reappearance delighted you the most?

😢 Most Missed AS2 Island: While it’s great to see good old AS3 islands brought back to life—alongside entirely new islands—we still mourn the loss of the ancient AS2 Flash islands, who unfortunately haven’t yet been resurrected. Which lost island do you grieve for the most?

🧝 Most Captivating Current Character: From Cinder and Rumpel to Scheherazade and the Baron, Poptropica’s packed with cool, classy, captivating characters. Out of those currently existing in-game, which characters strike your fancy?

🤴 Most Legendary Lost Character: On the flip side, many iconic Poptropican characters are now lost to the sands of time, including classics like Mordred, the Elf Queen, and El Mustachio Grande. Which ones are gone from the game, but not forgotten?

🙄 Most Ironic Name: When it comes to generating a Poptropican name, some are beautiful, some not so much… and some are so well-matched, it’s hilarious. Can you find a combo so strangely perfect it makes you snort at your screen? See our name guide for inspiration!

🪄 Most Magical Name: On the other hand, some Poptropican names are simply breathtaking. Can you come up with a gorgeous pairing fit for a king? Again, check out our name guide for some ideas.

😎 Coolest Wallpaper: Poptropica’s given us many lovely wallpapers with which to adorn our phones, tablets, and computers. Which splendid art pieces would you love to see on your screen? See them here and in the extras sections of our various Island Guides!

☹️ Most Pointless Update: This past year saw plenty of changes to Pop, some welcome and some, well, not. Out of all the twists and turns our beloved game has taken lately, which updates were most disappointing?

💬 Best Comic: Over the years, Poptropica’s penned a wide variety of awesome comics, from the graphic novel series starting with Mystery of the Map to island prequels like Pandemic Panic or Zomberry: Day Zero. Which strip entertained you the most? Browse the comics here »

👗 Best Costume Contest Winner: You might be familiar with Poptropica’s monthly costume contests, and the fabulous fan-made ‘fits they’ve brought to the game. From “Spa Day” to “Love Potion Demon,” which ones caught your eye at the Baron’s Cabin of Curiosities?

💃 POPPIES PARADE! 🕺

Can you recognize the PHB team’s blue carpet glamour in MaryannTheConqueror’s illustration above? More in our Look Book!

Community Awards

🤳 Funniest TikTok: Fans post Poptropica content on various social media platforms, but TikTok is especially known for its short and sweet video clips. Whether it’s cosplay, a skit, or a wacky new dance, which Pop-related shorts got your attention? Browse Pop TikTok here »

😂 Funniest Tweet: Ah, Twitter. While it may not be everyone’s favorite platform, it’s given us a great deal of funny Poptropica quotes, comments, and memes. Which Pop-related tweets did you enjoy?

🎨 Best Community Creations Theme: Community Creations is a monthly series here at the PHB showcasing the Poptropica fandom’s artistic talent. In your opinion, which theme this past year was the coolest? Any theme after July 2021 is eligible.

🤩 Most Fun Contest: Both the PHB and the official Pop Creators’ Blog host a variety of interactive contests and challenges, involving players both on and off the game. Which did you enjoy? Check some of them out here and here. Any challenge starting after July 22, 2021 qualifies.

Most Aesthetic Pinterest Board: Pinterest is an excellent place to create mood boards, and Poptropica’s not been left out of the fun. Fans have created some aesthetic image galleries that perfectly capture the essence of Poptropica’s islands. Here are a few — which do you like?

👉 Best Pop-over Special: When fans mix Poptropica with other pieces of media, we call that crossover a Pop-over! Whether inspired by books, TV shows, or movies, we’ve featured many. Which do you wish were real?

✍️ Best Official Guest Blog Post: Early last year, Poptropica started inviting players to post on their official blog — and those guest writers delivered! We’ve since been welcomed with a diversity of fan-written posts on the Creators’ Blog. Which guest post was the best read? Anything posted after July 22, 2021 is eligible.

📹 Best Fan Video: Whether it’s a walkthrough, tag, quiz, or even a Pop-themed baking tutorial, Pop content creators have given us a lot to enjoy. Tell us which amazing Pop vid deserves the top prize! Remember to include a link. Anything posted after July 22, 2021 is eligible.

🖼️ Best Fan Art: The Pop fandom is an incredibly creative place when it comes to art. Which beautiful masterpiece deserves the top prize? Check our Community Creations, DeviantArt group, and Pop’s Fan Art Features to select your faves! Anything posted after July 22, 2021 is eligible.


Remember, the nomination round begins NOW in the comments! 👇 Please limit your picks to a max of three per category. You don’t have to nominate for every category, although it is encouraged.

The voting round will begin Thursday, July 14, and the poll options will be made up of the most popular nominations. Check back then to cast your votes, but in the meantime…

✏️ Nominate in the comments below! ✏️

p.s. Keep popping in to participate in Poppies events throughout this month of July! We’re just getting started. 🎉

Uncategorized

Interpreting the Main Four’s dreams, pt 4: Binary Bard 🧭

Hi there everyone! Welcome back to the fourth–but not final–installment of Interpreting the Main Four’s Dreams. Finally, it’s time to focus on the dream I’ve been waiting to interpret since I began this series back in August: Binary Bard’s dream.

Warning: behemoth post ahead.


From start to finish, a ton of stuff happens within Binary Bard’s dream world. Evil robotic animals, blueprints, doors, flying plant pods, time-freezing, a huge clock, plus that stunning galaxy artwork — where to look first?

Let’s start with the very first scene, in which Binary Bard himself (who interestingly is Mordred rather than the half-cyborg we see in Astro-Knights) is seated on a throne, complaining about how a door won’t open. The door in question is swinging tantalizingly, too fast for you or Bard to slip through. Doors in dreams might symbolize change and new opportunities; its rapid opening and closing could mean that Bard is trying to reach a new place, but every time he thinks he’s there, the world snatches things out of his control. Maybe he’d get through if he timed it at the right second.

Which he does! Interestingly enough, it’s with the player’s help that Bard manages to get through; if the player hadn’t frozen time, would he have been forced to wait out the remainder of the dream in his throne? Would he have gotten anywhere at all? Hmm.

After entering the second room, the player makes an intriguing remark: “Looks like there’s no going back.” Maybe this has a deeper meaning than simply “The door’s locked and I can’t go back to the throne room.”

There’s also a strange picture on the wall:

Notice it’s ripped where Mordred’s cybernetics later appear.

Within the remaining rooms you’ll enter before reaching the final area, there are two large blueprints on the walls: one depicting the iconic Merlin, the second showing a robotic mouse (the same one you lure out of a hole in the castle wall during the events of Astro-Knights — I like to call it Morgan).

The blueprints come to life when you pass them. But something’s wrong — instead of a friendly bird and a shy rodent, they’ve turned against you, and their eyes and joints are scarlet instead of blue. Hmm.

A couple more things I’ll mention before focusing on the climax: firstly, notice the backgrounds in the rooms. They started out looking very much like Bard’s underground laboratory, but slowly disintegrate as you progress, revealing a blueprint of a castle on a nebula background. And secondly, let’s discuss that red-eyed, metal figure of Bard, shall we? Might Bard be exploring what would happen if he dropped his human side and became fully robotic?

No more 50%; now we’re 100%.

And now let’s peek inside the final area, where the walls of Bard’s trusty lab have vanished completely, to be replaced by one of the most beautiful (albeit weirdest) scenes in Poptropica.

During this scene, you climb up a series of flying mechanical plant pods with the help of your time-freezing stopwatch. I interpreted a few different keywords here, but most interesting are these two: levitation, which symbolizes all things incredible and impossible; and plants, which might indicate ideas, progress, or development.

Once you complete this jungle planet-esque obstacle course, it’s time for Poptropica’s second Binary Bard boss battle. While the first one took place in Bard’s asteroid castle, this one’s even stranger: Bard (now complete with cybernetics and jester guise) is inside an enormous clock, and the only way to defeat him is to freeze time whenever the moving hands of his clock pause. Doing so electrocutes him.

Clocks in dreams symbolize inevitability or a strong awareness of what you need to do. (Clocks and time have been a recurring motif throughout this dream, with the player frequently using the time-freezing stopwatch; at first, it helps Bard through, but now, it comes back to bite him). Electrocution on the other hand could signify underestimation or misjudgement, or serve as a warning about the consequences of your actions.

After you electrocute him thrice, Bard will disappear and his astrolabe totem will fall out, signaling the end of his dream. What a wild ride!

So… put together, what does all this mean?

In a nutshell, I believe this entire dream represents Bard’s journey, with each area symbolizing a stage of his life. At the very beginning, we see prim and proper Mordred on his throne, showing us the way things were before he donned a jester hat and ran for the stars. Although, even at this point he’s eyeing the door, longing to escape from his Arturus residence and create something more.

The player with their stopwatch being the one to open the door for him implies that we enabled him to pursue his creativity in the first place; but that’s impossible, seeing as we arrived on Astro-Knights many years after he’d already left. A more likely theory is that, in this case, we as the player symbolize someone or something else that inspired him. An associate or a member of the royal family, perhaps? Maybe a notable event? A new side of his brain he hadn’t tapped into yet? It remains a mystery. As for the stopwatch helping him and then bringing about his downfall, it reminds me of Princess Elyana, who worshiped and followed him only for him to kidnap her, which resulted in her kicking him and leaving him on his lonely asteroid at the end of Astro-Knights.

Moving onto the following rooms, we can see Mordred’s gradual progression into insanity: his imprisonment (which isn’t depicted, but probably happens at the first door) and the establishment of his underground lab. The aforementioned ripped portrait in this room hints at his transition from esteemed scholar to unhinged genius – he’s still dressed as royal Mordred, but the slash could indicate the start of his cyborg makeover, as well as his need to distance himself from the character Mordred as he forms a new persona, the Binary Bard.

As for evil Merlin and Morgan, they refer to two things: Bard regretting Merlin’s betrayal from when the owl left him to assist the player, and reflecting on the way he felt back before the events of Astro-Knights when he was still confined to his lab, when everyone had turned against him and thought him to be a mad wizard.

While the throne and the underground rooms represent Bard’s past, the final scene may be the future, or ideas that never came to fruition before Bard was brought to Erewhon Prison — hence the fully robotic Bard and everything in the last area being unfamiliar (save for the planets). Floating in his cryotube, Bard still thinks of all the things he planned but never accomplished, all those sketches he never colored in…


…and that’s the end of Bard’s dream interpretation! It’s been a long time coming, and I’m relieved it’s finally finished. Catch the rest of the series in these links: Dr. Hare, Captain Crawfish, and Black Widow.

Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and stay tuned for this series’ last post coming soon!

Dream on,

~💜

Pop 5, Uncategorized

Pop 5: Things You Need to be Poptropica’s Protagonist 🗺️

Hey there, everyone!

Imagine you step into the shoes of your avatar and become a Poptropican hero, hopping from island to island and saving the day. And imagine that, to apply for this thrilling occupation, all you have to do is check 5 requirements off a list presented to you. Only 5. Sounds easy enough, right?

If you think you’re up for the job, grab a pen, gather your wits, and keep reading!

1: Courage, bravery, and a strong will

First and foremost, all the greatest heroes are brave and courageous, and refuse to shy away when danger strikes — as it often does in the world of Poptropica. If you’re looking to protect your home from all the odd terrors it’s riddled with, you must swallow your fear, stand your ground, and hold your head high no matter what you’re facing!

Swords Drawn: Adventuring is not for the faint-hearted.

2: Speed and agility

While courage is important, it’s not the only thing. Saving the day often requires physical strength as well! To navigate your way through Poptropica’s perilous adventures, you’ll need to be agile and speedy. Whether it’s dodging weapons, jumping high walls, or outrunning Myron Van Buren, tough obstacles arise at the unlikeliest of times. Whew!

Breaking In: Better be quick on your feet.

3: A bottomless bag, for your numerous possessions

We never did get an explanation for our mysterious bottomless bag (which has the capacity to hold a picture frame, a trident, and a model Statue of Liberty!) — so it’s good to have a spare just in case it doesn’t show up right away. Or if it becomes beyond repair during the events of Mocktropica. Where would you keep all your useful items then?

In the Bag: Well, not anymore.

4: Within your bag, a handy First-Aid kit

Fast as you may be, finishing an Island unscathed is a feat Poptropica’s protagonists have yet to complete. If you’re not drowning at the hands of Gretchen Grimlock, being kidnapped by the Black Widow, attacked by Director D’s and Binary Bard’s robots… etc, etc… you’re probably still falling into cacti or being knocked off your feet by rogue animals. Poptropicans may be tough, but a handy First-Aid kit is always a good idea.

Drink Up: Even the hero’s tired sometimes.

5: Knowledge!

Knowledge is key, and this is no exception. Doing research is an excellent way to prepare for what’s in store. While reading about mythological creatures and the best way to steer a rocket may seem like a waste of time, you’ll thank yourself for doing it once you’ve boarded your blimp. Besides, you won’t have much time to read while you’re undergoing your adventuring career; best to absorb all the information you can beforehand!

Book It: Reading is fundamental.

…and that’s it! How did you do? If you managed to check everything off the list, congratulations: you’re Poptropica’s newest adventurer! If not, I’m sure there’s something else out there for you. I personally had trouble getting my hands on that never-ending bag. 😜

Anyways! That’s all for today, and I’ll see you next time.

~💜