Island Flash-backs

Island Flash-back: Poptropolis Games πŸ…

The COVID-19 pandemic may have cancelled many events, but better late than never on the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics! Its return makes this next Island Flash-back quite appropriate for the sportful season…

Poptropolis Games!!

An official poster made for the island’s re-release

From a fandom standpoint, this island doesn’t seem to be as well-known or well-loved on the surface. There’s little fanart of characters or scenes compared to others such as Counterfeit or Monster Carnival. But look a little deeper and you will see how much this island has incorporated itself into fandom culture and events!

Even after disappearing from the official game, fans continue to identify themselves by the Poptropolis Tribes. A year ago, the PHB hosted the 2020 Tribal Tournament, in which community members could win points for their respective tribes!

Another noteworthy thing is the music: the Poptropolis theme is easily one of my favorites from the game. Hear it below, and more on the PHB’s Behind the Scenes page! (You can also hear it on composer Jeff Heim’s “Poptropica Demo Reel 1” starting at about 43 seconds.)

A bit of trivia for those who were not playing during or before 2012: This island was originally released as a “classic” island with no sound, and came out in June of that year, timed near the London Olympics. To many a player’s surprise, the island “sank” and was removed in early 2013, but eventually was “risen” after an event that encouraged players to help “dig up the games.”

“PHB Poptropolis Games Banner” by Gentle Dolphin on DeviantArt

So let’s dig up the games again! Poptropolis Games and other classic islands were rendered unplayable in the Flash-Haxe transition, but it should not go to waste! Let the Creators know what you appreciate about the island to encourage them to preserve it!

Until September (and Poptropica’s birthday)!

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Island Flash-backs, Uncategorized

Island Flash-back: Counterfeit πŸ–Ό

We are halfway through the year, and this series! I probably should get this post finished ASAP because I finished a workout earlier and will probably be sore in the morning.

One thing that helps many people get through the long, hot summer months is doing art! And it just so happens that there’s a Poptropica Island centered around that–along with a mystery that only you can solve. July’s Island is…

Counterfeit!!!

Counterfeit Island is one that a lot of people from the pre-Haxe days loved and remembered. The story revolved around a museum in an idyllic French city, and the thief who planned to ruin it all. (Plus, check out our Pop Places IRL take on the setting!) Of course, I think we can all agree that the Black Widow is the most remembered aspect of this island, like many other villains. πŸ•·

Sadly, there was little concept art to be found this time. I scoured the Daily Pop archives, but as Counterfeit was released before its creation and they never uploaded past art for it later, I only managed to find this sketch from an old Creators’ Blog post.

Concept art for the design of the secret puzzle to the museum

That doesn’t take away from the impressive design work though! While simplistic, it’s also chic with a lovely bright color palette and great designs of the locations such as the museum and the Black Widow’s lair.

This island should be brought back for those cool spider designs on the bunker walls alone.

Unlike its more fantastical and less educational predecessor Astro-Knights, Counterfeit includes many famous paintings with information on art history, as well as the art forgery that collectors and museums have to deal with.

(Small reminder that using the name “Inspector Veuvre Noire” in a FRENCH TOWN should prove that we would be a lot safer from these villains if only the all the other NPCs didn’t have a single shared brain cell.)

Before I say my closing words, I would also like to showcase this Skullduggery fanart for our previous Island Flash-back made by Dangerous Dragon! Thank you so much for your participation in this, DD! 😁

Now comes your turn, Poptropicans! Let’s remind the Creators why this island became so memorable, and why the efforts that went to create it should not go to waste! Encourage them to preserve their past stories and the potential they held!

Until August! (Hint: Olympics)

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Island Flash-backs

Island Flash-backs: 🌳 Twisted Thicket and Skullduggery πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈ

I ought to explain myself, shouldn’t I?

As some of you have noticed, there was no Island Flash-back in May. Mostly because of IRL things getting in the way and my poor planning. I’m sorry, as I did say this would be a monthly thing, and I’ll try to be more consistent in the future! To make up for this, TWO islands will be announced, one for May and one for June…

Twisted Thicket and Skullduggery!

While not the most popular, both of these islands have their fans! Skullduggery (2010) is known for its iconic villain, Captain Crawfish, as well as its focus on trading and travelling over action and boss fights. On the other hand, Twisted Thicket (2012) is most remembered for its references to Norse mythology and its beautiful scenery and designs!


🌳 Twisted Thicket was very much a story about environmentalism, though the fantasy elements helped the point feel more natural rather than forced (as is common in children’s media with moral messaging).

The island is on a medium difficulty level, balancing the twisted and dangerous forest with fun puzzles and, once again, amazing scenery. The Poptropica Creators have consistently gone above and beyond with their art design, even with such a simple art style!


πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈ Skullduggery revolved heavily around an archipelago map, where you could travel to other mini-islands within the island’s storyline using a boat. (The same feature was later to get around Hemlock Harbor in Ghost Story Island.)

While Skullduggery’s main plot is about the evil pirate Captain Crawfish threatening the peaceful islands, the focus of the gameplay is on trading goods and basic economics of saving for bigger and better ships, until you can finally buy the beautiful Phoenix Warbird. The Creators’ Blog has an interesting series of articles on the design process for this ship! Though some players found the cycle of trading and buying and selling tedious, others found it to be an educational experience, unique from that of previous islands.


To wrap up, I’m going to showcase some awesome past fan art for these two islands that are no longer in the official game. And let’s encourage the Creators to preserve these stories with more!

Until July (hopefully πŸ˜…)!

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Fan Art Features, Social Media, Uncategorized

Illustrative Instagram stories and bizarre bunny memes πŸ‡

Happy beginning of hot blazing horrible weather, everyone! 🌞

Poptropica’s social media activity has been up this week, with tons of new Instagram stories, as well as an odd Twitter post recalling our dear Dr. Hare. First, let’s turn to the ‘gram…

Among the feature are highlights to the latest Poptropica store update and the nearing end to the first of the new Monthly Costume Contests.

There is also a particularly large number of shares for fan art features:

There’s some really cool art in here! Glad to see entries for the Monthly Costume Contest as well. I personally love the sharp design and dramatic color scheme of the Black Widow piece! πŸ•·


Meanwhile on Twitter, the Creators tweeted a “Feel old yet?” joke, featuring Dr. Hare and a Snapchat photo of actor Matthew Gray Gubler in pink bunny ears with the caption “I hate it here.”

Wait, what was that?

While memes can be a fun way to spread hype and provide some comedy to a community, this more obscure and random one is a bit out of character for Poptropica’s usual social media antics. Several people were quick to comment with a mix of amusement and confusion.

What do you Poptropicans think? Are there any particular artists or pieces you like from the gallery, and what do you think of this odd addition to the Twitter timeline?

Until next time (yes I do remember the Island Flash-backs, they will be returning!) stay creative, maybe by making some Poptropica memes and joining our Community Creations this month!

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Advertisements, Contests, Fan Art Features, Social Media

Monthly costume design contests, strange art shares, and… questionable ads?

As we continue to wait on news for the porting of old islands and the imagined futures of Fairytale Island, the Pop Creators made an announcement regarding a new Costume Design Contest.

This event has been held a couple times in the past, but now, a new contest will be held every month! According to the Creators’ Blog, the contest will be open for two weeks each time, so the current one closes June 7 at 8 pm PST.

If this continues, plenty of fans should have the chance to see their designs become a virtual reality! Unlike past versions of this event, no prizes (such as membership) were mentioned, other than having winning costume designs implemented into the game. Good luck to all!


Continuing with the subject of fan art, Poptropica shared six new Instagram stories today. But there’s something a little odd…

Look closely and you’ll find that two of these pieces are not Poptropica relatedβ€”with one being a non-Pop original character, and the other being fan art of a character from the game Resident Evil, which does not exactly share Poptropica’s demographic. They are done by arts.n.darts, the same artist who also recently made fan art of Betty Jetty that the Pop Creators did not recognize.

While it would be admirable if this is simply an effort to show more support towards artists who have previously made Poptropica fan art, the shares are nevertheless uncharacteristic, and also raises the question of whether Poptropica’s social media person (or people?) is once again unaware of Poptropica’s content. Sus?


On a final note, a couple changes appear to have happened to the ads that appear on the website and in-game.

From past observations, most ads on Poptropica are specifically targeted towards its younger audience, similar to how they are sponsored to make in-game advertisements that showcase books, toys, or movies and shows that its general demographic may enjoy.

However, lately the ads appear to be more random and not exactly geared for kids. PHB staffer Gentle Dolphin reported seeing ads for Honey, which is a browser extension for online shopping, as well as for Morgan & Morgan, an injury law firm.

It’s understandable that a game needs to make a profit to survive, but this does raise some suspicion towards Poptropica’s insistence that they are still getting a large amount (“over a million”) of players. Why would they need to accept more advertisements if that was the case? The COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on businesses, but as an online game, has Poptropica been growing or shrinking in attention? The branching out on ads seems to suggest the latter.

As of now, fans have many questions, many of which we may not see answers to soon. Hopefully we can still have fun while we wait with contests, upcoming quests, and the next Dream Island!

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles