Advertisements, Contests, Creators' Blog Guest Posts, Tribes

Vivo la tribal, or at least an outline 🐊

Hey Poptropicans! In this post, we’ve got another ad game, another challenge, and another guest post. Poptropica’s certainly been busy!

Let’s start off with the big green tree base on Home Island promoting the upcoming Netflix animated film Vivo. Head inside and you’ll find it’s even prettier within! You can also talk to the animals to start a game.

The goal of the mini-game is to make your way through the Cuban rainforest to reach the Sand Dollars girlband before time runs out. Along the way, you’ll have to dodge flies, crocs, and even a giant snake.

You’ll win two prizes at the end: Gabi’s Stylin’ Outfit (with a drum animation) and a Head Rider of Vivo, a kinkajou (honey bear).

Between Vivo and Kamp Koral Island 2, it’s cool to see Poptropica pulling in their ad dollars in more creative ways again. Let’s hope we’re on our way to getting rid of those pesky sidebar ads—and while we’re wishing, how about the return of bigger game screens?

Vivo releases on Netflix in two weeks on August 6, with songs by the legendary Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame). Stay tuned!

Next up, another official artsy challenge! While the past few weeks and months have seen fan art, fan fic, and costume design contests, the new Coloring Creation Challenge asks Poptropicans to create their own Pop-themed coloring page! The idea is to create an outline drawing (with black or blue marker) on a white page that can be colored in, like so:

To enter the challenge, snap a pic of your design and drop it into Poptropica’s submissions form no later than 8 p.m. PST on Monday, July 26. Doodle on!

Last but not least, there’s a new guest post on the Creators’ Blog by Invisible Ring on the gone-but-not-forgotten Tribes of Poptropica. As she explains, tribes were teams you could join in the Poptropolis Games and rep on your friends page or with custom hats you could make in the Twin Palms Mall of Night Watch Island. Plus, each tribe had their own themed common room!

You can learn more over on the PHB’s Tribes page as well as the individual tribe pages linked there (thanks for the blog shout-out, Ring!).

Here on the PHB, we’ve enjoyed even more tribal fun with our 2016 and 2020 Tribal Tournaments, and we even host a series of epic “Tribal Tailorings” in our ASG collection. Here’s hoping for the return of the eight epic tribes!

That’s a wrap for this post. What did you think of the Vivo ad game, and will you be streaming this release? What ideas are brewing in your head for the Coloring Creations Challenge? And which tribe rules them all? Share with us in the comments, and stay popping!



Déjà vu, it’s Kamp Koral Island 2 🧽

Hey Poptropicans, remember Kamp Koral Island? It’s back!

Poptropica’s third SpongeBob Island comes with three limited time items which you can win from playing the various mini-games.

The first thing you’ll see on Kamp Koral Island 2 is SpongeBob standing by a house marked Obstacle Course and surrounded by balloons. Getting the game to activate was a real obstacle for me, but fortunately, Ammonite provided some pics. At the end of this sea-legged race, you’ll win Plankton’s Helicopter Pack.

The fun continues at the next house over, marked Jellyfish Meadows. This is the exact same game from last time — collect all the jellyfish before time runs out — though the prize is different. You’ll win a Wacky Pool Noodle, which has a thrust action accompanied by SpongeBob’s hilariously creepy laugh!

Nearby, talk to Plankton and he’ll tell you that SpongeBob borrowed his chips. Follow the chip trail up to the lookout at the top and pick up your very own purple Chip Bag! (Tap the space bar to take a bite.)

That’s all for the prizes, but there are a few more activities left on the island! Like the previous SpongeBob Islands, you can play three head-to-head arcade games: High Dive (Sky Dive), Star Link, and Bubble-loons (Balloons), all styled with SpongeBob graphics. Also like last time, you can pull a lever to make jellyfish rain.

While it may be too late for this iteration of Kamp Koral to make it to the 2021 Poppies, there’s still time left to vote for the “Okay-est Ad Island” and other fan awards. Be sure to cast your votes before the poll closes this Thursday, and join us this Saturday for a poppin’ party (that’s got the Creators’ seal of approval) to hear the winners announced live! 🏆🏝


Advertisements, Big Nate Island, Creators

The biggest kids’ site hosts Big Nate and more greats, as told by Jess Brallier

Hey Poptropicans, we’re back with more reflections on what made Poptropica successful from longtime publisher Jess Brallier.

Previously, we shared the former Pop CEO’s insights on “storytelling, games, and Poptropica.” This week he released two more blog posts about the subject: “The Internet’s largest kids site!” and “Big Nate!

So we’re having a blast with Poptropica.  Telling unexpected stories via a gaming literacy, exceeding budget targets, employing good people, having fun. We started our storytelling with Early Poptropica and Shark Tooth Island in 2007.

Jess Brallier

In that first post, Jess recounts how Time magazine listed Poptropica as one of the “50 Websites that Make the Web Great” (this was in 2011).

Jess goes on to share about Poptropica’s carefully planned and well executed business strategy, “conceived to serve both kids and advertisers” before a line of code was ever written for the game.

As I’ve said before—and I’m often the lone voice on this—having the right advertisers fund the delivery of great content to kids is a good thing.  I had zilch interest in a publishing strategy that was purposely confined to kids with parents wealthy enough to afford a subscription.

Jess Brallier

Next, Jess quotes generously from a 2020 article written by Arian Tomar titled “Why Poptropica Mattered,” posted on a site called Voices of Gen-Z. Here’s a snippet from that reflective piece:

Poptropica changed my life. If I’m being honest, I think it influenced many young people more than we acknowledge… To me, Poptropica represents an internet full of stories, exploration, connection, and advertising, a microcosm of the essential parts of the internet.

Arian Tomar

Anyway, on with the main point of Jess’s post: for a time, Poptropica was the largest kids’ site on the internet!

The news was nervously given to him one morning in late 2008 by Poptropica’s marketing director, Kim Regan. They didn’t blast the news right away as they wanted to make sure it was true. But sure enough, Poptropica’s numbers had grown bigger than Disney’s Club Penguin and Nickelodeon’s Nicktropolis, two other hugely popular virtual worlds at the time. (And Poptropica outlived them, too!)

It was all so incredibly satisfying.  This quiet, caring, hard-working, respectful, unknown group of talented and good people went up against Nickelodeon and Disney and kicked their butts. 

And they did it by telling stories—great writing, great art, great design—when all the experts confidently screamed that kids wanted nothing to do with stories on their computer screens.  By 2012, story-based Poptropica had 500+ million registered users from around the world.

A good story, once again, won the day.

Jess Brallier

Now let’s turn to Big Nate, which began as a comic strip and now has a pretty popular narrative-and-art hybrid book series. But before the book series, there was the Poptropica island.

Poptropica’s official tour page for Big Nate Island when it first released in 2009.

Poptropica Creator Jeff Kinney knew Lincoln Peirce, the creator of Big Nate, and figured it would be a good match, as he and Jess were looking for brilliant content outside of Poptropica to add to the game.

One of Jeff’s and my notions was to introduce content on Poptropica that did not first originate on Poptropica.  Why limit all those kids to discovering only what our writers came up with? …Wow, doing that would make Poptropica all the more powerful, inclusive, and all-serving.

Jess Brallier
The first Big Nate comic strip

Jess loved the idea (and the brilliance of comic strip creators), and they met with Lincoln and decided to give it a try.

Two months later, late morning on a Friday, we launched “Big Nate Island.” By midnight, two million different kids had played it.  Seriously!

Jess Brallier

Two million is impressive, but what else stands out is the fact that it took just two months to dream of and create an island! A far cry from the snail’s pace of island releases these days…

Anyway, the success of the island confirms Jess’s hunch that there’s a unique kind of book for all those comics. But that’s another story!


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 related—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


Poptropica Kelp Blog: SpongeBob Island 2: Kamp Koral 🧽⭐️

Are you ready, kids? A new “island” awaits on the Poptropica map: Kamp Koral Island, i.e. another SpongeBob Island! The original one is gone, but this new ad brings similar vibes, games, and prizes.

This interactive ad world promoting “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years,” a new animated series streaming on Paramount+, can also be found through a little hut on Home Island. We’re going camping!

Upon arriving at Kamp Koral, you’ll find SpongeBob by a house marked Jellyfish Meadows. Click to start a mini-game where you have 4 minutes to catch 70 jellyfish. The rewards are a Jellyfish Follower (spacebar to shock) and Jellyfish Catcher handheld (spacebar to make a bubble)!

Head right and you’ll find three head-to-head arcade games you can play with other players. As with the previous SpongeBob Island, the games are High Dive (Sky Dive), Star Link, and Bubble-loons (Balloons), all styled with SpongeBob graphics. Further right, you can pick up a free Canoe Rider to move yourself around in a boat.

Go up a little and you’ll find an unenthusiastic Squidward by a shiny lever. Pull it and you’ll release a horde of jellyfish sprinkling down your screen! Also, if you go further up and to the very left, you can pick up another prize: the Gary Follower (he meows!).

Back on the ground, SpongeBob says that baby Pearl is missing, but you can find her by following the trail of toys. When you reach her, you’ll win a Gary Head Rider (who burps!). Along the way, you can also meet other characters: a younger Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Patrick.

Aw tartar sauce, that’s it for Kamp Koral Island! What do you think of this mini campsite and of SpongeBob and his friends aging backwards in this new series? How does it compare with the other SpongeBob Island, and when are the Creators going to announce the winners of their funny video contest from that ad island? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and keep on popping on, Poptropicans. ✌️