2012 Rewind: You’ve Got a Friend in Me

This post is part of our Poptropica Yearbook series. If you missed the intro, check it out on the 2007 Rewind and browse the collection here.

Let’s delve into 2012! Bring a friend, or make some new ones, and we’ll enjoy these memories together.

One of the most exciting and long-awaited features came to Poptropica in April of 2012: Friends! Finally, the top-right icon with two faces side-by-side that had been sitting uselessly on every Poptropican’s screen now had a purpose: discovering more about our Poptropican friends and showing off our own island medallion stats and personalities! We enjoyed these profiles for seven good long years before Poptropica redid them in 2019.

Tribes were one of the personality features we could display on our profiles, which came with tribe common rooms and teams to root for on Poptropolis Games Island, which had just surfaced from the sea.

Tons of islands were released in 2012. In addition to Poptropolis Games, there came S.O.S., Vampire’s Curse, Twisted Thicket, Wimpy Boardwalk, Lunar Colony, Super Villain (the 30th island!), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Zomberrynine new islands total, perhaps the peak of Pop’s production.

It was also the end of the previous year’s era of prequel mini-games, but the beginning of a new island tradition: members-only bonus quests at the end.

Plus, Poptropica expanded their book line, releasing two novels based on the plots of popular islands, a coloring book, and a Mad Libs! And that wasn’t all: they also released a Nintendo DS game called Poptropica Adventures.

Over on the PHB, we changed our site theme again, sticking with blue for Poptropica. We also had a banger of a party celebrating the blog’s 4th birthday and a rare account giveaway to commemorate reaching 7 million hits!

Toward the end of the year, Poptropica reported an earthquake affecting Poptropolis Games Island. For a while there, we weren’t sure of its fate…


You’ve reached the end of the 2012 page of the Poptropica Yearbook! Stay tuned for the next chapter, and to view the entire collection, check out the Poptropica Yearbook in our Pop Plus collection.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏️

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2011 Rewind: Toys & Prizes? We’re Game

This post is part of our Poptropica Yearbook series. If you missed the intro, check it out on the 2007 Rewind and browse the collection here.

2011 was like Poptropica heaven. This was a time of peak popularity for the fandom, and plenty was popping!

Poptropicans had some fun times hanging out on our Poptropica Help Chat (PHC) server, particularly during the PHB Author Night sessions we introduced. Plus, we had plenty of reasons to party, what with events like the PHB celebrating 5 million views in May, the countdown to Shrink Ray Island’s release in June, and the PHB’s third birthday in July!

Three Spree!

A big new thing was pre-island mini-quests, which were created to promote an island before its release. Back in January, Wild West Island was the first to get one: a little horse-lassoing game called Round’Em Up! Every day, you could play for a new prize, like the color-changing Wunder Tonic.

In March, Wimpy Wonderland Island debuted on Poptropica, which was pretty significant since Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is the founder of Poptropica! (Another fun fact: Before the first Wimpy Kid book was even in print, it could be read online on Funbrain, a website that also promoted Poptropica from its beginning.)

Each island came with its own map, where you could hover over an area to see its name. The PHB would put together fully labeled versions like this.

Other games and islands released this year were: Prepare for Impact! for Red Dragon Island, DC Diner for Mystery Train Island, Money Ladder for Game Show Island, and Spook Central for Ghost Story Island.

Money Ladder, the preview game for Game Show Island

But the general consensus as to the most exciting mini-quest was not a pre-island game. Instead, it was an out-of-this-world (literally, you leave Poptropica for a distant planet) experience filled with mysterious robots and sword fights: Legendary Swords, released on the momentous date of 11/11/11 (November 11, 2011).

A small but helpful feature was also introduced: the pause button. This allowed you to freeze time on Poptropica, which was good for lingering on dialogue or scanning the scenery just a little (or a lot) longer.

Poptropica also released a wide selection of toys, each with a special code that would give your in-game character a bonus item! There were three-inch and six-inch figures, plushies, and even a big ol’ inflatable blimp.

And that’s not all the Poptropica merch. The first ever Poptropica book, The Poptropica Guide, made its debut in October 2011. Poptropica even had a few scavenger hunts from the book to unlock prizes in-game — but of course, the book’s got nothing on the PHB, where we have guides for all the islands that have been released since then… and plenty more. 😉

To round off the year, Ghost Story Island came and gave us a spooky yet sentimental story, making it the 23rd island. Poptropica had released an impressive 7 islands in 2011 — their most yet, and that’s not even counting all the mini-games! Poptropica was really on a roll with this year!


You’ve reached the end of the 2011 page of the Poptropica Yearbook! Stay tuned for the next chapter, and to view the entire collection, check out the Poptropica Yearbook in our Pop Plus collection.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏

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2010 Rewind: Crazy for Crawfish

This post is part of our Poptropica Yearbook series. If you missed the intro, check it out on the 2007 Rewind and browse the collection here.

Wish you could’ve been in 2010! But we’ve got you covered with a flashback to what Poptropica was like back in those days, which former Creator Mitch Krpata would later call the peak of Poptropica’s popularity.

It might be hard to imagine these days with all these updates that seem to be geared toward the privileged few, but believe it or not, membership didn’t always plague Poptropica. Even when it was first released in January of 2010, membership status offered some nice perks like early island access and free store costumes — but free players had plenty to enjoy, too.

Membership wasn’t the only thing players had been itching to discover. Reality TV Island, two years in the making and much delayed, finally arrived in early access for members in February. (Nearly a decade later, it would appear that a sequel is on its way!)

There’s our beloved Hippie Harry!

Over on the Creators’ Blog, we started hearing more from Captain Crawfish, whereas before there were several Creator aliases taking turns on the blog. (We had plenty of fun trying to guess and track down who was who, too. Dr. Hare, aka Jordan Leary, may have called us “12-year-old stalkers”…)

Anyway, with that came a new PHB inside joke in which we’d write about nomming the Captain in our update posts, and he even seemed to catch on!

We continued enjoying tons of sneak peeks from the Creators — here’s a sketch of what later became Apollo’s temple on Mythology Island. It was released in April and players consider it to be one of the best islands!

The PHB community was growing, too, and we thought it was time for a couple of upgrades. We got our own custom web domain, poptropicahelp.net, to reflect our Poptropica Help network that encompassed the blog, chat, and forum. And we also changed our site theme to something more blue — more Poptropica.

Even back then, collecting advertisement items was a popular pastime on Poptropica. Here’s a peek at a cool and colorful Magic Paintbrush special ability item from a Ramona and Beezus ad!

The Creators were also busy adding tons of fun new items to the store, like fireworks, robot suits, and various flavors of good old PopGum.

Poptropica Creators popping gum.

In November, the Creators launched a big feature that got players hopping on Poptropica daily. The Daily Pop featured comics, games, creator clips (stories from Creators), and best of all: a new sneak peek every weekday. In fact, we’ve got a whole Daily Pop Sneak Peek Archive here on the blog.

Here’s what the menu looked like once the Daily Pop was added:

Also, in addition to RTV and Mythology, 2010 saw several more islands added to the map: Skullduggery (known in its early stages as Pirate Trade Island), Steamworks, Great Pumpkin, and for members, Cryptids closed out the year, bringing Poptropica’s total to 16 islands — 6 from 2010 alone!

A succession of sneak peeks of the Hub on Steamworks Island.


That concludes the 2010 page of the Poptropica Yearbook. We hope it brought a nostalgic look to a booming time! Browse the rest of the collection over at the Poptropica Yearbook, accessible from our Pop Plus tab.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏️

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2009 Rewind: Pop-ular Places

This post is part of our Poptropica Yearbook series. If you missed the intro, check it out on the 2007 Rewind and view the follow-up 2008 Rewind.

It’s a fine time to check out 2009! With both the Poptropica Creators’ Blog and Poptropica Help Blog in full swing, the online Poptropica community was growing exponentially, even inspiring new fan sites.

The year kicked off with Big Nate Island in February, after months of Big Nate comics shared on the Creators’ Blog.

While sneak peeks for upcoming islands from the Creators were wildly popular, the PHB took a step further and started a series known as PHB Sneak Peeks. These were glances at things even the Creators hadn’t revealed:

Over on the PHB, we were up to lots of shenanigans as well. In April, for example, we had great success with our “Club Penguin Help Blog” prank that fooled even the Poptropica Creators — if only for a little while.

Before our blog was even a year old, we reached one million site views, so we celebrated by giving away some of those rare and coveted “Monster Carnival leaks.” These were the early days of Poptropica glitching and trading!

That summer, the Poptropica community grew to include a Poptropica Help Forum (the PHF was created by Coderkid, who later became PHB staff) and Poptropica Help Chat (PHC) (which was hosted on Xat). Both brought good times, but only the PHC remains to this day, and we’re on Discord now.

We also began a monthly Poptropica magazine, and PHB readers voted on the name The Poptropican’s 911, for all your Poptropica emergencies. The first issue was published in June, and the series ran for a year. Also in June, the long-awaited Astro-Knights Island was released!

Comic by Green Seal, who later became a PHB staff blogger.

Another big thing that happened in Poptropica in 2009 was the launch of the store. (Can you even imagine a Poptropica without the store??) A hundred credits were given for each island completed, and players happily bought cool new items like the Colorizer, Electrify, and more. Credits could also be bought with real money. The store looked a little different back then, too.

On July 26, the PHB celebrated its first birthday – and by then had reached 1.5 million site views. A few days later, the Multiverse feature was released, and that became the staple way of partying it up on Poptropica. (Too bad it’s no longer around… but we do still have common rooms and clubhouses.)

To wrap up the year, Counterfeit Island finally came out (in its early access period, and after half a year of waiting!) in late December, bringing the map total up to ten islands. (Counterfeit and Astro-Knights were the only islands with early access tickets.)

Before membership, players could buy an early access ticket to a new island for 500 credits in the store.

That concludes the 2009 page of the Poptropica Yearbook! Stay tuned for the next pages, and soon you’ll be able to view the complete series on a new page in our Pop Plus collection, titled The Poptropica Yearbook.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏️

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2008 Rewind: Into the Blogosphere

This post is part of our Poptropica Yearbook series. If you missed the intro, check it out on the 2007 Rewind. And now, let’s turn back the clock…

It’s not too late to revisit the year 2008! Though Poptropica had started off just the year before with one island, six more had appeared by the end of the following year: Shark Tooth, Time Tangled (known as Time Twisted before its release), 24 Carrot, Super Power, and Spy. They all fit on one map page!

It was right in the midst of the launch of Super Power Island that two big hotspots in the Poptropica universe made their debut. First, on July 17, 2008, the Poptropica Creators’ Blog was born.

The OG Poptropica Creators’ Blog in 2008. This is their first post.

Just nine days later, on July 26, this very blog — the Poptropica Help Blog, then known as Scary Tomato’s Weblog — was created! As the only active Poptropica fan site around, it soon gained lots of interest, garnering over 100K site views by November. In addition to island guides, sneak peeks of upcoming islands from the Creators also generated tons of buzz.

The first staff members were recruited to join 11-year-old Slanted Fish (then known as Scary Tomato): Smockers, an 11-year-old blogger; and Codien, a 16-year-old graphic designer who gave the PHB its name, first logo, and redesigned headers (this one was for Halloween!):

But back to Poptropica. It was a much simpler time back then, and believe it or not, even the Costumizer tool was new, released in early 2008. To make things interesting, the Creators would occasionally release bonus customizables to be found. Rather than being items, they’d simply be put on your character.

But the most exciting customization came when some strange new parts leaked, not intentionally placed by the Pop Creators. They were known as “Monster Carnival” leaks, named after a then-fabled island that would be enshrouded in mystery for many years to come.

Monster Carnival leak

Pretty cool, right? And the fun was just getting started…

You’ve reached the end of the 2008 page of the Poptropica Yearbook! Stay tuned for the next chapter, and to view the entire collection, check out the Poptropica Yearbook in our Pop Plus collection.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏️

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2007 Rewind: Early Poptropica Beta

Hey Poptropicans! Have you ever wondered what Poptropica was like in its earliest stages? You’re about to find out.

Over the next few weeks, here on the Poptropica Help Blog, we’ll be bringing you our Rewind series for years past, culminating into a full Poptropica Yearbook. We thought it would be fun to take a nostalgic look at where we’ve come from, and where Poptropica has taken us, so get ready for a blast into the past! Our first stop: the year 2007.

Poptropica was officially launched to the public in September 2007, although the exact date has been forgotten in the sands of time. From what we’ve heard, even the yellow blimp hadn’t arrived yet — with Early Poptropica being the only island around, you simply fell into a hole to begin your adventures.

While no Poptropica blogs had yet sprung up to document these beginnings, an old YouTube video uploaded by Codien, an old friend/former staffer on the PHB, gives us a glimpse into what Poptropica was like back in the day.

Notice the ‘BETA’ beside the Poptropica logo at the top (and ignore the recording software watermark). Apparently, the game was still considered to be in a beta testing stage back then — look at those primitive icons for the Items and Map!

Here’s some more fun stuff. The Poptropica Creators shared these images of some prototype designs of what Poptropican characters might’ve looked like, as well as concepts for how Poptropica gameplay might’ve turned out.

And one final tidbit: did you know that Poptropica was almost named Poptropolis? In that same post about concepts, the Creators shared, “If a competitor didn’t come up with a similar-sounding name, we never would’ve had the islands of Poptropica.”

That competitor, by the way, was Nicktropolis, a virtual world by Nickelodeon that, unlike Pop, didn’t last. As former Creator Mitch Krpata confirms in an interview years later, it’s because of the “tropic” part of the name that they came up with the idea of separate island adventures.

Anyway, that concludes the 2007 page of the Poptropica Yearbook! Stay tuned for the next pages… we’ll be traveling from 2008 to 2013. (From 2014 onwards, we started our end-of-year Rewind series, which pretty much covers the same thing!) In fact, you’ll be able to view the complete series on a new page in our Pop Plus collection, titled The Poptropica Yearbook.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏️

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2018 Rewind: a Poptropica Screen Odyssey

2018 rewind

What’s up, Poptropicans? The year is wrapping up, and that could only mean one thing—it’s time for our 2018 rewind!

Every year, we reflect back on the events regarding Poptropica and the community surrounding it. So, what happened this year?


Part 1: Poptropica (Worlds & Original)

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2018 started out with what would probably be the biggest event of the year—the member release of Poptropica Worlds’ third full island quest, Greek Sea Odyssey, in February. (It released to all in mid-March.) Check out our Island Review!

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Things unfortunately took a turn for the worse as the end of the month approached… Several employees (all with senior positions) were sadly laid off. Because of this, we made some speculations regarding Poptropica’s financial status.

In March, the misfortune continued when @Poptropica unexpectedly unfollowed hundreds of accounts (including me… not salty at all, ahem) on Twitter, with no follow-up explanation. (Though the PHB’s official Twitter, @Poptropica_Help, is one of a few still followed by Poptropica.) It caught many people off guard, to say the least. Even former Poptropica social media manager Skinny Moon had something to say about it.

On the flip side, March Prizes went on throughout the month, where special items were hidden on a different island each week. If you found it, you got to keep it!

April brought us a few new series on the Poptropica Creators’ Blog which included Outfits of the Week, Island Highlight, and Guess the Island—all of which have since discontinued. The writing wasn’t exactly high caliber, either.

Also in April, the Creators began rotating items in and out of the shop on a monthly basis, resulting in fewer items available at any given time but also the return of some rare, limited edition items. This still continues today!

In May, a Zombie Photo Machine appeared on the Poptropica Worlds app. Spooky…?

June brought the start of Member Gifts, where every month members get exclusive items as a bonus. Also, Poptropica was trending on the Apple App Store!

In July, Poptropica released their Poptropica Stickers app for iMessage on iOS devices. Soon after, they held a Poptropica Sticker Design Contest, with the winning designs debuting on the app in early October.

Poptropica Digital Stickers

Not much happened in August, but September was a great month for Poptropica. First and foremost, Poptropica celebrated their 11th birthday by releasing a funny-looking Birthday Candle costume—free for everyone!

Also, the long-awaited return of Realms finally became a reality, and Poptropica announced their Halloween costume contest (where the winning design would be added to the store). Finally, the “Dr. Hare’s Secret Lab” mini-quest returned for a limited time with a recolored rabbot costume as the prize.

In October, Poptropica released a brand new login screen, complete with new customization options for appearance and names. Fancy!

Poptropica also held a small-scale #SpookyPop Photo Booth contest, featuring just a couple pics on their Instagram. In larger news was the Home Island overhaul, which brought unopened buildings like the Blast-Off Arcade, Pet Barn, and more.

November saw the release of LEGO Island, which was not so much an island with a quest as it was just a space for LEGO ad games. The Blast-Off Arcade also opened, and the retired mini-quest D.C. Diner returned for a limited time.

December started out with the 12 Days of Member Gifts, an extension of the monthly Member Gifts benefit with, for the first time since it began, new original items. Snow arrived on Home Island, text chat arrived at the Blast-Off Arcade, and towards the very end came the biggest feature of all: clubhouses!

In the new year, we can look forward to a redesigned friends profile and more coming to Poptropica…


Part 2: PHB & Community

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art: “Alice and Fierce Fox” by POP-whitewolf, 2018 Poppies winner of “Best Fan Art”

The PHB posted three times as much as the Poptropica Creators’ Blog this year—about 180 posts to their almost 60.

In fact, at 59 posts in 2018, it’s the Creators’ Blog’s lowest yearly post count yet—even lower than the 64 from when the blog began in mid-2008. While they did maintain a social media presence, the lack of a personable social media manager left a disconnect between players and Creators worsened by infrequent updates.

To make up for the missing communications on the part of the Pop Creators, we at the PHB have been hard at work bringing you the latest and greatest in all things Poptropica. Here’s what we’ve been up to this year as a community:

In January, we welcomed Fierce Flyer to the PHB team, and invited everyone to share their ideas in a discussion post asking, “What Islands do you want to explore in Poptropica?” which garnered 100 comments.

During the month of February, we featured an extensive guest post titled “Dear Jeff Kinney: Poptropica is wimpier without you,” calling on Poptropica’s original creator, Jeff Kinney, to pay more attention to the current state of Poptropica. We also brought back Pop the Difference, a PHB special game, and hosted our annual Readers’ Survey.

The Readers’ Survey results came in March, which showed, among other things, that the older populations of PHB readers (ages 15+) has increased. We looked at the question of “What’s going to happen to Poptropica Original?”, as well as featured another detailed guest post, this one making a case for a Poptropica movie. Meanwhile, the Creators finally put up a couple of posts on their blog.

Inspired by the Creators’ rehashed blogging and frivolous tweeting, we kicked off April with a prank that brought just that to the PHB. That month, we also debuted a new series: Pop Fan Artist Spotlights!

May wasn’t so eventful, but June came with another new PHB series: Pop Places IRL. Then in July, Sporty Boa joined our staff, and the PHB started an Instagram @PoptropicaHare (follow us!). We also hosted our fourth annual Poppies awards, celebrating 10 years of the Poptropica Help Blog in the occasion. What a milestone!

In August, we held our first ever PHB Header Contest, and the winning design (by Gentle Dolphin) was displayed as our blog banner for the month of September!

gentle dolphin

October was the time for our yearly costume competition—this time, our 10th one, and with two themes: casual and creepy. Also, Gentle Dolphin joined our staff, and to round off the spooky season, we released a “Guess the Horror Scene” special.

November and December were quieter months here on the PHB, but they were surprisingly active ones for Poptropica (see above). To conclude 2018…


Tributes

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There is one final section to go in this Rewind post, and that’s the tributes for the 4 PHB staff authors who left this year. (Poptropica isn’t the only place with departures, but at least these were willingly so.) Thank you, again, to these delightful Poptropicans:

Happy Lobster (2016–2018) 🦀

Napstachill - Happy Lobster, Happy Cuddles

Before joining the PHB team, Happy Lobster blogged on several Poptropica fan sites, including his own, the now-defunct A Quota of Poptropica. Having worked with the PHB for about a year and a half, HL has contributed some fun posts including a Pop-over of Inside Out characters, a Pop 5 for beautiful scenes, and more. Wherever he goes, we hope he stays happy!

Purple Claw (2017–2018) 🐾

boy_and_cat_by_slantedfish-dc3ms3e

Purple Claw brought with him a critical eye and a penchant for joy. Prior (as well as during) his time with the PHB, PC ran a Poptropica fan site called Clawtropica and the Poptropica Bloggers Network, a directory of small Pop fan sites. Among his PHB posts are a review of the New New 24 Carrot Island, a Pop 5 of the most detestable updates, and an educational perspective on Pop. Peace, Pea Sea!

Silver Wolf (2017–2018) 🐺

sw drawing

Long before blogging with the PHB, Silver Wolf was running her own Pop fan site, Poptropica Tips for Poptropicans (PTFP). Since joining the team, Wolfy has written on topics like a Pop 5 for immersive islands, YouTubers playing Pop, and mysteries like closed doors in player homes. She’s a talented writer and animal lover, and we wish her all the best!

Brave Tomato (2012–2018) 🍅

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Ah, Brave Tomato, a PHB legend. The longest-staying PHB staffer thus far (other than Slanted Fish, the creator of the PHB, who’s still around), BT has been with the blog since 2012. In her six years here, and more within the greater Poptropica community, BT has done a lot: she’s revisited most of the islands on her YouTube channel, created tons of Poptropica fan art and fan fiction, and more. Named the 2018 recipient of “Best PHB Author” at the Poppies, BT is known for her love of mythology, accuracy in Pop theories, and hunger for lore, among many other great qualities. We give her 10/10 fresh, brave tomatoes.


That’s 2018! We the Poptropica Help Blog have been around for 10+ years now, and we look forward to even more poppin’ times with all of you. Thanks for being a part of our journey, and we’ll see you in the new year. Keep on popping, Poptropicans!

2018

thank u, next

✨🎆 Happy new year! 🎇✨