Creators, PHB Specials

Q&A with Poptropica’s CEO, Abhi Arya 🎤🤴

Hey Poptropicans — you asked, and Poptropica has answered!

A while back, we asked you to bring your questions for Poptropica’s CEO, Abhi Arya. We selected some for him to answer, and he has responded!

We may have tweaked a few of the fan questions for clarity, but Mr. Arya’s words below are verbatim. For a few of the answers, the PHB asked for clarification, and Ms. Natalie Shahmiri, the general manager of Poptropica, stepped in to answer on his behalf, so you’ll see her responses too. Without further ado, let’s pop all of the questions!


Introduction

Emma I: How does it feel to head up such a great game that has made so many childhoods?

Abhi: It feels great. Whenever I am in a room with Poptropica fans, I hear great kudos. Having association with a recognised game that continues to excite the gaming generation is a proud feeling. But I am not alone – I have a great team supporting me in this journey – in fact our game designers, developers and product team are much more passionate about Poptropica and they push me to do better for our players.

Theo (of Dimension Bros): How are Poptropicans so strong?

Abhi: Rumor has it that they descended from dinosaurs. Some people have said birds, which kind of are dinosaurs? Or maybe it’s just sheer willpower and determination. That’s probably it.

Dino DNA: Won’t find any cloning materials here.

The Future of the Game

Magniventris: What does 2021 hold for Poptropica? Will there be brand new islands, or will the focus be entirely on porting old islands to Haxe? If it’s on porting, how many islands do you project will be converted by the end of next year?

Abhi: We’re working on a mix of both, plus some remasters of the old islands. We’re also looking at ways to allow players to access the old islands once Flash isn’t widely supported anymore.

Natalie: Our current audience plays a big part in how we approach converting islands too. For example, the remastered Mythology island is a departure from the island you grew up with. It’s linear and definitely simpler (but still not too easy for a younger kid!). We have a lot to weigh when creating new content, from special events to remastered islands, so we don’t really know yet how many islands will be converted by next year. That’s also why we’re looking at options to ensure our older fans can still play the original Poptropica islands. We know how much the Poptropica you grew up with means to you and want to make sure you can always play that version.

The remastered Mythology Island on Haxe deviates from the original.

Emma I: Will non-members be able to access old islands anytime soon, and when can we expect that to happen?

Abhi: The original islands use some old technologies that make it harder for us to support in a live environment. Limiting it to members-only keeps our systems from being overwhelmed and allows us to focus on the long-term decisions of how to keep them available. We’ll share more by the start of 2021.

Short Glove: Will player names be customizable from a prescripted list in Haxe, like they were in Flash? (Right now, only a handful of names are possible in Haxe based on the default character you first choose when making an account, but many more options were available in Flash.) (Editor’s note: Since this question was asked and answered, the Friends Beta released in Haxe with the option to change one’s name.)

Abhi: It’s something we’ve definitely been considering. We’re working on optimizing a lot of the player features right now, like the ability to add friends by username. We’re also working on some new ideas for player dashboards, which may incorporate customizable names or use usernames instead.

Small Beginnings: This was our very first attempt at designing your friends profile page.

Bee: Will there ever be a multiplayer option for playing through Poptropica islands with friends?

Abhi: Adding multiplayer to the older islands would be a little tricky since they were designed for a single-player experience, but we’re actively testing how to do this in new ways.

Purple Paw: Will the Photo Booth, Costumizer, and old Friends profiles be brought back? Why were these features taken out in the first place?

Abhi: The photo booth and old friends’ profiles weren’t very popular and were pretty dated. That’s the tough thing when you have a popular game for over 10 years, some things just start to feel out of place, especially for a new generation of players. Whenever we make these decisions we look at the data: what are users engaging with? If something no longer resonates with players we look at how we can update it or sometimes make the tough decision to remove it from the game.

Natalie: Engagement with things like the photo booth and old friend profile was less than 10% of the players. They were definitely fun features but as gaming has evolved, we need to evolve with it. We want to reintegrate features like that, but in a way that makes sense for today’s players. 

Invisible Ring: What’s the plan for Poptropica Worlds? Will there be more islands there, or will it eventually fuse with Poptropica Original?

Abhi: We had to pause development on Poptropica Worlds so we could focus on the conversion of Poptropica from Flash to Haxe. We’re still working on a plan for Poptropica Worlds, but for now, our focus is still on Poptropica.

The Pop Creators are focusing on Poptropica Original, not Poptropica Worlds.

Maxx: Will the old islands be adapted for the Poptropica app (iOS and Google Play)? (I really enjoyed playing Cryptids and Big Nate for the nostalgia factor, and would really like to replay them on the iPad.)

Abhi: Some of the older islands won’t be available on mobile in their original form. They were built using a version of ActionScript from prior to mobile games even existing! Since they can’t be converted there aren’t a lot of options outside of working on a way for players to still access and play them after Flash is no longer actively supported.

Mess of a Being: When recreating old Flash islands for Haxe, will you consider making changes to the stories, like with the new-ish 24 Carrot Island on Poptropica Worlds?

Abhi: Yes, this is definitely in the plans. We’re also tweaking some of the islands since we know there are spots that were too hard or confusing for players. Mythology Island that comes out in November will be the first island we’ve converted that will have changes to it.

Editor’s note: The remastered Mythology Island came out on Haxe ahead of schedule last Friday, October 30. Read more about the release and initial community feedback here!

Aphrodite now gives up her precious vanity mirror without a challenge.

Fandom Fun

wow: What do you think about the Poptropica fandom community?

Abhi: We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our fans. We’re actually bringing back our VIP program to help elevate our super fans. Stay tuned to the Poptropica Blog for more details coming out soon.

Theo (of Dimension Bros): Do you keep up with certain Poptropica fans’ postings (blogs, Instagram artists, YouTube channels, etc)? If so, which ones?

Abhi: We definitely do and Dimension Bros is one of them! We see almost everything tagged with Poptropica and regularly share our favorites among the Pop Creators. We’re also working to share them more on our blog and social media.

Incredible Fire: Can we have another Create Your Dream Island contest? This monumental contest that gave us Arabian Nights Island happened 7 years ago, and many fans today would love the chance to participate.

Abhi: Definitely! How about after this interview gets posted we start the contest?

IsaacEntertains (of Dimension Bros): Since a few fans have shared their lists, we’d like to know: who does the Poptropica team declare are the top 10 hottest Poptropica characters?

Abhi: That’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite. 


Creative Process

Emma I: What does the process of making an island look like?

Abhi: We actually just did a blog post about this for the Zomberry Special Event. To start off we talk about different story ideas and iterate on that until we have a story the whole team likes. From there we start storyboards so everyone knows the sequence of events and has an idea of what each scene will look like. The developers use the storyboards to start their initial coding while the artists start to make all the art and animations. There are a lot of meetings during those steps with feedback, changes, more feedback, and even more changes. It takes months for an island to be built because of how many scenes, mini-games, NPCs, and prizes need to be made. There’s also music that needs to be composed and of course, a lot of testing.

Artists use software to create in-game animations for Poptropica.

GEAR: How long does it take to make one character, from their initial design to putting them in the game?

Abhi: Anywhere from 1-2 weeks. Characters with a lot of animations take the longest.

GEAR: Are you hiring? How do people get involved in working with Poptropica, and what kind of skills/talents do you look for?

Abhi: If someone is new to game design and development it’s best if they keep a lookout for when we post internship opportunities. We look for all types of skillsets, from artists to animators to developers. Outside of game development, we have marketing, which includes making videos and social media posts, and analysts who help go through game data to see how things in the game are performing. There are a lot of ways to get involved with Poptropica, it just depends on what part of the game industry you want to get involved with.

The Poptropica team in 2016 celebrating the game’s 9th birthday with cake at the office.

PHB: What does the Poptropica team currently look like now? How many people are on the team and doing what kinds of work?

Abhi: The Poptropica team is made up of team members all around the world. We have artists, game developers, web developers, graphic designers, testers, and more. Maintaining and growing a game like Poptropica requires a lot of people!

PHB: Fans have noticed that Poptropica’s newer (and fewer) islands lack the depth of storytelling found in many of its older islands. Why has Poptropica strayed from this original vision, and will you return to this key element which made the game unique?

Abhi: Storytelling is still core to what Poptropica is and always will be. Creating a full island story and experience can take anywhere from 3-6 months and requires the full team. Since we’re still working on converting the old islands we’ve been creating some smaller and shorter experiences so you have something to do in-between the islands being converted.

The Zomberry Hero special event was a smaller and shorter experience released in October 2020 while island conversion was in progress.

Dangerous Icicle: Why are there so many ads in the Poptropica browser? (The whole screen is littered with ads, even ads for Poptropica, and the new video ads in between scenes were not well received.)

Abhi: We added more ad units to the game browser and in-between scenes due to demand. A lot of the new units, like in-between scenes, are being tested and may not stay permanently.

Natalie: The demand for more ads came from advertisers. COVID-19 has made most businesses change how they approach advertising and that impacted how our partners work with us. While we know players aren’t crazy about the ads, advertising is part of what funds the development of Poptropica. We’re always working to find the right balance.

With the recent inclusion of video ads, it is possible to encounter a full screen of ads while playing Poptropica. Sometimes the ads are for Poptropica itself!

Tyler N: What is Jeff Kinney’s involvement with Poptropica these days?

Abhi: He isn’t actively involved at the current moment since most of our efforts have been focused on converting the game from Flash to Haxe instead of new islands. Plus, he’s pretty busy with his book series!

Tyler N: What, if any, do plans for a Poptropica movie, TV show, or animated series look like right now? (It was hinted at in the Q&A with the previous Poptropica CEO.)

Abhi: This is something that we’re always considering. It takes time to make partnerships like this happen and isn’t something we’ve ruled out.

MaryannTheConqueror: Are there any plans for more Poptropica merch, and is there a way fans (especially the nostalgic ones) could be involved in creating/suggesting ideas for that? Many have some very cool ideas!

Abhi: We have a new shop launching in November and yes, we definitely want suggestions! We’ll let you all know more on the Poptropica Blog.

Editor’s note: Since answering this Q&A, the Poptropica Creators’ Blog has shared about their plans to sell merch and invited fans to give suggestions!

MaryannTheConqueror: Are the Poptropica Creators OK with small-scale sales of fan-made merch (such as through Etsy or at conventions, or print-on-demand sites like RedBubble)?

Abhi: I love fan art and creations that are inspired by Poptropica. Using our art and logo files for merch isn’t okay though.


The Big Questions

PHB: Will Poptropica consider adapting its content for a progressively older player base? Though many started playing Poptropica as kids, many fans are now teens and young adults. And as Poptropica Creators have shared before, Poptropica stories have the potential to carry more than just a superficial experience.

Abhi: It’s an interesting idea and we often talk about how we can extend the stories outside of the main game. The core of our audience is still on the younger side, similar to when you probably started playing. It’s who the game is made for, so we have to stay true to that as our core focus.

Natalie: The majority of the Poptropica players are still under 13. We have over a million kids playing every month and while the PHB fandom is big, it doesn’t encompass all of our players. Similar to when a lot of you started playing, a lot of our players today are introduced to and play Poptropica in school. They also discover us through advertisements on kid-specific websites.

Oh Baby: Young at heart is usually good enough.

Mess of a Being and Tiny Bean: What do you have to say to criticism about the ending of Monster Carnival Island, which some fans have found problematic? (This fan video highlights the issues, explaining that Ringmaster Raven’s portrayal plays into ugly stereotypes and that he is given disproportionately unfair treatment by the townsfolk.)

Abhi: I totally get it. This is definitely one of those instances where you know the intent doesn’t align with the issue and you have to ask, “How was this affected by implicit bias?” We’re actually auditing all the islands for this reason and have already revised Monster Carnival for its conversion to Haxe. I appreciate that players bring this to our attention. It’s the only way we can all collectively move forward in the right direction.

Ringmaster Raven deserved better.

PHB: What is the current vision of Poptropica in terms of how it hopes to impact the next generation?

Abhi: I want Poptropica to continue to inspire young fans around the world. Gaming has changed a lot since Poptropica was first introduced and I’m proud of the fact that kids still love our characters and stories. Seeing videos of people coming to play Poptropica after 10 years and their enthusiasm for the game is amazing. All of the fan art (and fanfiction) is inspiring and shows that Poptropica holds a place in players’ hearts.

Mess of a Being: Are there characters in Poptropica that the Creators see as LGBT? Who might they be? (For fan discussion on this topic, see Dimension Bros’ video on analyzing queerness in Poptropica.)

Abhi: Poptropica always has been and always will be inclusive. It’s part of why we want players to be able to customize their characters however they want and why we removed the gender selector when setting up an account. I don’t think we have any characters where their gender identity or sexual orientation plays a role in the story, but it’s something I think we should consider for future islands. Representation matters and we’ll always work to create a place where everyone feels like they belong.

And finally…

GEAR: Thoughts on Dr. Beev?

Abhi: Dr. Beev is an enigma. He does periodically show up for parties though.

Nice gnawing you too, Dr. Beev.

You made it to the end! Thanks so much to Abhi and Natalie for joining us on this Q&A and taking the time to address some fan questions and concerns. It’s assuring to hear there are big plans for Poptropica even beyond the end of Flash gaming!

What did you all think of their responses? What further questions do you have for the Poptropica team? Share your thoughts in the comments below and on the PHC Discord!

— the Poptropica Help Blog —

Creators, Haxe Javascript, Membership, Pets, Player Homes, Poptropica Store, Social Media

Colorful and warm assortments hit Poptropica’s stores and social media 🌈

Howdy, Poptropicans! How are ya? It’s Lucky Joker here, and today we’ll be taking a look at this month’s member gifts, the latest updates in all of Poptropica’s stores, some social media shenanigans, and more. It’s a lot to go through, so let’s pop into it!

The three items for the paying members are: a Walkman (which is a modified, black version of the 80s Walkman from American Girl: Courtney’s Island), a slaying Rainbow Furry Jacket, and an adorable Llama Follower.

Considering the creators completely skipped over October and missed the opportunity to give us some cool, spooky-themed goodies (*ahem*), I think these items act as a bit of a payoff because this is a pretty cool bunch in my opinion. 😁

Remember, if you buy a membership at any point within November, you’ll receive these awesome exclusives automatically!


Another month means another rotation of the Poptropica store selection. The current stock is made up of 15 costumes, 7 followers, 5 powers, 5 pranks, and 14 miscellaneous items (for a grand total of 46 items) — 17 of which are exclusive to members. Not bad this time for the non-members! (Items marked with a * are members only; all items listed below.)

  • Costumes: Stylin’ Outfit*, Cool Outfit*, Glam Gamer Girl, Sweater Weather, Comfy Vibes, Warm Vibes, Day of the Dead (girl [designed by yours truly]), Day of the Dead (boy), Lightning Knight, Soccer Player (boy), Soccer Player (girl), Karate Master (girl), Karate Master (boy), Sky Hawk Warrior, and Xenon Trooper
  • Followers: Elephant Follower, Noodle Guy Follower*, Dolphin Follower*, Deer Follower, Charlie the Chocomonkey*, Atlantis Drone, and Mini Dr. Hare*
  • Powers: Binary Rain*, POPGUM (Cinnamon Fire Flavor), Meteor Shower*, Bobblehead*, and Electrify
  • Pranks: Sticky Notes, Sneezing Power, 8-Bit Birthday Pixel Pig Power, Inside-Out Power*, and Love Potion*
  • Miscellaneous: Party Popper* (which was a member gift back in August), Flamingo Floatie*, Watermelon Purse*, Drone Flying Follower*, Popsicles*, Hover Scooter*, Fox Mug, Unicorn Mug, Autumn Scarves, School Backpack, Notebooks, Marshmallow Roaster, Hiking Shoes, and Silly Streams

In addition, some new items (1 face and 4 body) have been dealt in the pet barn shop. They are: Round Glasses, Red Scarf, Magic Cloak, Pearl Necklace*, and Green Cloak. Only 1 (marked with *) of the 5 new items are members only, so that still leaves a good selection of cuteness, once again, to players who don’t have a membership.

Very adorable, am I right? (Of course I am.) My bunny, Clover, will totally be rocking the oversized spectacles and green cloak — and I think my lizard, Ivy, will love those pearls.


If all that wasn’t enough, we’ve also been given a different array of clubhouse décor including an armoire, a funky bookcase, and a diverse variety of appealing wallpapers. Neato!


On the topic of stores, it’s been found that the new release of Mythology Island doesn’t have a Quippy store, making it the only island on the Haxe version of Poptropica to not feature the little common room droid. It may show up later though, like how it did on Time Tangled Island. I guess we’ll wait and see.

(UPDATE: Quippy has made an appearance on Haxe’s Mythology! Stay tuned for a follow-up post soon here on the PHB.)


In other news, the Poptropica Creators featured some more awesome community works of art on their Instagram story yesterday. Check ’em out below!


Also, on the Creators’ Blog, Poptropica has (hopefully) finally satisfied the fandom’s curiosity by addressing some of the questions people had regarding the game’s fate post the shutdown of Flash at the end of this year. Here’s a snippet of what they had to say (Check out their post to see the full responses):

Once Flash is no longer supported, your account will still be accessible. Your existing account will work in the Haxe version of the game too. You’ll keep your stuff and we’ll give you a mega credit bonus so you can get to shopping for anything available that wasn’t in the Flash game. For those of you who started playing Poptropica in March 2020 or later you’re already in the Haxe version!

We’re also working on how to make sure you can play all the classic islands in their original format. We know our long-term fans love the classic Poptropica they grew up with and we want to keep that going forever. 

Poptropica Creators’ Blog, “⚡Oh How Time Flashes By⚡”

Another thing — Short Glove, over on the Poptropica Help Chat (PHC), shared a short video demonstrating how to costumize your character on the Haxe version of Poptropica in case you wanted to know how. I know I’ve been wanting to! It’s kind of ingenious, really.


Whew, that was a lot, wasn’t it? Well that concludes this post. I thank you all for reading and I’ll talk to you in the next one. Pop on!

– Lucky Joker 🍀

(By the way, we’ll be releasing the Q&A we (and you) did with current Poptropica CEO, Abhi Arya, soon, so stay tuned for that! He had a lot of promising responses I think many of you will be pleased to hear. 😉 )

Creators

Bring in your questions for Poptropica’s CEO!

Hey Poptropicans, we’ve got something special lined up for you!

We’ve been in touch with Poptropica’s current CEO, Abhi Arya, who is also the chief of Coolmath Games and Sandbox & Co., Poptropica’s parent company. We asked Mr. Arya if he’d be interested in doing a Q&A with readers of the Poptropica Help Blog, and he said yes!

Do you wonder about what goes on behind the scenes of making Poptropica, what the future holds for the game, and more? Send in your questions in the comments of this post, and we’ll gather some of your questions for the Poptropica CEO and team to answer.

While we wait to hear their insights, you can revisit this 2015 interview we did with the then-CEO of Poptropica, Jess Brallier! Poptropica has changed a lot in the past five years, especially with the external factor of having to adapt to a post-Flash future, and this is a great opportunity for both fans and the Creators to reconnect about what’s been going on.

We’ll be taking questions from now until next Tuesday, October 20, so fire away in the comments! And we’ll keep you posted on their answers here on the PHB, so stay tuned… 😄

— the Poptropica Help Blog —

Blast from the Past, Creators

In Their Words: OG Creators on their vision for Poptropica — #ThanksKinney et. al.

Hey Poptropicans, let’s throw it back a bit…

In honor of Poptropica’s birthday month and the #ThanksKinney campaign going on, we thought we’d take a look back at past posts and interviews with some OG Poptropica Creators sharing about the process behind the making of Poptropica. In some ways, this is a bit of an open letter for Jeff Kinney and the Poptropica Creators past and present.

Turns out the words of some of these original Pop Creators reveal some interesting ideas worth comparing and contrasting with how the game has been going in the past few years. We’re going be taking a look at our beloved Poptropica from the eyes of earlier masterminds Jeff Kinney, Jess Brallier, James Lema, and Mitch Krpata.

Let’s see what they had to say about how they envisioned Poptropica while they were building it in its earlier years…


Jeff Kinney: no player homes; experiencing different things

In 2014, Poptropica founder Jeff Kinney did a 10-minute interview with the media company BellyFeel, where he discusses some of the thought processes behind Poptropica. Check out the interview below, or read the transcript from BellyFeel, and excerpts below the video.

My first idea for Poptropica was that you would be a person who would live in an apartment and that you could collect things and bring them back to your apartment, and we’ve seen that model in lots of games like Animal Crossing and there are many virtual worlds that follow that model but this was right around the time that kids started to carry around iPods and there was that feeling that a kid carries their content with them. So we took that central mechanic of the game, that your character doesn’t actually have a home. Your character travels and brings everything with them.

That’s very liberating because then you don’t have a geographic challenge. If you had to keep going back to your house or apartment, you would be limited in a way as far as how far you could go. The idea now is that the character just island hops

I think that each island has its own, its own set of rules, its own universe and by not being overly thematic or by not creating one set of rules for the universe, I think it gives our kids a chance to experience all sorts of different things and that’s fun and freeing.

Some of the stories we’ve told, I can’t believe we’ve gotten away with, I think the most exotic story or esoteric story we’ve told is we have an island called Mystery Train where you’re travelling in the late 1800’s on a train from Washington DC to the Chicago Worlds Fair and you meet Nikola Tesla and Gustave Eiffel and all these luminaries from that time, and I kind of held my breath, I didn’t think kids would like it. But it’s one of our most popular islands because I think it’s authentic and rich.

Jeff Kinney

Interestingly, Poptropica did end up making player homes a feature, which another Creator we’ll mention later in this post says was the most requested feature for the game. However, with the arrival of Paradise Island, Poptropica has recently been criticized by fans for trying to be too much like Animal Crossing. Can they go back to their roots?


Jess Brallier: staying around like Disney; not just another game

In 2013, the learning company Future Think filmed a video of then-president of Poptropica, Jess Brallier, talking about his vision for the game, which resurfaced in 2019 thanks to idk and Osmium. Check it out:

When we shared the video here on the PHB last year, we highlighted the following quote right from this publisher’s mouth that still resonates today with players hoping for new islands more than anything else:

“We’re not doing a virtual world to create a social networking opportunity, not to house games, not to host a virtual economy, but to tell stories… the point of Poptropica is to tell kids stories in the literacy of their choosing.

Jess Brallier

This sentiment also echoes an interview the PHB hosted in 2015 with Mr. Brallier with questions asked by our readers. Here are a couple highlights about his dreams for Poptropica:

When asked, “Are there certain things that you think that Poptropica should achieve? What are they?” Mr. Brallier talked about expanding the franchise to different media, comparing it to the Disney empire.

Like Disney, we want to stay around for generations. We like to imagine our grandchildren smiling because of something Poptropica. We’d like to have a best-selling book series, a top ten iOS app, a record-breaking film, a wildly popular TV series, and a much-loved YouTube channel… But most of all, we hope that through our storytelling, art, animation, and programming to inspire a next generation of creators.

Jess Brallier

Since then, Poptropica has achieved that best-selling book series with the four graphic novels and briefly made it to #1 on the iOS App Store in August 2020 (while disparaging competitor Animal Jam in a victory post). Maybe more will lie ahead?

To another question, “What kind of skills do you look for when hiring Poptropica Creators?”, Mr. Brallier answered:

A love for storytelling and a desire to do what nobody else is doing. Many can illustrate or program, but do they do what they do because of a love and appreciation for storytelling. And our success is about doing what others don’t do. We’re not a book publisher, we’re not just another game, we’re not just another world with weird penguins or monsters or dolls running around in it. We seek not to copy, but to be the first to show up with something unexpected.

Jess Brallier

That sounds about right. 🙂


James Lema: we are not Facebook for kids

In 2013, Poptropica’s director of product development, James Lema (aka Director D), wrote on the blog of a kids brand agency called Dubit titled “Five things learned from five years of Poptropica,” which the PHB covered soon after. Another 5+ years later, let’s see how it stacks up…

The five points he gives focus on being different in the following ways: 1) focusing on narrative quests; 2) simplifying the start process; 3) using 2D art; 4) pre-scripted chat; and 5) not trying to be “Facebook for kids.” You can read more in the blog post he wrote here.

Here’s a closer look at point #5, last but certainly not least:

Since the magnificent rise of Facebook, there have been numerous companies that have tried to create a social offering for kids that follows the Facebook model. Poptropica actively decided to not go down that path.

As Poptropica grows, we want to engage kids in ways they have never experienced. From that, we created Poptropica Friends – a 100 percent safe, social experience that allows the user to tell the story about themselves.

Everyday, we ask the user a question (ex. What’s your favourite sport? Have you ever tried sushi? Do you like dogs or cats?). The answer is a visual tile that becomes part of their profile. The more questions the user answers, the more visual their personality becomes. It’s a rich tapestry that tells the personality of the user in a way that has never been done.

James Lema

Players certainly appreciate Poptropica’s intentionally different approach to the social experience, with many reports of features to love about the original Friends profiles (the 2019 reboot left some things to be desired). Let’s bring back pop quizzes (the question tiles mentioned earlier), adding friends by username, Multiverse, and more!


Mitch Krpata: world-building; not a superficial experience

Okay, last one! It’s been a long post, but thanks for sticking with it this far. This last one is plentiful, but offers a lot of insight into the inner workings of Poptropica. Here’s Mitch Krpata (aka Captain Crawfish)!

In 2017, this Poptropica senior story developer did two significant interviews about his work: one directly with the PHB about his job and more, and another with a podcast called The Oddball Show. Among the many insights from the latter, here are a few excerpts worth highlighting about the design of the game experience:

Poptropica is quite inspired by Monkey Island, [with Mitch] considering it a children’s version of the older game. He goes on to describe Poptropica as a game with unique stories and puzzles, making up long-form experiences that require time and effort to experience, which players are willing to put in…

Next, the guys compare Poptropica to The Sims games by Electronic Arts, commenting on the world-building aspect of games and how there’s no age limit for wanting some of that. Mitch notes that Poptropica Worlds is a little like that, where you get to build your own house and avatar. For almost ten years, this was the most requested feature for Poptropica: a way to build their own space, which finally came as houses on Worlds. Such a feature, of having a thing that is one’s own, transcends age and gender…

Mitch talks about how his favorite books and movies as a kid all had an edge of darkness in them, recalling the classic storybook Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This feels true of Poptropica as well, he says: it looks cartoonish, but it’s not a superficial experience – there is depth there for the kids who are paying attention to it.

From the PHB’s summary of Mitch Krpata’s appearance on The Oddball Show podcast

You can also hear the podcast interview in the video below, or read our summary in this PHB post. It’s lengthy, but quite insightful!


It’s interesting to see how Poptropica has evolved in some ways from some of these original Creators’ imaginations, yet has stayed the same in other ways. What resonated with you? What features do you think Poptropica should keep, bring back, or do away with? Share your thoughts in the comments and on our PHC Discord server!

And #ThanksKinney for making this strange yet wonderful adventure for us all. Happy 13th birthday, Poptropica! 🎈🎉

~Slanted Fish 🐠

Creators, Social Media, Website Updates

#ThanksKinney, for the Poptropica memories

Hey Poptropicans! The Poptropica Creators have been on a roll lately with their social media, bringing us throwbacks, fun facts, and even a splash of magnanimity! Let’s pop in and take a look.

The Poptropica Creators’ Blog and Instagram spotlighted Jeff Kinney — the man who started Poptropica, yet is better known as the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series — and invited fans to “let Mr. Kinney know how much Poptropica means to everyone” by sharing Poptropica memories that they promise they’ll share on social media and even with Mr. Kinney himself! You can create fan art, write letters, make videos, and more with the hashtag #ThanksKinney so the Creators can see.

On Instagram, the PHB (we’re @poptropicahare) asked if Jeff Kinney still gets involved with Poptropica’s development. The Creators liked the comment, but didn’t answer. Guess we’ll take that as a no…?

Other fans have been wondering about the founder’s silence about the game he created as well. In 2018, the PHB published a guest post that touches on Mr. Kinney’s deep investment into Wimpy Kid at the expense of leaving Poptropica behind. Even if he doesn’t come back to Poptropica, we hope his vision for the game can remain.

Still, #ThanksKinney for starting it all! And if you have Poptropica memories or creations to share, the deadline is September 20 (Sunday).


The Creators have been active on Instagram with two new stories featuring fan posts: one an animation of a dancing Binary Bard from @neon.bug, the other a fun fact about Monster Carnival characters from @happyclonetrooper. By the way, for more Poptropica fun facts, check out the trivia section at the end of all our PHB island guides!


Oh, and there’s more from Instagram: in an unusual act of spontaneous generosity, the Creators also reached out to Dimension Bros, the YouTuber duo behind Poptropica Month, to offer them free memberships! Here’s Theo’s first reaction of experiencing the Poptropica heavens open with access to newly unlocked features, including thousands of bonus credits to spend in the stores:

Theo also shared with the PHB that the gifted membership doesn’t expire until December 31, 2022 according to his account settings—which adds up to about 2 years and 4 months! That’s literally impossible for us regular plebs to attain, not counting auto-renewals, since you can only buy up to a year of membership at once.

The screenshot of the holy grail of Poptropica status.

This also seems to be the first time the Creators have ever given out free memberships outside of people winning their (and occasionally the PHB’s) contests. Pretty cool—hey Creators, want to hook us up too? 😉


In other news, as you may have noticed, the PHB website has a new look! Our previous theme from WordPress (which is the blogging platform we use) has been retired, so to keep things running for future updates, we’ve switched over to a new theme called Dara.

It may take a little getting used to, but we’ve tried to find one with similar elements to the previous. This new theme comes with bigger fonts and easy access to the PHB’s socials via the buttons on top, so we hope you’ll come to love it like we do!


And finally, after 8 days of tasks, achievements, and recycled gameplay, the activities on Paradise Island have come to a stop—at least for now. If you’ve made it past the day with the PoptropiCon “festival,” future days simply consist of logging in for daily credit rewards, which you can use to decorate your island, home, pets, or character.

At last, kick back and enjoy the waterfront… and the calming tropical music.

With Poptropica’s birthday month in full swing, there’s plenty going on in the fandom these days! Join in on creating and/or watching Poptropica Month videos, party with Dr. Beev stans next week, make something mask-related for Community Creations, and of course, give a #ThanksKinney for making this all possible. Pop on, Poptropicans. 🎉

~Slanted Fish 🐠