Explore, Collect, Compete for Front Row Seats! The Case for a Poptropica Movie

Hey Poptropicans—this is a guest post by Tyler Naimoli, an aspiring children’s book author and current illustration/journalism and design college student. The original version of this post can be found on his blog. Minor changes were made for the version below. Enjoy!


Tyler begins his post by giving a few reasons why a Poptropica movie doesn’t seem feasible right now, such as the recent layoffs of several respectable Creators, for whom he is now writing a Poptropica movie script, and the lack of attention Jeff Kinney has given Pop in favor of Wimpy Kid. Despite this, he hopes to see a film happen and has plenty of ideas to share…


No Jorge, I said we’ve had it with Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies!

Poptropica, one of many virtual worlds


While thinking about this whole thing, it occurred to me that virtual worlds in general are a largely untapped medium in film and even television. This is all the more interesting in an age that seems to be adapting just about anything that it can for these mediums, and the closest such media right now to virtual worlds are video games (even if nearly all adaptations are sadly lacking), apps (say what you will about their reasonability, though The Angry Birds Movie mostly worked) and perhaps even toys such as the Lego Movie franchise (Oh, the emojis? Um…don’t know what you’re talking about).

Aside from Poptropicathere are so many other virtual worlds that, while I can’t speak for all of them, contain varying degrees of potential to be adapted into film and television. Especially in today’s movie climate, people are interested in new things instead of sequels and reboots, and this interest in adapting as much media as possible is partly to blame.

For this alone, a Poptropica film or TV show or just any kind of major virtual world adaptation makes sense. It would not only be an original idea that would immediately interest audiences, but the goldmines of potential that virtual worlds possess means that if done right, such adaptations can be something that audiences can truly enjoy and appreciate. So why shouldn’t Poptropica lead this charge, before another virtual world potentially beats them to it?

The craziest part about this is that Jeff Kinney is aware of this. When Sandbox Networks acquired StoryArc Media in June 2015 (then called the Family Education Network), Kinney actually brought up the first official statement regarding the idea of a Poptropica film adaptation:

It’s a big day for Family Education Network and I’m proud to be part of this next chapter. The Sandbox team truly understands the informal learning space, what kids want, and how important it is to reach out to parents and teachers at the same time. They will support us with establishing Poptropica as a consumer storytelling brand for all media, languages, territories, and delivery devices, for generations to come, and I’m delighted that in time we’ll be seeing the stories and characters from FEN brought to life on the big screen.


And what’s the lore of Poptropica in particular?

Ignore the latest developments of the franchise for a minute. Ignore the popularity that leaves much to be desired for a minute. Let’s just embrace the universe as a whole, and everything that all the media has provided and established up to this point in order to understand why a film or television adaptation of Poptropica is so reasonable.

So, what is Poptropica, anyway? Is it a virtual world? An alternate universe? It just might be both. Poptropica’s past remained a mystery for years, until Poptropica: Forgotten Islands (available on iOS and Nintendo 3DS) revealed quite a bit about its history.


According to the game, Poptropica started out as a single landmass. Then a series of cataclysmic battles between giants and monsters took place in an attempt to rule the great land. However, no clear winner emerged. Instead, the beasts’ great power caused the very land they were fighting for to crumble beneath them, triggering what became known as the Great Flood. It would be this flood that would create the islands of Poptropica as they are known today. The original Poptropicans who inhabited the landmass prior to the flood fled underground to escape the destruction, where they emerged many years later as the Mabaya. Poptropicans from distant lands then landed on their islands, who called themselves the Trinity Syndicate.

The Syndicate attempted to colonize these lands which escalated into a war between the groups, and during this war, monks set out to protect the artifacts that would allow the aforementioned history to be documented. The war ended in a Mabaya victory, enticing the Syndicate to flee back to their lands in an attempt to save their pride. But they were forced to make peace with their enemies and remain inhabitants on the islands when they learned that their own people, wretched with greed, were unwilling to take them back. Later, pirates arrived on these islands who ironically attacked the Syndicate themselves, when they were saved by a young hero.

And that’s just Forgotten Islands.


Other media such as the graphic novels revealed even more about Poptropica, such as its peacekeeping organization, the Protectors, and their purpose of protecting Poptropica’s unique time-based properties as a highway of history. Time periods frequently stop their progression in time to occur on some islands, with such islands often occurring simultaneously. They periodically disappear and reappear, allowing a traveler to essentially travel through time without the use of a time machine. Astro-Knights, Mythology, Skullduggery, Mystery Train, Wild West, Arabian Nights and Greek Sea Odyssey are just a few of such islands.

Even when these time periods slip back into the time stream, one can head to Time Tangled Island and actually use a time machine invented by Poptropica’s preeminent scientist, Professor Peter P. Pendulum, to continue their travels.

The graphic novels also revealed the nature of Poptropica’s connection to our world, in which Poptropica is not just an alternate universe but a collection of such universes. Poptropica specifically uses the many-worlds interpretation variant of multiverse theory, in which even the most minor events cause the creation of new timelines, to the point that every possible event that could’ve happened in our timeline happened in other timelines.

Aside from the islands in which time periods settle, many other islands also disappear and reappear, which originate from and move across these multiple universes through a collection of time crystals at the heart of Poptropica known as the Nexus.


This offers much explanation for Poptropica Worlds, the infinite worlds one can encounter and create in Poptropica Realms, the connection to our real world (which Poptropicans may perceive as just another world), and the children’s book characters and properties that also occur on some islands such as Nabooti, Big Nate, Great Pumpkin, Wimpy Wonderland, Red Dragon, Wimpy Boardwalk, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Galactic Hot Dogs and Timmy Failure. It also explains why Poptropolis Games sinks and rises every 100 years, why the islands in the online games don’t appear in the graphic novels, comic strip and Forgotten Islands, and vice versa.

Travel from Earth to Poptropica and back is generally not controllable. The graphic novels show that one can accidentally end up in Poptropica via strange portal-opening storms. Interestingly, the comic strip shows another means via scientific accidents.


However, one gains much control over this travel via access to time crystals from the Nexus. There is also one island in particular that could hypothetically allow travel back to Earth: Mocktropica Island, which explains how Poptropica is also a virtual world. Admittedly, because it hasn’t been explained too well how Mocktropica Island fits into the Poptropica universe, this next part isn’t terribly rooted in fact and comes more from my movie script.

My own take on the plot of a potential Poptropica movie

From what I get, Mocktropica is the result of Poptropica being discovered by computer programmers, when they caught sight of and entered its portal-opening storms in 2007. Inspired by what they saw, they made a virtual world based on their findings, deciding to not reveal Poptropica’s existence to the world in order to fool the public into thinking it was an original idea.

However, instead of making a game about what they found, they decided to build the game through Poptropica itself. This essentially made the game a window to Poptropica, and with the right technology, a portal to Poptropica through cyberspace. This could explain the comic strip’s technologically-based means of accessing Poptropica, how the player goes so far as to end up in Poptropica’s servers during the Mocktropica Island quest, and how Poptropica’s rival developers at the Mega Fighting Bots website got to Poptropica in the first place. The Protectors allowed them to do this as long as it did not allow a global catastrophic risk to either Poptropica or Earth, which the programmers promised to do, and Spencer Albright watched over the project.

mocktropicaThe programmers began by settling on an uninhabited island which they called Mocktropica Island, then building Poptropica Worldwide Headquarters and the technology that would serve as the bridge between Poptropica and cyberspace, and cyberspace and Earth. From there, they were able to properly travel between Poptropica and Earth this way, allowing them to build the game from not just the outside (telling the public that this was the only way they built it), but from the inside as well (telling the public that Mocktropica Island was just a metafictional idea).

earlyThe game would prove to have a powerful influence on Poptropica, as expanding the window would require technological interference to the islands that would be featured in the game. Although most of it is harmless, when the programmers started out on Early Poptropica Island, they were still learning. This could explain the 8-bit designs of the pilgrims, in which they were still trying to understand the designs of Poptropicans until they perfected the technology.

But even today, the programmers aren’t perfect. Glitches are accidentally created that occasionally menace Poptropicans, which the programmers usually fix without much difficulty. And events such as the Mocktropica Island quest happen. Even so, none of these events were considered great enough for the Protectors to shut the game down. Whew!

And if this explanation of the Poptropica universe isn’t enough to convince you that the franchise is worthy of a film or television adaptation, consider the stories that can be told of characters such as Ned Noodlehead, Super Power Island’s premier crime fighter who is at odds with the fact that he is the brother to supervillain Betty Jetty. Or C.J., the genius of Shrink Ray Island who designed its namesake device, or the day-to-day activities of the Protectors. Or the story of how the blimp was built on Monkey Wrench Island, or what a typical day on the island is like for Crusoe. Perhaps the most obvious stories to tell, however, are the antics of Oliver Hartman, Jorge Flores and Mya Wong, or maybe even a typical day at work for a Poptropicanized Jeff Kinney (dare we dream).


And that’s not even getting to the rich rouges gallery of villains that have been created over the years to oppose these heroes, as well as some of their interesting and overlooked origin stories that could be touched upon as well. Dr. Hare, Copy Cat, Speedy Spike, Sir Rebral, Ratman, Crusher, Betty Jetty, Director D., Vince Graves, Binary Bard, Black Widow, Zeus, Medusa, Captain Crawfish, Gretchen Grimlock, El Mustachio Grande, Mr. Silva, E. Vile, Ringmaster Raven, Myron Van Buren, Omegon, Princess Scheherazade, Octavian, Red Baroness…the possibilities are endless.

Even Dr. Cumulo Nimbus from the Blimp Adventure DLC quest, Arthur Eraser from the Pencil Warrior coloring book, and perhaps even the infamous Afro Guy glitch present some interesting antagonistic potential. And when you take all these things into consideration, you might get a synopsis like this:

Oliver Hartman may be the coolest kid in school, with his popularity and good looks, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. His genius-hating peers don’t know he’s hiding a machine that could save the world. They make him bully kids such as Jorge Flores. He’s also got something of a distant relationship with his half-sister, Mya Wong, that he can’t quite understand.

When his mother learns of his actions, she takes him to the science fair to inspire his intelligence. A malfunctioning science project thrusts Oliver, Jorge and Mya into Poptropica, an alternate world consisting of an uncharted group of islands whose existence is only known from an online game. As the kids try to find a way back to Earth, little do they know that Octavian, a staff member at the school, was a Poptropican and former member of its peacekeeping organization, the Protectors, who exiled him to Earth for his views on governing time and space and his crimes with the organization’s time crystals.

Now that he’s managed to follow the kids back to Poptropica, he’s redirecting his plans elsewhere to get his revenge—plans that involve where the game was built at Mocktropica Island. Octavian was the only Protector to ever witness the disastrous glitch known as Afro Guy, accidentally created by the developers, before the glitch was successfully contained.

With the game connecting Poptropica and Earth together, Octavian’s plans are going to threaten the existence of both worlds. Get ready for high-octane adventures as Oliver comes to terms with who his true friends are – and just how important his intellect may be. Be ready to explore, collect and compete!

And let’s not forget the soundtrack – I’m thinking an epic remix of Jeff Heim’s music. A remix of the Home Island theme can play at the beginning of the movie, as Spencer Albright explains Poptropica’s history via voice over, accompanied with breathtaking illustrative visuals. 😀

With that being said, a film or television adaptation of Poptropica, or just of virtual worlds in general, just has to happen. It’s not the first thing that can be done to restore Poptropica’s greatness, but it’s the ultimate dream for the fanbase that can be achieved once Jeff Kinney shifts his focus, as I previously explained.

Although I have all the major ideas for the script, I’m still working on the details and putting it all together. This is where the fans could come in, and I’m totally open to adjusting the script accordingly to whatever the fanbase believes is the best route to take with it. So, Poptropica fans: What are some ideas you have for a Poptropica movie? Share them in the comments, and let me know if you’d like to work together!

The game may not be thinking big right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t.

Until then, pop on, folks. 😉

Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Tyler Naimoli! If you did, you may also enjoy his first guest post on the PHB about Jeff Kinney. Be sure to also check out his website, Naimoli Children’s Books Blog, where he discusses children’s media and shares his own work.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. You can find some tips and guidelines on our Write for the PHB page. We also encourage sharing blog posts on the PHC.

If you have an idea for a PHB post, we’d love to hear it!


My Place In Poptropica: Shiny Panda

This is the My Place in Poptropica story of Shiny Panda, who found Poptropica through her friend and continues to come back to the game for nostalgia. See below for details on how to send in your MPIP story to be published here on the PHB!

mpip shinypanda

The great nostalgia

When the My Place In Poptropica series was first introduced around 2015–2016, I decided to play Poptropica a lot more because nostalgia is great. So BAM, here I am, wasting the time of the people who want to read this.

I was around for the release of Escape From Pelican Rock Island, then I sort of quit. I forgot about Poptropica because of school, work, and forums. When I came back, Nabooti Island wasn’t members-only anymore, which was great, but I digress.

Flashing back to a friend

My Poptropica username is AwesomeCY:) which I made when I was about 7 or 8 years old, so don’t judge. I really worked hard on my medallions and some islands take a long time, so I once I got back into the game in late 2017, I didn’t want to make a new account.

I was referred to Poptropica by a friend, whose character is Sleepy Lobster and her username is anna19722006 (super long string of numbers, rip). Sleepy Lobster, or Anna, has been my best friend for what, 11 years now? I’ve known her for almost all of my life. We still go to the same school, surprisingly.

What happened that day was, Anna was at my house and we were getting super bored of whatever game we were playing that day. So Anna, being the good girl that she is, racked her brain and remembered, “Oh hey! Poptropica exists!” I made an account and she told me to add her. We did some other stuff, but my memory is hazy—it was a long time ago.

Early PHB memories

Anna taught me how to do 24 Carrot Island, which was her first island. When I got stuck, I searched up how to complete it, and that’s how I came across the PHB. With the help of the Poptropica Help Blog, I finally finished it.

So I used the site more and more to get island help, and eventually got roped into the community. I think some of you might remember the previous staff, like HPuterpop—I was around then. And so were Brave Tomato and Spotted Dragon! I even got my Poptropica avatar meme-ified by Ultimate iPad Expert. ❤

Another fun fact: I still remember when the help blog’s URL was poptropicahelp.net! poptropi.ca is still new to me.

Ta ta for now! I still love Poptropica, and will always. It’s been a big part of my life, and I’m not about to let that go. 😛 If you wanna contact me, I have a DeviantArt (for close friends only) and a Discord, frayed#5739. So if you have any more questions or anything, just shoot me a friend request. So — maybe I’ll see you guys around?

Hope you enjoyed this “My Place in Poptropica” story!

If you haven’t already, we invite you to send in your own. Please include your username and a minimum of 500 words, typed with good spelling and grammar, and divided into labeled sections. If you send in your story, we will continue to post new community MPIPs!

Interested in writing for the PHB under a different Pop-topic? Take a look at our Write for the PHB page for ideas, guidelines, and more. We always welcome new guest posts!

~the Poptropica Help Blog

My Place in Poptropica: Maroon Panda

This is the My Place in Poptropica story of Maroon Panda, who found Poptropica through competing with her best friend in searching for fun online games. See below for details on how to send in your MPIP story to be published here on the PHB!

mpip maroonpanda

Hi, my name’s Maroon Panda (username: Kit58kh), and here’s My Place In Poptropica!

2014 | Searching for fun online games

Me and my best friend had this thing where we would see who could find a good online game, and we’d spend literally months searching for one that fit all our standards.

One day I was browsing the web when I saw a list of games that included Poptropica (at the time, I thought it was Pop-ter-eca). What a weird name! Intrigued, I clicked on it and was brought to the home screen. I clicked “create a new character,” and my Poptropican was born!

My BFF always won our little contests about finding a good online game since she had an older brother to help her out, so finding Poptropica that day was a good day for me! I played for a couple days, then stopped, then picked it up again, and continued to play on and off for a while.

2015 | Telling my friend

I couldn’t figure out how to save my game, so I had way too many characters. I finally learned how, but then I couldn’t remember what my password or username was, so I made way too many accounts! Eventually, though, I settled on an account.

At this time, my 9-and-a-half birthday was coming up (my family didn’t celebrate my ninth birthday), and we were going to Legoland! That was the day I told my friend about Poptropica, because she said she loved puzzles. But she told me she already tried the game and didn’t like it. That made me sad and I stopped playing it for a while.

2016–present | Hey, remember that game?

Sometime in 2016, I randomly thought to myself, hey, what about Poptropica? I tried to log in, but I couldn’t remember my account. So I made another account and began playing.

I soon got stuck—these islands were a lot harder than I thought they were! In a search for answers, I googled and googled and googled until I found the *drumroll* PHB! As soon as I clicked into this site, I knew I liked it, and in fact it’s helped me finish a lot of islands.

I kept on completing islands until school got harder for me and I had to switch schools. I didn’t play for a while because I was focusing a lot on school. I also struggled with my over-active imagination, which made me think that some of the things I dreamed or thought about actually happened.

Over the summer, my dad said I should start a blog, so I did—it was about games. I thought about the PHB, and got back into playing Poptropica. That’s when I finally made Maroon Panda, my current avatar. I also discovered Thinknoodles and started to watch his videos. And I finally made my little brother the account he had been asking (begging) for. His name is Speedy Panda (weird, right?) and his username is awesomeharms!

Thank you for taking the time to read my Poptropica story! Maroon Panda out!

Hope you enjoyed this “My Place in Poptropica” story!

If you haven’t already, we invite you to send in your own. Please include your username and a minimum of 500 words, typed with good spelling and grammar, and divided into labeled sections. If you send in your story, we will continue to post new community MPIPs!

Interested in writing for the PHB under a different Pop-topic? Take a look at our Write for the PHB page for ideas, guidelines, and more. We always welcome new guest posts!

~the Poptropica Help Blog

Pop 5: Books that would make great Poptropica Islands

Hey Poptropicans—this is a guest post by Striped Cactus, who shares about some books that, in her opinion, would make awesome Poptropica Islands. You, too, can write for the PHB—take a look down below to find out how!

pop5 books as islands

Admit it: we’ve all had a moment when we’ve been watching a movie or reading a book, and then suddenly it hits you that “this would be a great Poptropica Island!” And then you get distracted by thinking about how the storyline would go, the Poptropicans you would meet, the items you would pick up… No? Just me?

Well, here’s a Pop 5 list of literary places I wish were in Poptropica. Keep in mind, since Poptropica is technically a “kids’ game,” I’m keeping my list age-appropriate.

#5: A Wrinkle In Time

red dragon12

Yeah, maybe part of my inspiration for this is the hype for the reboot of the movie coming out soon, but this has always been one of my favorite books, and how awesome would it be to have your Poptropican be a stand-in for Meg, going on adventures with Calvin and Charles-Wallace? I would kill for a Poptropican island for Wrinkle.

I’m thinking a boss battle with IT comparable to the Red Dragon boss battle at the end of that island (Cloud Dragon vs Fire Dragon), or something like the Steamworks boss battle.

#4: The Lightning Thief


This is just too good of an opportunity to pass up. I’ve always dreamed of having a Camp Half-Blood t-shirt for my Poptropican, and I’m talking outside of that one ad they did for the Sea of Monsters ad millennia ago. I’m thinking spacebar activates Riptide, ya know, with some mini battles every time you have to fight a monster… It would be a very unique island to the Poptropica universe, but it would be so awesome.

#3: The Harry Potter Series


Now, if you know me well enough, you’ll know that I’ve always been on the borderline with Harry Potter. It’s never been my favorite book series and I never could quite understand the hype that the fans associated with it, but on all levels, I admit the Harry Potter books would make one heck of a Poptropica island. Think getting to choose your own house, a Quidditch mini game, Voldemort boss battle, a scene in the Hogwarts Express—the opportunities for that are endless.

Related: Check out the PHB’s Harry Pop-ter and the PHB Pop-over post for some Harry Potter costumes on Poptropica!

#2: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles


I know few people have heard of this book, but hear me out. It’s written by Julie Andrews herself (The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins) and it’s a book that changed my life when I was younger, inspiring me to take writing seriously. The plot resembles something I could definitely envision as a Poptropica island.

Three children must learn to submit themselves to their imaginations to travel into something of an alternate dimension where a mystical creature called a Whangdoodle lives, the last of his kind. Guiding them is a man known mostly as “the professor” and he holds the key to cloning a Whangdoodle, in hopes that there would be more in the future. Sort of like if you mixed Twisted Thicket with Mission Atlantis.

#1: A Tale Dark and Grimm


A Tale Dark and Grimm still remains my favorite book of all time. Yeah, some parts of it might be a tad bit gruesome for kids. When the book was written, the imagery was left to the imagination, but if you’re seeing some of the stuff described as an animated video game, those could be frightening images.

I mean, granted… when it comes to the Poptropica Creators, we’re talking about the same creeps (and I say this with love) who made the Jersey Devil that haunted my childhood so, I guess these things are possible. A combination of some of the most classic fairy tales while also providing some valuable and realistic life lessons? Very cool.

I’d love to hear some of your guys’s ideas for books that would make cool Poptropica islands! Be sure to tell me in the comments. 🙂

Stay safe out there, everybody.

—Striped Cactus

Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Striped Cactus! To learn more about the writer, check out Striped Cactus’s My Place in Poptropica story.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. You can find some tips and guidelines on our Write for the PHB page. We also encourage sharing blog posts on the PHC.

If you have an idea for a PHB post, send it in!

My Place in Poptropica: Big Leopard

This is the My Place in Poptropica story of Big Leopard, who discovered Poptropica through her cousins, forgot about it for years, but kept coming back. See below for details on how to send in your MPIP story for publication here on the PHB!

mpip bigleopard

This write-your-MPIP thing seemed like fun, so here we are: now you can waste about 20 minutes of your life reading my Poptropica life story!

The Beginning

I started playing Poptropica at a very, very, VERY young age. I can’t even remember exactly how old, maybe four or five? It’s a little hazy. But, I digress.

Anyway, when I was about four (or five), my dad took me to New Jersey to visit my cousins. There was nothing to do in their apartment, especially since I was the youngest and all of my cousins were in high school or middle school. I was bored out of my mind! I normally spent the time just sitting around and watching them play video games, since, at the time, I was absolutely ENAMORED with them. (I vaguely remember watching a bit of TV with them too, but that doesn’t matter.)

Then, one day, something happened that would change my free time of boredom into fun-filled pointing and clicking. One of my cousins had taken notice of my boredom and told me that they wanted to show me something. I followed them to the only computer in the house, where I sat down beside them. They told me they had found a new online computer game: Poptropica. (I had actually begun playing the year when it first came out. Maybe it was fate!)

I don’t remember much after that, but I do remember playing on my cousin’s account for a while. Being super young and not understanding the concept of the game, I mostly just mindlessly walked and/or jumped around the current island my cousin was on. I didn’t know about making an account, either, so whenever I wanted to play, I had to make a NEW Poptropican each time. Considering I played it so often, I probably have at least a hundred Poptropicans by now. (Poor little duders! I wonder if they’re thriving in the vast world of neglected game player avatars…)

The Girl With Many Names: or multiple accounts, rather

After I returned home with my dad, the first thing I did was rush to his laptop. I was addicted to Poptropica, and I had the urge to just play it whenever I was bored or had free time.

I created another Poptropican, and played with that one for the ENTIRE day. I remember not going to bed until FIVE in the morning the next day! But during the time I was playing, I finally learned how to create an account. I remember being extremely vain, and all of my usernames were just adjectives to describe a woman’s attractiveness: gorgeous, pretty, beautiful, etc.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to log back in to any of these accounts, despite the “Returning Player” button on the home screen. It was like this for a while, until I finally figured it out sometime later.

How to Complete??? Please Help???

After playing for long time, I finally completed my first island: Early Poptropica. When I figured out there was actually a point to the game, I made it my life goal to complete all the islands. But, whoops! Being too stupid to know what to do, I got lost extremely easily and would leave each island to start another one.

When I finally ran out of islands, I knew I had to look up what to do. At the time, I hated reading, but loved YouTube videos. So, when guides for Poptropica popped up on Google, I instantly clicked the first video that popped up. That video was by what I call the Poptropi-God, Thinknoodles. (You can’t call yourself a Poptropica fan if you don’t know who he is, come on.) I remember being so in love with him and his guides that instead of playing the islands as the video went on, I just watched all of his guide videos until there weren’t any left. I still do, and even go back to watch old ones.

Forgetting, then Getting Smacked in the Face with Memory Triggers and Nostalgia

I continued to play Poptropica for a long time, perhaps two years or so. But, after a while, I completely forgot about it. It was strange—how could I forget one of my most beloved online games? I still don’t know to this day. Anyway, for a few years, I involuntarily buried my memories of Poptropica deep within the dark recesses of my mind.

Then, one day, they were dug up and thrown at my face. During sixth grade, I usually stayed in the library around the corner from the school building after school. I stayed there, waiting for my parents to pick me up, and as I waited, I would use the computers and play games or watch videos.

One day, I was watching videos, when I noticed the girl beside me playing the one and only Poptropica. She was struggling to get the peace medal in Da Vinci’s house on Time Tangled Island. I helped her, and somehow, it reinvigorated my love for the game. I immediately began playing with the account I had last made. (I still have it and remember the login info! I also know that my Poptropican was called Busy Peanut. I don’t use this account anymore, even though I have completed most of the islands on it. I will explain why soon.)

Forgetting Again, but it’s Different This Time Because the PHB is Involved

Then, once again, I completely forgot about the game and stopped playing. It was probably because I was distracted with anime and other games and electronics instead.

This brings us to present day. I recently got a new laptop for Christmas, and I mainly use it to make videos. (Check out my channel, by the way!) Anyway, I brought it to school and was bored during a period, so I whipped it out and began using it. Suddenly, a random thought appeared in my head: “Hey, remember that game you loved so much, Poptropica? You should play it again!” So I did.

I decided to make a new account—it’s the one I currently use, Big Leopard, the character featured at the beginning of this MPIP. I would’ve used my old one, but I didn’t for a few reasons:

  1. It was extremely old and outdated. I didn’t want to use a neglected account.
  2. It didn’t matter that much to me. I knew how to complete all of the islands I had completed on the old one, so it wouldn’t be different.
  3. I thought it’d be fun to start anew! It’d be nice to replay some of my favorite islands.

Anyway, I was playing Poptropica a couple of days ago, but I got stuck on Red Dragon Island, an island I have completed before. I couldn’t remember what to do about Basho telling you he was in East Edo, so I decided to just look it up, since I was super lazy. That was how I found the Poptropica Help Blog! The first link on Google was the PHB’s guide for Red Dragon Island, so there I was.

I continued to use the blog’s guides to aid me whenever I got stuck on a certain part, and continued to use it for all of the new islands. Then, I discovered all of the other things on this site, such as MPIP stories, the island trivia, etc. I got extremely hooked and decided, “Hey! I’ll start following this blog!” So I did exactly that, and here we are now.

I am still pretty new to this blog, having discovered it only a few days ago, but I hope to be acquainted with the admins and some of the fellow followers of the blog. Who knows? Maybe I can become an admin too one day. ^-^

And that is my “My Place In Poptropica” story! I hope you didn’t mind reading this autobiography monstrosity. XD If you like, you can add me on Poptropica: thietanavenus is my username.

~from, Thietana Venus, a.k.a. (currently) Big Leopard

Hope you enjoyed this “My Place in Poptropica” story!

If you haven’t already, we invite you to send in your own. Please include your username and a minimum of 500 words, typed with good spelling and grammar, and divided into labeled sections. If you send in your story, we will continue to post new community MPIPs!

Interested in writing for the PHB under a different Pop-topic? Take a look at our Write for the PHB page for ideas, guidelines, and more. We always welcome new guest posts!

~the Poptropica Help Blog

Dear Jeff Kinney: Poptropica is wimpier without you

Hey Poptropicans—this is a guest post by Tyler Naimoli, an aspiring children’s book author and current illustration/journalism and design college student. The post originally appeared on his blog as The Diary of a Wimpy Fall, and How It Can Be Stopped!, and a slightly condensed version focusing more on the Poptropica aspects of his post are shared below. Enjoy!

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In his opinion piece, Tyler begins by sharing about how much he loved Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books as a kid. You can read more in the original, but we’ll pick up from here…

I read the online version of the books on Funbrain.com that predated the original publication, while also clicking on the site’s shortcut to play a fantastic virtual world named Poptropica

Yes, to a lot of you, that’s a thing.

mci login

Heard of it? Brings back memories?

I will never forget the day I learned on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid website that Jeff Kinney also developed Poptropica as well. After several years of playing the game I loved (it even inspired me to make my own virtual world), the discovery of my role model having made it was almost magical to me.

I will never forget the initial announcement of a Diary of a Wimpy Kid film adaptation, and my countdown to the film and its sequels (and the curious decision to title the third film as the fourth book). I will never forget the initial announcement of the Parade balloon, and host Al Roker discussing in awe the achievements of the Boy Who Made Wimps Cool for the first time. I will never forget the day Jeff Kinney came to my local Barnes and Noble for a book singing of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul years later, where I (failingly) suggested to intern for him (which I didn’t really mind).


What, you thought I was kidding?

But then came the (soft) reboot to the films, adapting that very same book Kinney signed for me. Knowing how often Kinney was asked in interviews to continue the films, and the decent quality of the previous films up to that point, I was confident that my role model would do it again—deliver a great film.

And then he didn’t.


At this point, Tyler comments on his disappointment of the later developments of the Wimpy Kid series, citing a critical fanbase, the casting of the new Rodrick, and cheap overuse of bathroom humor in “The Long Haul” (film). Picking up again…

A 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes later, and I found myself trying to answer what I feared would end up becoming one of life’s age-old questions: what the heck happened? I didn’t even end up seeing the movie (which greatly shocked my parents, and I told them everything I’m telling you now). No, I thought to myself that I was actually doing a favor to Kinney in not seeing this film. I couldn’t support this disservice to the original work and what made this franchise so great.

I did read the reviews and the plot, and that’s all I will ever need. Before I continue, I shall quote some insightful words from the Poptropica Help Blog, taken from an interview with Poptropica Creator Mitch Krpata, which I will go back to later:

Mitch contends that there are many challenges to writing children’s media, as well as joys that make it easier. Although he’s writing for a child audience, he doesn’t feel like he’s “writing down” to them, affirming that kids are earnest and open to big ideas.

Based on what I read about the movie, it’s pretty clear Kinney forgot these most important words when it comes to children’s entertainment: that there is more to a story than just the visuals and the humor. There’s the story and the heart, the care that is being put into the product and letting the fans know that this is ultimately what you are doing this for, for them.

To me, nothing scares me more than writing a story that has even the least bit of a questionable plot point, let alone a story that is downright bad, and this is why I now love Krpata (I already quite liked him before). Dare I bring it back up again, but how could you make Susan Heffley such an unlikeable mother? How could you make Rodrick’s lack of intelligence the only aspect of his character? How could you make so many references to YouTube, Snapchat and memes for no other purpose than to appear “relevant” to today’s generation, when children are already aware of all that?

How could you inject the film with more of something as cheap as bathroom humor than anything else (and yes, the books do have this, but nowhere near the level seen in this movie) when Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, a film adaptation of a book series that has done it so much better, was set to come out the next month??? I’ll say it once, I don’t have to say it a million times: unless you’re Dav Pilkey, don’t try bathroom humor. Just… don’t. It’s the single biggest writing “technique” that is made to disservice children’s entertainment.


Everyone loved it, by the way.

Then, Tyler goes on to talk about how Jeff Kinney has remained quiet about the future of Wimpy Kid films, his personal disappointment with the later books, and the lack of acknowledgement for Wimpy Kid’s 10th birthday at the past Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when the Wimpy Kid balloon took off. Picking up again…

Like I said earlier, I found myself trying to answer what I feared would end up becoming one of life’s age-old questions: what’s going on? But after much investigation, I finally have the answer.

So…what is going on?

Too Much Wimp, Too Little Pop.

It’s increasingly looking quite obvious what’s going on here. Now that I’ve discussed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid side of things, it’s time that I talk about the other intellectual property Kinney is famously (or is he?) known for: Poptropica.


It’s no secret that Kinney has devoted more of his time to Diary of a Wimpy Kid than Poptropica for much of the game’s history, though it’s also no secret that he has shown in the past how to balance things out. I remember when I was a kid, Poptropica was practically producing islands every month.

Enter Poptropica Worlds, a successor to the original game in the franchise’s effort to stay afloat with changing times, and you have a completely new story. Despite the game being around for quite some time (two-thirds of a year now), as of this writing the only islands are Crisis Caverns and a remastered 24 Carrot.

Crisis Caverns was the new island, and—what a surprise—fans complained about the lack of a storyline. With Flash, the engine the original game was built on, ending by 2020, it makes all the more sense for this transition to happen, but at the rate things are being produced for Worlds (there are over 50 islands in the original game, take that for what you will), you can see the problem.

Now, imagine three new likely-not-very-good Wimpy Kid books also released by then, and a possible sequel film adaptation of The Getaway book freshly minted on DVD, and the future looks grim for Kinney’s empire.


Yet the solution to stop this “Diary of a Wimpy Fall” is easy, because Mitch Krpata already suggested the answer and possibly didn’t even know it. Quoting from the interview coverage from the Poptropica Help Blog again:

The hosts ask if there are any Star Wars references in the Poptropica books, to which Mitch points to Galactic Hot Dogs, where Max Brallier “tries to write Star Wars for kids.” GHD is also owned by StoryArc Media, whose biggest mistake, he says, is probably letting Jeff Kinney keep the rights to Wimpy Kid, which is worth far more than the entire company now.


In case you don’t know, Poptropica is, as of this writing, owned by a company called StoryArc Media, which itself is affiliated with a company called Sandbox Networks. Sandbox acquired the rights to StoryArc in 2015, which at the time was called the Family Education Network under Pearson PLC. But try to digest this next statement from the PHB:

Jeff retained the rights to Wimpy Kid and became wealthy overnight, but continued his day job on Poptropica, which Mitch says is more than you’d expect for someone who’d built this empire. Poptropica and Wimpy Kid are both very important to him, but at this point, he’s finally much more focused on Wimpy Kid than Poptropica.


And then there’s this:

As far as numbers go, Mitch reports that there are well over 500 million avatars created, and over 100 million players. However, he also says the game is “definitely not as cool now as it was before.” If you go to a school now and ask, “who knows Poptropica?” you might get about a dozen or so hands raised. But at the peak of Poptropica’s popularity, in 2010, every kid would be raising their hand – it was, for that while, the biggest site in the world for kids.

But wait, what about this?

However, he says, kids are fickle, and they will move on to the next thing. There have been so many competing games in the past ten years, so the Poptropica team used to worry about competing with Neopets, then Club Penguin, and now Animal Jam. Still, if you keep giving them something to come back to, they might stick around.

You don’t say.

It’s pretty clear what’s happening: Jeff Kinney is focusing too much on Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and not enough on Poptropica. And in doing so, he is oversaturating the Wimpy Kid brand to the point of exhaustion, and Poptropica isn’t getting enough of his love. Why make something of a reboot to the previous Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies that no one wanted and ultimately failed to deliver, when you could make a Poptropica movie???

Now, I would like to discuss other children’s book authors. Lincoln Peirce, writer of the Big Nate comic strip, was pretty intent on ending the books after the eighth book, even though it was the property’s adaptation into a Poptropica island that got the strip popular enough to become a book series in the first place.

Mitch Krpata himself ended the fantastic Poptropica graphic novels (yes, Kinney didn’t write them, I know) after the fourth. Heck, even Beverly Clearly didn’t want Ramona Quimby to become a teenager, famously stating her fear of the teenage years in a 1995 interview: “I think writers need to know when to retire.” And note how I started seeing the decline in Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s quality at the 11th book, when Kinney started recycling book cover colors.


end of time

Not the end of my tears, though!

I’m not saying that Kinney should quit, though. What I am saying is that Kinney should take a break. I find it intriguing that after all these years, he is still able to put these books out yearly exactly to the first Tuesday of November and keep them exactly at 224 pages, but now I’m questioning exactly how subconscious of a decision this has become on his part. (Editor’s note: The exactness of the pattern is likely planned by the publishers, but he could still have made room for creativity within those pages.) Is this, among other things, the reasons for the sudden lack of a grasp to his storytelling?

But the best part about this whole situation is this: unlike other authors who could end up in this predicament, Kinney doesn’t have to take a break from his career entirely. What makes him notably stand out from other children’s book authors is that he created another piece of intellectual property in the Poptropica franchise, which is literally crying out to him to come back!

While working on Poptropica, Kinney can sort things out with himself on Diary of a Wimpy Kid. While on his break, he can try to figure out what is going on with the decline in quality and try to fix it, so that when he does go back to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he becomes the Jeff Kinney that we all know and love again, and in doing so, both Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Poptropica could become great again.


I already have something of a solution, and I’m not alone on this: an animated Diary of a Wimpy Kid film in the style of The Peanuts Movie and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Both films are not only highly enjoyable, but the differences between the animation style and the illustrations of the source material of both films allowed animations of the original illustrations to be implemented. This would allow this hypothetical Wimpy Kid film to still creatively use Kinney’s illustrations in the same way the live-action films did.

Tyler then talks a little bit about which of the Wimpy Kid books he thinks should be adapted into an animated film, and compares the situation with other children’s writers choosing not to make their works into live-action films. Picking up again…

I don’t say any of this because the sudden decline in the quality of Kinney’s work has suddenly given me an undying urge to hate him; I say this out of my love for him. Jeff Kinney was a major influence on my decision to become a children’s book author, and I only wish the best for him. His relatability to the reality of our lives has impacted so many people, including myself, and I wish to see that continue for many years to come.

And perhaps it’s because I’m dying to see a Poptropica movie (I’m even writing a script, which will be for another post), but Krpata did say this toward the end of that Poptropica Help Blog post:

He’s asked if there is a movie on the way, and replies with, “I hope so! We still have a dream to get an animated series on the way, so we’ll see what happens.”

Get it going, Kinney. 😉

Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Tyler Naimoli! If you did, be sure to check out his website, Naimoli Children’s Books Blog, where he discusses children’s media and shares his own work in that area.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. You can find some tips and guidelines on our Write for the PHB page. We also encourage sharing blog posts on the PHC.

If you have an idea for a PHB post, send it in!

My Place in Poptropica: Strange Hamburger

This is the My Place in Poptropica story of Strange Hamburger, who loves a good Poptropica Island to de-stress from her hectic life. See below for details on how to send in your MPIP story for publication here on the PHB!

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And She Shall Be Called Strange Hamburger

It all started when my computer lab teacher put a list of allowed websites on the whiteboard. At the top of the board was Poptropica. I didn’t know what Poptropica was at the time, but as it seemed, I was destined to find out.  (I know, I know, I’ll cut the cheesy stuff now. Let’s all give a round of applause to Mrs. Hauser, who has started at least 7 years’ worth of students on Poptropica!)

When I looked it up, the game generated the name Strange Hamburger for me. Strange Hamburger?! Really? I just shook my head and kept going. Little did I know, but Strange would become my nickname in just a few years’ time.

The first Island I played was Mythology Island, and I was hooked! The music, the visuals, the gameplay—I loved all of it. And I also totally failed at completing it…


I had been playing Poptropica for about year (and had finally figured out Mythology Island) when I forgot my password. You might be saying, “Strange, how could you let that happen!!” Well, nine-year-old me wondered too. So, anyway, I stopped playing. For several years, my dear Poptropican was left all alone with no companion.

Then one day, I was going through some old files on my computer and found I had written down my Poptropica login information! By that point, I hadn’t thought of Poptropica in over five years!

I started to play and found new islands, better graphics, and that the community had exploded! I really started to engage with the Pop community then, and by the way, y’all are awesome.

Finding My Place

Shortly after, I moved from good ol’ Texas up to Ohio. It was a big change for me, and Poptropica became a place that I could go when I was missing home, or worried about my future. It would take my mind off my hectic life, and I could delve into a world of time travel, superheroes, and monster carnivals. During this time I found the PHB, and began to eagerly await every new post.

I quickly completed all the islands, with the help of Thinknoodles and his walkthroughs. My sister would watch me play for hours on end. She now has her own account and will come to me for help (I love being an older sister!).

Definitively, I can say that Poptropolis Games has the most epic music EVER. Even now I will log on just so I can listen to the music while I study. My favorite islands are Mystery Train and Time Tangled Island (hello history nerd). I unfortunately don’t have a membership due to two pesky things called money and school.

Now that I am settled in Ohio, I keep coming back to Poptropica, especially after school, when I need a good anti-stress session.

And that’s my “My Place In Poptropica.” I hope y’all enjoyed!

—Strange Hamburger

P.S. If you want to friend me, my username is anniev100.

Hope you enjoyed this “My Place in Poptropica” story!

If you haven’t already, we invite you to send in your own. Please include your username and a minimum of 500 words, typed with good spelling and grammar, and divided into labeled sections. If you send in your story, we will continue to post new community MPIPs!

Interested in writing for the PHB under a different Pop-topic? Take a look at our Write for the PHB page for ideas, guidelines, and more. We always welcome new guest posts!

~the Poptropica Help Blog