Monster Carnival Island, Steam Bundle

Monster Carnival’s Rewritten Ending 🐦🎡

Hey Poptropicans. You know Monster Carnival Island is full of shady shenanigans… but did you know that applies to the story’s end, too?

Beware: Spoilers ahead!

The original resolution from the island’s release in 2014 had Ringmaster Raven, who masterminded a plot to hypnotize the whole town to serve him, end up hypnotized by your character. You go so far as to make him believe that he is a chicken, giving the carnival a brand-new attraction: The Incredible Chicken Man. 🐔 He clucks, too!

However, some fans have since expressed concerns over this character’s treatment going from bullied Bird Boy to shamed Raven, still outcasted by the townsfolk whose welcome he chased unsuccessfully. HfEvra wrote in 2021 that the tragic tale “dehumanizes a man of color who was already treated as a literal monster by the narrative because of an aspect of himself that he had no control over,” elaborating further in a video.

Bird Boy was disliked seemingly because of his freakish features of looking not entirely human (which is why Dr. Dan is so afraid to have his monster identity discovered in the bonus quest), and also had a reputation as a “troublesome carnival freak.” He was blamed for arson at Honest Gabe’s, although we find out from the current business owner that Gabe was actually quite dishonest and even serving jail time for fraud. This calls into question whether Bird Boy really committed the crime or was set up, which is left open to interpretation. Either way, it’s wild that the town threw out an at-risk kid with no one to care for him.

Also, in 2017, @concanelaa tweeted that a line of dialogue from one of the Black townsfolk which originally talked about being nicer to people so they didn’t try to “enslave us” appeared to sound as if Black people were “blaming themselves for being enslaved.” The call-out led to Poptropica modifying that line to say “take revenge” instead.

The various concerns led to the Pop Creators auditing the island and hinting at a twist to come for the island’s re-release on Steam.

Sure enough, in 2022, Steam brought along a new ending to this carnival caper. Instead of brainwashing Ringmaster Raven into acting like a chicken, you force him to be your friend. The next day, you’ll still find Raven caged, but instead of becoming a laughingstock, he’s being shipped off to Super Villain Island, presumably to be jailed there. As the trucks roll out, you’ll be left saying to no one, “But he’s my…”

As for the townsfolk, they’re now more remorseful of the way Bird Boy was driven out of town all those years ago, with new dialogue about how they should have “been better” replacing the lines about being nice just so people won’t “take revenge” (formerly “enslave us”) or “because it’s the right thing to do, I guess.” Subtle yet significant shifts!

But is the story satisfying? Before the Steam ending was released, the PHB reached out to former Pop Creator Mitch Krpata (who worked on the island in 2014, but not the rewrite in 2022) for an interview. Asked “Why such a tragic ending for Raven and the people?” he responded:

Monster Carnival was a hard one to write. There was a lot of pressure to come up with something spectacular, and while there’s a lot about it that I like, I don’t think the script ultimately ended up where I would have wanted it. I will say that the idea behind Ringmaster Raven’s comeuppance was to thwart the expectation of what usually happens in kids’ stories. It always turns out that the villain was just misunderstood, or lonely, and everyone agrees to let bygones be bygones and now they’re all friends. I kind of wanted to turn that on its head and say, no, this guy is actually pure evil and there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

Mitch Krpata in a 2022 interview with the PHB

Fans have had mixed feelings about the Monster Carnival ending, sometimes saying that Ringmaster Raven deserved better, which begs the question: What does “justice” look like for Ringmaster Raven?

Does it mean he never should have been caged at all? Never hypnotized, whether to be your friend or a chicken? Never exiled, blamed for arson, orphaned, or born with a deformity that others were afraid of?

And yet, these are all part of his story. Whether he is truly “pure evil” as Mitch suggested, or his circumstances led him down this path, he did try to hypnotize people into slavery, and two wrongs don’t make a right. Raven’s life was troubled from the start, but there’d be no story without these conflicts, even the injustices he suffered.

Now that you know the tale behind the Monster Carnival rewritten ending, what do you think of the way Ringmaster Raven is treated? 🐦 We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Monster Carnival Island, Steam Bundle

Step right up for a secret twist! 🔮

Just a few more clues to go as we guess the upcoming 13 Steam islands! (Keep up with past hints here: 1, 23456, 7, 8.) 

The ninth hint has descended upon us like night: “Hidden behind the thrilling fun is a fowl affair. Step right up, if you dare.”

If you know your stuff, this one should be straightforward: our bets are on Monster Carnival! The island (which follows the AS3 theory) introduces you to the carnival (“thrilling fun”), with booths including a weight-guesser who implores you to “Step right up.” But as we soon learn, something’s not quite right: “hidden behind” the monstrosities is the bird-like Ringmaster Raven (“fowl affair”). 🎡🐦

But note the caption of the hint post: there’s going to be a “secret twist” with this return! And based on past fandom chatter, we have an inkling of what that could entail.

Ringmaster Raven’s portrayal has been critiqued for playing into ugly stereotypes (including anti-Semitism and slavery), and he is given disproportionately unfair treatment when he is turned into a chicken to be a laughingstock by the townsfolk (who bullied him as a child and never repented). Here’s a fan video that covers the discourse:

Back in 2020, the PHB hosted a Q&A with Poptropica’s CEO Abhi Arya, where we asked how Poptropica might address the Monster Carnival critiques. In response, he shared:

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.

Abhi Arya, Q&A with the Poptropica CEO

It’s been a while since that Q&A and we haven’t seen Monster Carnival return to Haxe, but it looks like we’ll be seeing it soon on Steam. Perhaps this time around, we’ll be getting a new look, character arc, and/or better ending for Raven, and maybe the townsfolk as well. We’ll see! 🤞


Monster Carnival Island, Reviews

Ramble Review: Monster Carnival 🎡

Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by Dangerous DragonEnjoy!

Hello, DD here. Today I am going to review an island which was good and almost perfect. It’s the amazing and sad Monster Carnival! *applause*

First, why do I like this Island? It’s because of the monsters. If you’ve played it then you would know that it’s spooky… horses going backwards?!! Oh no! I also like the twist. You work in the day, and just when night falls and you think you’ve saved the day, you see everyone has disappeared. Now, who did this? (Spoilers ahead.)

Pony Ride: Off into the sunset we go.

By following the trash trail, you find out the carnival people have all turned into monsters. Now comes the monster part and it’s really fun. Then after all this, we get to chase Ringmaster Raven (more on his story in my other post)!

Now this could have been my favourite island instead of Time Tangled, but the reason I say it was “almost perfect” was because of what happened to Ringmaster Raven. (This is getting tense. I can’t forget it! Raven always makes it in all my posts!) Yeah, everyone who’s played it knows what happened to him.

He just meant to take revenge on those bad townspeople for how they treated him. If they could’ve just helped him, this wouldn’t have happened. All he wanted was a place to belong, and to live together happily, but no! They couldn’t let them stay because he was a monster!! When Dr. Dan revealed himself as a monster too, they told him that they loved him, but if they had let Raven stay, both Dr. Dan and Ringmaster have had their happily ever after. I was really sad about this and I thought Raven should’ve taken revenge.

Ok, that’s the end. I really like this island but the ending really depressed me. I would give it a 9/10. What do you think?

Before we close, just a quick reminder that I’m hosting a mini competition which is open till the end of April. Check the comments of the PHB’s Community page for the full details.

Also, quick question: when Monster Carnival was on the map, could we customize from Ringmaster Raven? I had tried it but I don’t remember.

Spread Your Wings: And fly on out of here, or you’ll be sorry.

Keep Popping, Poptropicans!

~DD 💜

Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Dangerous Dragon. If you did, you might also enjoy the PHB’s other Ramble Reviews of various islands, like this one about Vampire’s Curse by White Fox.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. Interested in writing for the PHB? We’d love to hear from you! 📰✨

Guest Posts, Monster Carnival Island

Why Ringmaster Raven is a real hero 🐦

Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by Dangerous Dragon. Enjoy!

Hey everyone, it’s DD! In support of this month’s Island Flash-back, we’re going to be looking at why Ringmaster Raven from Monster Carnival Island deserved better.

You may remember him as the “villain” of Monster Carnival, known in his early life as Bird Boy. The Ringmaster’s life was very sad, and it led him to do some bad things, but he also did things for good!

To really get to know his story, and how he got to where he did, let’s look back and see how people were treating him when he was younger…

It looks bad, doesn’t it? Poor Bird Boy. People weren’t helping him, but instead making him run away! What a sad story…

Although he later tried to ruin the town, he did also help them by bringing Dr. Dan out of hiding! This also showed that the people of the town loved Dr. Dan, as they happily came to him at the roller coaster. If I were Dr. Dan and I had finished the cure, I would give it to Raven. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Raven also made the town realise what they had done! This is a very sad island, isn’t it? (But it was also kind of funny seeing him as a Chicken Man…) Still, he had his boss moments too, especially when he turned the carnies into monsters, and used his machine to send Edgar to hypnotize us. Yikes!

Anyway, show your support for Monster Carnival Island and especially Ringmaster Raven this month with fan art, writing, videos, and more! Let’s show the creators that we want this island back, and this time with Raven getting justice. Let’s get moving!

Before you go, share your thoughts in the comments! How should Raven be welcomed by the townspeople if this island returns? Do you think Dr. Dan and Ringmaster Raven were related? What do you think would’ve happened if Bird Boy hadn’t been mocked and exiled?

That’s it for now, DD popping out! Keep popping, Poptropicans!

Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Dangerous Dragon. If you did, you might also enjoy their guest post on “Creating the perfect Poptropica name.”

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. Interested in writing for the PHB? We’d love to hear from you! 📰✨

Island Flash-backs, Monster Carnival Island, Uncategorized

Island Flash-back: Monster Carnival 🎡

Here we are Poptropicans, with the first Island Flash-back! And this time I didn’t stall on the post until the end of the month! But in all seriousness, this island was high on my list, and considering this is its release month, it’s the perfect time. I know I already spoiled it in the title, but I’m going to do a dramatic reveal anyway! February’s island is…

Monster Carnival!!

I would be lying if I didn’t say this island has a very complicated history. It was actually planned to be released alongside Poptropica’s very first islands, but was delayed for years. Even some Creators seemed to think it was never going to be completed, as evidenced by the description for this old concept art found in the Daily Pop archives.

Early concept art for Monster Carnival (and its ringmaster?)

“The Wayback Machine: An early sketch for a long-rumored, never-completed Island.” -The Daily Pop

Monster Carnival takes its inspiration from many sources, from the horror genre, to the at times creepy atmosphere of circuses, and even the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, referenced by both the main villain and the trainee Edgar. Possibly over time the island’s story and atmosphere became more complex due to new inspirations over what appears to be many re-writes.

A really good example of how “creepy” and “pretty” can be conveyed in the same image

Of course, no Monster Carnival discussion can be made without mentioning it’s villain: Ringmaster Raven. This character has stirred many responses from fans, due to his tragic backstory that held so much potential, and his unfortunate (and quite ungraceful) end. That all being said, he is still much-loved, and like many other villains is one of the main reasons this island is so remembered.

It’s just the story of a boy who lost his way, into shadows strayed–wait wrong “Nevermore”

Now here comes your part, fans! Monster Carnival and many of its peers were the first to go in the Flash-Haxe transition, and the months (or in this case, years!) of work artists and writers put into it should not go to waste! Make fanart, fanfiction, videos, guests posts, chicken memes and essays on why Ringmaster Raven deserved better. Let the Creators know what you appreciate about their past work to encourage them to preserve it!

Until next time!

Corvus honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles