PHB Specials, Reviews

College Students Reflect on Poptropica Childhoods ✨

If you’re reading this, Poptropica is/was most likely part of your childhood — and for some, it may even reach beyond. As more Pop players come of age, they’re reflecting on their experiences growing up with the game and sharing them with the world.

We’ve gathered some of these thoughts from various college/university student publications, and are sharing some stellar excerpts below. Check out the full articles if you like them, and enjoy the memories!

Benjy Wall-Feng at age nine

Starting off this list is a love letter to the power of Poptropica in The Crimson, the student magazine of Harvard College in Massachusetts. In “Poptropicapitalist Realism, or Love at the End of the World,” Benjy Wall-Feng recounts the joy of narrative agency in the game, a rarity in media interested in telling stories about children:

Your goals are as wide and varied as the narrative requires. While capitalism shapes the places you explore, it does not shape you. You might find a five-dollar bill stuck in a tree, exchange it for a sports drink at the general store, and give the drink to a thirsty gardener in return for his shears — but for narrative purposes, the bill could have been any other object of similar value, and other than in rare moments like these, you do not interact with money at all. The game is profoundly uninterested in explaining why your character can jump, barter, and wheedle their way into saving the world.

For me, as a kid, this was the coolest thing ever. Not only was this a world in which I could realize my long-held dreams of living in a walkable city, owning a laser sword, and being a girl, but this was a world in which doing so was normal, rather than subversive enough to require internal justification. To be conferred agency without first having obtained status, experience, or capital meant something that I did not yet have the words to express.

Benjy Wall-Feng, The Crimson, 2023 (read more)
In Pop We Trust: The genuine article. Accept no substitutions.

While the previous piece touched on the little capitalism in old Poptropica quests, this next one from The Daily Targum, the student paper of Rutgers University in New Jersey, goes harder on the subject. In “How capitalism has ruined our once-beloved Poptropica” (warning: contains mild profanity), Alexis Washburn explores how this economic model has taken a treasure and reshaped it for worse:

In the case of Poptropica, this larger corporation decided to increase interest by limiting availability to all islands and characters to the select few who would be willing to pay. But, like capitalism naturally does, it backfired, and now, Poptropica has less than half the islands, fewer subscribers and some very unhappy Generation Z-ers, such as myself, writing articles about them.

Although the Poptropica we knew as kids might be dead, the company continues to plan on releasing new islands. As for the future of Poptropica, who knows how long it will last? But until then, all we can do is remember fondly of the fun, escape-from-reality adventure land that it once was.

Alexis Washburn, The Daily Targum, 2021 (read more)
Board Meeting: Planking, the hot new trend this summer.

Next up we have not one, but two pieces from The Michigan Daily, the student paper of the University of Michigan. In “Zoo-wee mama: The evolution of Jeff Kinney,” Meera S. Kumar writes about two franchises headed by Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Poptropica:

If “Wimpy Kid” feels like the continuation of one long story, Poptropica is the opposite: users jump from island to island, each containing its own interactive story that involves a quest, many of which are written by Kinney. 

Poptropica’s iconic character design, for which characters’ faces are sideways ellipses, with large blinking eyes, one slightly larger than the other depending on which way the camera is facing, is recognizable anywhere. Poptropica continues to live in a nostalgic class of online media for many late millennials and early Gen-Zers, alongside websites like Webkinz and Club Penguin. In the ultimate super-mega nostalgia-extreme crossover of the decade, Kinney even created two “Wimpy Kid” islands within Poptropica, with storylines based on helping Greg babysit Manny and other cool, fun stuff. 

Meera S. Kumar, The Michigan Daily, 2021 (read more)
Photo Finish: Snapshots of happier times.

Then in “Lamenting the loss of a digital childhood,” Hunter Bishop reminisces about playing Poptropica as a kid, alongside worries that these memories formed in the digital age may be lost one day:

It’s 2012. The family laptop, which we traded in our old desktop computer for, is burning my legs as its fans try to wheeze in all the air they can. My hands are on the trackpad, wearing grooves into it and tearing away at the rubber-coated mouse buttons. I’m 10 years old, and I’m about to beat my fourth island in the free-to-play browser game “Poptropica.” I have 15 minutes of parent-mandated screen time left, and life is good. 

Suddenly, my character freezes mid-jump. Mozilla Firefox pops up an error message, letting me know that the laptop has finally reached its computational limit. Just like that, the last 10 minutes of progress I’d made, the parkour jumps that I’d finally mastered (playing without a mouse was hard!) and all the backtracking I had done was gone. As was five minutes of my screen time as I waited for Firefox to relaunch itself. 

Hunter Bishop, The Michigan Daily, 2023 (read more)
Ephraim University on Mocktropica Island

Wrapping up this post is a piece from The Odyssey Online, a website that publishes writing from mostly college students. In “Playing Poptropica Has Helped Me Conquer ‘College Island’,” Natalie Austin from UNC Charlotte in North Carolina shares about the bliss of playing Pop as a kid, and returning to it for stress relief as a college student:

With the rise of college kids across the United States realizing their Webkinz are still alive and well, not to mention extremely hungry, I think we should all show a little love to a game well-deserving of a place in our childhood memories: Poptropica. It was the game that let us live out our cartoon dreams of saving the world as a spy or superhero or just another animated figure with disproportionately crooked eyes.

Only a real 2000s kid endured the stress of sitting in your fifth-grade class during the free time after a test, struggling to play the impossibly difficult song on your pipe in order to lull the monster to sleep and save Mythology Island. We have all been there. I am there once more.

Natalie Austin, The Odyssey Online, 2019 (read more)

Shield Law: Even the biggest shield can’t stop the biggest spear.

Hope you enjoyed these contemplations on childhood with Poptropica from kids who are now in college! If you liked this post, you may also enjoy our interview with the Poptropica Pals, an official university student club united over our favorite game.

No matter how old you get, keep on poppin’ on, Poptropicans! 🫰


PHB Specials, Pranks

The PHB Presents: Amelia in Poptropica 📺

Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post with—Amelia in Poptropica?! Yup, the one and only. We’ll let her take it away…

Bonjour, Poptropicans, it’s Amelia! You remember me, right?

Ya girl from Home Island is about to go BIG! I mean, I’m already pretty pops on Pop, but things are about to get bigger. Today I’m chuffed to announce that I, Amelia Earhart, am partnering with the Poptropica Help Blog for an exclusive TV series all about my life in Poptropica!

The show’s got everything: comedy, drama, unicorns, rivalry, and even romance (guess which ones the infamous Baron is tangled up in?). And in this series, I’ve got a big ambition: expansion. Not of islands — you don’t really still think Poptropica is bringing any new islands ashore, do you? — rather, the time is ripe to expand my brand. Weekly store rotations were just the beginning!

Right now, my store Adventure Outfitters is just a little building on Home Island, but I’ve got plans to bring it to every island on Poptropica. It’s going to be a massive business, and no ringarde sky pirate with an ephemeral curiosity cabin is going to be able to mess with that!

I’m also embarking on my journey as an influencer, bringing my native Home Island perspective to all the other islands of Poptropica. (I’m sure they’ll love me.) Along the way, I’ll be documenting my très bien girlboss adventures on social media. Follow me! Here’s a preview with some behind-the-scenes shots from this exciting upcoming series:

Anyway, Amelia in Poptropica premieres here on the PHB on April 31 and I can’t wait for you all to watch it! Until then, au revoir! 😘

Unicorns in ubiquity,
Amelia in Poptropica 💋🦄

Hope you enjoyed this, uh, totally legitimate guest post from the Poptropica aviator icon herself, Amelia Earhart. If you did, tell her what you hope to see in her show! Amelia loves hearing from her fans—who doesn’t?

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!

PHB Specials

Which Poptropica character are you, according to the Chinese zodiac? ⚡️🧧

Happy Lunar New Year, Poptropicans! 新年快樂!(xīn nián kuài lè)

Do you know your Chinese zodiac animal? Each creature symbolizes personality traits that correspond with the lunar calendar, and yours is determined by your year of birth, with one rotating every 12 years. We matched each one with a Poptropica character — read on to find yours!

“Happy New Year” by Gear

You can also figure out which Pop character matches your astrological zodiac sign, which is based on your birth month, here! ♒️

🐀 If you were born in 1996, 2008, or 2020, you’re a Rat. You’re resourceful like Ratman from Super Power Island, who embraced the sewers and its rats for his own powers!

🐂 If you were born in 1997, 2009, or 2021, you’re an Ox. You’re strong like the half-bull Minotaur from Mythology Island!

🐯 If you were born in 1998, 2010, or 2022, you’re a Tiger. Like the Tigercopter on Astro-Knights Island, you can be a bit competitive!

🐰 If you were born in 1999, 2011, or 2023, you’re a Rabbit. This is the year for ubiquitous Dr. Hare — time for the elegant to shine.

🐲 If you were born in 2000, 2012, or 2024, you’re a Dragon. You’ve got confidence like the Cloud Dragon of Red Dragon Island, ready to defeat every evil thrown your way.

🐍 If you were born in 2001, 2013, or 2025, you’re a Snake. Like Medusa from Mythology Island, you’re a clever one not to be messed with.

🐴 If you were born in 2002, 2014, or 2026, you’re a Horse. You’ve got energy like El Mustachio Grande, prancing about the plains of Wild West Island with his legion of horses!

🐐 If you were born in 2003, 2015, or 2027, you’re a Goat. Like the half-goat, half-man Satyr from Mythology Island, you carry an aura of calm.

🐵 If you were born in 2004, 2016, or 2028, you’re a Monkey. Like Ack on the Baron’s ship, you’re clever and curious, with your wits about you.

🐓 If you were born in 2005, 2017, or 2029, you’re a Rooster. You’re observant and hardworking, like Ringmaster Raven, but hopefully towards better ends than revenge.

🐕 If you were born in 2006, 2018, or 2030, you’re a Dog. Like the three-headed Cerberus guarding Hades’ throne room on Mythology Island, you’re a loyal keeper.

🐷 If you were born in 2007, 2019, or 2031, you’re a Pig. Not only do you match the three little pigs from Fairytale Island in terms of species, you also think logically like they do.

There you go — the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac represented by Poptropica characters! Which one are you? Do you think it suits you? Anyway, enjoy the Lunar New Year if you celebrate, or just have a good one! Happy Year of the Rabbit — or whenever you’re reading this. 🙂


PHB Specials

Poptropica DIY Paper Crafts ✂️✨

Want a cool IRL Pop prop but can’t splurge on a plushie? 😜 Over the years, Poptropica has released a handful of templates for DIY paper crafts, and we’ve gathered them all for you right here!

You can make your own Rabbot and Dr. Hare from 24 Carrot, the Neon Wiener spaceship from Galactic Hot Dogs, the Henchbot from PoptropiCon, and even the Svadilfari hammer from Realms. Download and print them out by clicking on the hyperlinked text below:

If you don’t have a printer, you can try your school or local library for one, or ask a trusted friend or adult to help you print them at their home or office. Once you’ve got the printed sheet, just follow the instructions on them to cut the shapes with scissors ✂️, fold and glue where indicated 📄, and have a bit of patience so they turn out nicely.

Check out some of the finished products below from the Pop Creators! They’re great as shelf decorations. ✨ Try to collect them all!

You can also find these paper crafts under the Art tab on the PHB, or under the island extras on their corresponding guide pages.

Enjoy the process of creating, and have fun with your new paper pal! 🤩