Preserving Poptropica post-Flash 💥

Hey, Poptropicans—welcome to 2020. As you may have heard, this year will bring about the end of Adobe Flash, the engine that much of Poptropica runs on. The implications are huge for this game, and we’ve already seen it affecting 30 of the oldest islands and many more features.

Here on the PHB, we’ve mentioned the Flash issue here and there, but now we’re taking the opportunity to make a whole post hashing out what’s happening, what it means, and where it’s all going. So let’s get started!

1. Where are the old islands?

In July 2019, Poptropica removed 30 islands from the map. They were all considered “old school islands”: Poptropica’s earliest islands, created and released from 2007–2013, which were built using ActionScript 2 (AS2), a programming language primarily used for the Adobe Flash Player platform.

The good news is, you can still play the old school islands using the Old Island Directory created by the glitcher idk. Although they’re currently inaccessible from the game itself, it’s possible that the old islands will return. Poptropica’s reason for taking them down, for the time being, was because they were “causing a lot of problems for players.”

2. Poptropica’s Promises

On the first day of the new year, Poptropica posted the following on Instagram: “2020 is going to great [sic] — a non-Flash version of the game, new islands, the return of some old islands, and so much more!!!” (Our emphasis added.) So, there’s hope yet that the old islands will return—but as the Instagram post indicates, it may not be all of them.

A fan-made Poptropica map with most of the islands, created by idk.

We’re not sure which ones are coming back and which ones might not make it, nor do we know why, but perhaps there’s only so much they can work with. Still, in addition to directly playing them via the Old Island Directory, you can also relive their memories with the PHB’s collection of Island Guides.

3. What does it mean that Flash is going away?

Adobe Flash Player was an instrumental engine for a lot of the early internet, particularly for games, video, and animations. Poptropica is among the many websites that used Flash, just like other popular game sites of the 2000s and 2010s, like Club Penguin and Neopets. For those of us who’ve grown up playing these games, losing Flash is not just saying goodbye to outdated technology, but watching whole worlds from our childhoods crumble away. RIP. 😢

And yet, Flash is going away simply because tech has evolved for the better—modern web browsers have adapted to HTML5, and the end of Flash also means better security and battery life. So, if Poptropica is to continue, they’ll need to keep up with the tech and move off of Flash… which is what they’ve been working on for the past few years, even though this has meant fewer islands and more cosmetic changes—and yes, even the seemingly odd creation of Poptropica Worlds, built with Unity and launched in 2017.

Newer islands, which have a larger screen and ambient music, were built with ActionScript 3 (AS3), which is more compatible with current desktop standards as well as the rise of mobile applications. We started calling these islands SUIs, which stands for Sound-Updated Islands.

In 2013, Poptropica launched a beta version of 24 Carrot as an SUI called BETA Carrotene, and after fixing up some bugs, they were ready to roll out Virus Hunter, the first official SUI. From then on, all islands were released as SUIs, and sometimes the Creators even went back and re-made a former island, like Time Tangled or Mythology, into an SUI. Unlike older islands, these newer SUIs are able to survive without Flash, which is why islands now come as SUIs.

4. Poptropica’s Progress

Poptropica Worlds was intended to be Poptropica’s solution to the post-Flash dilemma, but for some reason, things didn’t quite pan out. By 2019, it wasn’t being updated anymore and was even actively hidden from the homepage. Instead, many of Worlds’ standout features have since been integrated into the original Poptropica, like device syncing and player clubhouses.

Poptropica even wrote in their recap of 2019 that many of that year’s updates were “a really important part of the conversion process for getting the game off of Flash” suggesting that their post-Flash solution will focus not on Worlds, but on the original Poptropica. Some more of these updates over the past year include a new layout for friends and the store, SUI-ified common rooms, and plus, who could forget the adorable pets?

However, the shiny new things are eclipsed by the loss of many beloved classic features that may or may not be compatible with the future of technology—such as the old school islands.

We’ve also lost a lot of old costumes and items, mostly from the store, though some are gradually coming back through each new monthly rotation of store items. We’ve lost friend features like the ability to add by username, viewing medallions, and even the Multiverse (and tribe!) party rooms. Island photos were replaced by Photo Booth pics, but even the Photo Booth is currently down, with no word on when it may return.

Still, if Poptropica’s previous statements are worth their salt, perhaps there’s still hope yet for a brighter Poptropica post-Flash…

5. Poptropica’s Future

As Poptropica has stated here and there, they are working on porting the game over to newer technology, so that it can live on even after the plug is pulled on Flash. Poptropica Original is here to stay, continuing its legacy both in the web browser and now on mobile devices.

We’re likely to see at least some of the old islands return, based on Poptropica’s Instagram post mentioned above. And they’ve mentioned working on “new islands” as well, including, most recently, the announcement that Zomberry Island will be back—with a new level!

Also, though Poptropica hasn’t confirmed anything specific, perhaps we can still hold out some hope for the return of some of the beloved features we’ve lost, or at least see them morph into viable alternatives.

After all, even Realms disappeared for over a year before it finally returned in late 2018. Meanwhile, Multiverse may be gone, but now we have player clubhouses (introduced in late 2018) to meet up with friends. While they’ve still got some work to do to really make clubhouses as big of a hit as Multiverse was (namely, being able to easily find specific friends whose houses you want to pop into), it’s a promising start to a new era for Poptropica.

Whatever happens, we’ll be here to watch it all go down.

With cautious optimism,

—the PHB 💙

PHB Pop-over Special: The Good Place

Welcome! Everything is fine.

You are, after all, in the Good Place. Okay, so, not exactly. You’re in a PHB “Pop-over,” which is a Poptropica crossover with another universe—in this case, the NBC sitcom known as The Good Place.

Dressing up like any of the main cast of characters — (from left to right, top to bottom) Michael, Jason, Janet, Tahani, Eleanor, and Chidi — is pretty simple, as most of these outfits can be obtained when you create a new character on Poptropica, with a few extra steps for some. Michael’s glasses and suit, plus Tahani’s earrings and Janet’s top, can be found by cranking the switch inside New You on Home Island. Janet’s skirt is from the lady outside the New You building, and Jason has a bit of hair from the backpacker on Home Island.

And you can take a look at any of these styles in the Avatar Studio by typing in the character’s name followed by TGP: MichaelTGP, JasonTGP, JanetTGP, TahaniTGP, EleanorTGP, and ChidiTGP.

The Good Place is a show that finds an assorted group sent to a supposedly utopian afterlife that quickly spirals into more than what anyone bargained for. Along the way, it explores questions of moral philosophy, ethics, and what it means to be a “good” person, all while being entertaining. Rated 13+ on Netflix.

Hope you enjoyed this crossover of The Good Place x Poptropica! Have you watched all four seasons of The Good Place? Looking forward to the finale in January? Share your thoughts in the comments!

~/🐠

Want to see more? Check out our other Pop-overs and browse our Costume database for more Poptropica costumes to inspire your own outfits!

PHB Pop-over Special: Black-ish

Hey Poptropicans—if you’re a fan of the ABC sitcom Black-ish, you’ll enjoy this special “Pop-over”: our term for a Poptropica crossover, in which we take characters from another universe and create them on Poptropica.

Though the tech changes since our last Pop-over have rendered most of these characters not fully viewable from the Avatar Studio or your friends list, they’re still not too complicated to recreate. From left to right, here’s how you can dress like the Johnsons on Poptropica:

  • Grandma Ruby: Her outfit is fully created from the “create new character” screen. See her live on the Avatar Studio with the username RubyBlackish (for the others below, replace “Ruby” in the username with the character’s name — this may help for customizing via MAP).
  • Zoey: Get the hair and hoodie from the Tie-Dye Hoodie in the store.
  • Bow: The romper comes from the Fruity Cutie in the store.
  • Junior: Everything can be assembled from the “create new character” screen.
  • Dre: Snag the hoodie from the Warm Vibes costume in the store, and the jeans with the nice chain from inside the New You building on Home Island.
  • Jack: Everything can be assembled from the “create new character” screen.
  • Diane: Find the hair and t-shirt on the Galaxy Girl in the store. Get the glasses from New You on Home Island. The fun skirt comes from the “create new character” screen.
  • Grandpa Earl: Clothes are from the “create new character” screen, while the glasses can be grabbed inside New You.

Black-ish is a TV comedy about an upper middle class black American family living the so-called “American dream.” The generally lighthearted show revolves around the family’s lives, with some exploration into sociopolitics and the culturally assimilated “black-ish-ness” of the characters. Rated TV-PG.

Hope you enjoyed this Black-ish x Poptropica crossover! Have you seen the show? What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments!

~/🐠

Want to see more? Check out our other Pop-overs and browse our Costume database for more Poptropica costumes to inspire your own outfits!

PHB Special: Unsatisfying Island Endings

This is a guest post by Comical Carrot about island quests with unsatisfying endings. Note: Spoilers abound. Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Comical Carrot!

To me, the best part about completing an island in Poptropica is the satisfying feeling of saving people or solving a mystery. Most of the islands have intense and fun endings, like the Mystery Train chase scene, or the defeat of El Mustachio in Wild West. However, there are certain islands with unsettling and unsatisfying endings, where the player is confused, frustrated, and overall sad… and that’s the topic of this post.

Bonus Quest Endings

Sometimes, an island doesn’t just end at the end—there are bonus quests! People who aren’t members might relate to the frustration, since these bonus bits are for members only.

Twisted Thicket

In this island, you spend a ton of time trying to figure out the secret and mystery in the heart of the magical forest. The climax and most intense part is when the player has to destroy and slow down all the construction vehicles in order to prevent them from killing the forest and its creatures. After the player stops the construction, you feel happy to have saved the forest.

But wait! The special orb of the forest is cracked and is missing pieces. In order to collect the pieces, you have to do the BONUS QUEST!

I remember seeing this (as a nonmember) and feeling super frustrated and guilty as I saw the poor forest creatures fading away and desperate for help. The island isn’t truly finished and you can’t say that you have saved them at all. It’s not conclusive, and you pretty much can’t progress any further without membership.

Poptropolis Games

In this island, you compete in an Olympic-like competition and need to win first place overall in order to beat the island. After you’ve won as many games as you can and come out on top, you are awarded the medallion. Yay! You’re a winner and the best Poptropican athlete of all time.

But wait! There’s some grumpy old guy who wants to battle you for the title! And… it’s a bonus quest. Seeing this, the nonmember players know that they haven’t really finished the island and they can’t really claim their recognition properly.

There are other islands that could fit this inaccessible bonus ending category, too, like in Vampire’s Curse when you’re hunted, or saving the oil spill in SOS Island. But Poptropolis Games and Twisted Thicket are the more frustrating ones, in my opinion.

Cheated Endings

These are the endings where you feel cheated out of your hard work and victory by another character swooping in to be the “hero.”

Vampire’s Curse

Here you’ve risked your life and entered the lair of the vampire, found a cure, and rescued Katya. Who gets the praise in the end? Katya’s sleazy boyfriend, Christopher!

Yes, you do get the medallion, but Katya barely even thanks you! Not only did he want to get away from his girlfriend, but he also took all the credit for your hard work? What do you get in return? A medallion that the vampire dropped and a weird hunter coming for your life. Great.

(Big Nate Island also ends like this, where you don’t get the credit for discovering the treasure, but you still at least get the medallion in the end…)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

After surprisingly getting a golden ticket, the player ventures into the Willy Wonka chocolate factory, where they pass multiple tests and save the lives of the other kid contestants. You even save Charlie in the end! So who gets the key to the factory? Not you — Charlie!

Now I know this is kind of a stretch as the player doesn’t need the factory since they are an adventurer who just wants to help others out while Charlie and his family needs the money. (Also in the original story, your character obviously isn’t in it, let alone wins the factory.) This one wasn’t as bad as the other endings in this category, I think.

Super Power

I’m not even going to talk too much about this island. You do the hard work of defeating every villain in a unique and clever way, and do MOST of the work in defeating Betty Jetty. But who gets the credit and the medallion? Ned Noodlehead!

In the end, you still get the medallion, but not because the citizens of the island think you deserve it, but because you traded it for a simple hotdog. All your hard work was just as special as a plain old hotdog.

Weird Endings

And these are the endings where you have no idea what just happened…

Lunar Colony

In Lunar Colony, after finally meeting up with Salerno and almost saving her, she vanishes into another dimension. Once you come back to Earth, you see Salerno in some other planet or world, with unsettling things in the background. Sure, she made it to her dream destination, but the player is left with the concern of whether or not she will survive.

I remember seeing this, wondering what just happened, and how she even can communicate back to Earth. But at least people are now interested in space again…?

Nabooti

The ending of this island wasn’t so much concerning and unsettling, but it definitely was weird. The entire statue that you worked hard to place the sacred gems back into is… an alien? Yeah, I was super shocked by this but it was kind of cool and gave the island a unique vibe.

Other islands that could fit this section would be the subpar Back Lot Island movie at the end, and the fascinating but strange ending to the Mission Atlantis trilogy.

So that’s it for this post! Let me know what other bad endings to Poptropica islands you’d add to this list. To be fair, these bad endings aren’t actually so bad, since the islands themselves were fun and exhilarating to do.

Also, I’m considering buying a membership! Will doing the bonus quests help fill the frustration from the bonus quest ending islands? Let me know!

—Comical Carrot


Hope you enjoyed this PHB Special guest post by Comical Carrot! If you did, be sure to check out our other PHB specials!

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 page on how to Write for the PHB. We also encourage sharing blog posts on the PHC.

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

Is Poptropica turning into Mocktropica Island?

Now there’s a question. Is Poptropica now fulfilling the prophecy about itself it set out in its own self-parody in the 36th island—and not in a good way?

I’m Slanted Fish, here to examine just how much Poptropica is falling into the traps it once warned about. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

For those who need a refresher, Mocktropica Island is a bit of a self-parody of Poptropica, imagining what things would be like when development of the game world goes haywire. It’s a fictional tale, but like many good stories, it does contain some truth.

And lately, it seems like Poptropica’s development is in crisis: we don’t hear as much from the Creators as we used to, and when we do, they’re tinkling with visual updates here and there, rather than the meat of the game: the story quests. In fact, it’s been a whole year since the latest island, Greek Sea Odyssey, was released on Poptropica Worlds, and Poptropica Original hasn’t had a new island since 2016’s Monkey Wrench. So, robot boss battles aside, has Mocktropica predicted the fate of the game?

Pets: the focus on aesthetics

photo credit: Maroon

One feature Mocktropica played with was the idea of pets for Poptropicans. Back when the island first came out in 2013, there weren’t exactly pets in Poptropica, though we did have “Followers” available from ads or in the store (such as the dragon in the picture above). But the Creators knew when they were making this island that pets were a popular requested feature for the game, so in the story, we have kids cheering for the introduction of pets.

And don’t get me wrong, Poptropica pets are great! This year the Pet Barn on Home Island finally opened, offering cute critters for players to adopt.

Pet lizards introduced to the Pet Barn in 2019.

But that’s just the thing, too: while the Creators focused on aesthetic updates like pets (not to mention the redesign of Home Island and various features like the Arcade, Clubhouses, Friends profiles, the upheaval of the store into a rotational system, and more), they neglected the heart of Poptropica itself… the island quests.

Coins: the allure of membership

Pop Coin currency is suggested on Mocktropica Island.

While Poptropica hasn’t gotten quite as extreme as Mocktropica when it comes to currency, the Pop Coin system does hint at something sinister: charging players to pay real-life money for basic features of the game. In Poptropica, we know it as membership.

Membership wasn’t always like it is now. These days, every update seems to come with a significant portion exclusive to members only: store updates, pets, the new friends profiles, and so on. But back when we saw new islands every once in a while, each update wasn’t so member-focused, in part because membership already had a big draw: early access to new islands. With no new islands, the Creators have to find more ways to make membership attractive for the sake of profits, but it’s only causing players—many without the means of purchasing power—to resent them for it.

Read more in this 2017 PHB article: Is Poptropica becoming pay-to-play?

Pop-ups: Achievements and Ad Units

Achievements? Well, Poptropica has had ways of marking a player’s achievements with features like island medallions and album photos, and fortunately, they’re not annoying pop-ups like on Mocktropica—in fact, they’re pretty creative.

But not so fast. Remember the ad sales lady on Mocktropica and the obnoxious pop-up ads she made float around on your screen? While Poptropica hasn’t quite reached that level of distaste, it has since introduced a pretty off-putting pop-up ad at the bottom of the screen that re-appears whenever you change scenes. Sadly, it’s been there for a while and looks like it intends to stay. As if the banner wrapper ads weren’t enough!

Advertising your own game on your own game? Not exactly effective, either.

Developers: Where have they gone?

On Mocktropica Island, Poptropica developers were fired by new management.

A year ago, Poptropica inexplicably let go of some valuable senior-level employees who had contributed to the game for about a whole decade. A former Creator, Jessica (aka Skinny Moon), even confirmed in March 2018 that “most of the company is gone,” referring to employees she’d worked with prior to that point. Since then, we haven’t had names—not even aliases!—to connect us with the Poptropica team.

On this front, Mocktropica definitely predicted a bleak turn for Poptropica. These days, Poptropica rarely updates their official blog, on time if it all—even for bigger releases—and as outlined above, game updates are not only fewer and farther between, but when they do occur, they’re not what anybody really asked for. Sure, releasing some new items and redecorating some interfaces is mildly interesting, but they’re not going to keep anybody’s attention for long. But you know what will, Poptropica Creators?

Stories—specifically, islands!

Former president of Poptropica, Jess Brallier, says it best in this video from 2013, recently discovered by Osmium and re-posted from “Future Think” by idk:

Right out of this publisher’s mouth: “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.

Does that sound like the Poptropica of the present to you? Well, I’ve been following Poptropica through the years, and let me tell you: the success is in the stories it tells. The most anticipated updates have always been the islands—those quirky quests were what made Poptropica “Poptropica.” Pets, member perks, fun items—those are best left as secondary.

I think it’s pretty clear that Poptropica has, in not all, but some ways, followed right into the footsteps of Mocktropica Island. An island created as a cautionary tale is unfolding right before us, and the Poptropica Creators of the present would do well to pay attention and revisit what the Creators of the past have tried to warn us all about when they created Mocktropica.

What does Poptropica need right now? Well…

I think I speak for many Poptropicans when I say that I truly hope to see Poptropica return to what made it successful: the stories, or in other words, the islands. Oh Poptropica, where will your yellow blimp take us next?

—Slanted Fish 🐠

PHB Sp00py Special: Guess the Horror Scene!👻

Horror movies have been around pretty much since the beginning of film’s history (with the first ever being “The Haunted Castle”, released in 1896!), and have become a staple in many households during the Halloween season.

BOO! How’s it going, spooktropicans? It’s Lucky Joker here and today I bring you a horrifying Halloween treat! I’ve recreated iconic scenes (Poptropica style 😎) from various films in the horror genre, and it’s your job to guess which one each of them are from! Enjoy, and good luck! 🍀

(Note: Answers are hidden at the bottom of this post — highlight the text to reveal them. 👀)


1) “Come play with us”

PHBHalloweenSpecial1

Little Danny explores the halls of the Overlook Hotel when he comes across a strange pair of twin girls standing at the end of a hallway, who seemingly know his name. As they invite him to play, they continuously get closer and closer to him with each line, much to Danny’s horror.

2) “More effective than wolfsbane”

PHBHalloweenSpecial6.png

Vampire hunter, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, scares the count away by holding up a crucifix.

3) “Squawk!”

PHBHalloweenSpecial5

A homicidal swarm of seagulls crashes a child’s party causing quite a stir as Melanie, Annie, and Mitch try to rush the children into the house.

4) “They’re all gonna laugh at you”

PHBHalloweenSpecial3

When a girl who was only made to feel like an outcast all her life wins the title of prom queen at the highly awaited end-of-the-year dance, all seems miraculous and like a dream come true. When a bucket of pig’s blood is poured over her on stage as part of a malicious prank, everyone laughs at her, and all goes downhill.

5) “The power of Christ compels you!”

PHBHalloweenSpecial7

Father Karras stands alongside Father Merrin as they attempt to expel the demon inside the suffering, possessed Regan.

6) “Get out of the water!”

PHBHalloweenSpecial2

It’s Independence Day, and everyone is having fun at the beach on Amity Island. Panic erupts when Alex is fatally attacked by an angry shark, marking this tragedy as the second shark attack on the island.

7) “We all go a little mad sometimes”

PHBHalloweenSpecial4

Marion is stabbed to death in the shower at the unsettlingly vacant Bates Motel by a disguised Norman Bates, the hotelier.


So, how many did you recognize? Feel free to leave your guesses in the comments below. By the way, check out my Pop Halloween costume this year, hehe:

MermanJoker

Stay safe everybody and have a happy Halloween!

– Merman Joker 🧜‍♂️

Answers:

  1. The Shining
  2. Dracula
  3. The Birds
  4. Carrie
  5. The Exorcist
  6. Jaws
  7. Psycho

PHB Pop-over Special: Night in the Woods

nightinthewoods popover

Hey Poptropicans! We’re back with another PHB Pop-over Special!

In case you’re not familiar with the term, a “Pop-over” is basically a Poptropica crossover, in which we take characters from another universe and make them into Poptropica characters. This Pop-over features the gang from Night in the Woods!

You can add these Poptropican-ized characters with the usernames below and Costumize parts of their outfits. For the rest, use the ASG, MAP, or iPop.

  • Angus: Add him on Poptropica at NITWAngus. Get the glasses from the Rockstar costume (use ASG: Snowball9_ASG4), and bear ears from realms#6ASG.
  • Mae: Add her at NITWMae. Get the Werewolf costume parts from the ASG Holidays:Halloween:Werewolf, and Jack/Jill O’Lantern shirt from idk_JillOLantern_ASG. The bass guitar is from the Photo Booth.
  • Gregg: Add him at NITWGregg. Get the animal head parts from realms#2ASG.
  • Bea: Add her at NITWBea. Get the animal head from realms#2ASG, facial feature from realms#6ASG, and mouth from Rosemoji6.

Night in the Woods (or NITW) is a T-rated (for ages 13+) adventure game with a gameplay style much like Poptropica, in which you explore an interactive world full of vibrant characters and stories. (Learn more and get the game—or its two free supplemental games, Longest Night and Lost Constellation—on the NITW website!)

Poptropica fans who enjoyed the mystery of Ghost Story Island or the atmosphere of Monster Carnival Island might like this game—at least I did. 😁

For more game recommendations, check out our Off-Topica page. And for more fashion ideas, look no further than our Costumes and Avatar Studio Gift databases.

Hope you enjoyed this Night in the Woods x Poptropica crossover! Have you played NITW? How does it compare with Pop? Sound off in the comments below!

🐻 😼 🦊 🐊

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