Mystery Train Island, Pop Places IRL

Pop Places IRL: Mystery Train 🚂

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Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL,” Poptropicans, and all aboard! For this post, let’s chug on over to Mystery Train Island, shall we? And if you’re liking the series, be sure to check out other Pop Places IRL posts.

Though we spend most of this island on—can you guess?—a train, we do still visit some very important stops along our adventure. And, truth be told, Mystery Train is certainly one of the more historically founded islands! From the train, to the cities, and even to the passengers, Mystery Train features very real people, places, and things (however we’ll focus more on locations today, not figures). So… full steam ahead!

On Main Street, before we even board the train and begin the mystery, we find ourselves in none other than Washington, DC. We can see the US Capitol Building in the background, but we aren’t staying for long!

But beyond the very real cities, even the train itself is historically accurate! The John Bull locomotive, which is named on our ticket, is the main location of our adventure but is also an IRL train that journeyed to the IRL Columbian Exposition in 1893. Yes sir, all the way from DC to Chicago!

Our next stop is Chicago, but before we pull into the station, let’s take a very quick look at our train’s interior first. The train in Poptropica had large individual rooms for its passengers, which is quite fancy if you ask me. But hey, traveling back in the day seemed to be quite the luxurious feat! Can you believe those big cushy seats?

Alright, now let’s pull into the great city of Chicago, Illinois. The station has obviously grown and changed a lot since 1893, hasn’t it? Well, we can’t stay long anyhow! Mademoiselle Moreau is getting away!

It’s time to chase Moreau into the Chicago World’s Fair. Though one can’t help but stop and stare at that huge Ferris Wheel!

And with that, it looks like we’ve finally reached the end of the line. It was quite an adventure! Considering Mystery Train is one of Poptropica’s more historically founded islands, just how well do you think it holds up to its IRL counterparts? Did it seem on track, or was it a full on train wreck? What other islands do you want us to compare in this series? Comment your thoughts below!

Until next time, Poptropicans! Safe travels!

~SD

Game Show Island, Pop Places IRL

Pop Places IRL: Game Show 🤖

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Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL,” Poptropicans! SD here to take you on a trip to Game Show Island, which coincidentally takes place all over the world! Liking this series? Be sure to check out other Pop Places IRL posts.

Even though Game Show Island primarily consists of, well, game shows, each competition does take place in a distinct, very real city. So, despite the constant immersion in mini games, pay closer attention and you’ll notice some world destinations!

Let’s start off with Tokyo, home to the big baddie of the adventure: Mr. Yoshi’s Game Show. The city, located in Japan, is actually one we’ve visited before in this series! Remember Red Dragon Island? Familiarity aside, however, Game Show Island takes place in a much more modern version of the city. We can clearly see the inspiration for this location as far back as the concept art! The city is clearly known for its bright advertisements, technology, animation, and much more!

Moving on, why don’t we head to Miami next? Located in Florida (USA), this city is home to the Spin for Riches Game Show. While the state does have a lot of retirement homes, I think the area is more well known for its bustling beaches! I think the coastal colors translate well in-game.

What’s next, you may ask? None other than Istanbul (not Constantinople)! In Poptropica, this is where we get to play the Scaredy Pants Game Show, but fear not! IRL, we’re just taking a trip to Turkey. Look at that remarkable architecture!

Next up on our list, Moscow! Here we will find the Brainiacs Game Show, in the capital of Russia! Isn’t it kinda cool that you can even see the resemblance of the city in the simplest of concept art? It’s pretty interesting to see the unique architecture of each city translated into Poptropica, that’s for sure.

Turning back round to our last big city, we have Buenos Aires! This one is the capital of Argentina, but in Poptropica it’s known for the Kerplunk Game Show! Perhaps not as flashy as some of the other tourism hot-spots on our list, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Wow, who knew you traveled so much on Game Show Island? It’s like trying to fit the whole globe into one island! And that’s not even considering Main Street, Club Nouveau Riche, the Factory, Holmes’ Lair, and—oh! The Museum!

Before I adjourn our travels for the day, I will leave you with one more fun comparison from the Museum we see on Main Street. Remember that robot statue? Fun fact: it’s based on “The Thinker,” a sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

And with that, I think our trip is just about coming to an end. What did you think of the journey? Do you think Poptropica captured the real nature of these cities? What other islands do you want to see in this series? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts below!

So long, Poptropicans! Keep on traveling!

~SD

Arabian Nights Island, Pop Places IRL

Pop Places IRL: Arabian Nights 🐪

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Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL,” Poptropicans! Miss the series? I know I did! This time around, we’ll be traveling to Arabian Nights Island! Like this series? Be sure to check out other Pop Places IRL posts.

As you might already know, Arabian Nights was the winning idea from Poptropica’s “Create Your Dream Island” contest back in 2013. The pitch? “On Arabian Nights Island, Poptropicans go on a quest across the desert to rescue a sultan’s genie from the Forty Thieves.” And it turned out to be quite the tale!

The adventure, like Disney’s “Aladdin,” takes place in Arabia (hence the name). This Middle Eastern peninsula is certainly a distinct location, and it definitely shines through in the island! Don’t believe me? Let’s take a closer look.

Right away on our Poptropicans’ adventure, we are greeted with “Episode 1: How Bazaar.” The title itself is a pun, playing off the term “bazaar” to sound like “how bizarre.” A bazaar, if you were unaware, is a type of Middle Eastern marketplace, which (not coincidentally) is a prominent location on the island.

Pretty cool, right? The colorful fabrics, clothing, and items for sale certainly catch the eye. But perhaps even more impressive, we have the palace to visit!

I personally find the architecture of the Middle East to be a particularly remarkable characteristic of the area, but maybe that’s just my inner art history nerd coming out? Either way, the design in Poptropica seems to match up pretty well to its inspiration, so let’s take a look on the inside as well!

Poptropica’s palace atrium (left) is busier than our reference photo (right), but it sure does add interest to the adventure! I think that the game really did stay true to its inspiration, even with their color/detail additions. What do you think?

Stepping further away from the bustling market, however, we could also take a look at the less populated areas of the island. Even if a huge Lair of Thieves is tough to find IRL, there are definitely still cave systems we could investigate. And, like in Poptropica, maybe we can find some salt and other minerals to trade!

Why don’t we take a camel and keep traveling away from the market, further into the desert next? And now we happen upon an oasis!

Even in this largely desert landscape, it’s cool to see the pops of color that show up. The Poptropica Creators really took advantage of their inspiration when designing this island, huh?

But what do you guys think? Have you ever been to the Middle East? Does the comparison match up to your expectations? What other islands do you want to see in this series? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts below!

Farewell, fellow travelers, and good night!

~SD

Pop Places IRL, Red Dragon Island

Pop Places IRL: Red Dragon

Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL!” Miss the series? Today I’ll be taking you to Red Dragon Island and comparing it to its counterparts in real life. And if you like the sound of that, be sure to check out other Pop Places IRL posts.

So… where in the real world is Red Dragon based off of? Well, we already know that the island is based on the Magic Tree House books, so where is that based off of? The answer to that question is right in the novel’s description!

“Jack and Annie are headed to a land of fierce samurai and great beauty, the capital city of Edo (now the city of Tokyo), in ancient Japan in the 1600s. They bring only a research book to guide them and a magic wand with three special rules.”

Japan it is, Poptropicans! Wait, wait, wait, hold on… what about Main Street? What about Jack and Annie’s hometown? Well, “Frog Creek, Pennsylvania” is sadly a fictional city, but Pennsylvania’s neighborhoods match up pretty well anyway!

Okay, now we can head over to Old Japan. We have many sites to see here, foremost being the imperial garden that our Poptropicans come across during our adventure. Basho’s Garden, which we visit later in the game, offers a similar setting. At both locations, we see beautiful Japanese trees, flowers, and huts over water. Looking at the IRL version of the scene, things seem pretty accurate!

Moving on, we come across the Great Bridge before truly entering Edo! The resemblance of the bridge is uncanny to the Shin-kyo Bridge in Nikko Japan, which demonstrates very similar architecture and color.

Next we have East and West Edo, which then lead to the fortress and the secluded lake. Red Dragon shows us a marketplace, paired with a stunning landscape, bonsai shop, and more. Though times have greatly changed since the days of Ancient Japan, its rich history can still be seen in the distinct architecture and environment.

Even the Fortress in game mimics the classic Japanese architecture used in palaces and castles. Perhaps some stylistic choices were taken in Poptropica to add some more pops of color?

Before we wrap up our trip through Tokyo, who could forget about the unique apparel and characters that we come across on the island? Geishas, sumo wrestlers, and ninjas alike are memorably encountered.

Pretty cool, right? Many people in the community agree that Red Dragon Island has some of the most beautiful scenes in Poptropica. Makes me want to go visit Japan! 🙂

That wraps up our post, so what do you guys think of the comparison? Does Poptropica accurately capture Japanese culture?

Sayonara, Poptropicans!

~SD

Pop Places IRL, Vampire's Curse Island

Pop Places IRL: Vampire’s Curse

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Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL,” Poptropicans! Today, I’m bringing you an extra spoOOOooOoky setting. This time around, we’ll be traveling to Vampire’s Curse Island! Enjoying the series? Be sure to check out other Pop Places IRL posts.

So, first things first… where exactly does Vampire’s Curse take place? Though the setting is never directly stated, it is implied that the island is heavily influenced by the classic tale of Dracula. In fact, Count Bram is named after its author, Bram Stoker.

And, dear readers, the castle featured in Dracula is none other than the Bran Castle. Eerily similar to “Bram’s Castle,” don’t you think? The creepy tale made the IRL castle pretty famous, because you can even take tours of it today!

I suppose this castle comparison leads us to another question… where is the castle located? If you haven’t already guessed, the infamous Bran Castle is located in Romania, a country in Europe. Specifically, the towering construction is near Transylvania, a region especially known for vampire lore. Though the towns in the area are much more modern today, you can definitely still see the remains of older architecture.

However, when you begin to stray away from civilization on Vampire’s Curse Island, you’re sure to wind up deep in the woods (on your way to Bram’s castle, of course). A bit of a maze in game, I’m thinking IRL Romanian forests aren’t much easier to navigate at night. Though they might be less vampire-infested, Romania’s woods always seem to come with their own creepy lore either way.

Finally, I think it’s important to touch on the graveyards of Romania, considering their own spooky connotation in-game, where the grand Mausoleum has Latin that reads “meminervnt omnia amantes,” translating to “remember all the lovers.”

This sure adds to the island’s spooky aesthetic, but how does its appearance hold up to its counterparts in real life? It turns out that Romania has a pretty famous grave site called The Merry Cemetery, filled with surprisingly colorful gravestones. What a contrast!

Welp, that wraps up our IRL tour of Vampire’s Curse! Did it live up to your Halloween-y expectations? Hope we didn’t spook you too much this year. 😉

But I’m curious… what do you think? Have you ever been to Romania? How do our comparisons to the game hold up? What other islands do you want to see in this series? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts below!

La revedere! Don’t let the vampire bats bite!

~SD