Creators' Blog Guest Posts

Interview with Spotted Dragon from the Poptropica Creators 🎤🐲

Well, well, well, look at whose turn it is for our series with the Pop Creators of PHB team interviews! Li’l old me! As a rather senior player and the second-oldest current PHB author, I’m quite excited to get into this. Let’s go meet Spotted Dragon!

1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica?

I can’t quite remember exactly how I was first introduced to Poptropica, but it was sometime in early elementary school. It was most likely through word of mouth, since the game was super popular at that time. Seemingly everyone was playing it (at least all the cool kids), along with a lot of other early 2000s online games, and I wasn’t one to miss out on the trend! Pretty quickly, Poptropica stood out for me and sort of took over my life for a while. I have fond memories of those early days, when I felt like the king of the classroom because I knew the ins and outs of every island.

2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated?

This is a toughie! One of my favorites that often goes overlooked is probably Daphne Dreadnaught from the Ghost Story Island mini-quest, Spook Central. I’ve always loved her character design and her interest in ghosts. She seems a bit underrated just because she is overshadowed by some of the bigger-name villains,but definitely deserves some recognition.

In terms of overrated characters, I’ll probably have to go with the agreed-upon Dr. Hare. I love him to death, don’t get me wrong, but it is true that he always has the spotlight. Some other iconic characters might want the chance to shine! And luckily, I don’t think I’m making any enemies by saying that. Although Amelia and Rumpelstiltskin perhaps are gaining that overrated status these days as well.

3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through?

One of my favorite scenes to play through has to be the part of Spy Island where you have to sneak past the B.A.D. guards at the docks. At the time, the chameleon suit blew my mind! The gameplay was super fun and the technology was extra compelling. In fact, I feel that way about a lot of the items from Spy Island, including the grappling bowtie and decoder kit. It’s one of the best experiences in terms of gameplay. But I’m also a big fan of any sort of puzzles or unique items/powers (like flying in Super Power or changing your eye color on Lunar Colony). They always feel like the most memorable details.

Aesthetically, some of my favorite scenes have been the dramatic backgrounds of Monster Carnival Island and the beautiful gardens from Red Dragon Island. I also love the haunting atmosphere of places like Steamworks and the magic of Twisted Thicket. It’s really difficult to pick just one favorite when the environmental art has stunned me so many times!

4. From your perspective, how have you seen the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and community change over time?

There’s been a lot of flux in the Poptropica community, which is mainly impacted by what’s currently happening in-game and simply where players are at in their lives. I’ve seen lots of fans come and go, often aging out or just growing apart from Poptropica in general, which is completely understandable. Back at the peak of the game’s popularity, we saw an enormous surge in fan blogs and community activity. Though things have become much slower these days, I’ve still been impressed with the longevity of fan involvement.

The fan base as a whole seems to have gotten much older, at least from my perspective. It demonstrates how older kids and even young adults can still enjoy things that are traditionally targeted at kids. A lot of this may have to do with the factor of nostalgia, but I also just think that things made for kids are inherently fun. Nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying that! You should like the things you like. In turn, I think that a lot of younger kids can, all the same, enjoy more sophisticated, mature modes of storytelling.

Old Man: Take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you.

As for the PHB, along with myself, our change in maturity certainly mirrors our aging. When I first began blogging in 2012, you can tell that my writing and graphics were rather amateurish and, dare I say, super cringey. But part of that was just a reflection of the times, like the “rawr XD” culture many Poptropicans grew up during. I’m impressed with how far the PHB has grown and expanded. The authors, including myself, have become more professional while maintaining that childlike sense of entertainment. The site is bigger than ever, with countless resources and opportunities for fan participation. And I’m proud to have been a part of that growth, no matter where the future may take us next.

Illustration by Spotted Dragon (2018)

5. How has your PHB career surprised you?

That growth I mentioned earlier has definitely been a surprise. When I first started my own blog in 2012, it seemed like my wildest dream and biggest goal to join the PHB team. Being invited was a shock in and of itself, and sticking around this long even more so! I’ve been surprised to see how many opportunities I’ve been lucky to encounter as a result, such as collaborating with Poptropica Creators like this. Getting art drawn of my Poptropican by Ashley Lange was one moment I realized I sort of “made it.” Dare I say I became a bit niche-internet-famous?

Jokes aside, I’ve also been surprised by how many connections I’ve made along the way. Slanted Fish and my fellow PHB authors have been supportive, even through all the community drama. And I’ve made friends that I still regularly talk to today, even if they no longer play Poptropica. It’s a really funny story to explain how you might know a veterinary or a law student who live across the country from you, all because of an online kids’ game.

by (Dr.) Ashley Lange, Poptropica Creator (2014)

6. What inspires you?

Maybe it’s a bit on the nose, but the creativity of my fellow community members inspires me the most. As an art student IRL, I’m obsessed with all things creative and artsy, hence why I run the PHB’s Community Creations series. I’m always stunned to see the amazing talent that has come out of such a niche community. The fan art, stories, costumes, etc. are just awesome. If I’m not making art myself, I’m definitely consuming the art of other people. This applies to my life beyond Poptropica too, where I get a lot of inspiration from other games, TV shows, books, and music. Like I said, all things creative!

7. What does the Pop community mean to you?

The Poptropica community as a whole encapsulates that feeling of “the good ol’ days” for me. It means nostalgia, unexpected friendship, and nerdy passion. It’s rare to see a big group of people come together, all from different backgrounds all over the world, and share joy about something seemingly simple. We’ve made something so involved and intricate like the PHB all thanks to some insanely dedicated people. The community is really what has made the game such a profound experience for me, and it’s a feeling that I’m still trying to cling to.

“Poppies” by Spotted Dragon (2016)

8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL?

Most notably, my experiences with the Poptropica community have oddly improved my art and writing skills. Writing on a regular basis has truly bettered my abilities, and it has allowed me the flexibility to change up my writing depending on audience. It’s been wonderful to keep my love of writing fueled by something more fun, in the face of so many tedious school essays too!

My art has also been influenced because of my experience in the community, not only regarding drawing but particularly with graphic design too. If you take a look at the earliest header designs on my long-since-abandoned blog (please don’t), the difference is insane. Over the years, I’ve somehow transformed a pixelated mess into some pretty decent design skills. Without Poptropica, I’m honestly not sure I would have chosen the path I did IRL as an art student. I’m specifically studying digital media, so all that time messing with videos and graphics and web design as a kid seemed to actually pay off.

Poptropica has also weirdly taught me a lot, ya know, it being an educational game after all. Mythology Island characters seriously prepped me for all those Roman stories I had to read in AP Latin (I’m looking at you, Dr. Jupiter). Counterfeit Island has actually allowed me to recognize work in my Art History classes before the course even starts. Time Tangled and Mystery Train have left me just a little more prepared for learning about figures in History class. Who knew a video game could be so useful?

9. Outside of Poptropica and your PHB involvement, what are you passionate about?

If it wasn’t obvious already, outside of the PHB I’m most passionate about art. Creating, creating, creating. Not only is it really fun, but I firmly believe that creators are an essential part of any society. Art is fundamental to human life and has a lot more power than people realize, even in things as simple as fan art.

Moreover, I’m a big advocate of education. School is my main focus right now, and I’m a rather ambitious student, to say the least. I believe that it is important to never stop learning new things and to never stop trying to grow as a person. I love absorbing as much knowledge and experience as possible in the topics I’m interested in. Beyond visual art, some of those topics include psychology and film!

Favorites

  • Island: This is always the most difficult question for me, and I think it changes on a daily basis, but I’m gonna go with Cryptids Island.
  • Backstory/Lore: I’m a sucker for any Balloon Boy easter eggs in other islands, and all the lore surrounding his journey through the clouds. But I’m also a big fan of Binary Bard’s backstory in Astro-Knights since it feels like such an attentive storyline.
  • Character: Balloon Boy!
  • Villain: Aside from Daphne Dreadnaught, probably either Black Widow (my artsy gal) or Gretchen Grimlock. Love me some evil girlbosses.
  • Costume: Growing up, I was really fond of the Vampire Girl series of costumes in the store.

Thanks Poptropica, for simultaneously helping me grow up and keeping me young. It’s been one crazy ride. Check out my interview on the Creators’ Blog as well. Until next time, let’s keep creating!

~SD

Creators' Blog Guest Posts

Interview with Sporty Boa from the Poptropica Creators 🎤🐍

Hello! Welcome to the next part of our series with the Pop Creators interviewing members of the PHB team. Meet Sporty Boa!

Sporty Boa illustrated by napstachill

1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica?

I was first introduced to Poptropica in 2010, when playing it in elementary school computer labs made you one of the ‘cool kids’. Given that I was one of the ‘quiet kids’ at school, I opted to explore the game where I was most comfortable: with my family.

It started with watching my sister, then my brother, Fierce Flyer, adventure across the Poptropica islands, with me acting as a literal over-the-shoulder commentator. Together we worked through difficult puzzles and boss battles, or simply admired the creative stories and characters Poptropica introduced us to. It was only after seeing my siblings’ mounting medallion count that I decided to experience Poptropica hands-on for myself!

Sporty Boa illustrated by Fierce Flyer

2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated?

One of the many things I love about Poptropica is its plethora of unique characters. When I first started blogging about the game, this was one aspect I could not stop talking about! I often would give my personal ranking of characters, including those which I considered to be the most underrated. Atop my list was Dr. Spyglass from Spy Island. Not only is he an excellent eye doctor, but he’s also the genius inventor behind iconic spy gadgets such as the chameleon suit and grappling bowtie! Despite this scientist’s creations being the means in which you save the island, I feel he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I mean, I get he’s all secretive and spy-like, but it would be nice to see him pop up from time to time.

Speaking of popping up from time to time, I would have to say the zombies from Zomberry Island may be Poptropica’s most overrated characters. I may need to get my eyes checked by Dr. Spyglass, but I feel like I keep seeing them show up everywhere! Given their ambiguous purpose, do they really deserve so much of the spotlight?

3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through?

The first scene that comes to mind is the Jersey Devil jumpscare in Cryptids Island. This scene is just as fun to watch someone else play through as it is to play through yourself! The tense buildup is executed so well, from the unnerving bathroom stall directions, to the dark, creepy house in the middle of the woods, and of course we can’t forget the window peerin’, breath stealing, fate sealing Jersey Devil!

Aesthetically, I have a soft spot for the Nøkken scene in Twisted Thicket Island. On par with the Jersey Devil in terms of creepiness, the Nøkken’s luminescent red paw prints against the dark, verdant forest is just *chef’s kiss*. Absolutely terrifying, but *chef’s kiss*.

4. From your perspective, how have you seen the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and community change over time?

From my perspective, the Poptropica community has had its ebbs and flows. Since joining back in 2017, I’ve always viewed the PHB as not just a blog, but as a cornerstone of the community. While being a reliable source of information and news, the PHB helps bring together Poptropica fans, me included, providing space for people to share valued ideas, theories and stories. Through thick and thin, I’ve learned to appreciate the space we’re granted, and the community we share.

5. How has your PHB career surprised you?

During my time with the PHB, I’m always pleasantly surprised when it comes to our community engagement events such as the Tribal Tournament and the Poppies. It’s such an honor to be a part of these positive, unifying, and genuinely fun experiences in our community!

6. What inspires you?

I can be easily inspired by the natural world, my family, a kind word, and works of art. Though, what inspires me the most is actually the potential to inspire others. Knowing that I can plant a seed within someone that may blossom into something beneficial and beautiful is a rewarding feeling worth striving for.

7. What does the Pop community mean to you?

It means so much, honestly. Poptropica is a special game that has a special community. Both hold an equally cherished place in my heart.

8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL?

IRL, I’ve always been a relatively timid person. The Poptropica community was the first online community I had joined and truly felt a part of. It allowed me to open up, both online and in real life, allowing me to recognize that my unique personality wasn’t something to shy away from, but value.

Doctor Trio (Hare, Beev, Nyah) by Sporty Boa

9. Outside of Poptropica and your PHB involvement, what are you passionate about?

Outside of the Poptropica community, I am an avid wildlife enthusiast. Whether extant or extinct, the diversity of life on Earth never ceases to amaze me. Conservation, education, and respect towards the natural world are things I’m quite passionate about.

My Pet Goat: One of these cuddly hircines may have a date with danger.

Favorites

  • Island: It will always be Cryptids Island for me, but I’ll throw Shark Tooth Island and Reality TV in there solely off nostalgia and good vibes.
  • Backstory/Lore: Mordred/Binary Bard is such an interesting character with a fascinating backstory. It just adds to the awe and epicness of Astro-Knights Island!
Merlin and Mordred by Sporty Boa

Character: Dr. Beev, Ishmael, Harold Mews… Poptropica has so many notable characters! Some of my personal favorites are:

  • Shark Guy (Shark Tooth Island): Hilarious, relatable and educational all wrapped up in a shark-shaped package!
  • Ishmael (SOS): As a fellow whale-lover, I vibe with Ish! (Also, if whale call gadgets are an actual thing, I’d love one!)
  • Harold Mews (Cryptids): A kind-hearted millionaire with a passion for conservation, who would have thunk?
  • Dr. Beev: Why wood’nt Beev be on this list?

Villains

  • Director D (Spy Island): He’s got the drip, the wit, and the wig, what more could you ask for in a villain?
  • Gretchen Grimlock (Cryptids): What makes GG stand out to me in terms of villainous characters is that she’s not just presented as a rival to your Poptropican, but also an imminent and dangerous threat.
  • Black Widow & The Strange Man (Counterfeit): Poptropica really nailed it with these two! They had cool designs, wove into the story well, and their individual arcs of deceit and redemption were well executed.

Costume: An iconic symbol of do-goodership and courageous adventure, the Robin Hood costume has a special place in my heart… and my closet!


Thanks for having me! Be sure to catch this interview on the Pop Creators’ Blog too. This Boa’s gotta bounce!

– SB 🐍

Creators' Blog Guest Posts, Fan Art Features, Member Gifts, Store

Welcoming Winter with Fox Fits and Hare Brains 🦊❄️

Hey Poptropicans! Blink and it’s December — the holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a plethora of gifts!

The 12 Days of Member Gifts annual tradition has kicked off, this year with items imagined by players via November’s Holly Jolly Holiday Design Contest. We begin with a flair for the furry: a Fox Outfit designed by Perfect Heart, or Joey, as some in the Pop community may know him.

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as more prizes drop into members’ inventories! If you haven’t had the taste of the bougie Pop life yet, why not try your luck in the PHB’s Free Membership Giveaways?


Fret not, non-members… Amelia’s got you for holiday goodies too. Pop over to Adventure Outfitters and you’ll find tons of winter wonders and Christmas cheer on the shop floor, including a little baby penguin! 🐧


Guest writer Invisible Ring has returned to the Pop Creators’ Blog to bring us a throwback to an old project of Poptropica’s — the Dr. Hare LEGO set. Though the campaign did not succeed to make the Rabbot lair into a real toy, it did bring us a lot of fun Dr. Hare-themed items along the way. Still, Ring readily admits, all the “hare-brained” talk is really just a way to keep pushing her Poptropica fan movie, “Battle Morale.”


Last but not least, enjoy the latest fan art features from Pop’s Instagram stories — including a royal sighting also seen in our latest Community Creations. By the way, our new art theme is Pop’s winter celebration, Grapple-Pap — just in time for all this holiday spirit! 💝

~🐠

Creators' Blog Guest Posts

Interview with Fierce Flyer from the Poptropica Creators 🎤✈️

Hello! Welcome to the next part of our series with the Pop Creators interviewing members of the PHB team. Meet Fierce Flyer!

1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica?

It’s all thanks to my sister really. I remember back in elementary school, in the late 2000s, I would look forward to staring at her computer screen. Well, up until the day I thought to myself, “Hey, maybe I should give this Poptropica thing a try myself!”

2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated?

A name that immediately comes to mind for me as criminally underrated is Merlin. I feel as though Merlin gets lost in the masterpiece that is Astro-Knights Island. I mean, the bird sacrifices himself to save your Poptropican. Any respect Merlin has received through the years needs to be tripled, ‘cause I don’t hear nearly enough about this saint of an owl.

As for overrated, it’s gotta be Dr. Hare, right? I mean, no disrespect to the doctor who decided to wear a pink bunny costume but, surely his PhD could’ve gone to better use elsewhere.

3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through?

Purely for the aesthetics, I’ve gotta go with Episode 1 of Survival Island. I really felt like I was there, like I was freezing and needed warmth and not just in the game. Getting that full immersive experience plus the beautiful scenery, is both nostalgic and was revolutionary to Poptropica.

Survival Island, Ep. 1 wallpaper

4. From your perspective, how have you seen the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and community change over time?

Change is inevitable. In the Pop community, the biggest changes that I dealt with were fellow bloggers and Poptropica enthusiasts coming and going. But through it all, my fond memories with them remain dear to my heart, and I have a feeling they would say the same.

5. How has your PHB career surprised you?

Joining the PHB has gotta be a top 10 moment in my life in terms of excitement and happiness. I was over the moon when I was welcomed in, and was pleasantly surprised to find that through joining the blog, I also became a stronger writer.

Fierce Flyer at the blue carpet of the Poppies 2018

6. What inspires you?

I could go on and on about the many things I see and learn everyday that inspire me, but if I had to choose just one, it’d be my older brother and fellow PHB author Sporty Boa. He’s played a pivotal role in the progression of not only my creativity, but also my journey of becoming my best self. So, shout-out to my brotato chip!

Sporty Boa and Fierce Flyer at the PHB’s Flash funeral for Poptropica

7. What does the Pop community mean to you?

This community means so much to me; it’s hard to just put it in words, as corny as that sounds. I’ve recently turned 18, so I’m officially an “adult,” and I can truly say that the Poptropica community — everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting — will hold a special place in my childhood as a cornerstone of my life growing up.

8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL?

Oh for sure! My blog, Fierce Flyer Adventures, began as a Poptropica site, but has also branched out a bit. I made a post 4 ½ years ago called “The Oath of Socialization” where I basically challenged myself to break out of my shell and be my authentic self around others. That post really changed my life because, although it was only supposed to last for a week, I’ve been running with it to this day.

Vanquish E. Vile by Fierce Flyer

9. Outside of Poptropica and your PHB involvement, what are you passionate about?

I’m super passionate about sports — all kinds, really. Anything with a ball, and sometimes a puck or wheel, I’ll be watching it. Along with that, a passion I’ve always had is creating stories. I want to be an author one day, or a director/writer for my own show or movie!

Fierce Black Panther by Fierce Flyer

Favorites

  • Island: It’s a toss-up between Mystery Train and Reality TV, but I’ll give a slight edge to Mystery Train because of its captivating story and endearing characters.
  • Backstory/Lore: Ringmaster Raven. Such a captivating character with a truly tragic backstory, can’t help but to feel bad for him…
  • Character: My guy Edgar! Every time he showed up on my screen I was grinning, a bright spot in an otherwise disturbingly creepy environment on Monster Carnival.
  • Villain: Poptropica has so many great villains, but the cake goes to Director D ‘cause as a kid, I thought he was the coolest dude ever. Here’s a hot take: I think he could rock the bald look!
  • Costume: There are a lot of iconic costumes, but the one I remember the most, and always used, was the Midnight Ninja outfit. I would literally try to find any excuse possible to throw that thing on.

Thanks for having me on! Catch this interview on the Pop Creators’ Blog as well. I look forward to seeing what else is in store!

Creators' Blog Guest Posts

Interview with Gentle Dolphin from the Poptropica Creators 🎤🐬

Hello! Welcome to the next part of our series with the Pop Creators interviewing members of the PHB team. Meet Gentle Dolphin!

1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica? 

I first discovered Poptropica back in 2008 (man, am I that old?). I watched my little sister play Poptropica on the family computer one day, and I wanted to play as well. Guess who kept playing the game long after that. 😉

2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated? 

Poptropica has a large quantity of characters, so some are bound to get lost in the shuffle over time. I have to agree with Purple Paw and say that Captain Ziggs is probably the most underrated Pop character. He gave his life to protect the citizens of Steamworks Island, yet he isn’t talked about much in the community. Even characters like the Elf Queen and the Magistrate get fan art on occasion.

As for the most overrated, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by saying that Dr. Hare is overrated. He became the face of spinoff minigames, merchandise, and even Poptropica itself! He got so much attention that could have shared with other characters.

3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through? 

I loved visiting the dream worlds in Super Villain Island. They have some of the best scenery and provide interesting insight into some of Pop’s iconic villains. My favorite moment was hopping into the paintings in Black Widow’s dream. Talk about an immersive art experience!

I also want to mention the maze sections in Ghost Story Island. We’ve seen Pop from side-on and top-down perspectives, but this was the only time we could turn around and see every little corner of a location.

4. From your perspective, how have you seen the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and community change over time? 

I joined the community sometime in 2017, when Poptropica was searching for ways to survive the death of Flash Player. There was a lot of uncertainty about Pop’s fate during that time, and the community changed along with the game. Older fans either stayed on board or left altogether, and new players joined the community. While the fandom isn’t as active as it once was, there are still dedicated fans creating fan art and crafting theories.

Backspace — the PHB’s “Blank Space” Taylor Swift Parody Music Video — with vocals by Gentle Dolphin! Read about the making of it here.

5. How has your PHB career surprised you? 

First off, being invited to join the PHB was already a big surprise. 😆

In all seriousness, being part of the PHB taught me a lot about working with others online. I learned how to better communicate via text and how to plan online events like our annual Poppies awards. I still make mistakes every now and then, but that means there’s still room to grow.

Designing “Addo B. Flash”, a character for the PHB’s 2020 April Fools prank

6. What inspires you?

I get inspired by many things, from stories to music to real-life experiences. 

7. What does the Pop community mean to you?

The Pop community is full of creative individuals with a shared passion. The PHB’s Community Creations series is a testament to that fact.

“PHB Tribe Reps for the Poptropolis Games” by Gentle Dolphin

8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL? 

You could say that Pop had a notable influence on my interests. Poptropica used to have a Daily Pop page that included comic strips like Peanuts and Big Nate. These comics inspired me to create my very own comics and set me on a creative path. I should probably get back into making comics, now that I think about it.

9. Outside of Poptropica and your PHB involvement, what are you passionate about? 

I’m passionate about art and illustration. I’ve been working on a few projects, whether they be fully independent or with other people. Keep an eye out for them!

“Jersey Devil” by Gentle Dolphin

Favorites

  • IslandGhost Story Island! It has a compelling story and a subdued tone not commonly felt in Pop’s other islands. I definitely want to see this island return in the future.
  • Backstory/Lore: I liked learning about Amelia during her side quest. While it doesn’t reveal any groundbreaking lore, it showcases Amelia’s character via casual conversation and set design. Her little apartment showcases her love of tea, her many adventures, and (of course) her obsession with unicorns. I certainly didn’t expect that last one, but I loved it!
  • Character: Fiona from Ghost Story Island. She is a sweet lady with a tragic history, and she is responsible for some of the island’s most iconic moments.
  • Villain: The Super Power Island crew. They’re a fun collection of villains to fight in a classic superhero setting.
  • Costume: I may be biased when I say “Pumpkin Punk”. 😜🎃

Thanks for the interview, and keep up the good work!

—Gentle Dolphin 🐬