Who is Shark Boy? Where has he gone? We won’t forget him the way Poptropica did…
For years, Shark Boy has been a prominent icon in Poptropica’s arsenal of characters — the lovable little shark dude has been with the game since 2007, when Shark Tooth Island (the second island) first came out. In addition to being an actual character inside the island’s Shark Museum, he was also among the team posting on the Creators’ Blog, and his persona could be seen in various places.
We knew the “Shark Boy” alias belonged to a Creator called Nate Greenwall because Shark Boy had posted on the Creators’ Blog a picture of him (as Shark Boy) in his office with Poptropica on his computer screen. Meanwhile, a picture of Nate working on Poptropica was also on his personal blog — and the offices are the same. Check out the comparison:
However, starting from mid-April 2014, Poptropicans began to notice Shark Boy slowly being alienated from the Poptropica world — and it began with the changing of his name. First, anyone who had added his user (SharkBoyCreator) to their friends list would now see his name as Shark Guy, and instead of the dead fish he usually carried, he now held the movie camera from the Back Lot Island bonus quest.
There’s a little trick that allows you to view the usernames of the people in your friends list, and doing it on the character of SharkBoyCreator (for those who added him years ago) will show that his username is now SharkGuyCreator. If you look up Shark Boy’s old username now, you’ll just get a random Poptropican named Young Catfish who’s wearing the Aztec mask and Tiger Shark body – whereas before you’d get Shark Boy with his name and costume. (first reported by the PHB on April 19, 2014)
One theory from PHB author HPuterpop is that it might be a cover-up for some kid who got access to Shark Boy’s account, because those who had his old username friended but not his new one would see it replaced with Shark Guy (but with the name “Poptropican”).
Less than a week after the PHB posted this finding, the Poptropica Creators started being more diligent in covering up the existence of Shark Boy altogether — starting with the icon beside each Daily Pop sneak peek, which has featured Shark Boy holding a giant pencil ever since the Daily Pop was first released in 2010. But now, he’s been replaced by the dastardly grinning villain of 24 Carrot: Dr. Hare.
If that wasn’t enough, the Shark Boy costume that you get from buying the Shark Boy plastic toy now shows up as “Shark Costume”, even though that the original costume was named “Shark Boy”…
Those who were around in Poptropica’s earlier days may remember that along with other Creator aliases, “Shark Boy” occasionally posted on the official Creators’ Blog as well. Here’s an example of one of his posts shortly after we (the Poptropica Help Blog) pulled an April Fool’s prank on our site back in 2009 by pretending to be the Club Penguin Help Blog:
Nowadays it’s almost always Captain Crawfish doing the posting, but herein lies the scandal: all of Shark Boy’s previous posts on the Creators’ Blog have been replaced with Captain Crawfish listed as the author! Here’s an example from a cache from the Wayback Machine, and compare that to the current version on the Creators’ Blog. Other posts (like this one, or even the one above about the PHB) have just outright been deleted.
Another Creator alias who sometimes posted on the Creators’ Blog was Comic Kid, whose icon was Ned Noodlehead from Super Power Island. However, one of the posts in the blog’s archives lists him as Comic Boy – a typo that may relate to the Shark Boy mystery.
Then in August 2014, during Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, Captain Crawfish made a post promoting Shark Tooth Island, and perhaps more importantly, hinted towards the whole Shark Boy scandal. Sort of.
The second Island we ever released, way back in 2007, was Shark Tooth Island, which featured the massive Booga Shark, a helpful medicine man, and one very special boy whose name we no longer recall.
At least good old Captain Crawfish, Shark Boy’s successor, afforded him one last shoutout… 😦 #momentofsilence
Now, as to why the Creators decided to remove all traces of Shark Boy’s name, there are a couple of theories (Poptropica has not explicitly given any reason for their part):
- As mentioned above, the original Shark Boy account may have been hijacked and the Creators wanted to cover it up by replacing it on people’s friends lists with another shark character – but this doesn’t explain why they called the new one “Shark Guy” instead.
- Poptropica may have gotten into some legal issues regarding the use of the name “Shark Boy”: 1) there was a court case against Pearson Education and a wrestler called “Shark Boy” concerning the use of the name on our beloved Shark Boy, but it was dismissed and Pearson (which owns Poptropica) was not fined; or 2) the (unintentional) infringement came from the title of a 2005 kids’ adventure movie called The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.
Update: In late November 2015, a tweet from Poptropica confirmed the disappearance to be because of the latter reason – that a wrestler already owned the name, so they couldn’t use it. Case closed!
These days, you can still find Shark Boy in the Shark Museum on Shark Tooth Island, one random sock drawer in CJ’s bedroom on Shrink Ray Island, and any Shark Boy merchandise you might own (such as a T-shirt or plush). Other than that, though, it seems the Creators have left no stone unturned when it comes to eradicating him from the world of Poptropica.
We here at Poptropica Help Network won’t forget you so easily, Shark Boy. You were truly an icon of Poptropica’s earliest days, and you’ve made your mark in the hearts of many long-time Poptropicans.
in loving memory of Shark Boy (2007 – 2014)