Blast from the Past

2020 Poptropica Rewind: Haxe, the vaccine for our Flash-backs 💉💥

Happy New Year’s Eve, Poptropicans. As 2020 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to take a look back on this strange and eventful year.

These unprecedented times will be remembered in human history for sure — but our focus is on Poptropica as it faces the inevitable end of Flash, the game’s engine for over a decade. Let’s hit Rewind! ⏪

2020 Poptropica Rewind

(You might be interested in taking a look back on Poptropica’s previous years, too. We’ve got just the thing over on our Yearbook page!)

This Rewind has two sides: Poptropica, and the PHB & Community. Tune in to both sides of the disc for a nostalgic dive into both the game’s updates and the fandom’s activities over the past 366 days!


🎈 Poptropica 💥

At the beginning of this year in January, when the world was largely pre-Covid (remember those days?), Poptropica surprised us with what would be the first of many nostalgic kicks: bringing back the Costume Design Contest, which first occurred in 2016–2017. 👩‍🎤 The winner of this contest was Instagram user @bianca_donka’s “Lightning Wielder” costume, which made it into the game in February. ⚡️

Also in February, Poptropica gave a much-needed State of the Game address on the official blog where they addressed various player concerns about what would happen to Poptropica after Flash is gone. 💥❓ Poptropica assured players that the game would go on (and you can read the PHB’s analysis here). They also began rolling out Poptropica’s Haxe build, the newer alternative to the much older Flash engine.

In March, a new pop-up login screen, well, popped up. But a much bigger change to Poptropica’s home screen happened in April, when seven new default characters showed up in a brand-new “Pick a Character” screen! 👨‍🎤👩‍🎤 By that point, anyone making a new account would automatically be playing in Haxe, but logging into a pre-Haxe account still took you to Flash. This was an era of two Poptropicas: Flash, with over a decade’s worth of content; and brand-new Haxe, with just a mere few islands as Poptropica slowly works to port them over.

In the meantime, Poptropica continued rolling out cosmetic updates, with a new Husky pet for members and the introduction of weekly (instead of monthly) store rotations for all. ✨ Poptropica also came up with their most ambitious ad yet: American Girl: Joss’s Island, an “island” on the map with various rooms, games, and prizes.

Haxe players gained their first edge over Flash players in May with the introduction of Quippy, a cute little droid who operates a store selling different themed goods in each common room. 🤖 And soon, summer arrived on Home Island, first on Flash and then on Haxe, where the popular feature of player clubhouses made it over as well. 🏠

June brought a major game-changer for nostalgic players: classic islands were back! 🏝 But only for members, because with the old Flash technology, Poptropica’s servers couldn’t handle everyone trying to access them at once. Also, the Haxe build continued to receive some small updates, some short-lived, like a screen where you get to pick your character’s name and a tutorial pop-up screen.

Another indication of island porting progress appeared on the Haxe map in July with the arrival of Escape From Pelican Rock Island for members. 👮‍♂️ Haxe also got some other updates: new loading screens (mostly promoting membership), a quest roadmap for 24 Carrot (oddly, the only island to get one), a clubhouse starter pack for newbies, and even NPCs walking around on Home Island. But at least one update was met with negative reviews: the removal of the Costumizer (clothing grab feature) nearly everywhere in the game. 🚫👕

Coming up on the heels of that disappointment in August and September was the oddity that was Paradise Island. 🏝 This saga began with some promising sneak peeks of “Poptropica Airways,” but once some players gained access to this day-by-day feature, the feedback proved disastrous. The “island,” which players have called an inferior version of Animal Crossing, stopped updating after day 8, with no word from the Creators ever officially announcing the feature.

But August did bring a more welcome update with a massive import of clubhouse decor, and we do mean massive, with nearly 200 items for your home, most of which were completely new. At least the Creators are well on their way in creating options for home customization for Poptropica’s future in Haxe! 🏡

As time went on, the island porting continued to see progress, and in September, Time Tangled Island made it into Haxe for members. 🕰 It was also Poptropica’s birthday month, and the Creators celebrated 13 years of Poptropica with a birthday rocket item 🚀 as well as a #ThanksKinney campaign, wherein Poptropicans were invited to send in their favorite memories of the game. The Creators would share some with Jeff Kinney, Poptropica’s founder and author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We never heard back from him, but let’s hope he liked them!

A new craze took over the Poptropica fandom in the middle of the month: Dr. Beev of Mocktropica trash can fame. 🐿️ We’ll share more about this beloved and enigmatic character in the second half of this Rewind, but to give a couple highlights from Poptropica’s side: the Beev made his first and only appearance as a real NPC in the game and the Creators even hosted a fan art contest for the character on Instagram.

At the heels of an eventful month came a sequel to rival Poptropica’s most ambitious advertising: American Girl: Courtney’s Island. Like Joss’ Island, Courtney’s was filled with games and prizes, this time with an ’80s theme. 😎 Ads in October weren’t quite so creative, though: video ads in-between scenes made a comeback, despite the criticism Poptropica received for this feature back in 2014.

But October did bring better things, like Zomberry Hero, the first of many limited time special events on Haxe (check out the behind-the-scenes, too!). 🧟‍♂️ A couple promising old-but-renewed features were teased, too: an update to the friends page and new merch, with an open invitation for fan ideas. 🧢 Plus, Poptropica gave players some assurance that their Flash accounts would get to keep their stuff even after Flash is no longer supported by the end of the year.

A major Pop drop landed in November: a remastered version of Mythology Island for Haxe (for all, not just members!), and fans were quick to notice the many challenges from the old version gone in the new. 🌩 Perhaps taking that into consideration, the Creators soon released another Flash classic on Haxe, this time without alterations: Arabian Nights, Ep. 1. 🏜

Also in November, a limited time Fall Festival came to town, offering a giant outdoor common room with fun fair prizes to collect. 🍁 A new message system, which first debuted in the aforementioned Paradise Island, was one place where players could now find updates. ✉️

Plus, the teased friends page for Haxe arrived in beta, the merch store opened on Zazzle (or rather, re-opened, since it was active from 2009–2012), and the long-awaited Design Your Dream Island Contest (nudged by fans) returned with a new submission form for fans to send in their island ideas (and other fan mail) to the Creators. 🏝

December began with 12 Days of Member Gifts, a Poptropica tradition since 2018, with both warm and cool prizes like the Snowflake Costume. ❄️🎁 A fun little limited-time mini-game hopped its way over to the map: Hoptropica, an 8-bit world of jumping with Drs. Beev and Hare. 🐰

Amidst the holiday season, Poptropica introduced a new Christmas/winter-inspired holiday: Grapple-Pap! 🎄🎁 For the first time in forever, Poptropicans got to experience a new storyline with new characters and places through the short and sweet Grapple-Pap Gift side-quest. Poor Clareta, but hey, let’s remember that we can choose to find a spark of joy even in the coldest times. Happy Grapple-Pap!

But wait, there’s more! With only days to go until the end of Flash, the great migration of getting all Flash accounts over to Haxe officially happened. ⏩ December 28 was also a big day for one more reason: Fairy Tale Island was announced as a winner of the Design Your Dream Island Contest, making it the one of the next fan-inspired Poptropica islands to be added to the game. 🏝 And that’s islands, plural, because with hundreds of entries to pick from, Poptropica decided to go with multiple winners! As of this posting, the other winners haven’t yet been revealed, though they did promise they’d be announcing them this week. Guess we’ll find out next year… in 2021!

Now let’s flip over the disc to rewind and see what 2020 had in store for the Poptropica Help Blog and its surrounding community…


💙 PHB & Community 🌎

We couldn’t have predicted that a pandemic would take over the world in 2020, but we did foresee a different tragedy: the end of Adobe Flash.

In January, we gathered all that we knew about Poptropica’s transition away from Flash into an in-depth look at Preserving Poptropica post-Flash, and again in February after Poptropica released some more info on the topic. 💥 We also added Game Guides for the newer, single-player arcade games Blaster AttackCrash-n-Bash, and Poptastic. Better late than never! What’s your high score?

In March, with Covid-19 spreading fast all over the world and people sheltering in place, the PHB compiled a list of Poptropica things to do while in quarantine. Topping that list was revisiting the prescient Virus Hunter Island, released in 2013 years before… all this. 😷🦠 We also invited all of you to participate in our annual PHB Readers’ Survey.

We kicked off April with the intriguing idea of a PHB Flash Experience, a Flash game starring our boy Addo B. Flash. Spoiler alert: April Fools! ⚡️ While we were just joking around, though, Poptropica made a rare appearance on Twitter with a puzzling endorsement of Joe Biden for U.S. president, a comical mis-tweet which has since been pulled. 🐦

May was a quiet month besides our usual reporting, but in June, we kept this blog busy connecting with the community: giving a commencement address to the graduating (and other) Poptropicans of 2020 🎓, highlighting YouTubers creating unique Poptropica content 📹, and releasing the results of our PHB Readers’ Survey. 📊

July is always a big month here on the PHB as we celebrate the Poppies, our annual Poptropica fan awards, along with the blog’s birthday (12 this year!). 🏆 The event also gave way to Dr. Beev’s unexpected rise to fame. Later, we checked in again on the post-Flash Poptropica situation.

We kept the party rolling in August with the return of the PHB’s Tribal Tournament, a massive month-long extravaganza of fan-run Poptropica Olympics last held in 2016. Congrats again to the Black Flags for winning the gold! 🏴🏅 The competitive spirit got to Poptropica, too, in the unexpected form of a second controversial tweet where they gloated about overtaking games like Animal Jam in the iOS App Store rankings. The head of Animal Jam himself got in on the heat, and again, Poptropica’s tweet was soon deleted.

Fans went all in for Poptropica’s birthday in September with Poptropica Month, a month of making, watching, and sharing Poptropica videos headed up by the Dimension Bros on YouTube. Even the Creators posted about it on their blog! Over the course of the month, the PHB highlighted some of the 50+ videos that joined the Pop Month playlist, and some of our staff made videos too. 📹 We also took part in Poptropica’s #ThanksKinney birthday campaign with a throwback to a few OG Pop Creators’ visions for the Poptropica universe. 💭

Another highlight of September was one we touched on earlier: Beev Day! 🐿️ A rise in popularity for a previously obscure character, which started on our PHC Discord server, took center stage when fans decided to host a party in honor of Dr. Hare’s beaver twin—and unexpectedly found him waiting outside the common room. On a different note, the PHB did some updating as well, in the form of a new website theme.

October saw plenty of fan creativity with a Poptober drawing challenge as well as the PHB’s annual Halloween Costume Contest with a theme of “Heroes & Villains” (check out the winners here!). 🦸‍♀️🦹‍♂️ We also hosted an interview with the Poptropica Pals, a real-life university student club centered on creating community through Poptropica.

Plus, we lined up an interview with the CEO of Poptropica himself, Mr. Abhi Arya, with an open invitation for fans to bring their questions. Abhi graciously took the time to answer every burning question sent his way, from what will happen to Poptropica in 2021 to whether certain features like the Photo Booth will return to the game. Read the full Q&A here!

Also in November, Purple Paw joined the PHB team — our first new staffer in two years! Then, in December with the end of the Flash era fast approaching, the PHB hosted a “Gone in a Flash” Holiday Party, gallivanting in Poptropica’s Flash-based common rooms for the last time. On Christmas Day, we also shared a huge collection of Poptropica comic strips, compiled by Invisible Ring, from the formerly daily series that ran from 2014–2016. Hope you enjoy the read! 🎁📰

That brings us to now, on the eve of the moment the cord is officially cut for Adobe Flash. What a potent mix of nostalgia and newness 2020 has been for Poptropica, the PHB, and the surrounding fan community! 🎉 Before we take a bow on this long look back, we want to shine a few more spotlights around this amazing Poptropica community…

Community Creations

Now rounding off its 4th year of monthly fan art highlights, the PHB’s Community Creations series is an opportunity to make and enjoy Poptropica fan art with a new theme every month, and we’re always amazed by what this fandom can do. From Pirates to Masks, here’s a look back at some of our faves in 2020. 🎨 (Click to enlarge images!)

We’re almost to the end, folks! As you can see from this long post, it’s been quite a year. Maybe it’s all the extra time spent at home in front of screens because of quarantine this year, but we’ve definitely enjoyed an uptick in activity from both Poptropica (whose social media is active again) and the fan community, including on our Discord server, the PHC!

PHB posts you don’t want to miss

Here on the PHB, in addition to the many highlights shared above, we’ve also had the joy of preparing many more fun posts for you all, with revisits to old islands through Ramble Reviews from guest writers as well as Spotted Dragon’s additions to our Pop Places IRL series, which this year has explored Wild West, Mystery Train, Game Show, and Arabian Nights Islands. And we’ve covered plenty more interesting topics (including some wild theories) along the way — check out more of our favorites from the PHB’s Greatest Posts collection! ✨

Closing the chapter on 2020

Covid may have restricted the world’s movements this year, but being Poptropica fans, we’re no strangers to finding virtual fun from the comfort of our homes and on our screens. In these strange times, and indeed in all times, let us remember the blessings we have in each other and all around us. Whether we’re discovering what Poptropica is up to next or getting to know fellow fans, may we give and receive joy always. We’re certainly grateful to have you here! 💙

As we close the books on the magnificent storm that was 2020, our greatest goodbye goes to Poptropica’s longtime engine, Adobe Flash. Rest in peace, dear friend, with all the islands, items, and fun features we may or may not get to see on the other side. 🙏

Rest in peace, Adobe Flash.

Thanks to Poptropica’s hard work this year and beyond, Flash’s demise doesn’t mean the end for Poptropica. Together, let’s look forward to 2021 with a growing world in Haxe, the vaccine to our Flash-backs for more than a decade of Flash gaming on Poptropica. 💉💥

Look out for more Poptropica goodness coming up here on the Poptropica Help Blog! 🦋 We’ve got some fun things cooking, including a new interactive series, that we think you’re going to enjoy. Thank you for joining us, and as always, keep on poppin’ on! 🥳

🎇 Happy New Year! 🎆

— the Poptropica Help Bloggers —

Slanted Fish, Spotted Dragon, Lucky Joker, Fierce Flyer, Sporty Boa, Gentle Dolphin & Purple Paw

PHB Parties

Save the date for the PHB’s “Gone in a Flash” 2020 holiday party! 💥

The party has ended. Stay tuned for the recap on the PHB!

Hey Poptropicans. As 2020 comes to an end, it’s time to say goodbye to Flash, the technology that Poptropica has been running on since its beginning in 2007, which is being replaced by Poptropica on Haxe.

But we here at the PHB couldn’t let it go without a bang! And as the holidays draw near, we figure the timing’s good for a Poptropica party. So join us and let’s commemorate the occasion as our accessibility to years of Poptropica memories will soon be “gone in a Flash”!

  • When: Saturday, December 19 @ 8 pm Eastern / 7 pm Central / 6 pm Mountain / 5 pm Pacific (for all other time zones, check this time converter). In some parts of the world, it may be Sunday morning, December 20. Save the date!
  • 📍 Where: Hanging out in Poptropica’s common rooms on Mythology and 24 Carrot Island—we’ll try to meet on both Flash and Haxe, though whether Flash stays accessible can’t be guaranteed! Your best bet on where to find the party is to stay with us on our Discord server, the PHC — a fun, safe chat space where PHB staff and other Poptropicans regularly hang out. It’s open anytime, so come on in!
  • 💥 Why: To give one last hurrah for Flash, the engine that’s sustained Poptropica for over a decade. And to celebrate the holidays!

While Poptropica is working on bringing over many beloved classic islands from Flash to the new era of Haxe, and have already been making some progress, some things are still going to look different. We’re hopeful for the future of Poptropica, but the transition is definitely a milestone — one that we’d like to commemorate with you.

So bring your nostalgic tears, your anticipatory fears, and temper that with your gratitude for all the years and a fair bit of holiday cheers, too. We’ll see you there as the game changes gears! 🥳

— 🎄 the Poptropica help bloggers ✨—

Creators, PHB Specials

Q&A with Poptropica’s CEO, Abhi Arya 🎤🤴

Hey Poptropicans — you asked, and Poptropica has answered!

A while back, we asked you to bring your questions for Poptropica’s CEO, Abhi Arya. We selected some for him to answer, and he has responded!

We may have tweaked a few of the fan questions for clarity, but Mr. Arya’s words below are verbatim. For a few of the answers, the PHB asked for clarification, and Ms. Natalie Shahmiri, the general manager of Poptropica, stepped in to answer on his behalf, so you’ll see her responses too. Without further ado, let’s pop all of the questions!


Introduction

Emma I: How does it feel to head up such a great game that has made so many childhoods?

Abhi: It feels great. Whenever I am in a room with Poptropica fans, I hear great kudos. Having association with a recognised game that continues to excite the gaming generation is a proud feeling. But I am not alone – I have a great team supporting me in this journey – in fact our game designers, developers and product team are much more passionate about Poptropica and they push me to do better for our players.

Theo (of Dimension Bros): How are Poptropicans so strong?

Abhi: Rumor has it that they descended from dinosaurs. Some people have said birds, which kind of are dinosaurs? Or maybe it’s just sheer willpower and determination. That’s probably it.

Dino DNA: Won’t find any cloning materials here.

The Future of the Game

Magniventris: What does 2021 hold for Poptropica? Will there be brand new islands, or will the focus be entirely on porting old islands to Haxe? If it’s on porting, how many islands do you project will be converted by the end of next year?

Abhi: We’re working on a mix of both, plus some remasters of the old islands. We’re also looking at ways to allow players to access the old islands once Flash isn’t widely supported anymore.

Natalie: Our current audience plays a big part in how we approach converting islands too. For example, the remastered Mythology island is a departure from the island you grew up with. It’s linear and definitely simpler (but still not too easy for a younger kid!). We have a lot to weigh when creating new content, from special events to remastered islands, so we don’t really know yet how many islands will be converted by next year. That’s also why we’re looking at options to ensure our older fans can still play the original Poptropica islands. We know how much the Poptropica you grew up with means to you and want to make sure you can always play that version.

The remastered Mythology Island on Haxe deviates from the original.

Emma I: Will non-members be able to access old islands anytime soon, and when can we expect that to happen?

Abhi: The original islands use some old technologies that make it harder for us to support in a live environment. Limiting it to members-only keeps our systems from being overwhelmed and allows us to focus on the long-term decisions of how to keep them available. We’ll share more by the start of 2021.

Short Glove: Will player names be customizable from a prescripted list in Haxe, like they were in Flash? (Right now, only a handful of names are possible in Haxe based on the default character you first choose when making an account, but many more options were available in Flash.) (Editor’s note: Since this question was asked and answered, the Friends Beta released in Haxe with the option to change one’s name.)

Abhi: It’s something we’ve definitely been considering. We’re working on optimizing a lot of the player features right now, like the ability to add friends by username. We’re also working on some new ideas for player dashboards, which may incorporate customizable names or use usernames instead.

Small Beginnings: This was our very first attempt at designing your friends profile page.

Bee: Will there ever be a multiplayer option for playing through Poptropica islands with friends?

Abhi: Adding multiplayer to the older islands would be a little tricky since they were designed for a single-player experience, but we’re actively testing how to do this in new ways.

Purple Paw: Will the Photo Booth, Costumizer, and old Friends profiles be brought back? Why were these features taken out in the first place?

Abhi: The photo booth and old friends’ profiles weren’t very popular and were pretty dated. That’s the tough thing when you have a popular game for over 10 years, some things just start to feel out of place, especially for a new generation of players. Whenever we make these decisions we look at the data: what are users engaging with? If something no longer resonates with players we look at how we can update it or sometimes make the tough decision to remove it from the game.

Natalie: Engagement with things like the photo booth and old friend profile was less than 10% of the players. They were definitely fun features but as gaming has evolved, we need to evolve with it. We want to reintegrate features like that, but in a way that makes sense for today’s players. 

Invisible Ring: What’s the plan for Poptropica Worlds? Will there be more islands there, or will it eventually fuse with Poptropica Original?

Abhi: We had to pause development on Poptropica Worlds so we could focus on the conversion of Poptropica from Flash to Haxe. We’re still working on a plan for Poptropica Worlds, but for now, our focus is still on Poptropica.

The Pop Creators are focusing on Poptropica Original, not Poptropica Worlds.

Maxx: Will the old islands be adapted for the Poptropica app (iOS and Google Play)? (I really enjoyed playing Cryptids and Big Nate for the nostalgia factor, and would really like to replay them on the iPad.)

Abhi: Some of the older islands won’t be available on mobile in their original form. They were built using a version of ActionScript from prior to mobile games even existing! Since they can’t be converted there aren’t a lot of options outside of working on a way for players to still access and play them after Flash is no longer actively supported.

Mess of a Being: When recreating old Flash islands for Haxe, will you consider making changes to the stories, like with the new-ish 24 Carrot Island on Poptropica Worlds?

Abhi: Yes, this is definitely in the plans. We’re also tweaking some of the islands since we know there are spots that were too hard or confusing for players. Mythology Island that comes out in November will be the first island we’ve converted that will have changes to it.

Editor’s note: The remastered Mythology Island came out on Haxe ahead of schedule last Friday, October 30. Read more about the release and initial community feedback here!

Aphrodite now gives up her precious vanity mirror without a challenge.

Fandom Fun

wow: What do you think about the Poptropica fandom community?

Abhi: We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our fans. We’re actually bringing back our VIP program to help elevate our super fans. Stay tuned to the Poptropica Blog for more details coming out soon.

Theo (of Dimension Bros): Do you keep up with certain Poptropica fans’ postings (blogs, Instagram artists, YouTube channels, etc)? If so, which ones?

Abhi: We definitely do and Dimension Bros is one of them! We see almost everything tagged with Poptropica and regularly share our favorites among the Pop Creators. We’re also working to share them more on our blog and social media.

Incredible Fire: Can we have another Create Your Dream Island contest? This monumental contest that gave us Arabian Nights Island happened 7 years ago, and many fans today would love the chance to participate.

Abhi: Definitely! How about after this interview gets posted we start the contest?

IsaacEntertains (of Dimension Bros): Since a few fans have shared their lists, we’d like to know: who does the Poptropica team declare are the top 10 hottest Poptropica characters?

Abhi: That’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite. 


Creative Process

Emma I: What does the process of making an island look like?

Abhi: We actually just did a blog post about this for the Zomberry Special Event. To start off we talk about different story ideas and iterate on that until we have a story the whole team likes. From there we start storyboards so everyone knows the sequence of events and has an idea of what each scene will look like. The developers use the storyboards to start their initial coding while the artists start to make all the art and animations. There are a lot of meetings during those steps with feedback, changes, more feedback, and even more changes. It takes months for an island to be built because of how many scenes, mini-games, NPCs, and prizes need to be made. There’s also music that needs to be composed and of course, a lot of testing.

Artists use software to create in-game animations for Poptropica.

GEAR: How long does it take to make one character, from their initial design to putting them in the game?

Abhi: Anywhere from 1-2 weeks. Characters with a lot of animations take the longest.

GEAR: Are you hiring? How do people get involved in working with Poptropica, and what kind of skills/talents do you look for?

Abhi: If someone is new to game design and development it’s best if they keep a lookout for when we post internship opportunities. We look for all types of skillsets, from artists to animators to developers. Outside of game development, we have marketing, which includes making videos and social media posts, and analysts who help go through game data to see how things in the game are performing. There are a lot of ways to get involved with Poptropica, it just depends on what part of the game industry you want to get involved with.

The Poptropica team in 2016 celebrating the game’s 9th birthday with cake at the office.

PHB: What does the Poptropica team currently look like now? How many people are on the team and doing what kinds of work?

Abhi: The Poptropica team is made up of team members all around the world. We have artists, game developers, web developers, graphic designers, testers, and more. Maintaining and growing a game like Poptropica requires a lot of people!

PHB: Fans have noticed that Poptropica’s newer (and fewer) islands lack the depth of storytelling found in many of its older islands. Why has Poptropica strayed from this original vision, and will you return to this key element which made the game unique?

Abhi: Storytelling is still core to what Poptropica is and always will be. Creating a full island story and experience can take anywhere from 3-6 months and requires the full team. Since we’re still working on converting the old islands we’ve been creating some smaller and shorter experiences so you have something to do in-between the islands being converted.

The Zomberry Hero special event was a smaller and shorter experience released in October 2020 while island conversion was in progress.

Dangerous Icicle: Why are there so many ads in the Poptropica browser? (The whole screen is littered with ads, even ads for Poptropica, and the new video ads in between scenes were not well received.)

Abhi: We added more ad units to the game browser and in-between scenes due to demand. A lot of the new units, like in-between scenes, are being tested and may not stay permanently.

Natalie: The demand for more ads came from advertisers. COVID-19 has made most businesses change how they approach advertising and that impacted how our partners work with us. While we know players aren’t crazy about the ads, advertising is part of what funds the development of Poptropica. We’re always working to find the right balance.

With the recent inclusion of video ads, it is possible to encounter a full screen of ads while playing Poptropica. Sometimes the ads are for Poptropica itself!

Tyler N: What is Jeff Kinney’s involvement with Poptropica these days?

Abhi: He isn’t actively involved at the current moment since most of our efforts have been focused on converting the game from Flash to Haxe instead of new islands. Plus, he’s pretty busy with his book series!

Tyler N: What, if any, do plans for a Poptropica movie, TV show, or animated series look like right now? (It was hinted at in the Q&A with the previous Poptropica CEO.)

Abhi: This is something that we’re always considering. It takes time to make partnerships like this happen and isn’t something we’ve ruled out.

MaryannTheConqueror: Are there any plans for more Poptropica merch, and is there a way fans (especially the nostalgic ones) could be involved in creating/suggesting ideas for that? Many have some very cool ideas!

Abhi: We have a new shop launching in November and yes, we definitely want suggestions! We’ll let you all know more on the Poptropica Blog.

Editor’s note: Since answering this Q&A, the Poptropica Creators’ Blog has shared about their plans to sell merch and invited fans to give suggestions!

MaryannTheConqueror: Are the Poptropica Creators OK with small-scale sales of fan-made merch (such as through Etsy or at conventions, or print-on-demand sites like RedBubble)?

Abhi: I love fan art and creations that are inspired by Poptropica. Using our art and logo files for merch isn’t okay though.


The Big Questions

PHB: Will Poptropica consider adapting its content for a progressively older player base? Though many started playing Poptropica as kids, many fans are now teens and young adults. And as Poptropica Creators have shared before, Poptropica stories have the potential to carry more than just a superficial experience.

Abhi: It’s an interesting idea and we often talk about how we can extend the stories outside of the main game. The core of our audience is still on the younger side, similar to when you probably started playing. It’s who the game is made for, so we have to stay true to that as our core focus.

Natalie: The majority of the Poptropica players are still under 13. We have over a million kids playing every month and while the PHB fandom is big, it doesn’t encompass all of our players. Similar to when a lot of you started playing, a lot of our players today are introduced to and play Poptropica in school. They also discover us through advertisements on kid-specific websites.

Oh Baby: Young at heart is usually good enough.

Mess of a Being and Tiny Bean: What do you have to say to criticism about the ending of Monster Carnival Island, which some fans have found problematic? (This fan video highlights the issues, explaining that Ringmaster Raven’s portrayal plays into ugly stereotypes and that he is given disproportionately unfair treatment by the townsfolk.)

Abhi: I totally get it. This is definitely one of those instances where you know the intent doesn’t align with the issue and you have to ask, “How was this affected by implicit bias?” We’re actually auditing all the islands for this reason and have already revised Monster Carnival for its conversion to Haxe. I appreciate that players bring this to our attention. It’s the only way we can all collectively move forward in the right direction.

Ringmaster Raven deserved better.

PHB: What is the current vision of Poptropica in terms of how it hopes to impact the next generation?

Abhi: I want Poptropica to continue to inspire young fans around the world. Gaming has changed a lot since Poptropica was first introduced and I’m proud of the fact that kids still love our characters and stories. Seeing videos of people coming to play Poptropica after 10 years and their enthusiasm for the game is amazing. All of the fan art (and fanfiction) is inspiring and shows that Poptropica holds a place in players’ hearts.

Mess of a Being: Are there characters in Poptropica that the Creators see as LGBT? Who might they be? (For fan discussion on this topic, see Dimension Bros’ video on analyzing queerness in Poptropica.)

Abhi: Poptropica always has been and always will be inclusive. It’s part of why we want players to be able to customize their characters however they want and why we removed the gender selector when setting up an account. I don’t think we have any characters where their gender identity or sexual orientation plays a role in the story, but it’s something I think we should consider for future islands. Representation matters and we’ll always work to create a place where everyone feels like they belong.

And finally…

GEAR: Thoughts on Dr. Beev?

Abhi: Dr. Beev is an enigma. He does periodically show up for parties though.

Nice gnawing you too, Dr. Beev.

You made it to the end! Thanks so much to Abhi and Natalie for joining us on this Q&A and taking the time to address some fan questions and concerns. It’s assuring to hear there are big plans for Poptropica even beyond the end of Flash gaming!

What did you all think of their responses? What further questions do you have for the Poptropica team? Share your thoughts in the comments below and on the PHC Discord!

— the Poptropica Help Blog —

Uncategorized

A commencement address to Poptropicans of 2020

This post is going to be a bit different from our usual news updates and fandom spotlights, but we want to take a moment to toast and encourage you, Poptropicans of unprecedented and tumultuous times. Here’s to you!

To the Poptropicans of 2020,

It’s been a strange year. We’re living in a global pandemic, yes, but that hasn’t stopped us from playing Poptropica. That threat lies elsewhere, in the impending end for Adobe Flash. But more on that later.

In some parts of the world, now’s about that time of the year when students graduate and have ceremonies to celebrate the occasion—gatherings which now, of course, may not happen in person, or at least will look different than usual. So if you’re graduating this year (whether from elementary, middle, high school or college): congratulations! 👩‍🎓 And even if it’s not your turn yet, what follows is still for you too.

Here at the Poptropica Help Blog, we want to commemorate with you with a commencement speech of sorts, to remind you of the times we’ve had, to give you hope, and to send each other into the world to come. So we’ve donned our caps and gowns (from the Graduation costume available now in the store!) and prepared a celebration for you. Let’s roll.

Some of you have discovered this game only recently, and others of you have been around for literally a decade. Either way, we’re all part of the Poptropica fam, and that’s worth celebrating! 🙌

As Poptropicans, we’ve ridden on gryphons, been chased by blueberry-infected zombies, trolled some lumberjerks, and had lots more adventures. (And when you were stuck, we were right here with illustrated island guides to help you through. 😉 ) How many of these moments in Poptropica do you remember?

It’s been a good long run, but things are different now. There’s uncertainty. We know that Flash will not be supported by the end of this year, and it’s resulted in drastic changes for Poptropica as they prepare for this future—it’s meant islands disappearing and cosmetic and structural changes to the game. A fresh, challenging, solid island adventure seems a long way away.

And offline, there’s uncertainty too. Plans have changed, and perhaps you’re not sure what the next year or even the next few months might look like. But it’s okay not to know. What you can hope in is this: the world needs you, noble Poptropican.

Remember your adventures in Poptropica, and all that was gained from them. Love sacrificially, as the Vizier did for you in Arabian Nights. Find joy in wonder, like Salerno with her alien structures in Lunar Colony. Live patiently, as with your grind for the Phoenix Warbird in Skullduggery. Even when these islands fade, their legacy remains. So know that the giants you’ve faced, and the friendships you’ve formed, have prepared you to take on the world with courage, kindness, and yes, even greatness.

Have hope, because you’ve come this far. Have faith, because you are surrounded by people who believe in you. And take heart, brave ones, because you’re just getting started.

Life is made up of the everyday moments, and your part matters.

A new world awaits. Poptropicans, may you rise up to meet it.

the Poptropica Help Blog

p.s. While you’re here, consider sharing in the comments about how Poptropica has shaped you as a person! ⭐️

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Choices and compliments in the Year of the Rat

Happy Lunar New Year, Poptropicans! 🧧🎊🐲 恭喜發財!

Starting today, we’re ushering in the Year of the Rat, one of the twelve animals in the calendar cycle of the Chinese zodiac. 🐀

Poptropica has joined in the festivities too, with a blog post featuring a big, sorta creepy-looking rodent, and dropping slight hints about what’s to come. (Editor’s note about their picture: Lunar/Chinese New Year certainly begins on the 25th this year, but is celebrated for days afterward!)

This Saturday marks the start of year 4718 of the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat!

We’re wishing you guys the best of luck in the coming year, and we’re looking forward to it ourselves! Some big game updates are on the horizon, and we’ll be posting more details about them soon, as well as the results of the art contest!! Stay tuned!

Hmm… “big game updates”… vague but promising. The results of the art contest (the costume design contest, which ended earlier this week) are something more concrete to look forward to, at least!


Also on the blog, Poptropica recently put out a poll asking the all-important question, “Where do you play Poptropica?”, specifically, “phone or computer?” If you haven’t answered yet, you can still cast your vote or change it with a click on the poll post. These are the results as of now:

Out of 650+ votes, the majority (76%) say they play Poptropica on the computer, while almost a fifth (20%) say they play on both, and the remaining minority (6%) are on team phone. Taking the “both” vote into account, that’s 94% who play on the computer and 24% on mobile.

Are you surprised by the results? Do you think this justifies Poptropica’s efforts into building for the newer and ever-rising frontier of mobile gaming, or should they spend more focus on just the desktop game? (Though, with current tech, one probably relates to the other.) Sound off your thoughts in the comments!


This past Friday, January 24 was also Compliment Day, an occasion not quite as historically established as the Lunar New Year but nevertheless also celebrated by Poptropica.

They put out a post with a drawing featuring Myron van Buren giving a friendly compliment to fellow (Pelican Rock?) prison inmate Dr. Hare on just how perfectly evil his vibes are, along with a note of encouragement for all Poptropicans to say a kind word to one another. Good vibes only, y’all. ✌️

Today is Compliment Day! Say something nice to your fellow Poptropican, and let’s show each other how much we appreciate one another! You never know when a small kind word could make someone’s day.

So on that note, here’s a compliment for you, dear reader: great choice of reading material today by being here on the PHB!

But seriously, you matter to us, and to the communities you’re a part of, whether they’re your family, friends, or the collective of Poptropicans on the internet. We’re super grateful that you’re here, and we hope you’ll journey on with us into the coming year as we see what’s next for Poptropica! ✨

~slantedfish (a rat in zodiac)