Creators, Social Media

Pop Creator Jess Brallier spills on “storytelling, games, and Poptropica”

Hey Poptropicans, we’re getting right to the heart of Poptropica with OG Poptropica CEO/publisher Jess Brallier! We’ve shared his vision for Pop and even interviewed him here on the PHB before, but there’s more…

Jess recently shared a personal blog post titled “Storytelling, games, and Poptropica,” discussing how it all began with our favorite virtual world—and it’s well worth the read. (Thanks to Brave Tomato, former PHB staffer, for bringing it to our attention!)

The post starts off affirming the success of Poptropica co-creator Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Jess ponders further potential…

What I really wanted (as I always did) was to publish stories for kids.  What was different this time, was that those kids were now intensely engaged in games.

Hmm.  There’s gotta be a gaming literacy with which to tell stories.

…considering that print, film, and theater all have their ways to tell stories. Jess goes on to share how, throughout his career, people didn’t take seriously his ideas for using gaming to tell stories to kids. That is, until he began collaborating with Jeff Kinney to create Poptropica.

Jess captions this photo: “Top row, second one in, is actually me. Makes sense, the old guy, with a worried look on his face, “How am I going to sell this up to ownership?””

The characters in the stories would be avatars.  The user would be the story’s protagonist.  So this avatar had to be human-like.  Able to fashionably dress in any historical or imagined time or place (just like stories!).  They would move—jump, slide, flip.  And express—facial emotions.  Just like humans.  This would not be a virtual world of cute little animals moving stiffly around getting rewards of bananas and apples. The art and design would be second to none.

Jess Brallier

Jess even quotes from an old PHB post, though without naming us. The commentary from “one critic,” about the scene of bubbles in Realms, comes from our post Pop 5: Most Beautiful Scenes in Poptropica, by Happy Lobster. Jess writes, “Good stuff! Our fans “got it.””

The PHB described this scene: “Based on Yggdrasil from Norse mythology, the tree containing all worlds, this scene may seem simple, but really, it is quite captivating. The minimal sky background, the way the colossal tree’s branches twist, and the shining bubbles containing enigmatic pinpricks of light all add up to its enthralling aesthetic.”

Jess continues his story of how Poptropica got started by describing the scramble to find room in the budget for two positions, a front-end and a back-end developer. They eventually track down Pearson’s CEO, Marjorie Scardino, who gives them ten minutes of her valuable time—and the green light to hire the people they need.

That wraps up Jess’s post, which you can read in full on his blog! The PHB reached out on Twitter to ask if he’d be sharing his thoughts on where Poptropica is at today, and he wrote back that he would. Considering how much the game has changed since his days as CEO, we’re definitely keen to hear what he has to say. Stay tuned with us!

The cool thing about all of this, which we thought about from day one, is if we did it right, we’d also be developing a next generation of storytellers, artists, and designers. Cool!

Jess Brallier


PHB Specials, Web Development

A Lifetime of Headers, Part II

Hey Poptropicans! Slanted Fish here.

As we celebrate the PHB’s upcoming 9-year anniversary with the Poppies this month, I thought it’d be interesting to look back on how far we’ve come in a visual way: our lifetime of site headers.

About 8 years ago, then-PHB “graphics guy” Codien released a post reminiscing all the headers that had gone up on the PHB over the life of the blog, many of them designed by himself. He has since moved on to other things, but the PHB has continued his practice of adorning the top of the site with a graphic that tells who we are.

This post is here to commemorate the many designs we’ve had since his post, and as it’s been 8 years, there are many! Most were designed by me, with some graphic assets from Poptropica mixed into most. Other contributors have also been credited on their respective headers. Hover over each image for captions, click to see in full-size, and enjoy!

Well, there you have it! PHB’s headers from 2009 onwards. Don’t forget to catch Part I here, which in addition to Codien’s brilliant designs, includes my awkward attempts at a header from when I first created the blog in 2008.

How many of them were you around to see? Which ones did you like most? Do you feel like the designs have improved over the years? (I personally do.) Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments!

Thanks for sticking with the PHB. Here’s to many more years.

Keep on popping,


PHB Sneak Peeks

The Dr. Hare Glitch

😦 Update: This glitch does not work anymore. 😦

The secrets to Dr. Hare will be revealed. The secrets will be revealed...
The secret has been revealed.

The PHB Dr. Hare Glitch

[Credits to Codien for finding it.]

 Are you sitting around Poptropica, waiting for ages till that new island comes out? Have you got nothing else to do?
Then why don’t you try “The PHB Dr. Hare Glitch” on for size. You will be hairy in no time.


  • This glitch will only work if you haven’t completed the 24 Carrot quest. Make a new user to try it out though.
  • This glitch will change your whole costume into Dr. Hare. Remember that anything you were wearing will be lost.
  • The glitch will make you turn into to a boy even if your a girl because Dr. Hare is a boy. If you want to become a girl again press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [R] until you change to a girl. Remember this randomises everything and you will loose the Dr. Hare costume and you wont be able to get it back.

Follow these directions to complete The PHB Dr. Hare Glitch:

  1. Head over to 24 Carrot Island via the blimp.
  2. Complete most of the quest until you get to the end when you are about to enter the codes onto the computer.
    [For more information and help on completing 24 Carrot Quest click here.]
  3. Enter the codes to become control of Dr. Hares ship.
  4. Now the aim here is to crash into the asteroids to destroy his ship. When you crash into the asteroids his face will pop up shouting at you.
  5. When his face pops up click and hold [Ctrl] + [Shift] and rapidly press [S] at the same time. This should change his skin color/colour.
  6. When his face pops up again press the same buttons to change his skin again. (This is just to make sure you did it the first time.)
    [MAC Users] Press [Command] + [Shift] + [S]
  7. Crash his ship completely and you should be out of the game. BUT WAIT! I’m still myself!
  8. Head down to the bottom and walk out the door on the left. You should now feel and look different. 😛
  9. Go into items and use the telaporter to go back to the top.
  10. CONGRATULATIONS! You are now Dr. Hare!


Here’s a video tutorial if you need more help. Provided by Blooberry



-The PHB Team-

Scary Tomato Smockers Codien
Astro-Knights Island, Sneak Peeks, Web Development

Princesses and the 400,000 Touchdown!

Princesses have been stolen…[CHECK].
The ‘Steelers’ have one a bowl of cereal…[CHECK]. 
Poptropica Help Blog score a touchdown of their own… [WAITING…CHECK].

-Princess Power!-
Poptropica Creator Blog have released another sneak peak into the design of the new island ‘Astro-Knights’ stolen Princesses. I think they look fabulous. 😛
Here’s the design work:

Blog Post Title: Princess Power!
Description: We are working on some cool outfits for AstoKnights Island. Here is a sketch of some possible princess outfits!
Image URL:  astro_girls-Click Here
Image Name: astro_girls.jpg

Thank-you Mousyblack for notifying us when it was posted.
I, Codien, promise to show you a sneak peak of what the costumes look like when they are made. Also the next issue of PHB Sneak Peaks will have some of the costumes that you will get in the new Astro-Knights Island.

-PHB 400,000 Touchdown Countdown-
Yesterday in America the 43rd annual ‘Super Bowl’ was held. As an Australian i have know idea what it is but I’m guessing its some kind of cereal eating contest. No, i know what it is and i know the the Steelers won. Which is a shame because there was an Australian Football player in the Cardinals squad (I think he was the kicker guy). Did you guys watch the ads? 😀
But while I’m on the subject of football, Poptropica Help Blog is soon to score a touchdown of their own. And this time it’s worth 400,000.
So if you would like, i want you guys to count down, or rather count up to 400,000!
Lets do this!
Darn, you guys are too fast for my post. We have already hit 400,000! Wait a minute…WE HAVE REACHED 400,000!

PARTY!   400,000 PARTY!    PARTY!

Thanks guys for getting to 400,000. We are getting more and more visitors everyday.
From the PHB Team: Thanks!. Without you guys we wouldn’t have a site….well we would but it wouldn’t be viewed. 😛

-400,000 View Punches-
[“Hey Tomato, lets give the computer 400,000 view punches!”]
[4 hours later…”399,998…399,999…400,000!”]
[“We did it, Woohoo…”]
[“Lucky we didn’t do that to Smockers…”]


Follow the Poptropica Creators’ Blog!

For those of you who have Blogger accounts, you can now “follow” the Poptropica Creators’ Blog by clicking the follow button in the sidebar. The people who post there are real Poptropica Creators (I am not a Poptropica Creator!).

If you want information about “Following” blogs, click here. You must have a Blogger account to follow the Poptropica Creators’ Blog, and you can sign up here. Here’s Blogger’s description on “following”:

Do you have a favorite blog and want to let the author and readers know that you are a fan? Well now you can do that and more with the Blogger Following feature! You can even keep track of the blogs you follow via your Reading List on the Blogger dashboard.

UPDATE: The Poptropica Creators have removed the followers widget!

In other news: You may have noticed that I have set up a poll on the right side of my blog. Thanks to everyone for voting, and you can still vote! Also, friendly reminder Spy Island will be coming within a week, according to the Poptropica Creators’ Blog. Hope you’re all excited!

Also, if you haven’t already seen it yet, there’s now a guide for the Time Tangled Quest on this blog.