Is Poptropica becoming pay-to-play?

Hey Poptropicans, it’s Slanted Fish, and I’m here to talk about a question that’s been asked more and more lately: Is Poptropica becoming a pay-to-play game?

Now, Poptropica has always been a free game, and hopefully, it always will be. However, that line is becoming more blurred than it used to be, and that’s concerning.

Earlier this week, a big update was released on Poptropica Worlds, offering tons of cool new features, both expected and unexpected. We got costumes, house expansions, the Colorizer, and new furniture. There was just one major issue… most of it was for members only.

popworlds summer update 1

You might not have seen that coming from the Creators’ Blog’s breakdown of the news, which didn’t once reference membership. But let’s take a look at the facts:

  • 2 Color Changing Outfits: When you go to select the individual parts you want to buy, you’ll find that half of each outfit is for members only.
  • 8 Summer Outfits: Of these eight outfits, four of them (that’s half!) are for members only in their entirety, while the other four are completely available to all. You only find out that they’re members only when you click the costume to see the individual parts.
  • House Expansions: For members only. We did see this one coming from the descriptions for membership, though.
  • Colorizer: Those alluring “endless color options”? Members only. Non-members are stuck with a six-color palette for skin tones and another for hair.
  • Beach Decor: 19 new items, literally all of them for members only. Interestingly, the key and wallpapers are free for members, but the other items still cost coins.

Not since the Members Only Islands (which, by the way, has won “Worst Poptropica Update” in the Poppies community awards two times) has there been a massive update that’s been so… member-centric. And for many Poptropicans, that’s a huge turn-off.

Since the update, many have voiced out their criticisms, including LillySparkle$ on the Pop Blog, Purple Claw on Clawtropica, and those in the PHB comments. Some players have compared it to Club Penguin, which was notorious for a gameplay experience that amounted to waddling around and making new enemies if you weren’t a member.

The Poptropica Creators have responded on social media, but gave a more detailed reply about the situation on Purple Claw’s post:

pophq comment

It’s good to know the Creators are still taking our thoughts into account and re-assuring us that Poptropica will continue to be “a free game that can be enjoyed by all.” I definitely agree that the Poptropica Creators deserve to be compensated for their hard work, as do creators of all kinds who make quality, enjoyable content.

If you’re looking at Poptropica gameplay as being able to play islands, then Poptropica isn’t becoming pay-to-play. In fact, they’ve even gotten rid of having to wait through a members-only Early Access period for a new island on Worlds, which is a plus.

Why are we worried about membership then?

Remember, though, that the Poptropica experience is more than islands: it’s also customizing your character and your house. In that sense, the focus on membership that is so evident in this update, as well as other aspects of Pop Worlds, remains disconcerting for many Poptropicans – and for good reason.

A big reason is that, on Worlds, more of the experience has been put behind a paywall – compared to Poptropica Original, where many more aspects were accessible to all, including aspects that are now for members only on Worlds. This includes the endless Colorizer and certain costumes like the Dark Knight and Midnight Ninja, as PHB commenter GreedyShadow points out. Shouldn’t they be free on Worlds too?

Another concern is simply that it’s hard for some players to get memberships. Many Poptropica players are kids without money, who were attracted to Poptropica because it provided quality entertainment for free. Many parents may be reluctant to spend their money on a membership for their kids, and it can be hard to ascertain the value of, say, having an extra beach-themed room in your virtual house. Or as another commenter, Icy Cloud put it, “I don’t exactly want to use my money to buy pixels on a screen!”

PHB staffer and Poptropica member Silver Wolf has a different complaint: the allure for membership is worse than before, not better. “Despite paying for membership with real money, I still have to collect enough credits to buy all the items I want, rather than them being free as before. To me, it seems as if they’re just making it worse for everyone,” she says. Members do get a 20% discount, but perhaps that amount could increase.

So, what’s a Poptropica Creator to do for cash?

Honestly, it’s hard to say, especially without knowing the numbers of how much they’re getting and wanting. Given the market of kids, however, I’d advise against them putting all their proverbial eggs into one basket, that being the basket of membership. They’ve experimented with other things before, and they should continue to find ways to get financial support outside of paid subscriptions, which not all players are able to get.

They should keep doing creative ad partnerships with other companies wanting to advertise on Poptropica. Players have always enjoyed getting fun ad prizes and playing games in new buildings.

They should work on more awesome merch, from toys to books, particularly with a range of aesthetics beyond just childish: they can be cute like Disney Tsum Tsum toys or inspired by trending designs, like what you’d find in a Hot Topic store.

They could even open a Patreon or other funding page and offer exclusive perks – like specially-made costumes, house decor, or signed copies of the graphic novels. This gives those who are donating a more visible sense that they are contributing to the success of a game they love, while offering them good incentives that don’t interfere with everyone else’s game experience.

Now back to the players…

If you are a Poptropica player who loves the game and who has the means, please consider supporting the game! The Poptropica Creators do work hard to create a great and generally free product, but they still need money to keep things running.

If you can, support their work by buying the graphic novels or other Pop books, bringing home a new Pop toy, or even (gasp) getting a membership. You don’t even need a credit card anymore thanks to the apps – if you have credit from an iTunes or Play Store gift card, you can make an in-app purchase for membership. For a list of other Poptropica merch you can buy, take a look at our Merchandise guide.

Regardless of the existence of some paid content, however, Poptropica will remain free to play for all. Hopefully, the Creators will take this feedback and continue to consider the full gaming experience – not just with islands, but also with customization of house and character – in relation to non-members and the higher amount of free access we could enjoy on Poptropica Original. From the Creators’ comments, we can be assured that the game will continue to put out fun content for both free and paying players.

Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on the colorful new Worlds updates? What might convince you to get a membership, if possible – or what’s stopping you from getting one? What suggestions do you have for the Creators to make membership an attractive option that does not detract from the non-members’ experiences?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and the Creators may check them out and consider them for future updates!

Keep popping,

~slantedfish 🐠

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In the Eyes of a Newbie: Poptropica Original vs Worlds

This post originally appeared on The Pop Blog and is being shared on the PHB courtesy of the author, LillySparkle$. See the bottom of this post for how you, too, can write for the PHB!

newbie eyes

Hey guys, today I am here with a rather unusual yet interesting post: we’re going to see Poptropica from the eyes of a newbie who’s never played before.

Since most of us reading this have probably been with Poptropica for a while, our opinions about the new Worlds are heavily influenced by the Poptropica we’ve gotten to know. But have you ever wondered what Poptropica looks like in the eyes of a little kid playing for the first time? Which would he like better: the new or the classic?

We’re going to dive in by introducing my friend Super Bug (that’s his Poptropican name) – a seven-year-old boy who’s never played Pop – to the game of our childhoods.

To keep things even, this commentary is only about his play-throughs of one island on each: Monkey Wrench on the original, and Crisis Caverns on Worlds.

Poptropica Original

I got Super Bug started on this one first because I think it’s always better to start with the originals. I helped him pick a name and get the basic customization. Then, he went to the tutorial of Monkey Wrench Island and figured things out on his own.

He said he enjoyed the action, specifically when the Red Baroness throws the wrench at the airplane. He liked the controls of the game, like climbing and jumping: “I felt like a ninja playing it!” He thought that “the floating head is sorta creepy and sorta funny!” His favorite parts of playing were the action, solving problems, and the puzzles, such as the one with the rock and the crab.

His only complaint was that the Red Baroness was “mean and didn’t want them to win the race.” When I asked for any final word on the game, he gave the descriptive answer of “it was good.” So there you have it!

Poptropica Worlds

Design-wise, Super Bug said he liked Poptropica Worlds because they had “necks which made them less scary.” Like the original, he said he liked the mini games and challenges. He had so much fun!

He loved the geysers (water-shooting rock formations) you could jump on in Crisis Caverns. He enjoys the jumping because it was “much further than a human jump” and made you feel “like a superhero!” He loves the idea of houses as well and had lots of fun playing around with his!

He doesn’t like the difficulty of controls that was different from the first one. Overall, he said it was “good.”

The Verdict

Before I tell you which Poptropica he picked as the winner, I want to add in how Poptropica could actually be quite educational for kids. I never really noticed it before since I am older, but Super Bug had tons of fun reading the characters and giving them specific voices. He loved solving the problems and thinking of solutions. It was a really cool thing to see, and it took me by surprise!

So, when asked which one he liked better, he chose… both!?

And I am not making this up or anything. He played through both and said he couldn’t pick! He liked both for different reasons, and he thought the game was so fun! He loved every minute of playing both games! I am really excited to see him completing more and more islands.

Well that about sums up the first taste of both Poptropicas, as experienced by a seven-year-old. And because he is only seven, his answers and reviews on Poptropica aren’t the most complex or detailed, but that’s fine. What matters is that he had fun and enjoyed the game!

Hope this was an eye-opener for you guys! Let me know in the comments if you remember any first thoughts you had about Poptropica as a kid, or just your thoughts on the whole ordeal!

 Signing out,

Lills (Maroon Jumper)


Hope you enjoyed this guest post by LillySparkle$! Be sure to check out her site, The Pop Blog.

The Poptropica Help Blog welcomes interesting Poptropica insights from anyone in the Poptropica community with thoughts to share. You can find some tips and guidelines on our Write for the PHB page. We also encourage sharing blog posts on the PHC.

If you have an idea for a blog post, send it in to staff@poptropicahelp.net:)

Power Rangers: Loogie Chase – Poptropica ad walkthrough

Power Rangers loogie chase

There’s a new ad game on Main Streets (such as Zomberry) for Saban’s Power Rangers Megaforce, and the objective is to lead Vrak’s evil forces, the Loogies (those yellow-and-black creatures), to the Power Rangers at the end of the chase! Thanks to Samwow5 for the heads-up.

The mission: don’t let the Loogies catch up to you, but keep running until you reach the end of the city landscape. You’ll be given a weapon, which you can use to shoot small obstacles in front of you (press spacebar). For bigger obstacles, you’ll have to jump over them. When you near the end, you’ll fall into an underground pit – keep running and you’ll reach the Power Rangers, who will take care of the Loogies from there. Go go Power Rangers! 🙂

For your heroic efforts, you’ll receive a Power Rangers Uniform (pink for girls; red for boys) and RoboKnight Power (surroundings flash red for a moment and you wear the yellow RoboKnight suit).

All Poptropica’s a stage, and all the players merely puppets

A couple new sneak peeks suggest the possibility of a theater/stage performance theme! Perhaps a new island idea? This one’s called “Wild West – Nope, not a sequel. Something new!”

Wild West

The guy with the Legendary Swords skull mask is apparently SteveCreator, who appears in some Daily Pop sneak peeks. (Another is the character who looks like Gamer Guy from Zomberry Island.) Thanks Elphangor! Check out this sneak peek as well: “Cheap Seats – Sit too close and you’ll go cross-eyed.”

cheap seats

Thanks Samwow5 for the heads-up. Perhaps this theater is related to the recent home studio sneak peek we saw. What do you think this might be about?

Shrink Shot Game!

Hi, everyone, Elmopwns here. I’m here to update everyone on the latest post! If you haven’t heard of the latest news, please read about the upcoming Shrink Ray Island here on its info page.

Yep, about getting zapped into miniature sizes, there’s usually an evil villain, too… there always is. But enough about the upcoming island. I think most of you on this blog have heard about the new island. Well to get us all frizzled and hyped up about it, the Creators are releasing a new game based off of it!

Play Shrink Shot now!

 Want to get a sneak preview of Shrink Ray Island and win some cool prizes at the same time? Then visit the Poptropica travel map and check out the new “Shrink Shot” game!

The object of the game is to bounce your miniaturized Poptropican around a room, causing as much mayhem as you can to rack up big points. Achieving high scores will earn you bonus powers that will help you score even more points! Can you unlock all of the upgrades and win the grand prize?

Visit Poptropica now to play Shrink Shot!

avatar image
CAPTAIN CRAWFISH

Poptropicans, member and free to play alike, can now travel the map via the blimp to play this awesome game ^^. Once arriving at the sneak peak, the main menu of the game will give you some instructions. The main objective is to literally cause as MUCH mayhem and destruction as you can by being fired while you are in miniature size!…yes….FINALLY…destruction…except on a smaller scale.

There are a number of things you can hit, this is the good part. You can get more points by hitting the point balls. But there are also many other things to hit and recieve points! You can also hit a miniature version of the blimp, a car for a ride inside, and arrow shaped balls that change your direction. These are especially helpful if you’re looking for a new area to score points in.

But that’s not all of it. I’ve taken the time to make a list of things you can hit below. And please not, most of the things you bump into will let you receive prizes:

  • Car to reach new areas
  • Crayons for a new item
  • Balloon to get a shrink ray prize!
  • Blimp for extra points
  • Soda bottle for special prize
  • Bubble gum for a new flavor to chew!
  • Point balls for points
  • Arrows to change direction.

So it appears that you can really get a lot from this game…but…of course, it takes much work if you want all of these prizes…maybe even more than an hour or so! Many of the prizes are moving or located in tricky spots. It is also worth to be mentioned that the snow globe prize is strictly a members only… awww, you take all the fun out creators :(.

The game is also designed in a system of ranks. You get a new costume for each new rank that are all unique. For getting a certain amount of points, the costume will be awarded. The costumes are mainly hats…they are:

  • hard helmet
  • bounce ball
  • propeller hat (members only)
  • spiked hard helmet (members only)
  • spiked bounce ball (members only)

As the ranks progess, they get harder and harder to achieve because of the amount of points. If you want prizes, you should stick to hitting to the objects like soda bottles or snow globes. If you want the costumes for hats, then things like the blimp and point balls for definitely for you.

And finally, have fun, everyone… may the force be with you… 😀

Below is a list of prizes you can receive. The Creators added lots of goodies this time!

  • crayons
  • snow globe (members only!)
  • new type of gum(grape)
  • soda bottle
  • shrink ray prize
  • hard helmet
  • spiked hard helmet
  • bounce helmet
  • spiked bounce helmet
  • propeller hat

Good luck, everyone!

Before I disappear, I’d like to thank anyone reading this as well as the entire community on this blog! Thanks for reading this and not questioning my sanity… I hope!

*teleports in a flash of red light*

Got honey?

For Green Seal’s post about the Honey Nut Cheerios ad on Poptropica, scroll down below!

[Update] DaVinci: Everyone, there is a new PCB post. I don’t think it’s big enough to merit another PHB post, but there is some pretty sweet info in it – regarding the upcoming membership feature! For example, the Creators hint that “This is key, since we are planning on releasing some pretty sweet islands this year!”

Regarding the many concerns about Poptropica itself still being free, the PCB mentions – “Remember, even if you don’t have credits or membership, the Poptropica Islands are always 100% FREE for all to play!” So, this is ultimately awesome. :D ;)

***

There’s a sweet new advertisement on every island on Poptropica… for EVERY AGE. :O I don’t think this has ever happened before!  This is a historical moment *tear*.  Um, anyway, it’s the Honey Nut Cheerios: Honey Defender Game Ad (Thanks Bobitator for the update!).  This advertisement doesn’t have any plot or task; there’s just a costume, a video, and a quiz game. 😀 You just go inside the huge hive and jump around.

TAKE THAT DUMMY! *hits with fishing pole* >:D

*announcer voice* Now you can become Buzz, the honey defender!  Explore, collect, and defend the honey! >:D Yeah, I just took that from the video ’cause I was bored. 😀 When you click the link to the game, you are directed to the game on Funbrain.  You can also play it at: http://honeydefender.millsberry.com/, although to play the full game you have to put in a code from your cereal box.  You can play the demo version, though.  I can’t play either because I don’t have unity web player. xD

In other news, there’s another sneak peek of Reality TV Island posted in the Creators’ Blog:

Shuffleboard

Still stuck on this island, I found some people playing a game with small sliding pucks. I don’t think the mime is going to win this one.

It shows some kind of weird game that to me looks similar to pool or something… IDK.  The characters above are probably the contestants you are going against in RTV.  Some new characters are the chef, the elder woman, train/bus driver (I’m guessing), and the elder man on the right.  I think the place where the mime is is where you would be… I’m not sure, it’s just a random guess. 😀

This is all for now!  Be sure to check out the below posts:

~ GS or “GAS”. xD

Quizzing For a New Game?

Post - New Quiz GameWe track down some amazing new things about Poptropica that other blogs have found before us, but are generously contributing their news with the rest of the Poptropica community.

From a loyal PHB reader’s blog by MonkeyTacoz we find some news on a new game called ‘Quiz Game’  that will be coming out soon to Poptropica! And we uncover the truth on the Cat/Dog Glitch from Poptropical Thunder’s Blog that will cause you to go barking mad!

*Click on more to read the full post.
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