Mystery Train Island, Pop Places IRL

Pop Places IRL: Mystery Train 🚂

Pop Places IRL Header

Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL,” Poptropicans, and all aboard! For this post, let’s chug on over to Mystery Train Island, shall we? And if you’re liking the series, be sure to check out other Pop Places IRL posts.

Though we spend most of this island on—can you guess?—a train, we do still visit some very important stops along our adventure. And, truth be told, Mystery Train is certainly one of the more historically founded islands! From the train, to the cities, and even to the passengers, Mystery Train features very real people, places, and things (however we’ll focus more on locations today, not figures). So… full steam ahead!

On Main Street, before we even board the train and begin the mystery, we find ourselves in none other than Washington, DC. We can see the US Capitol Building in the background, but we aren’t staying for long!

But beyond the very real cities, even the train itself is historically accurate! The John Bull locomotive, which is named on our ticket, is the main location of our adventure but is also an IRL train that journeyed to the IRL Columbian Exposition in 1893. Yes sir, all the way from DC to Chicago!

Our next stop is Chicago, but before we pull into the station, let’s take a very quick look at our train’s interior first. The train in Poptropica had large individual rooms for its passengers, which is quite fancy if you ask me. But hey, traveling back in the day seemed to be quite the luxurious feat! Can you believe those big cushy seats?

Alright, now let’s pull into the great city of Chicago, Illinois. The station has obviously grown and changed a lot since 1893, hasn’t it? Well, we can’t stay long anyhow! Mademoiselle Moreau is getting away!

It’s time to chase Moreau into the Chicago World’s Fair. Though one can’t help but stop and stare at that huge Ferris Wheel!

And with that, it looks like we’ve finally reached the end of the line. It was quite an adventure! Considering Mystery Train is one of Poptropica’s more historically founded islands, just how well do you think it holds up to its IRL counterparts? Did it seem on track, or was it a full on train wreck? What other islands do you want us to compare in this series? Comment your thoughts below!

Until next time, Poptropicans! Safe travels!

~SD

Pop Places IRL, Time Tangled Island

Pop Places IRL: Time Tangled

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Welcome back to “Pop Places IRL” everyone! SD here with a Time Tangled Island edition, where I’ll be taking you through some scenes from the island and matching them up with scenes in real life (IRL). Since you literally travel through time in the quest, we actually visit a lot of famous places! Of which many have changed over, well, time.

Let’s kick things off with Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world (above sea level) and odd location of the Statue of Liberty model in game! We also get to meet Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in Poptropica, the first confirmed climbers of Everest in 1953. Sadly, our Poptropicans probably wouldn’t have been able to climb it as easily IRL. Would you want to visit the Himalayas someday?

Next up, let’s take a look at the Statue of Liberty! It was built in France, but today resides in the New York Harbor on Ellis Island (which is technically also a part of New Jersey!). In Poptropica, we get to return the statue to 1882’s France. The model is, well, a bit smaller to say the least.

After returning the statue, your Poptropican ventures to the Graff House in 1776. Also known as the Declaration House, this was the home of Jacob Graff and the place in Philadelphia where Thomas Jefferson wrote America’s Declaration of Independence. The resemblance is uncanny, huh?

If you’ve played though Time Tangled Island, you know we’re just getting started! In 1387, our Poptropicans visit Timbuktu during the Mali Empire, which occurred in West Africa from c. 1230 to 1670. You may recall returning some salt rocks, visiting the Timbuktu Inn, and repairing a puzzle of King Mansa Musa while here! Doesn’t the architecture look familiar?

After visiting the Mali Empire, Edison’s Workshop in 1877’s New Jersey is next. We primarily get to help Edison out with his phonograph in game, but he’s famous for inventing many other items as well! Today, a Memorial Tower and Museum is up in Menlo Park to honor the inventor. What do you think is his best invention?

Following the workshop, we have the Aztec Empire of 1519’s Mexico. Like the Mali Empire, the Aztec culture had great influence on its area. The Poptropica Creators seem to have implemented their architecture pretty well into the game!

Next, let’s visit Leonardo da Vinci in 1516’s Italy! As an artist and inventor, one of da Vinci’s most famous paintings was the Mona Lisa, which we got to see in Poptropican form! Which of his works do you admire?

Later, we get to peek at Lewis and Clark’s 1805 Expedition. Like some other time periods our Poptropicans visit, it’s not like we have a whole lot of photos to compare with the actual event. Still, the expedition had a big impact on how today’s United States of America came to be!

Afterwards, we stop be a tourist destination that I’m sure we’re all aware of: the Great Wall of China. Our Poptropicans get to check it out in 1593, but it’s still up today! Have you ever walked along the Great Wall?

One of the last stops we have is the Vikings in 831. Other than in Time Tangled Island, we also get a glimpse into the world of Vikings in Mystery of the Map Island!

Finally, we have Ancient Greece in 328 BC. You’ve probably learned about this time period in school, but that doesn’t make it uninteresting! What are your favorite tales from Greek or Roman mythology?

Well, I think that’s it for our real-life tour through time! Did you stick around this long? Maybe one day, we can add the dystopian future to this post! 😉

What did you think? Have you been to any places that show monuments related to these time periods? Where would you like to go next on “Pop Places IRL”?

Until next time!

~SD

Community Creations

Community Creations: March 2018

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Hello once again everyone! Spotted Dragon here bringing you the March recap for Community Creations! March’s theme was historical and the featured work is not in any particular order. Be sure to check out all the featured artists!

No clue what’s going on? Go see our intro post.

Top 5 Picks

Amenthes and Keres by WitchyArtistGal (formerly TechnoBunny16)

WitchyArtistGal - Amenthes and Keres

In Poptropica, we’ve traveled to many different time periods, but no one island has been centered completely around Egyptian mythology (though we do see Egypt in Nabooti Island). Still, Poptropica loves its mythology and this drawing not only features an Egyptian character, but a Greek one as well! I especially like the incorporation of animal legs and tail, which aren’t too common in the game. Though the photo quality is a bit rough, you can still tell that the colors and outfits are spot on, working well together. Find her DeviantArt here.

Medusa by SuperFlameKitty

SuperFlameKitty - Medusa

Unsurprisingly, another mythology piece! Though, this one is a bit darker. Not only does it give us a glimpse into Medusa’s backstory, but it also brings up a theory of why Poptropicans don’t have necks. The artist explains,

The myth is that when Medusa was hunted down by a warrior, he only managed to cut off her neck. Right before she was about to die, through sheer determination, her head started floating and she survived the beheading. Athena, impressed, declared that surviving without a neck was a sign of strength. And bada bing bada boom. Poptropicans now don’t have necks.

Grim, but a super cool theory! The perspective/composition in the drawing is captivating, and the juxtaposition between the darkness enveloping Medusa and the light from the doorway creates great atmosphere. Emotional, detailed, and amazing! Find their DeviantArt here.

Mystery Train Island by Red Tomato

Red Tomato - Mystery Train Island

Mystery Train Island is definitely a classic adventure, bringing to life the late 1800s. This drawing is super cute, showing all characters aboard the train. Even some items and clues were included. Plus, I think the numerous ‘???” capture the plot perfectly, haha! At every turn, the hero is filled with questions of “whodunit?” The colors are bright and there is something in every corner of the page, adding to the chaotic memories of playing the island and running around the train! Cute, good job! Find Red Tomato often in the comments section.

1920s AU by BlazingAngel

BlazingAngel123 - 1920s AU

What a throwback! This piece was made a while ago, when a Poptropica Decades AU drawing trend was going around in our DeviantArt community. Not only does the black and white color scheme capture this time period, but the fashion and overall style does too. A great challenge! I love the motion and the comical expressions. Find her DeviantArt here.

Frida Kahlo (but she’s a Poptropican) by ArtisticAsianBunny

ArtisticAsianBunny - Frida Kahlo but she's a Poptropican

Throughout Poptropica’s many islands, numerous historical figures can be met along the way. Including artists! However, Frida Kahlo is not one of them. This is a great Poptropica representation of her in my opinion. If you don’t know, she was a greatly influential Mexican artist. Perfect for our historical theme, and perfect for art! The Poptropican’s design, along with the background show off her style well. Super cute too! Find her DeviantArt here.


Honorable Mentions

It was very interesting to see everyone’s spin on historical figures and time periods! Especially when incorporated into the world of Poptropica. Super cool submissions, as always! Keep it up! 🙂


April: How do I Participate?

Community Creations is a cool series for anyone in the Poptropica community to join in on. To sum up what it’s about, it’s basically a chance to show off your artwork, creepy fan-fic, realms, costumes, and anything else that pops into your mind.

If we really like the piece you submit, we will feature it here on the PHB! As long as it relates to that month’s theme. So what is April’s theme? April’s theme is…

Humor!

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? …Pilgrims of course! No? Anyone? C’mon, it’s pretty funny. Anyway, spring is finally here (even though it feels like winter 2.0 for some people) and that typically means pastels and rainbows, despite the numerous rain showers. With some traditional April holidays comes pranks, jokes, and everything goofs. So why not have fun with it?

No matter what you submit, it’s gotta be funny. Not everyone may find it delightful, but I’m a sucker for a good pun, so you’ll probably end up tickling my funny bone no matter what. Maybe create a Poptropica centered comic, with all your favorite characters! Or perhaps make a costume with the most random accessories you can find? Even write a Poptropica themed joke book, with puns galore! The options to make people laugh are endless. (gif below from Pixel)

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  • Submitting: Comment below with a link to whatever you’ve created OR share it with me (SydVC aka Spotted Dragon) on DeviantArtTwitter, or Discord.
  • Results: I will feature 5 of the submissions as well as 3 honorable mentions.
  • Limitations: Nothing NSFW, and make sure you relate to the theme.
  • Due Date: I will take any entries before the end of this month. Submit as many things as you’d like!

I will always be sure to let you know I have seen your creation. Bonus points if you make a compelling description for your piece! While quality counts, I’m mainly looking for something to simply catch my eye, so don’t be afraid to join in!

So what are you waiting for? Go make something awesome!

~SD

PHB Specials, Website Updates

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,

~/🐠