2010 Rewind: Crazy for Crawfish

This post is part of our Poptropica Yearbook series. If you missed the intro, check it out on the 2007 Rewind and browse the collection here.

Wish you could’ve been in 2010! But we’ve got you covered with a flashback to what Poptropica was like back in those days, which former Creator Mitch Krpata would later call the peak of Poptropica’s popularity.

It might be hard to imagine these days with all these updates that seem to be geared toward the privileged few, but believe it or not, membership didn’t always plague Poptropica. Even when it was first released in January of 2010, membership status offered some nice perks like early island access and free store costumes — but free players had plenty to enjoy, too.

Membership wasn’t the only thing players had been itching to discover. Reality TV Island, two years in the making and much delayed, finally arrived in early access for members in February. (Nearly a decade later, it would appear that a sequel is on its way!)

There’s our beloved Hippie Harry!

Over on the Creators’ Blog, we started hearing more from Captain Crawfish, whereas before there were several Creator aliases taking turns on the blog. (We had plenty of fun trying to guess and track down who was who, too. Dr. Hare, aka Jordan Leary, may have called us “12-year-old stalkers”…)

Anyway, with that came a new PHB inside joke in which we’d write about nomming the Captain in our update posts, and he even seemed to catch on!

We continued enjoying tons of sneak peeks from the Creators — here’s a sketch of what later became Apollo’s temple on Mythology Island. It was released in April and players consider it to be one of the best islands!

The PHB community was growing, too, and we thought it was time for a couple of upgrades. We got our own custom web domain, poptropicahelp.net, to reflect our Poptropica Help network that encompassed the blog, chat, and forum. And we also changed our site theme to something more blue — more Poptropica.

Even back then, collecting advertisement items was a popular pastime on Poptropica. Here’s a peek at a cool and colorful Magic Paintbrush special ability item from a Ramona and Beezus ad!

The Creators were also busy adding tons of fun new items to the store, like fireworks, robot suits, and various flavors of good old PopGum.

Poptropica Creators popping gum.

In November, the Creators launched a big feature that got players hopping on Poptropica daily. The Daily Pop featured comics, games, creator clips (stories from Creators), and best of all: a new sneak peek every weekday. In fact, we’ve got a whole Daily Pop Sneak Peek Archive here on the blog.

Here’s what the menu looked like once the Daily Pop was added:

Also, in addition to RTV and Mythology, 2010 saw several more islands added to the map: Skullduggery (known in its early stages as Pirate Trade Island), Steamworks, Great Pumpkin, and for members, Cryptids closed out the year, bringing Poptropica’s total to 16 islands — 6 from 2010 alone!

A succession of sneak peeks of the Hub on Steamworks Island.


That concludes the 2010 page of the Poptropica Yearbook. We hope it brought a nostalgic look to a booming time! Browse the rest of the collection over at the Poptropica Yearbook, accessible from our Pop Plus tab.

While you’re here, sign the yearbook by commenting? ✏️

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Pop Petition: Unlock all islands

This is a guest post by Incredible Hamburger (username: popguy6) petitioning for all islands, especially member-locked islands, to be made available to all. Enjoy!

Hey there, I’m Incredible Hamburger! (But not the kind of hamburger you would have for dinner…)

The reason I’m writing this Pop Petition is to convince the Poptropica team to make all membership-locked islands playable for non-members too. You know, the ones that say on the map when you roll over them, “demo for non-members.” I think a demo’s not enough, and here’s why:

First, there are kids like me who for one reason or another can’t get a membership. For me, it’s because my parents won’t let me pay for anything, because the cost is not in our budget. If I tried to buy a membership, they’d probably ban me from playing the game altogether! (Yes, Poptropica membership costs less than other games, but still.)

Besides, I really want to play the Wimpy Kid islands, Wimpy Wonderland and Wimpy Boardwalk. They’re the best! The graphics are very fun — they’re in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid style, so it feels like you are actually there. And the gameplay is even more fun. Your character (Poptropican) can talk to Greg, Manny, Rowley, Grandpa, Gramma, and more Wimpy Kid characters! Jeff Kinney really created something magical with Wimpy Kid.

On that note, I could say the rest of the member-locked islands have a similar effect, too. The members-only islands are all sponsored islands, meaning they’re based on other franchises, such as the Magic Tree House books for Red Dragon Island. Again, Poptropica makes it feel like you’re actually there in those worlds and with those characters (like Big Nate, Greg Heffley, Charlie Brown, and more). That’s why I love Poptropica so much, and I’d even say I feel like life is Poptropica.

It’s true that there are a couple of sponsored islands that are accessible to all (Timmy Failure and Galactic Hot Dogs), and I sure hope it stays that way. I’d also love to see a Captain Underpants Island in the future. But the point is, everyone should get to play every island.

So, Poptropica Creators, please: make the islands open to all! There are lots of people like me who just don’t have the means to get a membership, but would love to play every island, especially the ones that are currently locked for non-members. Give us a chance at them, too!

Until next time! Buh-bye! Incredible Hamburger out… for dinner. 🍔

—IH


Hope you enjoyed this Pop Petition guest post by Incredible Hamburger! If you did, be sure to check out our other Pop Petitions!

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 page on how to Write for the PHB. We also encourage sharing blog posts on the PHC.

📰 If you have an idea for a PHB post, send it in

Pop Petition: What We Want From Islands

Pop Petition Header

Yep, Pop Petitions is making its rounds again because lately, fans have faced some disappointment. We’ve had multiple posts voicing concerns about Pop Worlds, but right now we are going to focus on the main feature Poptropica has to offer: islands.

Islands and their adventures are what Poptropica is all about, so that’s what the Creators should really be putting effort into, right? Poptropica is a game, so game play really counts. However, some of the game play in Poptropica Worlds has been lacking, as we’ve talked about in previous island reviews.

#1: In-Depth Storylines

Shouldn’t this request speak for itself? The storyline of an island is arguably its most important aspect. We’ve seen some captivating tales in the past, from Ghost Story to Arabian Nights and other fan favorites, but recent islands have been less than enthralling.

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Though this is a kids game, it is still important to keep the players attention. With a story that leaves you on the edge of your seat, a player is dying to solve the puzzle and keep the adventure going. Without this, an island can seem like a chore. Things can’t be too rushed, nor can they be too drawn out.

An example that most can agree on that is lacking in storyline would probably be Crisis Caverns. While it contains an interesting idea and some cool scenes, there is no development or intriguing plot twists. The whole story seems a bit flat, which is especially disappointing when looking back at some of Poptropica Original’s in depth adventures. Further thoughts on this are expressed in our Crisis Caverns Review.

#2: Gameplay Itself

With Poptropica’s click-based controls, advanced motion is certainly limited. As previously said, the storyline is what makes most islands interesting. Still, the gameplay is a big part of a game, and it seems a bit lacking in some islands.

zeusboss

Some elements are definitely not bad, but also overused (chase scenes being the most notable). Minigames like these can be irritating on a slow computer, for sure, but also don’t present a huge challenge. In fact, many people report glitches in their playthroughs, resulting in having to play minigames all over again. But what else is new?

Though cut scenes and minigames are fine, I do think Poptropica should focus on one thing in particular: puzzles. Being a kids game (that is supposed to be educational), I believe puzzles would be a lot more beneficial as gameplay elements. We’ve certainly seen these before, in islands like Nabooti and Spy Island, but they don’t always get the credit they deserve, nor are they utilized to the best of their ability.

#3: Character Development

Characters are also a big part of the Poptropica world, resulting in countless pieces of fan art and fan fiction. We all have our favorite villains and side characters, but some aren’t built upon too much. There are our main four villains, along with some other diamonds in the rough, but other than that many characters are fairly 2D.

characters

We do see development in some classic Poptropica Original adventures, but it has really gone down hill in recent islands. While this does allow fans to build up backstories and orientations with their own headcanons, we don’t get confirmation about theories or personality traits.

Character development is a big part of getting a player to actually care about the people and plot. Adding depth to even a minor Poptropican through their dialogue, significance, appearance, etc. can add layers of interest and detail. We’d love to see more of that so our fan fiction can be accurate and consistent!

#4: Easter Eggs & Interaction

Though not necessary, easter eggs and little interactive features can spark a lot of interest. We actually got to see a lot of this in Greek Sea Odyssey, from Wonder Woman’s appearance to funny treasure chests and quotes. And that’s what I like to see, no matter how small!

minotaurdisco

It may not add to storyline or character development that much, but it still enhances the entire environment. Since exploring every clickable object isn’t necessary to complete an island, it can make a dedicated player feel rewarded when a secret is found. These features can be hilarious and references to other fandoms can make fans feel great.

It was amazing to see these features in such a recent island, especially since they’ve been a bit rare in the past. However, it is important that they do not detract from the storyline! Way more effort needs to be put into the main adventure before extra elements are added.

#5: Visuals, Audio, & Dialogue

Thankfully, Poptropica’s visuals and audio have been stunning for a long time. Though some dialogue can be lacking, even it can be quite funny. Still, recent departures of well known Creators can be worrying when it comes to the preservation of these elements.

nightcrawlers

Visuals, audio, and dialogue are key in making a player really feel a part of a game. Though no more important than the storyline, they can make or break the mood of an environment. Wouldn’t it be weird if music from Monster Carnival was playing on Galactic Hot Dogs Island? *shivers*

There isn’t much to complain about here, because Poptropica is often breathtaking in this category. But let’s keep it that way! With the decline of other gaming elements, it is vital that these don’t go downhill too.


Remember that this post isn’t meant to bash the Creators, but instead voice the opinions and suggestions of fans. We all want Poptropica to be as awesome as possible!

So, what are your thoughts? Do you agree with our list? What do you want to see in future Poptropica Worlds Islands? Be sure to let us know what other Pop Petitions we should make as well!

~SD

My dearest Balloon Boy, it’s a Poptropica Worlds trailer!

So, my dearest Poptropicans,

Today was a weird day. Not like talking cats weird… more like meeting a chipper little boy who takes selfies with immortal gods and hangs out with identical spies kind of weird. These bizarre antics and more are captured in this new Poptropica Worlds trailer:

Well, this video is certainly… interesting. Clearly, one of the aspects that stands out most here, for better or worse, is the running dialogue narrated by an excitable young child named Manfred who’s writing to Balloon Boy about his adventures on Poptropica Worlds. Since Poptropica has never been one to use voice acting, this change has definitely perked some ears.

From the sound of the kid’s voice, the video sets a very clear vibe of being something that hopes to appeal to children. And while Poptropica is a game targeted to kids, there is also an older player base around, many of whom grew up with the game from when they were children, for whom the attempt to appeal is lost in the childlike voice acting.

A commenter on the video, Messy Wolf (WonderfulFilms), writes that “the voice acting was a little bit overdone and catering to a much younger demographic.”

However, another commenter, Kenzie Backlin, had a different opinion, suggesting that “they should do voice acting for all characters.”

Whatever your thoughts on the kid’s narration, we’ve also got the rest of the video to look at. Something that’s more of an unequivocal observation among Poptropicans is that the animation continues to impress, in keeping with the Poptropica style with perhaps more detail than before, especially with the Worlds-style avatars. Good stuff!

dr hare shock

gif by naps (astroknightsisland) on tumblr

Another element that’s important to take note of is the actual content being displayed in the trailer: namely, the islands. We see the boy, Manfred, writing his letter on his desk in his house on Home Island, where he also spins the daily wheel and decks out his place, which he calls his “clubhouse.”

Anyway, could this letter-writing business be a sign that the currently unreleased “Inbox” feature on Worlds is soon to arrive? And that we get to send messages to Balloon Boy, who’s up in the stratosphere? It’s nice to see his presence continued in Worlds, at least.

worlds menu

We also see Manfred run through the other islands currently on Worlds, Crisis Caverns and 24 Carrot. However, he also meets Zeus on Mythology Island, which exists on Poptropica Original but not Worlds – could Mythology be the next island? And perhaps more curiously, how did he get the irritable Zeus to smile for a selfie?!

zeus selfie

gif by naps (astroknightsisland) on tumblr

Beyond that, there are a couple more that are not so familiar: in one scene, a “phantom” colored in pitch black jumps out at him from what appears to be a stage. In another, a horde of spies appears, then disappears in the next moment. The background is that of Zomberry Island with a side of a soundstage from Back Lot, but these characters don’t appear anywhere in the original game, suggesting that these will be brand new islands.

Anyway, what do you think of the new Poptropica Worlds trailer video? What islands are you looking forward to next on Worlds? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

–🐠

The 31st is finally here!

Hey, everyone. It’s RD here, and I’d like to start this post by thanking everyone that wished me well :D. I’m getting a lot better. Today’s post is obviously dated on the 31st, and therefore…

Halloween!

That’s right, the long tradition of the Celtic Holiday Sahmain spread down throughout European history until it reached modern day traditions. It’s a shortened version of “All Hallows Eve”; but I’m sure you’re all out of history class by now, so onto Poptropica’s Halloween scares!

The creators gave us a reminder post on how we could choose to celebrate a few Halloween thrills. You can catch three adventures that are put on Poptropica. There are many more costume cards you can also purchase for this. The creators said that they were “going as zombies this year.”

Edit (slantedfish): Check out the Creators’ avatars on their blog! A purple background and green skin – great zombie costumes, guys. I did catch Hades and Master Mime with just their normal ones instead, though. :c Even Thirsty Whale, who never posts anymore, managed to join in.

        

(And now for the Poptropica Halloween festivities…)

First up we’re all familiar with the first Halloween quest: Great Pumpkin Island. It’s, as you all know, based off of the beloved Peanuts comic strip where Linus awaits the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, but does so hopelessly every year. Poor Linus 😦

Inside this adventure, you’ll be taken through the world of Peanuts and as we also all know…Snoopy! So head on down to Great Pumpkin Island for a few classic old games with the Peanuts gang. Click here if you need a guide.

Who could forget Ghost Story Island? The thrills and chills of an old New England haunting surely will kindle the spooky thoughts that arises in the player’s daring mind. Will you be brave enough to uncover the mystery of this island and set the wandering apparitions free? Enter if you dare! Click here if you need a guide.

Ghost Story Island

Want to donate blood…to vampires? You got it, just make sure to bring some garlic along with you in case they try to take too much xD. Vampire’s Curse Island is based on the protagonist’s efforts to bravely save a villager captured by the elusive count! And remember to not get hexed by its curse. Click here if you need a guide.

Vampire's Curse Island

Finally, who could forget the very first Halloween adventure that we all embarked upon? Enter an old and abandoned house to find out what spooky atmospheres you must uncover to discover clues. The Haunted House is a destination for a description of such. Eventually everything leads up to an untimely discovery somewhere near the mansion. That is all, since I know everyone despises a spoiler alert.

Although it is technically not an island like the rest, Haunted House remains the first Halloween adventure back in time when Poptropica was still expanding and growing to the virtual realm it inhabits today! Click here if you need a guide.

Poptropica sure has grown over the years, and will continue to. All these islands are completely free, even the Haunted House as it became so some time ago. Members may choose to venture out on an extra quest for some of these islands if they want an extra challenge and extension to the ghostly plot. Have fun at these islands!

Lastly, the creators gave us a reminder we can all purchase a variety of Halloween costumes and abilities in the store. Maybe you want to have a ghost follower as they did come out with many years ago. Or maybe you just wish to see all your neighboring friends turn to bones. Perhaps you have a craving to play an island where you’re chased by the living dead through some abandoned street corner. They got it all :D.

And as the creators put in the final words for this spooky night “Try not to eat too much candy.” No really, try not to xD…unless you’re not afraid of heartburn or strange dreams in which you’re being chased by the Hershey’s Bar you just ate. Been there, done that. Lastly, don’t forget to…

have an amazing Halloween!

Just to get into the spirit, I thought you might all like to enjoy something that Charles Schultz, the author of Peanuts, sketched about the Great Pumpkin:

I can’t wait for freight…

Because freight is great! It’s easy to rate (as great)! Whenever I see the freight(train) I run out the gate! If it comes late, then I hate (it)! Why do I love freight? I guess it’s just a family trait! Now enough talking about this great freight. There’s a new post, so let’s skate over! I can’t wait!

Friday, October 14, 2011

What’s in the freight car?

 
Eagle-eyed Poptropicans may have noticed some familiar items in the freight car on Mystery Train. It seems that the World’s Fair organizers brought along a lot of items from other Poptropica Islands!

Can you look at this picture of the freight car and guess which Islands the numbered objects came from?

 
Click the image to see the full-sized version.

We’ll give you the weekend to puzzle over it. Then we’ll post the answers next week.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to take a ride on the Mystery Train yet, visit Poptropica now to play! Mystery Train is open to all.

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CAPTAIN CRAWFISH

Why, we’ve posted this a bit late!  The things will be revealed on the 17th, what a great date! We’ll find out, it’s our fate! There are some things from Time tangled, nabooti, mythology and reality TV islands in that great freight. That tiki looks heavy, it must have a large weight! OK everyone, I have to go, I’m in a pretty sickly state. (no really I’m pretty ill) I’d better hurry, for an ill person I’ve got a lot on my plate.
 
*GB inflate(s) balloon and floats away* …