- should be easy enough to figure out given enough time, and
- the point is to learn by doing so you can feel the satisfaction of completing other islands without relying too much on my walkthroughs (not that there's anything wrong with seeking help when you're stuck).
While the Creators are busy working away on expanding Poptropica and the "New Poptropica" using Unity coming later this year, there haven't been any new islands announced, and it's no wonder that there hasn't been much news in the Poptropica community lately. So basically what I'm saying is, laziness was totally not the reason I went so long between updates on Poptrickia! Totally.
Poptropica now has an official Art Contest! For years, Poptropicans have been making fan art and posting it on sites like deviantart or to fan blogs. But this time, if you like drawing and you love Poptropica, you can send in your work directly to the Creators by tagging it as #PoptropicaArt on social media. On the week of September 5, the Creators will announce the three winners and they'll get free memberships! Here's the official announcement with more details.
Interestingly, most social media sites only allow users who are 13 years or older (which is a rule that everyone totally follows without question, amirite?). On the other hand, Poptropica's stated target audience is ages 6 through 15. The fact that Poptropica is focusing so much on social media these days shows that a large number of Poptropicans today are teenagers who started playing back when they were younger (including myself and most other fan bloggers).
So, will Poptropica keep changing the theme of its content to match the new audience (as they've been doing in some of the more recent islands), or will they let today's players rotate out and focus in on the newer generation (which is possible, since Monkey Wrench Island is targeted at such players). Only time will tell, but either way, big changes will have to come to Poptropica. I, for one, am equally excited to see it go either way!
Speaking of Monkey Wrench... yes, the guide will be finished soon. It's been low on my priorities lately, since as a tutorial island, it
In other news, the Creators have just introduced something new to the Store: Bronze Cards. They're only here for about a month, so they're featured in the Store. All of them are cards that either were limited to members only during Early Access for an older island, or popular costumes from an older time in Poptropica's history that are being featured again. So get them while you can!
Though, I hope this doesn't mean that these classic costumes will be gone after the month is up; after all, they were still available before the Bronze Cards promo. And, if you don't mind me ranting a little, does anyone else think that bronze is a rather poor choice of color for these cards? They're supposed to look special and expensive and fleeting, but instead the color contrast of the text and background on them is terrible and the "shiny" reflection effect makes them look sightly cheap. I hope they realize this and correct it at least before the promo is over. As you can guess, the prices for all of them have been jacked up accordingly, but...
To help you get your hands on these Bronze Cards, there's something new on Home Island: the Daily Spin Wheel! Like many games, this allows you to click on the wheel to spin it and get a randomly selected prize, except you can only spin it once a day. It's meant to encourage people to log in and play every day. Most of the prizes are credits, except for the Grand Prize, which gives you one of the new Bronze Cards, chosen at random. (And if you don't happen to get the Grand Prize, the vast amount of credits you're accruing from the wheel and other recent sources will probably let you buy one directly from the store).
Has anyone else noticed that the spin wheel itself is continuing a Monkey Wrench Island-inspired theme? The fact that it's a ship's wheel, the weathered look, the rope binding it together, all makes it look island-y. Is that the new theme that Poptropica is going for on the Home Island? In case you forgot, the theme that Home (and Realms) has had so far is a sort of Viking-mythology inspired sky-paradise. It would be interesting if the Creators are going to periodically change up the theme of Home Island.
As an aside, can you believe that the Hide & Seek contest has been running for five years now? Wow, I feel old ;). You can check out all the previous winners and images that have been featured in the contest by going to the Guess Where I Am blog tag (that's what the contest used to be called before it was briefly interrupted and renamed in 2013). Enjoy, and make sure you participate in the latest round!
Oh, and before I leave another long mega-post: The Poptropica Help Blog is running their annual Poppies award contest! In case you haven't heard of it, it's an awards ceremony for the Poptropica community, and it's in the nominations phase right now. You can vote for your favorite islands, characters, and even favorite fansite! Time is running out, so make sure to fill out the form and nominate Poptrickia for best fansite!
Just weeks after promising big changes, the Creators have surprised us with: a brand-new Island Map!
Poptropica has gone through a few revisions of the map over the years, but this one is important. First of all, it uses the same engine as the newer SUI islands! That means it loads faster, has sound, and you don't have to go through the classic engine if all you want to do is switch islands. In that way, it's now more similar to how it is on the mobile app. On top of that, there's a huge amount of new features...
Personally, I think it looks great to have them all be in color! Also, the brighter colors all over the map looks cheerier, and it has a lot more appeal to newer/younger players. But I do have one gripe, something that's hard to see unless you look too closely: the artists who made the originals did not have color in mind, so they used a lot of small details that looked great in outline. But when color is added, it makes them look slightly... brittle. Take a look at the image above: the windows on the Super Villain island logo's tower look really thin and (unintentionally) shimmery, whereas the Mission Atlantis one has much better shapes and proportions. Also, the newer island logos just look too small; this may be out of necessity, but it kind of exacerbates the small-details issue. In general though, I think the actual choice of colors is done pretty well and looks awesome!
The next big change is the new island info screen that now appears when you click on an island. It shows you the level of difficulty for the island, how many times you've completed it before, the official description of the island from its Island Tour Page, and--the coolest part--a progress bar that shows you how close you are to finishing the island! (The progress bar for each island is also shown in front of it's icon from the map screen).
How the difficulty is calculated is a mystery to me (you can see my own ratings for all the islands on the Walkthroughs page), but I'm sure that the Creators have access to a lot more data about player behavior, and they probably based this on analysis of how much time it actually takes the average player to beat that island for the first time. (Also, older players will remember that on the even older Island map -- the one before 2012 -- the islands would show difficulty ratings when you moved your mouse over them). On a similar note, the new order/organization of the islands across the 8 pages of the new map may look completely random at first glance -- but according to the Creators, it's actually based on how popular each one actually is among players. Personally I feel that the order should be mixed up from time to time so that newer islands are still at the top, but the lesser-known ones still get cycled to the front occasionally, letting players rediscover them.
The progress bar is the most interesting addition -- there's never been anything on Poptropica like it. Or has there? A long time ago, classic islands on Poptropica all had a map (a map of all the rooms on the island itself). At first all of the rooms had question marks over them, but as you got through the island, they would be revealed and you could see the names of the scenes. Also, the map showed the links between the rooms, so you had a rough idea of how far you were. So the new progress bar is quite similar to that feature.
Behind the scenes, the gameplay of all islands is split up into things called "events." Basically, whenever anything changes in the state of the game, like collecting an item or getting past a certain point in the story, the game is automatically saved and an event is added. When all events are completed, you get the island medallion. So the new progress bar is probably visually showing you how many of the total number of events you have completed for that island or episode.
Wow, that's a huge amount of new changes! Another recent change that's related: now, when you log in, instead of going to the old Home screen (with the quizzes and the "Return to Game" button and the news slideshow), you go straight to Home Island. From there, you can click the "Return to Game" icon floating underneath the bridge.
I think this change makes a lot of sense because, for one, most of the important features for the old Home screen were already obsoleted (the quizzes are also on the Friends page, you can see recent Poptropica news from the homepage now before you start playing, etc.) So it was just getting in the way. Also, with the new change, you go straight to the SUI engine when you log in. If all you want to do is play the recent islands, you never have to go through the classic engine.
So this appeals to newer players, and also brings Poptropica one step closer to phasing out the classic engine and moving towards the more modern one. But aside from that, the Creators recently told us that later this year there will be an even newer Poptropica engine -- and this time they'll be using Unity, not Flash!
In case you aren't familiar with Unity, it's a game development program that is mainly used to make 3D games. Unlike Flash, which creates a SWF file that your browser then runs, Unity can either create an app (for desktop or mobile), or a webpage with your game in it. This means that the new Poptropica, built in Unity, will still run in browsers and on mobile apps -- hooray! And since it'll be compiled, it'll run even faster. But all this Unity stuff raises an even more intriguing possibility: will the new Poptropica be in 3D?
Although Unity can do 2D just fine, it's mainly used to create 3D games. Will the Creators basically be porting the old Poptropica to Unity, or will they actually be re-imagining it in 3D? I think now that they're making such a large shift, they have a perfect opportunity to redesign Poptropica from the ground-up. I'm not sure what sorts of features they're thinking of, but whatever it is, it's sure to be very new and different from anything we've seen so far!
First of all: Many apologies for the very long delay in updates here on Poptrickia! Trust me, I haven't abandoned you; I've just been extremely busy because of the robotics team that I'm a part of, and balancing all my schoolwork and tests and projects on top of that. Now that I'm starting to get my life back in order again, I'm going to try to give Poptrickia the attention it deserves. So I bring you the traditional post-hiatus... MEGA-POST!
In recent news, the new Feats of Speed minigame is sweeping the Pop-nation. Why? Well, because it's the first time you can get shoes as an item your Poptropican can wear! All you have to do is go on Home Island and challenge Speedy Sam on his treadmill. If you defeat him at his own game, he'll give you the shoes. Each week, the color of the shoes, the type of the game, and the setting changes. So far, there's been purple, maroon, and blue shoes.
The game is straightforward, since all you need to know are the basic skills of running and jumping in Poptropica, and Speedy Sam is not particularly good at it :). When you do get the shoes, they look surprisingly nice. I was expecting to find them somewhat jarring since I'm so used to the classic form of a Poptropican, but they fit right in. Except, of course, for the somewhat annoying trail effect:
If only the new Poptropica had a "Turn off Special Actions" feature like the classic one did.
(Technically though, this isn't the first time a Poptropican has been able to wear shoes, e.g. the Booted Bandit on Pelican Rock and another case I can't remember; it's just that this is the first time you can permanently wear shoes on your own Poptropican).
Speaking of big changes... Skinny Moon (who seems to be the semi-new PR person for Poptropica -- she now runs the Twitter for Poptropica and is a lot more outgoing, it seems, than anyone else before her) just posted about big changes to come to the game in the future (as in, later this year). They're pretty vague as of now, but here's the basics:
First of all, the entire "look" of Poptropica (the website and the app) will get an overhaul. This could include the UI, and making it so that there isn't such a jarring border between classic Poptropica (with the old Islands, the Daily Pop, and Friends) and the newer interface (modern Islands, Realms, etc). They could be making a full transition to the newer mode. We've already seen indications of this, as they are making the menu in the newer islands , the older islands, and the Home screen more and more similar.
Now this all seems intriguing, but we don't have enough information yet, so I can't really tell how "pets" will be different from, say, followers, and how the upgraded "designs and movements" will be different from the new player animations that we see in the newer Islands. It sounds like it has the potential to be a cool addition, but only time will tell, I guess.
And lastly, Skinny Moon mentions "the idea of a unified story that connects all of Poptropica in a way that we’ve never done before." This, to me, is the most concrete suggestion so far. It could be like Poptropica's origin story, something that is already being explored through Mystery of the Map, and possibly something that ties in with the Poptropica TV show that the Creators have been hinting at for nearly a year.
There's more, but it's so vague that it's nonsensical at this point. Normally Poptropica has a habit of developing new features and stories somewhat secretly in the background, and then suddenly jumping the news on us. It's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's always a nice surprise -- but it has led to many people looking for alternative sources of information for sneak peeks, like Poptrickia and other fan blogs. Now they're taking a new direction, by telling us the vague outline of their plan far ahead of schedule. Was that a good idea? Only time will tell.
All in all, I think it's about time that Poptropica got a proper tutorial. For the longest time the best introduction that new players had was Early Poptropica Island. Simple, yes, but it's not self-explanatory nor is it exactly the pinnacle of Poptropica creative achievement. The Home Island tried to correct that, but it still fell short in my opinion, seeming more like a detached and abstract overview of the controls than a true taste of the game. Now a real island with a storyline, characters, and dare I say, a heart of its own, is the first real tutorial!
First post of 2016! I'm going to kick the year off with an exciting start by showing off some evidence and sneak peeks, relating to an upcoming overhaul of the Home/Tutorial island on Poptropica! And it's quite a big update.
First of all, a lot of recent sneak peeks starting from mid-November of last year have some surprising similarities: they all hint at some sort of large ship. In the first one, you see the distinctive style of Home Island: the building in the foreground hovering on rocks above an ocean full of Poptropica Islands below.
From these, it looks like there's soon going to be a ship-themed update to the Home island. Instead of the current version with shops spaced out on a street, the new one will be a large ship with doors to various shops and interactive things pertaining to your Poptropican. Cool!
Looking at the last two, it seems like your Island Medallions will be showcased in a room on Home Island as well, rather than on the Friends page as they are right now. This brings up a lot of interesting possibilities: will everything eventually be converted from its place on the classic Home screen (like Friends and the Daily Pop) to rooms on Home Island? Maybe Friends could even become a sort of common room!
But it gets even better. Poking around in the unreleased files of Home Island, I found these highly interesting scenes and schematics which (partially) confirm my theories:
This first image is a preliminary look at what the Main Street of the new Home Island will look like; apparently it'll be called "Skydock." The buildings in this image will lead to the rooms below (click to view full size):
These are actually scenes by the Creators that are in the earliest stages. Even though they're mainly just line drawings and text on a black background, the descriptions are already getting me excited for the update :). It looks like the Creators are planning a lot of creative additions to Home Island this year.
Another thing that I found while looking at the code for Home Island, is that these rooms (Skydock, Town Hall, and Saloon) might even be common rooms! That's right, you might be able to chat, friend, and battle with other players while also enjoying Home Island. Now I'm not 100% sure if that's true based on the code, but it would be a reasonable enough assumption ;)
It looks like the Creators themselves are still working out the details though, like for instance how the rooms will look like and how they'll be connected, so the final product may be different from what I've outlined here. But so far this looks like the gist of it. And I'm definitely looking forward to this huge update!
Ever wondered why exactly the medallion shards are scattered all over the place when you play the Tutorial, and why there's a pilot there talking to you? Well, another update to Home Island (that might be coming sooner than the ship-related one) gives the backstory to that. This dialog file shows what seems to be you talking with the pilot while you're both up in the blimp:
Then the pilot offers you a choice to either do the medallion-shard-finding tutorial or to go to Home. So basically, the medallion is in pieces down there because the Pilot dropped it from his own balloon. Interesting backstory.
Anyway, those are all the exclusive Home Island sneak peeks that I've got so far! Looks like the upcoming update is full of fun new things to do or to just enjoy looking at. The Creators haven't officially announced it yet (though they did give hints of it in their New Year's post), so we don't know when it's coming. But it sure is something grand to look forward to :)
Wow, hard to believe that 2015 is almost over already! This year, Poptropica turned 8 years old, released 7 new islands (including finishing off the last episodic islands of 2014, Arabian Nights and PoptropiCon), gave Poptropica Realms to all of us, improved the Poptropica app, became poised to expand to new types of media (like comic books and hopefully TV as well!), and so much more! Here's Poptrickia's review of all of 2015, the good, the bad, and the ugly (well, very little ugly):
A surprising total of 3 sponsored islands were released this year: Galactic Hot Dogs, Mystery of the Map, and Timmy Failure. Interestingly, all three were based on comic books (Mystery of the Map was based on Poptropica's own comic book series of the same name). Add this to the fact that Poptropica's been closely tied with Funbrain in the past, and you can see that a lot of Poptropica's target demographic is heavily interested in comics and reading, which probably influences how even their original islands are developed.
As for the islands themselves, the reactions were fairly the same for each: good art and music, but weak storyline. Galactic Hot Dogs in particular got called out for its laughably easy gameplay.
Although by now, all indications are that Poptropica is recovering well. The Creators kind of paid us back in their own way with the many giveaways of Credits this year (e.g. tripling the amount of credits given for winning islands, all the freebies leading up to Timmy Failure Island, and the Daily Pop-in Prizes). Credits can't buy Early Access to new and locked islands anymore (not since 2010 I think), but they do give non-Members much more access to the Store (which Members can just borrow infinite items from).
And finally to finish off 2015 on a high note, the incredible and original Escape from Pelican Rock Island recently came out for all players after what must have been the shortest Early Access period of all time: a mere three weeks! I gave it a review that you can read in detail, but suffice it to say that Poptropica has set a new bar for the quality of the storyline, music, and general development of their future original islands :)
Last but not least, the mobile app got quite a few upgrades that brought it close to the quality of the desktop version, including many multiplayer features and importing desktop looks. No logging in has been implemented yet, though, and islands no longer cost money, so it looks like the app is going to be free for all. And Poptropica Realms has also come along quite well, adding many immersive features as well as sharing.
The post doesn't end here -- click Read More below to see more New Year's stuff!
Check out what my little sister made and gifted to me today: a Poptrickia mug! It says "POPTRICKIA" wrapped around it in blue block print, with pink Dr. Hare ears on the P and a top hat on the C (somewhat of an inside joke). Flowering out from the bottom is a very detailed Poptropica-vine-esque pattern. The handle even says "Since 2011" on it, the year I founded Poptrickia! Here's a 3D photo of it that you can click and drag:
She says she actually drew the design herself with ceramic markers onto the mug and then baked it in the oven :). Easily the coolest present I've gotten this year! We're even considering finding a way to produce these for a much lower cost and then sell them to our friends, maybe (big maybe) even on the Internet. What about you guys, any cool surprise Poptropica-related gifts this year?
By the way, check out the recap of 2015 that the Creators posted on the Blog, it's amazing how quickly this whole year seemed to fly by. Until my next post (soon, my friends)... Happy holidays!
Hello Poptropicans! Enjoying Pelican Rock Island this past week so far? It's coming out later this month on the desktop version for everyone, and non-Members can already play it on the app. I'm actually impressed with it, against my first expectations, so here are my brief thoughts on the island...
One of the first things that struck me this island was the high attention to detail, in the art and soundtrack, that I felt were missing from some of the more recent islands, especially Timmy Failure, Mystery of the Map, and Galactic Hot Dogs. The soundtrack and original music were well-mixed and matched the atmosphere perfectly.
Although the consistently drab colors dampen the mood after you've been playing for a while, they are appropriate for the atmosphere of the prison, so there. Even the outdoor rec yard manages to have a gloomy air somehow :).
This is the first time Poptropica really went into a prison setting in such detail and realism; previous prisons in Poptropica were mainly jokes that either set up some part of the plot (Super Villain, Ghost Story) or were simply very easy to get out of (Super Power, Wild West, etc). The story of Pelican Rock was all focused on that.
The story itself was somewhat unoriginal: you're framed for a crime, thrown in prison, and team up with your fellow inmates to break out under the prison guards' noses and clear your name. However, that's not to say it wasn't executed well, which it sure was! All the different prison characters were fairly well-developed, with different personalities, and you even come to like Marion, Patches, Van Nostrand, and Flambe by the end of it.
I give it a 4.5/5. I'll admit it, I was pleasantly surprised. If you haven't played it yet, what are you waiting for? Make sure to check out the Island guide!
Before the post is out -- has anyone noticed Poptrickia's new profile picture on Twitter and YouTube? It's based on the site logo designed by HPuterpop that's been up on Poptrickia for a while.
What do you think? Eh? Comment if you like it! And expect another post from me before the year is out, having to do with some very interesting sneak peeks...
The written guide has been finished, and you can see it here. In the meantime, check out Captain Crawfish's walkthrough below! (remind me to do a grumbling post about the injustice of Creators releasing official walkthroughs before the year is out).
In other news, the Main Street preview for Pelican Rock Island is open to all Poptropicans. If you go to it from the map, you can explore the (still unfinished) Main Street of the upcoming island, and there are a number of free things you can get by walking left and talking to the characters, namely these two:
That dog's gotta be the funniest and most creative Follower ever in Poptropica :). And last but not least, if you go all the way right on the preview, you can check out the Photo Booth. This is just like the Photo Booth on the Home Island, but with prison-themed items and backgrounds. All this elaborate pre-Island hype, plus the Creators' promise that Pelican Rock is like no other island, is definitely getting me intrigued!
Quick interesting aside: many people aren't impressed with Poptropica's new homepage (well, it's almost a year old now, but it's new in relation to the 8 years of the game's history). Yes, it looks great aesthetically, but there's a lot more distracting clutter, links, and ads that you have to load and see before clicking on the Play Now button, which some older players don't like. But there's a way to get the old homepage back!
The following link takes you to a clutter-free "Poptropica Login" page almost like the classic main page. After you log in, things continue the way you're used to. It's at http://www.poptropica.com/play-poptropica.php I don't know how long it'll be here, but might as well bookmark it while it lasts!
If you haven't won the Hide & Seek yet, what are you waiting for? There's a new image and a new challenge up already, go check it out and give it a try! And if you're up for something more like this, check out the Stolen Snapshots game on my friend Slippery Raptor's blog; the format's similar, the games are harder :)
Ever wish there were even more ways to connect with the Poptropica community than Twitter? Well, now there is: HPuterpop and the Poptropica Help Blog team have recently released the new Poptropica subreddit! Older Poptropica players can post and comment on all things Poptropica over on r/poptropicahelp, so come join and help the forum grow!
Anyway, that's all for today! Enjoy the month of holidays, and I hope I'll get an opportunity to post more often; at least once before my traditional New Years' post. :)
First of all, sorry for the extended lack of new blog posts here on Poptrickia. The truth is that I was sick for a while, which put me behind in school, so I had to spend a lot of time catching up, and then the midterms rolled around so I was occupied studying. I always try to post regularly though, so please excuse the lateness!
The newest upcoming Poptropica island has been announced: Escape from Pelican Rock! For months we've been drooling over Daily Pop sneak peeks of scenes that appear to take place in a kind of prison, and now we've got this exciting plot:
(off-topic note: does anyone else think the music to the trailer seems a little off for the theme it's trying to convey? Perhaps it's just because I first heard that music on Mystery of the Map and I've got the tropical image stuck in my head, but eh). If you're hungering for some imagery from the island, check out the recent sneak peeks, starting from around August.
In addition, the Creators are giving away some cool free stuff in anticipation of the island's release. They've already put the Escapee Dr. Hare costume in the Store for Members (don't worry, we're unlikely to actually see Dr. Hare as a character on the island), and this Thursday all players will be able to get some more items. We don't know exactly what they will be, but the Creators have given this screenshot as a hint, so it may be something to do with the police dog shown in the picture:
Time willing, I may be able to get some even more top-secret sneak peeks directly from the Island's files later this week or next; not promising anything though! Moving away from that topic, also on Thursday, the Creators have announced that a World Champions map for Reality TV Island will be created! Not only that, first-time completions will give 200 credits rather than the usual 150. That should inspire some heavy competition :). Also, it's very important to note, that to get on the Champions map, you will most likely have to restart the island, not just play the game show again. Again, that's not confirmed yet, but it's likely.
Alright, that's all I've got for today! Enjoy the upcoming excitement of Escape from Pelican Rock, and I definitely hope to find time away from schoolwork to post more often!
This is Poptrickia, serving you tips, tricks, cheats and more on the awesome game Poptropica for free since 2010! We've got this blog (we call it the Journal), full written walkthroughs for every island and quest in existence, and videos too!
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