I was thinking the other day – what made 24 Carrot Island so special that it became the first SUI? While 24 Carrot BETA Carrotene was cool, it seemed a bit odd that instead of the very first island, the Creators chose such an oddball island as the first to grace with music and a larger screen. Early Poptropica Island was the first island, and it would seem appropriate to start with the first and work your way through updating islands. So why didn’t they do just that? I have a theory; A GAME THEO–
Why not Early Poptropica Island?
Early Poptropica is iconic, short, and easy. It’s the first island ever, and was a pilot episode, showing the capabilites of what islands could be. The ideas were limitless – and yet this island fell short – for a good reason. When people start the game, generally they start with Early Poptropica Island (or should, anyway). It isn’t looking to be a Mystery Train or Ghost Story, with an elaborate story, dozens of characters, a handful of items, and a map that sprawls across your computer screen. It’s an introduction – an example.
And with that, comes the comparison – how does it compare to a standard island, aside from its shortness? Well, for starters, there is no main villain (although they can be speculated on). The villains described are never actually officially pin pointed, just hinted – the Purple Giant, the sewer spider – and thus it creates a sense of security, without an underlying threat.
The story is good other than the lack of villains, however. It IS a fetch quest, but honestly, what is any other Poptropica Island than a glorified fetch quest anyway? 😉
The Early Poptropicans are probably the best part of the island, but other than that the characters are pretty lacking as well. Let’s look at the standards vs EP:
- Standard: Main Villian – Early Poptropica: Never Stated
- Standard: Iconic Side Characters – Early Poptropica: Iconic Side Characters
- Standard: 1 – 2 hours of gameplay – Early Poptropica: Can be completed in less than 10 minutes, but for a new player it would take approx. 30 minutes.
Early Poptropica fails in two areas – villains and gameplay time. These are some of the two main parts of Poptropica, and when EP was created, those standards were not yet set. Overall, when it comes to the standard scale, it only hits 1 out of 3.
Why not Shark Tooth Island?
Shark Tooth Island is another one of those iconic islands – with two of the most popular characters being created here, it’s no surprise – this island’s a winner. But what is wrong with it so much that Poptropica didn’t choose it?
The story is a huge upgrade from Early Poptropica – history dating thousands of years back, acharacter who was thought to be dead but was still alive, and finding three ingredients to create a medicine to put the great Booga Shark to sleep – Whew! That was a mouthful.
So it’s obviously not the story… for the most part. As you know, Poptropica loves its villains, and the great Booga Shark, while cool, isn’t really a villain. He’s an antagonist for sure, but something about him being a shark really changes the way you view him. Instead of “I’m going to kidnap a princess and fly away to another dimension and build crazy robots”, it’s more like “NOM!” So yeah, not really a villain as much as it is a menace.
Other than that, you still have that time issue – while not as short as EP, it still can be completed in under 10 minutes, and for a new user it may take 30. For showing off SUIs’ new features, a short island would not fully show what it can do.
So let’s go over the standards vs ST:
- Standard: Main Villain – Shark Tooth: An antagonist more than a villain
- Standard: Iconic Side Characters – Shark Tooth: Two of the most famous characters in Poptropica
- Standard: 1 – 2 hours of gameplay – Shark Tooth: Can be completed in less than 10 minutes, but for a new player it would take approx. 30 minutes.
Overall, when it comes to the standard scale, it only gets a 1 out of 3, similiar to the previous. Not the best for the first SUI.
Why not Time Tangled?
Time Tangled Island is the first full fledged island – it has length, tons of characters, tons of items, easter eggs – the works. But why didn’t the creators decide to make it the first SUI?
Perhaps it has to do with the island’s uncommon set up – you time travel through major eras of time trying to fix time anomalies. Not exactly a standard story or island set up – the previous islands were pretty consistent. Time Tangled Island is different, however.
The villains were also a lacking subject, considering that there were none. You could play a blame game with Professor Pendulum, but for the most part, the problems are blamed on “time anomalies”. No actual boss at the end, while a good resolution.
The characters are where the island really succeeds, however – I didn’t count them, but I’m here to bet there are over 30 character designs and dozens of characters from actual history. This could be used against an island, though, considering the island’s characters – for the most part – aren’t original. As for iconic side characters, there aren’t many.
The story is actually pretty good – Professor Pendulum creates two time machines that can travel to the past and future – but time anomalies cause major problems in the past and because of this, the future seems to be in peril.
Time is not an issue in this island (ironic as it may be). There are over 20 unique scenes to visit, and the resolution is not the easiest to come by. You can probably complete it in under 20 minutes if you’re good, but a new player would take about an hour.
So let’s go over the standards vs TT:
- Standard: Main Villain – Time Tangled: No villain
- Standard: Iconic Side Characters – Time Tangled: Historical characters, not original
- Standard: 1 – 2 hours of gameplay – Time Tangled: 1 hour of gameplay
So finally, the resolution. What does 24 Carrot have that the previous three did not?
- Standard: Main Villain – 24 Carrot: The first Poptropica super villain
- Standard: Iconic Side Characters – 24 Carrot: This one is debatable, but I say that Mayor McTeague and Flo the waitress are iconic
- Standard: 1 – 2 hours of gameplay – 24 Carrot: 1 hour of gameplay
24 Carrot Island was truly one of the most influential islands on Poptropica. Dr. Hare would agree. 😀