Rant: Wimpy Ads

Hey folks, Cobalt here. Ohoho, do I have a rant for you.

So, I went on Poptropica today, as I do almost daily. Here’s the news: both Wimpy Kid islands have been opened to all (Wimpy Wonderland and Wimpy Boardwalk), and first-time finishers get 300 credits (instead of 150). And there’s a Wimpy Shirt prize for going on one of those islands.

But there’s a bigger issue here, and it’s glaring right in our faces. This update truly is wimpy.

Screenshot at Apr 13 18-26-01

I thought, well, it is Wimpy Kid Month, and Jeff Kinney is the author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. So I didn’t have any doubts at all they would advertise it at some point. Despite me not personally enjoying the book series after the trillionth release, I logged on anyway. It’s not like it was going to ruin my Poptropica experience for me.

Screenshot at Apr 13 18-27-08

Oh wait, it did. It really did. Look at this. It looks so tacky and cluttered it makes me think who was orchestrating this mind-numbing catastrophe opened up MS Paint and just played around with it for two minutes. On top of all that, April has become “Apriil”.

2016-04-13

There are six different fonts in this. Six. Are you guys aware that HPuterpop and UiPE from the PHB do design work for free? Hire them! Like, what is this?

The prize card that Poptropica so obnoxiously and cringingly shoves in our face is also poorly made. They couldn’t even make good what they advertised so heavily.

Screenshot at Apr 13 18-27-41

Like, is this just a belated April Fools prank? The text is off-center, the image is highly pixelated, and it all makes me wonder who thought this was okay. Honestly, if this person got paid for making this, it angers me. Not only did they recycle the redhead from the other ads, but they also recycled the prize shirt itself without adding anything new. Poptropica, you can do better than this, and you have in the past. Why deteriorate now?

Some of you may remember Smockers, the first PHB author ever, not including Slanted Fish? He hasn’t played in years. And yet, this shirt is part of his look. It’s that old.

Screenshot at Apr 13 18-28-28.png

This was an ad prize a long, long time ago that they’re passing up as something new and exciting. I’m not even joking, this frustrates me. Also, care to notice how that recycled, low-resolution lady is wearing a necklace? She’s covering up the collar above Greg’s (The Wimpy Kid) face. Why are they advertising a shirt and covering part of it up? That’s like advertising a watch and wearing a long sleeve shirt and covering some of it.

Honestly, I’d love to go even deeper into this, and why I think the quality (and quantity!) of the ads are as downright pitiful as they are, and how it’s been 50 days since the last island (and a simple tutorial one at that), and how Daily Pops are inconsistent, and getting any sort of update is slow and disappointing… but I don’t want any controversy from my viewers or the Poptropica team themselves. So, I’ll leave it at this crude joke from fellow author Brave Tomato:

2016-04-13

I think Poptropica should really rethink their priorities, their graphic designer(s), and what kind of content they consider approved for the game.

This whole thing is really embarrassing, and I’m not happy about it. Poptropicanos, can you really tell me this isn’t honestly a complete annoyance? This is hardly the first time Poptropica has released poorly designed promotional graphics, offered disappointing prize items, or offered a bunch of extra credits for a first-time island completion and called it news. And while it’s great that a couple members-only islands have been unlocked to the public, they should have been free in the first place, as they were before that fateful member-lock update last summer.

I honestly don’t want Poptropica to be chagrined over this, but hopefully, this is a wake-up call for them.

When community manager Skinny Moon said they may have had something planned for Wimpy Kid Month, I was expecting something better.

Are my expectations too high? Or was the delivery too low? What do you Poptropicanos think?

UPDATE: Poptropica Creator Skinny Moon left the following comment on this post in response:

Hey there Poptropicans,

We hear your concerns and we admit it — we rushed this Wimpy Kid promotion and we apologize. We need to do better. Honestly, we’re glad when you point out something that’s not our best work. All fan feedback is helpful!

We do hope you enjoy your rare Wimpy Kid shirt, though! It’s true that it’s an old-school Poptropica item. We thought you’d enjoy a little piece of history!

Also, we know you’re wondering why there hasn’t been a lot of new stuff happening on Poptropica and why we seem to be pretty quiet. All I can say right now is that we are incredibly busy working on very exciting things for Poptropica, and we’ll be able to reveal more towards the end of the month.

Please know we’re listening to your feedback — keep it coming — the good and the not-so-good!

Keep poppin’,
Skinny Moon

Thanks for hearing us out, Poptropica. We hope it gets better!

Until next time,

– Cobalt Spinner

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52 thoughts on “Rant: Wimpy Ads

    • SlantedFish says:

      Well not quite, they’re celebrating the 9th anniversary of the release of the first print book. 😛 The shirt is cool, but it’s not new, and this post posits that they could have done something more with it.

  1. Marshmallow says:

    THANK YOU. I have always had something to say about Poptropica that is not necessarily, um, positive feedback. I’m happy that you decided to speak up about this. When I had been reintroduced back to Poptropica years ago, I was totally shocked to see that so many of the islands were now Members Only. What was my past 10 year old self supposed to say to that!? I’ll tell you what I said. ‘What the cheese!?’ It’s sad to say that Poptropica is getting more money based. I get that Poptropica needs money to hire employees and make more awesome islands, but this is just… too much! I keep thinking of a way to have Poptropica make more money without becoming an ad and membership wonderland, but I just keep coming up with blanks. What is the cheesing answer!?

      • Marshmallow says:

        Oh wow! I just read your letter to Poptropica, and it was amazing! Excellent word choice, by the way ^w^. I really think that letter lead to a lot of the development of Monkey Wrench Island! Anyway, thanks for agreeing with me (You too, Anonymous!). Everything used to be open to everyone on Poptropica (Except for early access to islands, bonus quests, and some items from the store, but that didn’t really effect the game play). It’s kind of sad that there are a bunch of new Potropicans popping up all over the place that have never seen every island ‘Open to All’.

      • SlantedFish says:

        Thanks! 😀 There were actually Daily Pop sneak peeks of what became Monkey Wrench Island before I wrote that letter, so development on that probably wasn’t due to the letter – still, I’m glad they made the tutorial better. Sadly, it’s the only island we’ve seen so far this year, and we don’t even know their plans for the next island (if any). 😦

        A Poptropica Creator also wrote a response to that letter which shows promise, but unfortunately not a whole lot has come out of it so far (although we’ve had some more interactions with Poptropica thanks to Jessica!).

  2. Mighty Gamer says:

    I completely agree with this. The prize card is especially shameful. I love Poptropica, but the creators haven’t had any updates I’ve really have enjoyed in a while. (Besides the release of monkey followers, but even that isn’t being released anymore.) What’s going on lately with Poptropica?

    • SlantedFish says:

      Yeah… considering we saw more monkeys in the files, why aren’t they being released? We know also from poking around behind-the-scenes that they’re working on some Zomberry-themed games, plus earlier this year they mentioned that they were working on a “Friends and Family Beta Program” (the details of which are unknown) as well as “updating our membership this Spring” (though this remains to be seen). Since none of these things have come to light yet, and we know nothing of the next island’s development (if any)… right now we’re left in the disappointed dust.

      • Yujo_Jacy_the_Jumpy_Coyote says:

        Yeah, the Poptropica Creators must have thrown a monkey wrench at those Monkey Madness plans for the time being. I hope they resume the event, but my hopes are getting less and less the longer the waiting game is >.> . Wait, . . . what?! They removed the monkey followers from my inventory! They are gone! I actually liked the Night Watchmonk follower, and they decide to remove all of the monkeys just like that? Q-Q

      • Mighty Gamer says:

        Exactly. All I can say is I hope everything comes to light soon. It’s becoming worrisome, considering the fact they claimed to be “very busy” but nothing is happening!

      • Creepy Goose says:

        Um, the two last sneak peeks seems to be about a poptropica themed island where older ones are mixed together and we get to meet a fellow explorer. So they have already let us know about the next island’s development. In addition they are making classic islands becoming SUIs. No, I’m not just talking about Back Lot island which was mentioned in another PHB post, but Jeff Heim has made soundtracks for other islands like Twisted Thicket island and Super POWer island! Maybe common rooms will become sound updated too, as one of the soundtracks is for Björn’s Smörgåsbord, the common room in Twisted Thicket island? Not strange that they are busy.

      • SlantedFish says:

        @Creepy Goose – Regarding the sneak peeks you’re talking about, they do not appear to be for new islands. The one where bits of old islands are mixed together suggests something we don’t know, but it seems unlikely to be a new island as each island generally has their own unique look, which this lacks. The other picture, one of an explorer laden with gold and goodies, will probably be appearing on Home Island. We’ve received reports of players seeing the character on Home Island, although we have yet to encounter it ourselves.

        We’re aware that Poptropica is busy with many projects at once, including the translation of classic islands into SUIs (which they’ve confirmed they are in the long process of doing), but our concern is that lately the Poptropica updates have been very lackluster compared to previous years. We’re calling for Poptropica to focus their resources on results that players are actually looking for: well-made islands, or at the very least, promotional graphics that aren’t an eyesore to look at. Poptropica has done much better in the past and many players feel that the standard of quality, when there are any updates at all, is slipping.

  3. เcy รpเภภєภ says:

    What happened to the monkey followers?! Why have they gone? I noticed I was missing a page in my inventory. 😦

  4. Some Guy says:

    Ah,finally! Time to rant about ads,my least favourite thing in the whole game.

    I’d like to start off by saying,of course,not all ads are bad. There’s actually some really good ones,like the ones which make you play a little minigame (or even more) to earn you your items,or the ones with the common rooms where you can just hang out and customize a few costumes,or those little photo booths. Those are very creative,good marketing by the devs.

    But the other ones are total (CENSORED) .There’s the ones where you have to watch a video to earn your prize (no challenge whatsoever,plus you can just as easily watch it online), the ones where you can just earn the items by just clicking on them (really?),and the ones without really any prizes at all (just meh). Without any challenge or even any incentive in a few cases,these become shallow and uninteresting,just your average ad.

    They don’t even have very good placement,for the most part. I mean,I can excuse the ones on the side of the screen,or when you’re leaving an area,or even those little stalls (like on Astro Knights and Steamworks),since they don’t hinder the gameplay in any way,but the others definitely do!

    The standard ones are the ones between two areas. These are pretty annoying,since you encounter them frequently. Yet you know what’s worse than ads in those spaces? No ads at all!

    No,I really mean it! It’s incredibly irritating to cross from one area to another only to wait for the ad to appear,and then find out there’s no ad at all! What was the point of that? Why don’t those spaces disappear when there aren’t any ads?!These ruin many islands for me,like Super Villain,Mission Atlantis,Pelican Rock,and Arabian Nights. But for me,the worst case is in Realms. Why?

    Simple. Realms is NOT AN ISLAND. It does not function the same as your regular islands. Its gameplay is more focused on building and mining,and exploring others’ creations. The main thing here is that you can exit the area you’re in at any height,so where you appear in the next area is relative to your height. But according to the ads in Realms,no matter from which height you exit the area you’re in,you appear on the surface. Then,when you leave,you appear back on the height you were originally on.

    This may sound like a nitpick,but when you’re building,this is very disorienting. I had to build multiple pathways in my Realms,and they were right on the edge of the screen which would take me to the ad area. Good god this is bad. Plus sometimes the world doesn’t even load and you have to log in again,and if you previously had zoomed in or out on the screen,it would zoom you back to your Poptropican again.

    This seriously creates too many problems to be worth it. If there would be one thing I could remove from the game permanently,it would be these. These deter me,distract me,disorients me,disgusts me,disturbs me,and dumbs down everything. Creators,please remove these…things.

    Another type of ad I don’t get is pretty rare,actually. You’ll find it on islands like Twisted Thicket,Zomberry and Astro-Knights. On the Main Streets of these respective islands,if you proceed in a certain direction (left in TT and AK and right in Zomberry),you’ll end up on an ad screen. This is pretty similar to the ad screens between areas,except with one major difference.

    They don’t go anywhere. No,really. These paths are pretty pointless to me if they don’t even let the player progress,and I’m not even really sure why these exist.

    Oh,and before I end this rant (which I’m sure is now longer than the actual post at this point),why do the items you get from ads always disappear? And no,I am not talking about the ones like this shirt,or that one GHD hot dog costume,or anything like that which are kept in the store items,I mean the items which are kept in the blue letter ‘Campaign’ part of your inventory?

    If the items here are limited,then I don’t think they should disappear along with the ad. You can’t exactly save them in your closet either,since they appear as a grey shirt in their (except,funnily enough,SUIs). It just seems rather unnecessary then if the items disappear,especially if they’re actually kind of cool.

    But,yes,don’t worry,I’ll stop here for now. I think I’ve discussed every positive and negative aspect of ads for now. Who knows,if they change them,maybe I’ll do a part two! But that is all. Thank you for staying here for so long and listening to me (if this even gets moderated). Maybe I’ll be back soon. Who knows? Keep an eye out in the future! ; )

    -SC

    P.S To Cobalt,there is one thing you’ve gotten wrong here in your post. If memory serves,that shirt of which you spoke oh-so highly of is actually one of those rare,uncostumizable shirts from long ago which just so happened to be in the game’s database for a while. They just didn’t use it officially until now,that’s all.

    P.P.S Now that I think about it,where IS the next island though? It’s been almost two months since the tutorial island,and they haven’t even given us the name yet. HM…

  5. FairyTale says:

    Can any of you ask the creators on Twitter about why they stopped the Monkey followers event and also removed the monkey followers from our inventory?

  6. PHBlover says:

    Every time I even glance at the Poptropican “model” for the Wimpy Kid shirt I cringe. The outfit she’s wearing plus the used shirt is not a good equation. And the color pallet? My eyes are crying. It clashes terribly! I truly agree with you, Cobalt Spinner, and am glad I’m not the only one! XD

  7. Poptropica Creators (@Poptropica) says:

    Hey there Poptropicans,

    We hear your concerns and we admit it — we rushed this Wimpy Kid promotion and we apologize. We need to do better. Honestly, we’re glad when you point out something that’s not our best work. All fan feedback is helpful!

    We do hope you enjoy your rare Wimpy Kid shirt, though! It’s true that it’s an old-school Poptropica item. We thought you’d enjoy a little piece of history!

    Also, we know you’re wondering why there hasn’t been a lot of new stuff happening on Poptropica and why we seem to be pretty quiet. All I can say right now is that we are incredibly busy working on very exciting things for Poptropica, and we’ll be able to reveal more towards the end of the month.

    Please know we’re listening to your feedback — keep it coming — the good and the not-so-good!

    Keep poppin’,
    Skinny Moon

    • Cobalt Spinner says:

      The “rare” item is customizable off of Smockers, and I’ve done so many times, (previous to this event!) Though, having the item card is seriously awesome, so thanks for that, and for listening! ❤

    • HPuterpop says:

      A suggestion: Instead of just that shirt, why not the multitude of advertisement items (as the shirt was originally an ad item as well) from the countless ads you’ve had for Wimpy Kid?

      Or better yet, combine all of the past ads and create a lengthy quest of minigames? That would truly mark “Wimpy Kid Month”.

      • Yujo_Jacy_the_Jumpy_Coyote says:

        Yep, Jessica has already posted on the Poptropica Help Blog on other posts regarding events and other things here and there. It’s really neat seeing one of the creators of a game comment on a fan blog, not just once but multiple times 😉 .

    • Fearless Rider (AKA Marshmallowlilypads) says:

      Oh, wow! Hi!!!! A Creator!!! Wow! *Straightens fake bow tie* Hello! All I can say is, thank you for opening the Wimpy Islands (Not that the islands are ‘wimpy’, they’re awesome, that’s just their name xD)! Now I am all excited for the end of the month!!! Eek! Yay!

  8. Whovian-Pegasister says:

    *cringes* Ads. Just ads. Ads always bugged me in general. See, I was introduced to Poptropica through school, and our computers were always iffy. Many a day I saw a student accidentally click an ad and get frustrated very quickly. (Though it was amazingly nice for Skinny Moon to come on and comment about this, too! :D)

    • SlantedFish says:

      Ads can be frustrating, but Poptropica sometimes does them well (particularly the interactive games on Main Street). However, we’re critiquing this ad for its unflattering graphic design choices, among other things mentioned in the post. And ads aren’t always bad – sometimes they lead us to things we do want – we know many players have found Poptropica through an ad on their sister site FunBrain!

  9. A random guy says:

    The only thing to be disappointed about is this post. I am very disheartened by the fact that such a harsh and inconsiderate post could come from a blog I once considered to be professional-esque. I do agree that this event was a little wonky in design, but seriously, cut ’em some slack. There’s a difference between giving some constructive criticism and flat out spewing insults. Honestly, there are better ways to give feedback.

    If you’re going to continue making these kinds of posts, I suggest creating a new blog entitled: Poptropica Roast Blog

    • Cobalt Spinner says:

      Understand that the point is indeed serious, but I think many people would catch on this is all simply hyperbole, and my somewhat cynical and offensive remarks really shouldn’t be taken to heart. No one else did, not even Poptropica themselves, so I suggest either realizing that, or realize your excess over your toleration towards my posts have reached its limit, because there are going to be more of them, I promise. 😛

    • Dangerous Brain says:

      Seconded with A Random Guy that the post was disheartening. It’s disappointing to see a post full of insults instead of what could be constructive criticism.

      • SlantedFish says:

        Constructive criticism was provided in several places where it was pointed out how the update fell short of quality standards. For example, the design uses too many fonts, text is off-center, and its generally unappealing state is due to a lack of sufficient effort. It’s a call for Poptropica to do better, which if you’ll note, has garnered their response.

  10. A random guy says:

    Oh, I am well aware of the seriousness of the matter. In fact, there are many things in the game that frustrate me as well. More of these “Rants” though? Are they needed? Maybe for certain things, I suppose, but your tone for these posts, to be taken to heart or not, could be slightly adjusted. If your motive is to be the poptropica critic then fire away. I’m sure it will be enjoyable.

    (I gotta admit though, I couldn’t get over “Get Cool Wimpy Shirt” hehe…)

    • SlantedFish says:

      While there are somewhat harsh tones in this post, do keep in mind that there was a point to all the negativity. In criticizing, the goal is to give honest feedback on how Poptropica can and should improve. The wording in this post may be perceived as too much for some such as yourself, for which we’re sorry you feel that way, but it does reflect honest feelings and has resulted in consideration and even a mature appreciation from Poptropica themselves – so it was clearly effective.

  11. Shiny Panda says:

    Wait… I thought Colbalt was a boy poptropican… How come the card gives him GIRL poptropican lips and eyelashes…? Although the Wimpy islands might be fun to play and earn 300 more credits to top off my 3,000 or more credits XD

  12. Lucky Wing says:

    Good to know that i’m not the only one who loves Poptropica and doesn’t like Wimpy Kid. i was totally shocked to discover that it was the same guy who did Poptropica. I’ve forgiven him for writing those, but wowza. This is a tad too far. THIS IS TOO FAR!! Typos in ads!! Unforgivable! 😉

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