Where in the world is Poptropica? Well, it looks like this whimsical world spans all corners of the earth and varying time periods of human history…
…and now, here on the PHB, it’s all mapped out! We’ll try not to let Octavian get to this one.
(For a better view, click on the image to enlarge it.)
Interesting stuff, eh? In this post, I’ll be sharing more about the thought behind all the mapping, information researched, and noting where some speculation is involved, so read on if you’re interested.
But wait, there’s more…
Turns out many of the Poptropica islands have an American influence (after all, it’s where Pop’s headquarters are located), which calls for a close-up map of the US of A. Check it out:
All it takes is a random thought to get things started – and a desire to see it through. ‘You know what would be cool? A world map with Poptropica islands labeled on it, based on where they took place.’
The base maps, as you may recognize, are from Poptropica’s World Champion Player Maps that track island finishers. It conveniently includes a close-up map for the United States because, well, that’s where a majority of Poptropica’s players are from.
Each individual island icon is from the map on Poptropica – but more specifically, you can find them in the Poptropica Clip Collection by HPuterpop, a good resource for quality Poptropica graphics.
From there, it was just a matter of Photoshopping everything together.
The United States Map
As mentioned earlier, many of the Poptropica islands have an American setting – some more obvious than others, with the less obvious being assumed due to Poptropica’s own Creators and majority of audience mostly relating to the States. The genericity of some islands’ settings makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact location, but general context seems to imply they’re US-based, unless otherwise stated or indicated.
Let’s start with the very first island: Early Poptropica, where Pilgrims have begun to settle. America’s first permanent English colony was in Jamestown, Virginia – and a Poptropica file also indicates that it is indeed based on Jamestown.
Lunar Colony, besides mostly being on the moon, also has an outer space facility called PASE that parodies NASA – the headquarters of which are located in the capital at Washington, DC.
Moving further down the coastline, I am speculating that Zomberry takes place in Eastman, Georgia – we know the city of Zomberry Island is called Eastman, and within the US, it seems Georgia is the only place with such a city name, according to some quick internet research. There is also a village called Eastman in Wisconsin, but it isn’t a city – and Zomberry clearly takes place in a city.
All the way down on the US map, you’ll see Miami, Florida as one of the locations that Game Show Island takes place on. Other game shows on this island are noted in other locations on the world map.
Two islands have a spot in Pennsylvania: Time Tangled, containing the Graff House in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was written; and Red Dragon, home to the Magic Tree House in the fictional town of Frog Creek, Pennsylvania.
Moving up the (over-crowded) East Coast, there’s New Jersey, where part of Cryptids Island takes place. Time Tangled also has a spot in NJ at Thomas Edison’s workshop.
Up north a bit is New York, where I speculate that Shrink Ray and Big Nate take place, although it is not explicitly stated. New York makes use of a numbering system for its public schools, such as in PS101 on Shrink Ray, and Big Nate’s school is PS38. In addition, the Big Nate cartoonist, Lincoln Peirce, has studied and taught in NYC, although he currently lives in Maine. Super Villain has a scene at the end at the Statue of Liberty, which is in New York City.
Ghost Story takes place in the fictional Hemlock Harbor, which we’re told is somewhere in New England.
Mocktropica is a parody of Poptropica and the game business industry, and we know that Poptropica HQ is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Poptropica’s founder, Jeff Kinney, is also the author of the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series, and although his books could be set in any generic US location, it’s most likely based somewhere on the East Coast – the region of the US where Kinney is most familiar (having been brought up in Maryland and now residing in Massachusetts). Thus, though the locations of Wimpy Wonderland and Wimpy Boardwalk are not clear, the East Coast is our best guess.
Midwest / Ambiguous
The John Bull locomotive on Mystery Train – if we’re to follow history – started off in Washington, DC and ended up in Chicago, IL for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Moving to the ambiguous area now, I’ve placed Virus Hunter, Monster Carnival, Spy, and Super Power Island somewhere in the middle, a territory which otherwise has less attention. There isn’t much to indicate where these islands take place, but the general feel of their settings is that they are in generic American towns, even if we cannot pinpoint an exact spot.
Great Pumpkin Island is based on the Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz, and one comic strip dated February 15, 1957 states that the characters live in Hennepin County, which is in Minnesota.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition of Time Tangled Island represents a real-life event where leaders Lewis and Clark led a group of army volunteers from St. Louis, Missouri all the way to the Pacific coast.
Wild West Island takes place during the American frontier period of the 19th century and encompasses the Western United States.
It is not clear where Timmy Failure, Night Watch, and 24 Carrot are set, except that it is again likely to be a generic American location. Timmy Failure’s creator, Stephan Pastis, grew up in and currently resides in California, and it is possible his personal life would have influenced his work.
My speculation is that Night Watch’s Twin Palms Mall is based on the Back to the Future series’ Twin Pines Mall, which was filmed near LA in California. A DeLorean in the parking lot adds further credibility to this theory.
As for 24 Carrot, it could be a generic carrot-farming region of the US, and a quick search shows that California produces over 85% of all US-grown carrots. However, 24 Carrot is also the island where the iconic Dr. Hare first shows himself, and according to Poptropica: The Official Guide, his character was the creation of Utah-based Poptropica Creator Nate Greenwall when he was in college and was thinking of a nemesis for his comic book protagonist, Carrot Teen (a radioactive carrot).
Finally, we arrive at the West Coast – and it seems that at least three islands (more if you count the above speculations) take place in California. Escape From Pelican Rock’s prison is based on the high-security penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, and a silhouette of what appears to be the Golden Gate Bridge can even be seen on the Main Street.
Back Lot Island, which is all about the movie industry, contains several references to Hollywood in California, including the iconic ‘Poptropica’/Hollywood lettering in the background, Sunrise Street after the real-life Sunset Boulevard, etc.
PoptropiCon is a convention all about the Poptropica franchise, and appears to be modeled after the San Diego Comic-Con, the “largest convention of its kind in the world” according to Forbes. The PoptropiCon logo seen throughout the island, featuring an eye and some text, is stylized very similarly to that of the San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, California.
Whew, that was long… but we’re only partway through! Zooming out of the United States, we see that various other Poptropica islands have settings based in places all over the world at large…
The World Map
The world sure is a big place…
Picking up as we head up along the Pacific coast, there’s the Pacific Northwest of Cryptids Island, which encompasses the upper-right US states up to parts of Canada. Still further up is the Yukon, at the top of Canada, where Survival Island takes place according to its island synopsis.
In central Mexico, there is the Aztec Empire of Time Tangled Island. And in the Caribbean islands we see another part of Cryptids in Puerto Rico – a US territory, but not a US state.
I’ve placed Monkey Wrench Island in Brazil, but that’s not official – all we can know is that Monkey Wrench takes place in a tropical jungle, much like the Amazon rainforest in South America. However, rainforests can generally be found near the equator, where the climate is warm and wet. Another speculation is that the island is Scandinavian, considering the Nordic symbols on the blimp blueprint – however, that region of Northern Europe is far from the typical rainforest location.
Going further down south, Buenos Aires in Argentina is where one of the game shows of Game Show Island takes place.
Before we get to the other continents, there is the Atlantic Ocean, where the ancient lost city of Atlantis is rumored to be hidden. This is, of course, where Mission Atlantis takes place. But it’s not the only Poptropica island in this ocean – S.O.S. Island, modeled after the sinking of the Titanic, probably takes place in the North Atlantic Ocean, where the RMS Titanic sank in 1912.
Nabooti Island takes place across the entire continent of Africa, as you may recall from the piloting map you used to fly your plane around. But also on this continent is the historic Mali Empire of West Africa, from Time Tangled Island.
Looking further up north, Europe has been over-crowded with a ton of islands. Greece alone has three: Time Tangled, Poptropolis Games, and Mythology all take place in Ancient Greece. Time Tangled also claims spots in Vinci, Italy (where Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop is to be found) and France (where the construction of the Statue of Liberty takes place). Also in France is Counterfeit Island, where you can find French speakers.
To the north-east is Transylvania, Romania, where Vampire’s Curse likely takes place. Transylvania is also the home of Bran Castle, where Dracula lived in the novel by Bram Stoker.
Astro-Knights Island, while up in space most of the time, also has its bearing on a land that looks to be somewhere in Medieval Europe. Some centuries later, the Industrial Revolution occurs in Europe, where Steamworks Island could blend right in.
The location for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is not given, but considering its author Roald Dahl’s British origins, we can guess that it may be based in England. Also in the UK, we have Loch Ness up in Scotland, where another part of Cryptids takes place.
Finally, there is the region of Scandinavia in Northern Europe, noted for its Viking age regarding Poptropica islands. Time Tangled has a Viking time period, Twisted Thicket contains Norse runes, mythology, and decorum, and Mystery of the Map also has Nordic symbols on its titular map.
Heading a bit east, we find Moscow, Russia as yet another Game Show Island location. Istanbul (not Constantinople) in Turkey is another.
Down south, near Africa, is the Arabian peninsula, where Arabian Nights probably takes place.
Further east, we find the Himalayan mountains, another location of Cryptids Island. Mt. Everest, also in the Himalayas, is part of Time Tangled – as is the Great Wall of China, in China of course.
Skullduggery Island, while its location is not too clear, seems to be based a little on Southeast Asia (Dragon’s Cove inspired by China, Golden Harbor as India) but also contains European influences (British soldiers in Fort Ridley, architecture in Bouffant Bay). There is a history of European colonization in these regions, so it is plausible.
In Japan, which is an island nation east of China, there is another Game Show Island location in Tokyo, the capital. There is also Red Dragon Island, which takes place in ancient Edo, which today is Tokyo.
Down under – well, there aren’t actually any islands that seem to take place in Australia – but perhaps we can assign a couple to Polynesia, which is nearby. Reality TV Island is based on the TV show Survivor, of which many episodes have been filmed in this island region that includes Samoa and the Cook Islands. Shark Tooth Island also has a similar vibe, and could very well be placed somewhere in this area.
There isn’t much left to cover at this point – but here are a few more thoughts.
Galactic Hot Dogs mostly takes place in outer space, and although Cosmoe is a boy from planet Earth, none of the GHD locations seem to be on Earth.
Home Island floats above Poptropica, but if I were to guess its scenery influences, it seems to be European. Realms also seems to float around somewhere, as indicated by the Realms bubbles – but we know that at least the Forest Realm is in Asgard, a mythical region of Norse religion.
Poptropica is full of wacky and exotic islands, but on closer inspection, we see that many of them are rooted in certain real-world locations. For others, it is not so obvious, but we can still take guesses. This leads to questions and conspiracy theories about Poptropica’s relation to planet Earth – is it an alternate dimension? Is it still its own planet called Poptropica? How can we visit so many time periods? It looks like the Poptropica graphic novels are setting out to answer these questions, but we’ll have to wait and see what they reveal about this world!
Why does Poptropica try to be ambiguous about the locations of some islands, yet on others makes it clear where it is based? Should they be more or less consistent? Should all of Poptropica be canonically ambiguous, or should they change the map to reflect the real world influences?
Hopefully, these maps give some indication of which world locations Poptropica could use next for their islands. In the US, much of the middle country seems to be ignored. Large parts of Canada, Mexico, and South America could also use a bit more attention. So could Australia, the Middle East, and Asia – I’m probably biased, but I’d love to see more places inspired by parts of Asia like Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, and of course, Hong Kong!
Anyway, that concludes this uber-long post. If you are reading this past late 2016, there may be more islands added, but this has gone on long enough as it is. Thanks for reading, and share your thoughts in the comments! Stay popping, Poptropicans. 😀