Wednesday, November 25, 2015

When Did Poptropica "Lose Its Touch"?

Hey guys, I'm Icy Storm. Today I am going to be talking about when Poptropica became slightly less wonderful. I've been playing the game for four and a half years now, and in that time there have been many updates, many features added and removed, and many replaced. Today I am going to be talking about some of the okay, meh, no, and TERRIBLE decisions that Poptropica has made during the past that helped it become what it is today. I will also give some ideas of how to fix certain things along the way.

SUI 

Poptropica has changed their interface a few times over the years, but SUI (Sound Updated Islands) is quite obviously the largest change yet. While the original play screen is sleek and smooth, the SUI interface is slow and full of glitches and bugs.

The regular Poptropica screen
SUI gives players a larger vision range, but this makes it incredibly slow and filled with lag.
I also found 2 glitches within 2 minutes.



My idea of how to fix this: Fix the bugs and add a feature to either A: Make the screen smaller like Club Penguin did, or B: be able to press the - button to get a lower resolution, like Club Penguin did.
Failed Members-Only Island Plan


In case you didn't notice (in which case you've been living under a rock thats under a rock), Poptropica occasionally makes islands about third party products such as the comic strip Big Nate,  the children's book series Magic Tree House, the short film It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and some other stuff. In July 2015, all of these islands now required Membership to complete.

Islands that are permanently member exclusive isn't a bad idea, and it's actually a great scheme idea to make money. The problem is with the way it was executed. All 7 of the third-party regular islands were made members only, while the new SUI ones were left free. If anything, I would make the newer ones member's only. Along with the 2 newer ones, I would release about 4 OTHER members-only islands on the same date without releasing it publicly until the day all 6 go live.

Everybody knows these two feelings.
1: I love this thing a lot and have enjoyed many hours of entertainment with said thing, but now I have no way to access it without handing over at least 3 bucks a month.
2: This looks like something I might enjoy, but I have to pay money to access it.
Most people prefer the latter.

Official Walkthroughs  

A big part of Poptropica is a YouTube community. Many people make videos about Poptropica. Walkthroughs, animations, comics, etc. Walkthroughs by themselves are not my problem.

My problem is, Poptropica is a game where you have to think of what to do. Some parts are really hard to figure out and some parts are also very complicated. With a walkthrough, you don't really have to think about what to do. You just kinda watch a video, see what somebody else does, and then do exactly what they do. This does not seem like something Poptropica would condone, but now they've jumped on the bandwagon.

I think a better way to do this is to have a little section on the Island Info page that gives little hints from a few parts of the quest.
They kinda do this with their new blog posts about it, but they go into too much detail.

Holy guacamole, there's like 12 video walkthroughs!

Galactic Hot Dogs: The Uprising Continues

Oh boy, Galactic Hot Dogs. Boy, do I have a lot to say about this franchise. I've already talked about Galactic Hot Dogs on my opinion blog, so I'll just copy a few excerpts from there.

Galactic Hot Dogs Advertising
I don't mind advertising for one of the products coming from Poptropica's partner site, but there is Galactic Hot Dogs everywhere. Billboards, login prizes, ad buildings, videos popping up in random places sometimes, kiosks, minigames, quests (app), and now it even has its own island. Now, if GHD had a good story with lovable and relatable characters, and was easy to understand, then it would be an okay choice to advertise. There is a problem with all of these factors though.
And now Galactic Hot Dogs has a book. I saw it at Sams Club last summer. The cover is totally bland and colorless (aside from the logo, the cover only has four colors. Three of them are shades of gray.)
The book also uses the number 37 million as an exaggeration. Thirty-seven million is my exaggeration number and you have no right to take it. It also uses pages from the online series, which is really lame. The book not only reuses material, but it also is on the same level of comedy as a 7-year-old boy, resulting to fart jokes and the like. Poptropica, my favorite game, is now advertising this like it's the Holy Bible of children's books. Please stop. Just please stop. I haven't seen it as much lately, but it still has a very large presence in this game.
This is an actual, real, unedited page from the Galactic Hot Dogs book. Check Amazon's preview of the book if you don't believe me.

No More Save Button

Let me tell you a story. One time I was working on my Club Penguin realm in Poptropica Realms. I spent probably a half-hour working on this one scene. I put lots of detail into it. Broke lots of stuff, placed lots of stuff, tested lots of stuff, broke a lot more stuff, placed a lot more stuff. When I was finished, I exited realms. When I came back, all my work was gone. But guess what else happened? The Poptanium I spent was still gone. So what happened? To this day I don't know.
The next time I worked on my Club Penguin realm, I waited about 5 minutes after I finished to let it save. I logged out, and when I came back, all my stuff was still gone.
The third time I worked on this realm, I waited fifteen minutes for it to save. It did for the most part, but some stuff was still missing.
Now every time I use that realm, I usually wait about a half an hour after I'm done just to let it save. I wouldn't have to do this if there was a save button in the menu crate. Please add one.

Episodes  
In 2014, Poptropica announced episodic islands, islands that would be released one bit at a time. Episodes would be relatively short, so they could release more episodes more often. Except this wasn't the case. Episodes were released on a similar schedule Poptropica had for releasing islands in 2012. Episodes were released every 2 months or so. They also didn't handle episodes very well. Episodes usually began with text to read and ended with text to read. Most episodes were also just lame tasks, such as beating Omegon in Poptropicon 3 and taking pictures of fish in Atlantis 1. I think the biggest sufferer of this is Mission Atlantis.
Episodes have since ended, but their legacy still lives on. Galactic Hot Dogs Island (yuck) was basically tasks. It had very little story or character development at all. It basically went down like this:
Get to plot starting thingy
Rescue Cosmoe
Rescue Dagger
Rescue Humphree
play Poptropica's version of Flappy Bird
you win
The things you do to achieve each of any of the (I guess I have to call them this) plotpoints in each aren't even fun or exciting, so it makes you feel frustrated when you don't win. Game Show Island, for example, has a lot more plotpoints (I actually mean it this time) than episodic islands. The things you do to reach those plotpoints are also new and fun. Here's the list of things to do in order for Game Show Island.
Have fun messing around at factory.
Help a robot
find the scientist guy
chase him
fly a plane to some cool place
play a little puzzle game
play a game show about scaredy pants (fun and challenging)
fly a plane to some cool place
play a little puzzle game
play wheel of fortune (fun and slightly challenging)
fly a plane to some cool place
play a little puzzle game
play jeopardy (fun and challenging)
fly a plane to some cool place
play a little puzzle game
play a american ninja warrior (fun and extremely challenging in a good way)
fly a plane to some cool place
play a puzzle game
play a really fun game where youre a chicken and a bowling ball and a baby and its really fun
play the pipe game from club penguins 2015 halloween party (but harder) four or five times
play tictactoe with a computer that was ruler of the earth less than a minute ago

A plot as repetitive as this one can still be incredibly fun if you try something new and exciting.

If you're reading this, Poptropica, thank you. I hope you take this seriously and try to do something really fun and new with all of the power you have. And remember, even at your lowest point, you are ahead of Club Penguin at their average. (that sentence does not give you right to sell out) Goodbye!