Construction of Nicktropolis began in November 2004, by Nickelodeon's developers Mark Zadroga, Alex Westerman, Deborah Levine, Patrick Dorey, Sean McEvoy, and Jason Root, using the TheoSDK and TheoAvatarSDK engines. The game was launched in early 2006, and it had no advertising.
From August 18, 2006, to January 6, 2007, the game was closed to the general public. Prior to this release, almost 300,000 children had tested the game. In March 2007, the game was remodeled and given a new logo. Next, on May 11, 2007, the home page was remodeled to fit in with Nick.com's new look. On June 24, 2007, the game was featured in The New York Times.
Pre-teenage viewers have a virtual playground to call their own.|quote width in pixels|quote height in pixels|The New York Times
The Nicktropolis Newsletter was launched in September 2007, as an e-mail service to players. Also, advertising was added in November 2007 (see below). As of July 3, 2008, Nicktropolis had over 7,000,000 registered users.
Beginning in July 2008, the developers introduced daily events on weekdays. On Mondays, a 10% sale happens in one of the stores. Tuesdays are trivia challenge day. On Wednesdays, a Movie Night Party is held at the Rec Center. A fashion parade is held on Thursdays, and on Fridays, a new treasure hunt begins.
Nickelodeon is developing a new area to support The Big Green Help, the year long Nickelodeon green campaign.
An alpha of the game was released in early 2006. Soon, the first beta was released in June 2006. Then, from August 18, 2006, to the second beta's release date on January 6, 2007, the game was closed. Eventually, on January 30, 2007, the game was released to the public.
The downtown area of Nicktropolis has 6 distinct areas. These are the Rec Center, the Alien Planet multi-player game "Save the Flooponauts", Market Street, Treasure Hunt, Metro Park, and the Trivia Challenge room.
The pier area contains several sections including Tube Room, Slime Room, Mirror Room, the Bumper Cars, the Midway One, Two, the Fortune Teller, the House of Horrors, the Pier entrance, and the Aquarium. The Midways contain both in game casual game play and also more robust game overlays, though two games have been closed.
The Nicktropolis Space Center opened on June 28, 2007. It lets users go to Launch Site Alpha, the Alien Planet, the Space Station and the Station Air Locks. Also, users voted for the Space Center, over two other locations titled Prehistoric Nicktropolis and Nicktropolis Underground. Out of nearly one million votes in one week, 46% voted for the new space world.
During the winter of every year, the Winter Park is opened. The area, when up, consists of the Igloo, Ice Cave, Snow Fort, and Bumper Burgs. The area closed on April 5, 2007 and the zone came back on December 20th, 2007.
The area is divided into 7 subsections, the first being the SpongeBob SquarePants area (Bikini Bottom) includes 7 rooms, which are the General Store, the Krusty Krab, The Reef, Conch Street, which is a portal to SpongeBob's house, Patrick's house, and Squidward's house.
Miracle City (taken from the TV series El Tigre) consists of 4 rooms: Leone, which is Manny's school, the Riveras' living room, the General Store, and Manny's Bedroom.
Amity Park's zone (from Danny Phantom) consists of 3 rooms: Fenton Works, Casper High, and the General Store. The Avatar Nations (as with the name, from Avatar: The Last Airbender) zone is rather large, consisting of 6 rooms. Those rooms are the Planetarium, Water Palace, Fire Tent, Air Temple, General Market, and Ba Sing Se.
Retroville (from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) consists of 4 rooms: the Candy Bar, General Store, and Jimmy's Lab, outside and inside.
Pupununu Village's area (from Tak and the Power of Juju) is made up of Juju Bizaar, Jibula's Hut, Juju Temple, and the village itself. This section is also different, as the player picks a character, he does not create one himself. Also, this area does not have a General Store. This section is also the first to utilize the backpack tool, which is used by collecting items in the rooms, placing them in the backpack, mixing the items together to form spells, and then casting them.
The Barnyard's area (based on Back at the Barnyard) is made up of the Mill, Pig Pen, House of Humans, Back of the Barn, and the Feed Store.
Nicktoons Boulevard was moved to The Pier in August 2008.
The area, when up, consisted of the Orange Carpet, Voting Room, Control Room, Backstage, Party Store and a Trivia Challenge. Users could vote on the Kids' Choice Awards from within Nicktropolis, or on Nick.com. For the 2007 show, voters cast 11 million votes for the award show; the most ever as of that time.
We don’t believe in having one huge portal. We just want there to be linkage among the sites and complementary experiences. That’s why we made sure users can access Nicktropolis through a stand-alone site as well as through Nick.com. In terms of advertising, there are many things that we can’t anticipate when it comes to how kids will use it. We want to see what happens and then take our cues from that, as opposed to imposing a structure on it for advertisers and users that might not make sense.|Jason Root, vice president of Nick.com|January 29, 2008|Jason Root, vice president of Nick.com, January 29, 2007
Eventually, on November 13, 2007, the game unveiled its advertising and sponsorship plans. Because of being a child safe and COPPA compliant site, entrance to the ad areas requires the user read a message explaining the ads. The new area for advertising supported content is called "The Plaza". The first sponsor area belongs Nintendo and contains two rooms: Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Party DS. The second sponsor is the Hasbro "Cheer Factory", sponsoring the iDog and the Power Tour Electric Guitar. The third sponsor area is the General Mills Fruit Snacks Factory, advertising their fruit snacks. This area includes the Assembly Room, Customizer Room, and Gusher's Gorge.