Club Penguin: The Game That Broke The Ice
Close your eyes. Think back. WAYYY back. Back to when you were 7, or 8, or 10.
You open your eyes. It’s Monday morning. Another week of school just now starting. You quickly run to get ready for school as fast as you can. You get shampoo in your eyes and toothpaste all over the sink in a rush of excitement and irritation. You snap the towel off of you and you leap into your clothes. You gulp down your meal like a hyena tearing through meat, and you fly to your desktop computer. You have twenty minutes until the bus arrives. Perfect.
You crack your fingers as if you are about to play the piano, lean forward, and elegantly brush the keys into a web address. Your mom or dad watches you with a cup of tea or coffee and smirks. They know this routine, and they know what you’re doing. As the blue screen pops up and you type in your username, you are presenting a virtual passport from your world to the world that you are about to enter. And this is no ordinary world. This is exciting, exhilarating, and utterly enthralling.
This is Club Penguin.
A Brief History
Club Penguin was released back in 2005 after tests of Penguin Chat 3 proved to be successful. Prior to Penguin Chat, Club Penguin would appear in 2000 in the form of a lesser known chat called, Experimental Penguins. Experimental Penguins would bring about the original chat aspect of Club Penguin as well as a game known as Ballistic Biscuit, which would later be implemented into CP as Hydro Hopper.
After the closure of Experimental Penguins, creators Lane Merrifield and Dave Krysko noticed that there was a lack of kid-friendly websites that were as safe as they were advertised. This led to them creating Penguin Chats 2 and 3, which would offer classic rooms such as the Town, Dance Club, and Boiler Room. After beta testing and the creation of several new rooms, Penguin Chat 4, or Club Penguin, would be opened to the public on October 24, 2005. By March of 2006, they had attracted around 1.4 million users; a figure that would double by September.
In August of 2007, Disney would acquire Club Penguin for a total of $350.93 million dollars, with promises of $350 million dollar bonuses if certain criteria were met by 2009. Disney focused on franchising Club Penguin to reach more and more players and increase their revenue. Toys, codes, and even video games were released to attract more players!
On top of that, new parties would be thrown that would match Disney’s popular franchises. A Marvel, Muppets, Frozen, and even Monster’s University party were thrown to increase revenue and support their other properties. This was met with discouragement by many who were upset with Disney for throwing their franchises into users’ face upon logging in.
On March 29, 2017, Club Penguin closes after nearly 12 strong years of running. The announcement, which was made at the end of January, was met with shock from old and new players alike. News outlets covered it, people started figuring out how quick it would take to get them banned, memes were tossed around like snowballs, and people started frantically getting on their accounts to try and hold onto their nostalgic childhood.
Many people were left wondering, “How could they do this?” “Well, there goes my childhood!” and “What the heck is CP Island? By the quality of the textures, this looks like it was pulled out of a 2004 archive.” (That last quote was definitely not user Osculogic.)
Some people were okay with it closing. It’s hard not to admit that Club Penguin had been going downhill in the recent years. With the inclusion of some of the cringe-worthy Disney parties and the low activity of users, we should have seen this coming. Some believe that we are all grown or growing up, and a lot of our childhood has already disappeared anyway.
No matter where you lean on the iceberg of this topic, those who played the game all admit that Club Penguin had some impact on their lives; for better or for worse.
We all have memories of playing Club Penguin as a kid. In fact, I would venture to say that’s one of the main reasons we sought out the CPPS community in the first place. We all wanted a chance to experience what is was like to venture into the world full of social and entertainment possibilities. The opportunity to make friends and play games online on our own for the very first time was new and thrilling back in the day. The nostalgic feel you get might not seem as strong after playing on CPPS’s for awhile, but it does serve as a more mature community for those still interested in waddling along in their life.
And the games; oh the games! I doubt any of us will forget the first time we caught the mullet in Ice Fishing!
Or how about the time you found out that you could put dessert on pizza in Pizzatron 3000? Man, those pizzas looked SO DELICIOUS!
And of course, the ever-so-irritating and difficult surfing game. Oh, judges! Why couldn’t you all just appreciate my effort to do all of those completely unrelated tricks in one go?
Luckily for us, we can still play the mancala, sled racing, find four, puffle round-up, and astro barrier games throughout many of the various CPPS’s! But let’s not forget the hours and hours and thousands of coins that we would spend on creating the PERFECT igloo.
For those who are wondering, that’s the igloo I made back in about 2009 (with some very minor touch-ups over the years). 8 YEARS AGO. Absolutely insane to think that almost 8 years ago I had spent enough of my time to make something as elaborate as that for my igloo. I imagine that many of you were able to see your old igloos with the admission of free memberships in those last waking hours of the game.
More Than Just A Game
As we got busier over the years, our visits to the game became shorter and too far and few in between. Quite simply, we were growing up, and we became a part of the generation that will forever say “I remember when…”
The fact is that we are older and have experienced real life now; the hardships it brings and the struggles of trying to waddle through each day with our heads held high. Sometimes, we long for a safe place to be ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re with a group of friends that don’t even know that we’re there.
Club Penguin was a both a game and a safe haven, and it remains that way to this day in the form of CPPS’s. It’s a place that gives us the ability to feel self-confident, even if we really struggle with social anxiety. It’s a place where we can say anything to anyone and vent to others who might understand where we’re coming from. It’s a place where we can escape from our fears about our futures and joke around just like we did in the past when we didn’t have to care. It’s a place where we can just have fun and laugh for awhile with people that are friendly, nerdy, or just downright hilarious! Club Penguin was an alternate world, and the CPPS’s we attend serve the same purpose, but for different reasons. Whatever this community or your childhood community was to you, there’s no denying that it is and was a community that gave you a voice that you did not need to be ashamed of.
In many ways, Club Penguin taught us that we have the creativity and talent to be different! We were constantly told to send in art or jokes and always challenged by other players in competitive games! Club Penguin encouraged us to be kind friends and good sports. Some of us even have had the opportunity to continue that legacy as developers for our very own CPPS’s. Their continued dedication to creating Club Penguin sites allows Club Penguin’s legacy to live on. Instead of letting us run away like unloved puffles, we are cared for with new and old updates to the classic penguin chat. Developers understand that it’s more than just a game; it’s a community of people. And we as the penguins who grew up with the game can continue to be involved and bring in more people to our community through our love and nostalgia for the game.
As we wave a final goodbye to the game of our past, many people in the CPPS community wanted to offer a final tribute to the game. Club Penguin touched many- if not all- of our lives in one way or another, and we all want to thank and bid adieu to this awesome game. Feel free to browse the collage of tributes below:
Worpp- I have played CP for 10 years now, and it has been a pleasure playing the game. I really enjoy it, and now it’s a little sad to see such a good game disappear
Scabies-Rest in peace club penguin you will forever be the best penguin game
Skipper- Thank you for all the years of fun I had as a kid, I’ll never forget it RIP Club Penguin 2005-2017.
Victoria– For we logged on to CP, in our young days. This day today is the last day it stands. Farewell CP, we will miss you.
Datasquad600- Later, CP.
Kevin– Club Penguin was my childhood, started from the bottom now we here RIP Club Penguin 2005-2017.
Dispute- Goodbye Club Penguin. You have raised me; I have enjoyed my entire childhood with this game. I’ve created my own CPPS in the past and work for several of them. I love the game, and it’s sad to see it go. R.I.P. Club Penguin.
Rizon- CP really meant a lot to me…I remember having penguin censored about when I was 12 years old…Brings me flashbacks…
Bagel– Club Penguin was an amazing site that brought together thousands from around the world. I will definitely miss it and all the friends I have made through the site. -Caroline626
Jason– I’m happy to say CP was one of my greatest memories as a child. I’m even happier to say it’s something that’ll always stay with me. CP will defiantly be missed.
Xomaddie– A farewell and thank you, CP.
Lou– It’s unfortunate that Club Penguin has come to an end. I appreciate Club Penguin from the bottom of my heart due to the fact that it made a great impact to my life and made me involved with the CPPS’ community.
Yash– When I first joined Club Penguin, I was a severely bullied little kid with absolutely no friends. For a while, it was the only place that I had any positive social interaction with anyone other than my parents. Thankfully, meeting people on the site gave me the confidence I desperately needed to break out of my situation and overcome my demons and become the extroverted confident person that I am today. Thanks Club Penguin! I’ll miss you.
Hansen- CP will always be of importance to my heart.
Slipper– Bye CP! It has been great visiting your virtual world and I loved all the parties that you made! We will miss you loads!
GaToR– I joined Club Penguin in 2005. Throughout the years I’ve met dozens of incredible people who I consider life-long friends now. CP manipulation sparked my interest in computer science, and the opportunity helped me build an amazing community that I’m proud to say I’m still a part of almost twelve years later. Thanks, Club Penguin.
P_NK– Club Penguin is a PG game, that doesn’t allow profanity which is pretty professional and I would have recommended it. RIP.
Chris– I made my account on Club Penguin in 2006. It served as a building foundation for me in regards to close friendships and an ever-growing desire for virtual games; I will miss the island, and it is still very hard to believe that it is closing.
Kyla– Club Penguin was my childhood for years; it’s where I met all of my friends. Definitely going to miss it so much as well as the amazing memories that were created throughout the years!
Lynx– Club Penguin was not just a game to me; it was my childhood. I had played the game for almost ten years, and I honestly don’t think I’d be the same person without it. Many friends I’ve met through it and cppses remain some of my closest today. It makes me really sad to see such a huge part of my life close. I guess all I can say is that I wish all of you the best and I hope you all continue to waddle on, penguins.
gg– Thanks for the many memories Club Penguin for all of the EPF quests and friends met along the way.
Angie– Club Penguin has really been a great place to meet new friends, experience new things, find other games related to Club Penguin, etc. Many people that are here playing CPPSes I had met through CP, others quit. There are dozens of memories I remember from CP. Thank you, Club Penguin for the great experiences, RIP.
Lexxi– Le doy muchas gracias a club penguin no solo por existir sino porque formo una pequeña parte de mi infancia y gracias a todo eso me llevo a cabo a conocer Oasis, y espero que club penguien siga en la mente de muchos.
Bri- I appreciate Club Penguin because of the people I have now met because of it. Club Penguin, strangely enough, has a special place in my heart. I will miss Club Penguin, but I am sure its legacy will stay strong through Club Penguin Island and the CPPS community.
Ella– Club Penguin will always have a special spot in my heart, the memories I made there are abundant. I’m grateful for Club Penguin as I met my best friend of 9 years there, among many other life-long friends that I met through the CPPS community.
Viper-Farewell ClubPenguin, I started way back in 2009 and had brought me back many many memories as a kid, You will aways be gratefully missed, will and always be the best virtual game, Nothing in the universe can replace you after what you’ve given everyone! R.I.P Club Penguin 2005-2017
Yankee– Club Penguin has been a game that has marked our childhood, thanks, club penguin all the fun.
Today.– CP. My Childhood. Those beautiful memories that happened there, are unforgettable. How I strange those days where I spent talking to my best friends, whom I still remember and love. Thanks, Club Penguin I will remember you forever. My childhood was the most fun, thanks to you. <3.
Mina– Clubpenguin was my childhood game. I’ve enjoyed Club Penguin when I was little and I’m sad to see CP close down but I wish IslandCP the best!
Carly- I remember when I joined club penguin, I met a random penguin that took me to pizza place for a date, he sent me a love heart and we dated for abouts 3 minutes, then he asked me to go to my igloo and started saying “uhh” “aaah” so I said, “I like puddles” and left.
Rickababoo– Club Penguin, you are the epitome of my online childhood. You encouraged me to think outside the box and helped me learn how to type and be friendly online. Thank you for the impact that you had on my life. I will never forget you.
Farewell, Old Friend
With the puffles fed and the iceberg tipped, we turn our heads to the new users that are now without a Club Penguin to play on. It is up to us to encourage them to experience this nostalgia with us. No matter where life takes us, we can walk through it knowing that we had waddled. “Play it again, Sam.”
It may take awhile for this all to sink in. It won’t be easy to move on completely; to type in that site address and have nothing appear. I think Nombox said it best when he quoted the show Blacklist:
“There is nothing that can take the pain away. But eventually, you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares. And every day when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day, it will be the second thing.”
We are all strong, and we all will get along just fine as long as we have each other, our memories, and our futures in plain sight.
Until next time,
Photo/CPPS Creds: OldCP.biz, CPPS.me, Club Penguin, GaToR
Information is taken from Club Penguin Wiki. (I know, I know, but I double-checked, no worries.)
Thanks to everyone who participated in the tributes! See you on the flippity-flop!