By Joey Lovato
As the final moments crept closer and closer, everyone on the server gathered at the snow forts to say their last goodbyes. Moments before midnight all of the penguins were there saying, “Goodbye my friends,” “thank you everyone,” “waddle on,” or simply the heart emoji. Then they stopped typing, there were a few seconds of silence as all the penguins stood there, some dancing, some strumming a guitar, some petting their puffles and then a simple message appears on screen; “The connection has been lost. Thank you for playing Club Penguin. Waddle on!”
After more than 11 years across 380 servers in six countries with more than 200 million user accounts, Club Penguin has shut down. The announcement came in late January, stating that the Club Penguin team at Disney was going to be shuttering the long-beloved game to focus on the next iteration of the Club Penguin universe, an app called “Club Penguin Island”.
To the dismay of millennials everywhere, the long-time game that many grew up on has come to an end.
“I used to go to the pizzeria to break up relationships in between little children, now how am I supposed to keep the kids safe?” said UNR sophomore and Club Penguin enthusiast Neha Mayes. “It feels like a part of my childhood has been taken away. I will miss sled racing with my friends.”
Club Penguin (for those few, sorry souls that don’t already know) was a browser-based game where players interacted with other people online as virtual penguins who could roam around a wintery map. This arctic wonderland was comprised of ski slopes, a town and penguins’ very own igloos that players could grow and decorate as they saw fit.
Club Penguin was always considered a child-friendly multiplayer game, which encouraged community and cooperation. In the earlier days of the internet, kids would populate these games’ servers to feel like they had a place they belonged, where everyone was friendly and they could escape the troubles of everyday life. Many players gained valuable typing skills from playing games such as these. In the earlier days of the internet, kids would populate these games’ servers to feel like they had a place they belonged, where everyone was friendly and they could escape the troubles of everyday life.
Club Penguin Island, the new app that is replacing the browser version of the game, was released on iTunes and the Google Play store on March 29 and boasts the ability to, “Do something new every day like hitting the stage, enjoying pizza, or joining a party!” I guess they only meant for the game to last three days though, since those are pretty much the only things you can do. Club Penguin Island currently sits at a two-star rating on the app store.
While the many people who read this have long since outgrown Club Penguin, it led a generation of gamers into more hardcore games like Runescape and World of Warcraft. Even if you have never considered yourself a gamer, if you are around the age of 20 the chances that you played, or know someone who played Club Penguin, is high (even if you don’t want to admit it).
In 2007 the property sold to Disney for $700 million and grew until early 2016, where it then began to see a decline in users. The Club Penguin property has many other ways for fans of the series to enjoy the world from books, Nintendo DS games and even a Christmas special that aired on Disney Channel UK in 2014.
I’ll leave you with the message that is presented to anyone who tries to go to the Club Penguin website now, “Thank you for making Club Penguin so incredibly inspiring. Waddle on, everyone!”