Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor
Club Penguin, a website which greatly shaped much of my, and many others, childhoods, is shutting down on March 29th.
This amazing virtual world first launched almost 12 years ago. It grew quickly and was eventually purchased by Disney.
For those of you who didn’t have this childhood experience, the premise was essentially that you were a penguin who waddled around immersed in this virtual town with other penguins. It was free to play, unless you wanted a cool house or a greatly upgraded wardrobe, games or more puffles (virtual pets). If you did, you had to convince your parents to put down the money for a monthly membership.
There were lots of secrets to discover, such as how to become a secret agent, how to catch the big fish, how to unlock hidden items and pins. There were parties that would let you get free items and go on unique adventures. You could decorate your house, upgrade it and then decorate it again. You could be a chef, or a ninja, or a miner, or whatever your heart desired. There was role playing and a community of kids from all over the world playing together via penguin avatars.
There were many different activities you could engage in like making friends, advertising and throwing parties, even some which were not necessarily intended by the creators. In Dec. 2016, there was a Trump Protest, in which virtual penguins walked around touting speech bubbles with phrases such as “Penguins of color matter” and “My penguin, my choice” for many hours, according to NPR.
The website hosted Coins for Change, an annual charity event, that encouraged children to donate their virtual coins to different causes. Club Penguin then donated money to those charities with the most virtual coins.
Since we were children, the numbers of players has declined dramatically. This past year many of their offices shut down, and fewer people pay for membership according to Pocket Gamer. With the availability of cheap mobile kids games, Club Penguin’s numbers continue to drop. And so, Club Penguin has announced its departure.
Thankfully, this is not the end of virtual penguin games. Disney has announced it will be creating a new penguin world for the app store called “Club Penguin Island” which will be released following the closing of Club Penguin.You can pre-reserve your username prior to the release of the app itself online at their website.
Now that the original is leaving, it’s interesting to remember all the fun times I had on the website. After returning to the website recently, I noticed some things have changed since I was in elementary school, but many things are the same. I remember playing games for hours so I could afford to buy more puffles and better outfits. Now there are many more games than there were than seven years ago, and more puffle varieties, but the goals of being stylish, creative and having fun are the same. It’s enjoyable to relive it again before it disappears forever.
There is a way to enjoy the Club Penguin of our youth, however. Fans of the original Club Penguin made a website “Club Penguin Rewritten” which allows you to have all the benefits of a Club Penguin membership 10 years ago, but for free.
Soon however, the original website will be shut down forever. We must say goodbye to our beloved penguins.
Rest in peace, Club Penguin.