New Horizon Interactive took the world by storm with its hit browser game, Club Penguin. After 12 years of charming its audience, the developers have decided to move forward with the IP, or intellectual property, but the internet will never forget the legacy of the original.
Club Penguin started in late 2005 and had a decent following. In 2007, the creators sold the rights to the game to Disney Interactive, who could create a huge advertisement campaign, unlike the original publisher. With Disney behind the wheel, the community increased tenfold.
Internet users flocked to Club Penguin as the brand extended to other mediums. Books were published, video games were produced for Nintendo consoles, and trading cards were created based off of card-jitsu, a card game playable in Club Penguin.
The series at this point was in its prime, and the player base was only growing. By the summer of 2013, there had been over 200 million accounts created on the website. However, in just two years, the world would face the end of an era.
Disney Interactive laid off 28 employees, but the company itself would soon close down. With the closure came the dreaded announcement of the game’s termination another two years later.
Club Penguin’s legacy was not just based on its development history, but rather its social aspects that created a community. Even though the game had ended, the subreddit still has many devoted users who will never forget what made the game so great.
Freshman Mary Price says, “It [Club Penguin] was a way to interact with other people online, whether I knew them or not, and I never felt that I was wasting time on my computer.”
As the days dwindled, Club Penguin got huge attention when speed runners took a crack at the game. Speed runners race each other to see who can finish a game in the fastest time, yet Club Penguin was not a game that could be beaten. Instead, the race was on to be banned from the website as fast as possible.
The fastest time is 37 seconds and 370 milliseconds, which will always be the world record because the game is unplayable as of now.
Most skeptics consider Club Penguin to be a joke, or just an old meme, but the developers were passionate about what they had started and looked to send-off their fans with something special.
An old rumor floated around the internet that the in-game iceberg could be tipped with enough penguins on one side. This was a ruse, until a month before the closure of the website. After tipping the iceberg, a sign was found on a board saying, “Together, we can build an island, create a community, change the world . . . even tip an iceberg. Waddle on.”
Club Penguin affected the lives of many and will not be forgotten any time soon. The memories made in the virtual space seem childish, but these were some of the best moments on the internet for some people.
Freshman Brianna Spadafora says, “I was upset when Club Penguin announced it would be shutting down. Going online during the finals days was heartbreaking, especially when each Penguin was saying goodbye to each other.”
Fans of the MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) had all collectively shed a tear on March 29 when the game shut down for good. Even though nostalgic teens eagerly waited for news from the Club Penguin team, fans are upset with the series moving on to a newly released mobile game titled “Club Penguin Island.” A beloved series went in a new direction, but the original will always be cherished.
Have you ever played Club Penguin? If so, what is your favorite memory from playing?