By Rosie Alger
Elm Staff Writer
After a long and glorious 11-year run of sled racing, puffle raising, monitored chat room shenanigans, and trying to get the iceberg to flip, the era of Club Penguin has come to an end. Kids of the early 2000s have sadly had to say goodbye to the children’s game site, and many, myself included, are feeling the sting of nostalgia.
Launched in 2005 and bought by Disney in 2007, Club Penguin was a virtual world where kids could interact online, play games, and make friends. Over the years, the site collected a large fan base, and plenty of teens and college students still enjoyed logging in to their old accounts to relive the glory of their pizza making high score or replay the spy minigames.
The announcement of the site closing was of course met with outcry from its loyal fans. Brett Molina at USA Today said, “The shut down marks the end of an era for the original Club Penguin… Boasting an 11-year run, Club Penguin had plenty of time to amass a fan base, and they are very sad.”
Who could forget the secret agent mysteries, or the dance parties that never seemed to go as planned? One of my favorite Club Penguin games was the ice fishing, and I will always remember trying to catch the giant fish, even though I knew it was just a cut scene animation to signify the end of the game.
And then there was the social aspect. For a lot of children of its era, Club Penguin was one of their first online experiences of chatting with other people. I remember feeling scandalous, staying up late enough to talk to people living in Britain playing Club Penguin. In later years, plenty of jokes were posted online of hilarious ways to get booted off a server for “inappropriate Penguin behavior.”
And then there was the iceberg, the not-so-secret party location, with a tantalizing urban legend to boot. I had long since given up believing that there was ever a chance of the iceberg tipping over, but the site’s closing unearthed a video that shattered my world. It almost didn’t feel real to watch this video footage of the iceberg finally turning as enough Penguins jackhammered on the one side, it was a sight too awe-inspiring for words. If you are feeling the loss of this site right now, I recommend looking it up.
Sure, Club Penguin is a children’s game. Perhaps college students should accept that they no longer need it anyway. I say that Club Penguin is a beautiful vessel for healthy childhood whimsy, a quality that too many of us are losing, that is needed every once in a while as a break from everyday adult life. Especially in an age where technology is constantly outdating itself, more and more vestiges of 2000s childhood and adolescence are lost to time and updates. It is sad to see such an important icon of this generation’s youth also fall victim to the system that in making progress, inherently incurs loss.
Thankfully, it seems that all is not completely lost. The company will be launching a new game, called Club Penguin Island, which will be available on desktop and mobile. In a statement about these changes, Club Penguin’s creators said, “We are deeply grateful for your time and enthusiasm since the beginning, and we’d like to thank each and every one of you in the Club Penguin community—we can’t wait for you to see what’s coming next.” I’m sure I am not the only Club Penguin fanatic who is hoping this next adventure will be able to give us some essence, some small portion, of the joy that the original game brought to so many of our lives. For now, R.I.P. BlueManatee27. You will not be forgotten.