Not just fun—it was awesome. -Aggron
The end of an era. I begin this post with this sentence fragment because I feel it most accurately squares the significance of reality with my fractured emotions. About thirty minutes ago, the Club Penguin servers were shut off permanently. It is difficult to appraise exactly what Club Penguin was and how much of an effect it had on its generation. Of course, from a literal standpoint, the game both as it was initially and as it came to be can be explained fairly simply. On the other hand, quantifying the metaphorical position of Club Penguin—its symbolic significance—is rather challenging. On paper, Club Penguin was a straightforward game, a cartoonish Flash-based virtual world; yet in actuality it was so much more than a game. Club Penguin was a community of real people who formed real friendships behind virtual avatars. For many, that virtual environment became an extension of the real world and a regular part of life. So many of us at some time in our lives invested exorbitant amounts of time and put so much of our hearts into Club Penguin that its virtuality became decidedly real. What would otherwise be an insignificant game was such a influential piece of the worlds of entire countless children. Club Penguin, ultimately, was a generation’s playground, a world of imagination which united kids as a community in a way which transcends physical boundaries.
Personally, Club Penguin had a tremendous impact on my own life. It is quite literally the definition of a section of my childhood, and besides the endless hours of fun it provided, Club Penguin is responsible for creating and reinforcing many friendships which I still have today. And, of course, without my Club Penguin obsession between 2007 and 2008, I would never have started Penguin Generation, which quickly became a fundamental constituent of my early teenage and middle school years. Penguin Generation itself is responsible for so many great memories and friendships thanks to our community’s unity in a common goal. When the original moderators and I came together to start Penguin Generation eight years ago, our underlying purpose was chasing after that intangible element of Club Penguin which had so strongly captivated all us in the past. Although the game was never successful due mostly to my own personal failures, I do believe Penguin Generation as a community was at the very least in reach of that same magic.
Because of Club Penguin’s immeasurable importance in my life, it is heartbreaking to see it end even though I stopped playing many years ago. Furthermore, as I reflect on the impact of its closing—a death which I had no control over—I feel a deep sense of guilt over my role in deconstructing the Penguin Generation community. While I can’t change the past, I am sincerely thankful for the wonderful memories proved both by Club Penguin and, as a result, Penguin Generation. I would also like to thank everyone who was on the journey with me. It is because of you that we were and always will be the penguin generation. Below I’ve included some photos I took tonight to commemorate the end of Club Penguin. If I ever decide to piece together the videos I recorded, I’ll post that here as well.
Waddle on, friends.