Club Penguin is closing down. More specifically, the desktop and current mobile app version of Club Penguin is closing down on 29th March and will switch to a new mobile only app called Club Penguin Island.
Tom is devastated. He has been an enthusiastic Penguin for years; he has amassed an impressive fortune in coins and a vast collection of igloo goods and he has become quite the expert at some of the games on the island. He loves the fact that he can explore the island, control his environment, challenge himself on the games and not have to socialise with anyone – even though it’s supposed to be a social platform, he is most comfortable doing his solitary Penguin thing and watching the other penguins go about their day. For Thomas, make believe is as important as real life; his toys can be as real to him as his family. He has toy Penguins, Club Penguin posters, Club Penguin books, Club Penguin games. His Penguin avatar is a trusty friend who has been with him for years, the Penguin and Tom have grown up together and Penguin Island is a welcome haven from the real world. We cannot port the penguin, his clothes, his igloos or coins across to the new mobile app and so to all intents and purposes Tom’s penguin is going to die. The server will close and that world and his friend will be lost forever. This news brought him to tears last night.
Not only is the world closing down but the new app is mobile only and the game experience will not be the same. There is no comparison between playing on a laptop screen with a mouse and a keyboard and hunching over a small mobile phone screen or tablet, swiping and tapping. It will change the nature of the games on offer and the nature of the interaction. He doesn’t want to play only on the phone, he has tried it before and he doesn’t find it easy to navigate. I’m sure he will give the new app a try but it won’t be the same.
I know that part of life is learning to cope with change and this is one way for him to learn this uncomfortable lesson. He will adapt and move on, as do we all, but tonight we have one sad boy and one sad mum.
RIP our penguin friend.