Waddling on Club Penguin Island: What it meant to be a Teenage Blogger and YouTuber for your favourite game
On 29th March 2017, Disney’s Club Penguin servers went offline, 2 months after their excruciating announcement in January about the game being discontinued. Though, I was not present on that particular day when the servers went off, I did feel dejected, like many thousand of fans worldwide, as I had a sweet memorable time playing this game since 2013.
Club Penguin was a Multiplayer-Online game with multiple servers for its millions of players all over the world. It was an Island filled with penguins (the users) and penguin-styled town designed by the creators. There would be updates to the Island almost every Thursday with new parties and events every month or so. There was everything to keep you playing the game for hours: Club Penguin Times (The weekly Island Newspaper), Puffles (Pets for Penguins), Mini-Games(Pizzatron 3000, Card-Jitsu, Ice-Fishing, Cart-Surfing etc), decorative igloos (your home on the Island),and mascots that you could meet during certain events and earn pins. (Psst… you could also become a secret agent by enrolling in EPF — The Elite Penguin Force)
Club Penguin was not just a game by 2012, when I joined. They had been acquired by Disney and Club Penguin merchandise had started gaining attention. A few Club Penguin commercials also went on air, on Disney Channel back then.7 years post its launch, the game had a fandom across the world, with one of the biggest fan communities on Twitter (even as of 2021). I got to be a part of this community too as a twelve-year-old.I was only a player who started playing the game from miniclip.com but things took a turn when I met a friend from school who played this game too.
Starting out as a co-author for a friend
For privacy issues, I will not be disclosing my friend’s name but it turned out this talented friend of mine wasn’t just a Club Penguin player but also a blogger who was co-authoring a Club Penguin fan site and had one of his own blog for it too. All this seemed very exciting to a twelve-year-old me. It was amazing how my sixth grader friend had learnt HTML all on his own to design his website and it was only my diffidence that took me so long to ask him for an opportunity to work with him.
And he said YES! But turns out I was very incompetent for blogging at that time. Since, Club Penguin updated every Thursday, we were supposed to make a walkthrough posts of all the updates on the Island in multiple articles from Thursday to Saturday. For me, it was only a means to an end and so most of my work on his beautiful site was plagiarised. This did not please my friend when he learn about it and so he fired me from my co-author post… and I very much deserved it.
Starting my own Club Penguin Fan Blog
I decided to start my own Club Penguin fan site post this episode and made terrible mistakes for the first few months by starting out on a terrible web-hosting service and plagiarising content from other fan sites. I finally deleted that domain and decided to start afresh in October of 2013.
On 10th October in 2013, I launched my new Club Penguin fan site. This was a fresh start and I had decided that I would not be putting up any plagarised content on it. After a fortnight, I changed the name of my website to a seemingly short name rather than the 30-character-long name I had begun with. Since, most people playing Club Penguin and in the Club Penguin twitter Community, didn’t disclose their real identifies, so I decided to name myself Mr Loserboss Duda for the sake of it (Don’t ask me why Loserboss or Duda). And that’s the name that stuck with my Club Penguin fan site too: loserboss.blogspot.com.
Apart from Club Penguin updating every Thursday, there were also blogs written by Official Team Members at Club Penguin on their site that were fun and sometimes gave clues to the next new event or party on the Island. It was fun reporting these all updates back on my blog and try to be the first one to publish it and share on Twitter. Apparently, that what got my adrenaline rushing as a teen. There were some really cool and famous Club Penguin fan bloggers who had been in the business since the beginning of Club Penguin. From the top of my head, I remember Monchocho, Saraapril, Riyita and Trainman1405 as the top Club Penguin bloggers.
On many occasions, it would so happen that in the search for new updates and making walkthrough posts for new parties on the Club Penguin, I would forget to play and enjoy the game itself. It become a habit to hit the screenshot button so that I could save every new update or glitch I saw in the game first so that I could publish it later on my blog. Playing the game become secondary and I wonder if this still happens with Gaming YouTubers and Bloggers.
In October 2014, my blog turned 1 and by then I had made a lot of new friends in the Club Penguin Community, most of whom I had met on Twitter. I had two co-authors on my site and many talented graphic designer friends on volunteered to help with making headers and banners for my site. Friend and co-author Bluey656 is still my penguin buddy, till date. We were a close-knit community who would readily help each other. A standing testimony to this was the blogroll on many Club Penguin fan sites (including mine) that would feature other fan sites. I had a huge giveaway on the first anniversary of my site and it was amazing to see how many new people I met. Also, I don’t want to sound too proud or boastful but I had a few Fan Arts sent to me on twitter too.
I would still say that I could have reached a larger audience as the Club Penguin Community on Twitter only kept increasing day by day. But alas, the sun set on my Club Penguin blogging journey as 2014 ended. I realised I wanted to spend more time playing the game than just being worried about making posts and getting page views on the site. Again, not to sound too boastful, I had reached 30K viewers in 14 months of blogging.
Staying in Touch
The Loserboss site saw its farewell post on the very first day of 2015 when I announced my departure from the blogging jounrey. I promised to stay in touch (and I mostly did keep up) and continue playing Club Penguin till the game existed (which I also did).
For a year and half, I solely enjoyed Club Penguin for the game it was and it was a really pleasant time. However, my creator instincts wouldn’t let me just sit still. The feeling of reconnecting with the community for a project was sprouting. I was noticing a lot of Club Penguin shows and movies on YouTube. As I said, the Club Penguin community only grew larger day by day. It was amazing to watch Club Penguin content made by its fans. After a lot of deliberate thinking, I decided I wanted to make a Club Penguin Movie myself. I planned it out, decided the story and characters and if you know me well, I scraped the entire plan a few days later.
But the thought of doing a Club Penguin video on YouTube still persisted and floated in my mind now and then until July 2016. I decided I was going to do a Talk-Show-type Club Penguin Show and it would be one of it’s kind… and sure it was!
Starting a Club Penguin Show Creator on YouTube
Enter Duda Productions.
If you remember the name I chose for myself on Club Penguin: Loserboss, you instantly realise how stupid it sounded. That was a 12-year-old me. However, the 15-year-old me did not like the name one bit. So I decided to cut it down to my last pen-name. Mr Loserboss Duda became Mr Duda. This sure did sound more classy and something people would not snicker at, behind my back. I decided to name my production company Duda and so we had ‘Duda Productions’ whose first show was none other than ‘Coffee With Mr Duda’ — the Talk-Show I hosted on Club Penguin. I planned on interviewing Club Penguin players who had been on the Island for a long time and had similar endeavours like starting a blog or a YouTube channel dedicated to Club Penguin. However, the show had its own set of obstacles before it even began.
If you have ever played Club Penguin as kid, you would know that there are certain words you are not allowed to say on the chat. Since, Club Penguin was considered a children's game, the chat filtered any kind of curse words or inappropriate slangs that some nasty kids would come up with. Repition of such words, could even lead you to a ban from the servers temperorily or permanntly. This was a huge hindrance as many normal words also wouldn’t get through at times and that was soul-sucking for a Talk-Show host like me.
However, I decided to start nonetheless and just try to get my way around the chat. This was something I would discuss in advance with the guests who came on my show for coffee. A 10-minute episode of the show took almost an hour to screen-record (and commensurate that much storage). After the recording, would be the editing part which took about 2–3 hours if I could sit still and focus but nah, it ended up taking a few days to edit an hour long footage.
I was very lucky to have interviewed many Club Penguin bloggers who I admired and learned from while I had my blog. I would feel sad at times when my celebrity guest would reject my invitation to appear on the show but it all seemed well after I released an episode and see the heart-whelming support and love it got.
A few months later in 2017, Club Penguin announced that they would be discontinuing the Desktop version of the game and only focus on the mobile-version they had launched a few months back, the reason being the decreasing number of players on desktop. This was heart-breaking for many kids across the globe who I had grown up playing the game for 12 years of its existence. Disney Club Penguin clearly meant a lot to its players. On 29th March 2017, Club Penguin bid farewell to it players as they transitioned to the mobile-version. However, not everyone liked the 3D-like new world of Club Penguin Island on mobile. Personally, I loved it and so continued the Talk-Show on the mobile version. Apart from the aspect ratio of the game nothing had changed not even the chat filter.
I got to expand my audience with the new version of Club Penguin on mobile. For some reason, the graphics work was amazing on the new game and episodes of my show saw an instant increase in viewership. Getting a chance to make new friends and learning about their work really inspired me. A fellow Club Penguin Community member, Blue21102 runs a similar production to mine called ‘Marshmallow Studios’ that produces Club Penguin plays and movies, even to this date.
In August of 2018, I also got to interview an official Club Penguin staff member for my show: Amy Kim. This continued until December of 2018, when Club Penguin finally decided to discontinue the entire game. Many blamed Disney for this but the players were not satisfied with the gameplay on mobile either. All in all, Disney Club Penguin shut its operations on December 20, 2018. The app cannot be installed from the App Store or Play Store anymore however, those who already have the app can continue playing the game in offline mode (with no official updates or interactions with other players).
The Fun continues on Club Penguin Private Servers
However, it seemed the deceased-game was made to run on Smart Fox server which could be configured by some smart fox to allow people to play again and this is how ‘Club Penguin Island Forever’ came about. Obviously, this was unofficial but when I look at the work they have done to get back everyone on the Island like the good old days, I just can’t thank them enough. I continued my show on this private server too for a year. I also altered between CPIF and another desktop Club Penguin private server called ‘Club Penguin Rewritten’ for my show.
In June of 2019, I got to interview another official Club Penguin Staff member: Chris Gliddon or how Club Penguin players knew him better as Polo Field. The interview happened on a game called ‘Box Critters’ which was made another game made by Club Penguin creator ‘Lance Priebe’.
A few weeks later, I got a reply from someone who I had pinged months ago for an interview. The reply was positive and I was at the top of the world, as I discussed further details with him about the interview.
Interviewing the Creator of Club Penguin
After playing Club Penguin for about six years or so and combing back to it every now and then, not once had I ever imagined that I would get to interview the Creator of Club Penguin ‘Lance Priebe’ a.k.a RocketSnail, himself on my show. But yes, it did happen. As Critters in box, we sat down on our seats for the interview on his newly-lauched game ‘Box Critters’ for the interview.
Not only did I get an interview, I also got an opportunity to giveaway the code to unlock a new item on the game. Dreams do come true.
Apart from Coffee With Mr Duda, I also collaborated with other Club Penguin community members for making a Marvel Avengers tribute video. Till date, it is one of the most popular videos on the channel. The amount of efforts and collaboration needed on such projects is tremendous as members present all over the globe have to match their timings to be a part of such projects.
Unfortunately, since 2019, I have not been able to get enough time to sit down for another interview on the Island. Things have been going fast in real life and for some unknown time in the future, I don’t see myself returning to the show.
Does Club Penguin still exist?
That’s a tough question. Officially, no. Disney Club Penguin’s Desktop version ended in March 2017 and the mobile-version of the game in December 2018. However, what remains is still beautiful and somewhat amazing. As of July 2021, Club Penguin Rewritten is one of the most loved Club Penguin private server for those who are missing the Classic Desktop version of the game and if you miss the mobile-version, there is Club Penguin Island Forever, which is going to start rolling for everyone to play for free in late Summer of 2021.
So in question, is Club Penguin still alive? I don’t care whether its a private server or not, Club Penguin will continue to live in the hearts of everykid who fed his puffle, become a black belt ninja, decorated his igloo or become a Tour Guide (psst... also EPF agent).
This was my journey of Waddling around the Island for so many years and respecting the creator’s instinct that kicked in anytime anywhere as a teenager. Its amazing how much I learnt as a teenager just because of what most ignorant people would call “a stupid child’s game”. I learned HTML for web designing, graphic designing on Photoshop (just a bit), video editing and most importantly the skill to collaborate with people on projects like the way I would invite guests on ‘Coffee with Mr Duda’. There is still a lot to learn. Maybe not from Club Penguin again, though.