Club Penguin Historia (Repost)
This post was originally posted on October 11th, 2013 on Club Penguin Army Central.
On October 24th, Club Penguin will turn 8 years old. Pretty impressive for an MMO as the only other main MMO’s still alive that have lasted that long are Runescape and World of Warcraft. Though I have done research on the founding and backbone of this seemingly simple game, some people may not know the history of this. I am going to do a nice full history review of this game, it’s origins, and the paths it has taken. Consider this the Club Penguin version of the Hyrule Historia.
The Old Days
The best place to start is the very beginning. Back in 2000, when Blue1 was wearing Diapers, this named Lance Priebe decided to make a game called “Experimental Penguins.” The reason behind this game was so rsnail (Lance) could test flash 4 to see if it could handle multiplayer games. The game itself was simple. 4 rooms with a bunch of penguins. A version of the game had them wear Santa hats while Developers rode around in the Snow Trekker. The game shut down a Year After due to server costs. He wanted to get to work developing his new game as soon as he could but other groups asked him to work on their chat systems for games. In 2003 he returned to make Penguin chat, which had “lots of new features like emotes, chat balloons, depth sorting (you could walk behind an object), and the ability to throw snowballs.”
By 2004 over a million people had logged into Penguin Chat. Late that year rsnail had the idea to create a new safe place for kids online. He had 3 main challenges to overcome.
- How to build a server that could handle thousands of players? His current server could not handle more than 100 simultaneous connections.
- How do you make the world “safe”?
- How do you generate income? This game was going to be very expensive to operate.
2005 he began working on Penguin Chat 3 as a beta for Club Penguin and a way to test the Client and Server. He quoted in his blog post Experimenting with Penguins “I needed real users on real servers to make this game possible. Designing without feedback is dangerous.” At this time he was working for Dave Krysko (Skidder) Part-time for New Horizon Productions and was working on Club Penguin on Fridays. Early that year Lane Merrifield (aka Billybob) was hired for the company to help with sales. When Billybob found out about the idea, he encouraged Skidder to fast track the project and New Horizon Interactive was formed to make it.
Penguin Chat 3 and Pre-Disney
With Skidder letting rsnail work on Club Penguin full time, he needed a team to help him out. The First employee was Billybob, as he was the guy who got PC3 off the ground. The second was Chris Hendricks, better known as ScreenHog. ScreenHog drew and designed the Penguins, Clothes and furniture, along with composing the music, and programing mini-games. rsnail’s brother created the database and support tools remotely from Belize. Lance himself worked on developing the client and the server to run Club Penguin. He designed the rooms and secrets himself.
The Beta opened August 22nd, 2005 and Party Hats were released to encourage many people to log in all at once. As you can guess this is how parties began. On my 10th birthday, October 24th, 2005, Club Penguin was released. What was I doing that day? Hanging out with friends that I no longer talk to because they are druggies.
By March of the next year over 1 million people, some of which are our own Legends, had logged in. The same year Chris Giddeon (Polo Field) was hired as historian and became head of the media soon after. The game was expanding exponentially and the staff had grown to 100+ members. By 2007 the game was on the verge of collapse as costs were getting too high and the game was expanding beyond the group’s control. August 1st, 2007, Club Penguin Joined the Walt Disney company because of their experience and reputation for being Child Friendly.
The Era of Disney
In 2008, Disney had little involvement with the game until late October when Merchandise released. The next couple years Disney was in the background, with users believing their part in the game was making it more child safe and releasing Card Jitsu and more member stuff. Truth was Disney was just there. When the bought-out occurred the staff remained the same, and the only difference was Club Penguin was expanding. 2010 rsnail and ScreenHog retired from Club Penguin. rsnail went back to RocketSnail games and made it a blog while working on MechMice. ScreenHog joined HyperHippos, the company rsnail made, but still composes music for parties when asked.
In 2012 Disney started using Club Penguin more for advertising. First major example would be the “Mark your mark Ultimate Jam” party, which had the first Club Penguin Single and had CeCe and Rocky from “Shake it Up” on there. October 2012 Billybob retired to work on more educational programs and Spike Hike took over for him. That same month rsnail, Gizmo, and Screenhog were invited to Club Penguin Headquarters for a party. They also made in-game appearances for the first time in years.
2013 has been the year of Disney, as 4 parties were sponsored by Disney and had no reason to really exist except for advertisements. Disney also has been advertising Club Penguin more and more animated shorts have been released. As we go onto 8 years of Club Penguin, who knows what will be next. More Parties? More room Designs? A game that will not make my computer crash if I go on a 2 bar or more server?
When released 8 years ago, Club Penguin was incomplete. The ideas rsnail had in mind included Ninjas, Pirates and Spies. As such Club Penguin was an incomplete game. There have been 3 ears of the game, each one having a unique art design and ideas. The first era was from 2005 to about 2007. During this time it was the beta look. The dojo was a mystery. Sports Shop was alive. The Beach, Cove, and Forest were closed off. The second generation went from 2007-2012 and connected places more. Designs got cleaned up and more rooms open. Ninjas came to be and the stadium came alive. The underground expanded from a boiler room to a full underground. The Journey updated everything. Rooms got HD looks, more colors and details were added. The recycling Plant and Ninja Hideout were removed, and the game became more kid friendly. Friends and Chat were updated.