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A Few Updates..

Greetings Penguins!

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while – particularly my critical reviews of CP’s most recent parties. This is because lately I’ve been busy with my offline life (and the launch of Pokemon Go hasn’t helped either!). This is also due to the fact that most of the content coming from Disney’s number 1 virtual world as of late is simply recycled or uninspiring. In this post, I’ll give a brief overview of my thoughts on the most recent parties and CP’s current state, particularly moving forward. Here we go!

The Zootopia Takeover (May 18 – July 6)

The Zootopia Takeover felt pretty much like most other takeovers to me. The lack of a plot or true tasks – other than log in to collect some recycled items, all of which were Member exclusives of course – leaves a sour taste in most scenarios. Sure, the decorated rooms were quite nice but it seems that each and every party this year has the same old criticisms. Little to no plot, poor selection of items and a lack of decorated rooms, particularly interiors. I found those rooms in which were decorated were nicely done so, though this doesn’t hide what the party was – a sponsored takeover lacking in originality.

Finding Dory Party (July 6 – August 17)

The Finding Dory party is currently ongoing for an unholy duration (as was the Zootopia takeover and indeed next months party). This one gives us a small selection of tasks, all pretty much the same aside from the objects and rooms you have to locate said objects in. Simplistic, yet at least it provides us with something to do other than log in and collect an item. I’m just personally bored of the whole “here is a character from your favourite film of which somehow arrived to the island without any real reason for doing so”.

I was actually excited for the party due to its’ potential decoration-wise. The whole island could’ve been underwater – not unlike the Dance Club during the Submarine Party way back in 2008. We did get an overly-aquatic version of the Beach and a new Reef location which I loved – but this should’ve been island-wide! Remember the Festival of Flight in 2009? Imagine if the whole island was underwater instead!

Overall, it was by no means a bad party. I actually rather enjoyed it. Duration, relatively poor selection of items for everyone and wasted potential are perhaps the only downsides. As far as takeovers go, this one is by no means the worst.

Frozen Fever Party 2016 (August 18 – September 28)

Wow, we really get little to no break from takeovers this year do we?! For the third time, Frozen will be hitting the island again. ‘Why another takeover?’ you may ask? Think about it, the summer break will surely spark an increase in players due to the lack of school – therefore it’s a perfect time to offload some nice film advertisements in the form of takeovers!

Megg insists players request this party. Whilst I have no doubts a significant percentage of players adore the film and can’t wait to see the return of Elsa, Olaf and all the others, I do feel that the majority are quite frankly sick of this franchise and haven’t seen a positive response to its’ return on the island.

Going Forward

It’s obvious at this point that the team remains fully focused on CP Re:Mix (Project Super Secret) at this point. The lack of 2D artists explains the continuous recycling of parties and below-average new ones (and also the sheer lack of new items lately). I feel PSS remains a massive hindrance on the game – one in which is become so evident that the games content is severely lacking.

Will PSS be worth it? I hope so. I also believe so. My fundamental complain with this is how long it’s taking for the product to roll out. Many questions remain unanswered. When will the beta launch? Will it be mobile exclusive? When can we actually expect the official launch to be?

Spike Hike is evidently to busy using his profile for political propaganda to answer any of our questions, and Megg is obviously under strict rules of what she can and cannot say. In my opinion, it was announced far too soon. It was announced as a way of keeping players interested and justifying the lack of top quality content we’d come to expect from the game. It honestly feels like the team themselves cannot answer most of our questions – do they even know how everything will work out themselves? Who knows.

Patience is key at this point. Let’s hope PSS isn’t a busted lock.

Until next time..

-Jimbobson

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Prehistoric Party 2016: Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

I’ve been putting this off for some time now. Mainly because the Prehistoric Parties don’t fill me with excitement. But, it has to be done! So let’s take a look at how the 2016 version compared to it’s ’13 and ’14 counterparts.

Content

Those players who have experienced at least one of the dinosaur-filled events before will have a strange sense of deja vu – obviously! Whilst the party is of course set in the past, the three versions are practically the same. The return of transformations and everyone’s favourite Dino Dig as January entertainment will certainly not be to everyone’s taste; though there are some positives in relation to the narrative.

This year’s version had us travel back in time in order to collect meteor fragments (via Dino Dig..obviously), in order to restore power to the UFO and send the Alien Puffles back on their way. Whilst we never actually saw this happen (other than a passing image in the newspaper), it brought a sense of purpose to the party; something in which is rarely seen in modern day Club Penguin.

As for that, pretty much everything was the same.

Activities/Quests

2013 introduced Dino Dig, a game similarly to Rockhopper’s Treasure Hunt in which allowed players to dig up coins and dinosaur eggs – allowing for transformations. This time, we had to hunt for meteor segments as stated previously. Whilst not nearly as frustrating as the game was in its’ 2013 and 2014 versions, the whole thing simply felt tiring and overdone. Much like throwing snowballs at things.

As usual, the typical “come back ____ to unlock this!” feature returned. Loathed by some, it prevents players from completing the event too quickly; a major issue considering the sheer length of the parties today. However, those with the CP app can complete all the tasks whenever they wish; regardless of the daily limit plaguing the desktop version. An imbalance here that surely needs to be solved when the legendary Project Super Secret eventually debuts.

Items

In terms of Non-Member items, literally the same as the 2014 version, bar the Asteroid Head which was ironically from the Future Party. The Prehistoric Beta Hat also returned unfortunately. I would’ve preferred to stay in the past to at least try add some rarity and exclusivity to this gimmicky item. Ultimately, this was the part I was disappointed at the most.

Interestingly, the T-Rex Hoodie (from the 2013 Prehistoric Party) returned as a Members only item. Add to this the return of Treasure Book exclusives as Member items in the Penguin Style catalogue and we can presume CP is really hitting the limits on not only their originality but also how low they will go purely to prevent Non-Members obtaining body items.

Decorations

Again, the same as what we’ve seen previously. Whilst nobody can complain that they aren’t nicely decorated, the Prehistoric version of rooms has me feeling like I’m not playing CP at all. Arguably the most iconic thing about CP is its’ location; a winter wonderland full of penguins and their furry pets. Replace winter wonderland with a volcanic lava-filled island consisting of dinosaurs and the game feels more like an attempt at mimicking the now extinct (pun intended) Webosaurs.

Is it too much to ask for a Prehistoric Party set during the ice age (no, not the film), consisting of sabre-toothed cats and mammoths? At least then the game would feel more contextually appropriate. Anyway, moving on..

Mascots

Gary, of course! He has been the mascot for every Prehistoric Party thus far. Anyone else would feel totally out of place.

Verdict

It’s no secret that I’ve never particularly enjoyed the Prehistoric Parties. They feel cliched and unlike CP. The lack of snow, ice and various other factors may be appealing for some but again it feels like Webosaurs. Players (non-members at least) who had experienced 2014’s version had no reason to log in other than to hunt down the Fluffy pin (which was hidden in Prehistoric CP – an admittedly nice touch).

However, the party does have at least some purpose in the respect of finally bringing the Operation: Crustacean event to a close. It lacked the subtle details such as a Prehistoric interface (such as the stone map and chat bars etc) and offered nothing new; something this party desperately needed. Regardless, I feel this month’s key event was a filler, paving the way to February’s highly anticipated Operation: Doom, the second EPF related event in 6 months. Let’s hope it holds its own against Operation: Blackout as opposed to Crustacean.

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

2016 in CP: 5 Things I’d Like To See

Greetings Penguins!

This is the third post from me within a week – such a rarity nowadays! As the title is so self-explanatory I’m sure you can guess what this post will be about. If not, it’s a top 5 list of features and various other things I’d like to see from CP in 2016. Let’s begin!

1) Project Super Secret

This needs no introduction. We’ve been promised Project Super Secret for a long time now and, despite not having an official release date, we have been told this will be released this year. Whilst we’re still not fully sure what it entails, it will be the biggest update to the game in CP’s history and will hopefully give us veteran players something to keep us playing for many more years.

Simply put, CP is extremely out of date. Being the same old browser-based Flash game since 2005; we’ve had parties, Puffles and items galore. Unfortunately, the quality of such has declined dramatically within recent years. PSS should revitalise the game and bring it up to speed with modern technology. Personally, I can’t wait!

2) Improved Parties

Currently it feels like we’ve experienced each party several times before. Whilst some – albeit a small selection that aren’t takeovers – are new, they simply don’t possess the same quality of entertainment in which those from 2005-2010 did. I’d personally like to see more of the EPF and Herbert; something like Operation: Blackout or something on an equally-grand scale.

Also, anyone remember the classic Music Jam and Summer Kickoff Parties? These classic parties offered little in the ways of challenging tasks or a heavy narrative influence, though were enjoyed purely for their roleplaying opportunities and outstanding attention to detail in terms of decoration. More of this, please!

3) Improved Chat Filter

Ever since CP switched from a black list to a white list approach, the filter has become far too strict for the average user. The once occasional “Did that show?” has now become so frequent that many user’s have flocked to the likes of social media instead.

Whilst the occasional sentence does manage to bypass the filter, the damage done to roleplaying and social interactivity is one that – in my opinion – is a major factor as to why so many of the game’s fanbase has decided to leave. A game in which was created to provide children with a safe environment to interact with others around the world has now failed in letting them interact sufficiently – 10 years after its’ release.

4) Merchandise

2008 was a huge year for CP as it saw the introduction of merchandise. Whilst plush Puffles, keychains and T-shirts were available from 2006, 2008’s merchandising efforts were helped tremendously by Disney. Playsets, plush penguins and Puffles, mix and match figures, Card Jitsu cards and many more; 2008 was arguably CP’s biggest year online.

Since then, we’ve seen various Nintendo DS games, apps and even an official Club Penguin magazine (which has now been discontinued). Nowadays, if fans of the game wish to purchase their own CP-merch they must resort to third-party websites such as eBay or Amazon. Whilst the merchandise was likely stopped due to declining sales, I feel it seriously harms a game of this size. Minecraft has a plethora of toys available, as does Bin Weevils and various other online games..

Not that I expect 2016 to be any different but I’d love to see at least some physical CP memorabilia in the offline world. Maybe the release of Project Super Secret will boost interest within the game once more?

5) No more excuses!

This is a controversial one that I imagine very few will understand what I mean (at least instantly anyway). For several years, we’ve been told that parties have gotten smaller due to the team being busy creating other things – aka Project Super Secret. It makes little sense for a game owned by a giant corporation such as Disney creating content in which is lacking when compared to the game in 2006 – just a year after its’ release.

Whilst it’s true virtual worlds aren’t nearly as popular as they once were, we can’t expect such a dramatic decline in quality from a game in which dominated the Internet throughout 2006-2008. Project Super Secret’s release is sometime this year – after that I expect the quality of content to raise dramatically. If not, how else can they expect to maintain their fanbase?

Regardless, here’s to the rest of 2016 and whatever it brings. One thing is for certain, it’s bound to be the biggest year since 2008.

Random CP Fact #55: Club Penguin’s laughing emote once looked quite different than what we see today. It was changed way back in 2007 due to the blatant similarities between that and Yahoo! Messenger’s logo. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 20.05.49

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

Club Penguin in 2015: Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

As 2016 is well underway (already on January 3rd?!), it’s once again time to look at the previous calendar year and what it had in store for our beloved virtual world. As with other years, we were treated to a plethora of parties (including mini-parties), some new Puffles and plenty of items and pins. But how did 2015 stack up to 2014? Known to many as one of the most disappointing years in CP’s history thus far; CP risked losing players if they didn’t step up their game. Let’s see if they did..

Content

I say the same thing pretty much every year in these reviews. (Almost) 12 parties, lots of items and pins and the ongoing promise of the highly anticipated Project Super Secret / CPNext. This year was slightly different however, as this was CP’s 10th year online. Surely they had planned something pretty amazing? Well, kind of. Not quite Project Super Secret but something that will certainly be one of the more memorable parties throughout the history of the game. More on this later!

Parties

I’ve already done a critical review on every party of this year therefore this section will be a quick synopsis of each party and my own personal opinions on them.

January – Star Wars Rebels Takeover: As those who have read my previous reviews on any related Star Wars content, I’ve never actually watched any of the films or cartoon series (bar the Family Guy parodies of course). The original Star Wars takeover was much much better, so much so that I barely logged in for this event. Very simplistic tasks, poor items and only a handful of decorated rooms ensured this was a party to forget.

February – SoundStudio Party: A party to advertise the new SoundStudio app. A mixture of the Hollywood and Music Jam sounded great on paper but didn’t seem to work very well in-game. Again, very simplistic tasks and pretty average items. Oh, and the decorations were incredibly lacking and too heavily focused on neon lights.

March – Pi Day: A mini-party at the Mine Shack; complete all the simplistic decorations that would’ve suited the 2007 days. Rookie and Gary’s backgrounds were the only free items, however, thus making the lack of an actual item the only downside for this maths-themed event.

March – Puffle Party: The seventh Puffle Party really needed something to stand out. It actually featured a plot and introduced the Sasquatch officially. Plenty of head items to ‘enjoy’, all inspired by the Puffle Creatures found in the Puffle Wild. Ultimately, it felt a strange party that was a little to farfetched for my taste – and that’s coming from a game in which has talking penguins and an evil crab.

April – Cave Maze: Another mini-party in which took place underneath the Dock. A pretty fun event featuring some satisfying maze themed rooms, complete with a free item for finishing said maze It even featured a secret room with an animated dance floor. Awesome!

April – Frozen Fever: Lots of free pins, very very simplistic tasks and re-used rooms from the previous Frozen takeover. This party was surely one to let go (pun intended).

May – The Fair: Basically the 2014 version with a few fixed flaws. Plenty of games, prizes and neon lights. Whilst it was certainly an interesting concept, I still prefer the classic Fairs.

May – Rainbow Puffle Party: The first ever app-exclusive party. It allowed everyone to complete the quest and adopt their very own Rainbow Puffle. It even came with some nice rainbow-themed items and decorations.

June – Royalty Week: Not even a party really. Basically, those who logged into the app got a few free royalty-themed items. Pretty self explanatory!

June – Festival of Snow: One of my favourite parties of the year. Very similar to that which occurred in 2007, only with new snow sculptures. Even the Snowflake Shirt and Ice Crown returned. A great idea from the team to fill this otherwise empty month (whilst CP worked on other things).

July – Inside Out Party: A pretty decent party in which had player’s going inside Rockhopper’s mind in an attempt to recover his lost memories. It featured Rockhopper-inspired characters from the film and even a basic, if not bizarre plot. Decorations were extremely lacking, however.

August – Fashion Festival: A primarily female-oriented party that actually had some user interaction. Not too many decorated rooms, though those that were looked appealing. No items however, though this was a party focusing on how player’s could use items, as opposed to getting new ones.

September – Descendants Party: A plethora of hand items (for non-members) and only three decorated rooms. This felt more like a mini-party, and a pretty poor one at that. The Iceberg was nice, though.

September – Talk like a Pirate day: Ironically my favourite event of September. A fun mini-party at the Beach which was nicely decorated and even featured the return of the rare Red Bandana. Feeling more like an original 2007 party as opposed to a 2015 mini event, it was my personal favourite mini-party of the year.

October – 10th Anniversary Party: The grand event of the year. Most rooms were decorated exactly as they were during a certain party of the past. A blend of many different parties such as Christmas, Halloween, Music Jam and even April Fools featured within this historic event; complete with several different items (one from each party). No member-only features meaning everyone was included. My absolute favourite event of the year and one of the best parties within CP’s history!

October – Halloween: I always love Halloween parties and this was no exception. Excellent decorations, a simplistic scavenger hunt, a solid plot featuring the malfunctioned MascBots of the 10th Anniversary and even Herbert – this was one Halloween I’ll always remember.

November – Moustache Madness: A small-scale mini-party located at the Forest. Very very simplistic decorations with five different moustaches to collect. A nice addition to a pretty busy month.

November – Extreme Paint Festival: Basically a coverup for the main event of the month. No items, only decorations. Located at the Dock, plenty of paint all over the place and even some user interactivity ensured this was a great way to foreshadow November’s flagship party.

November – Operation: Crustacean: The next instalment within the Operation-themed parties. Unfortunately, a sub-par plot with only a few decorated rooms ensured this couldn’t compare whatsoever to Operation: Blackout; or even Operation: Puffle/Hot Sauce. The Area 501 and UFO worked pretty well however and the release of several coloured Alien Puffles was an admittedly nice touch.

December – Holiday Party: A return to a more classic CP christmas featured lots of items, decorated rooms and there wasn’t a Merry Walrus in sight. The lack of activities however was a disappointment and many of the items available were either returned or re-coloured versions of older items.

Ultimately, the parties this year were satisfactory. With October standing out in particular, 2015 certainly saw an improvement over 2014. Mini-parties were also successful and I hope we get to see more of them this year.

Pins

Whilst I don’t usually have a section dedicated solely to pins, I found 2015 to be the year pins became an enjoyable element of the game again. Previously, pins were far too large and hidden in places in which made them stand out like a sore, well, pin!

During the second half of the year however, pins became a lot smaller (though not quite as small as those of 2006-2007) and were hidden with more care; thus revitalising this ageing concept. I had given up finding the pins during their overly large and obviously ‘hidden’ stage and simply resorted to external sources showing where it was. Now however, I’m back to hunting down the fortnightly collectables manually. Long may small pins continue!

Merchandise

Outside of the occasional App update/release, CP still refuses to release any physical merchandise in which fans of the game can purchase from stores. Plush penguins, Puffles and penguin action figures were immensely popular during their introduction back in October 2008. It seems a shame that not even a plush Puffle can be purchased anymore by any means other than third-party selling sites (eBay, Amazon etc).

I remember the Treasure Books and coin codes creating a storm of excitement when first released. It seems a shame that this has faded into literally nothing over the years.

Verdict

2015 wasn’t the best year in CP’s history though nor was it the worst. It’s clear that the team’s focus is elsewhere – and we all know what on. Some standout parties that will live in CP’s memory are undoubtedly what made the drawbacks of this year almost forgettable. Lack of inspiring items and a sheer lack of decorated rooms is an issue which still shows in 2015 and it really questions whether the game has reached its’ limit in terms of what it can do to entertain its’ audience – which brings me onto 2016.

2016

Thus far, we know that there will be a Prehistoric Party this month. Whilst it seems to be very similar to previous versions, 2016’s will also incorporate some items from Pixar’s recent film, ‘The Good Dinosaur’. I was never personally a fan of these Prehistoric parties as they are often lacking in story and the activities and often more annoying than fun. Let’s hope this year’s fixes these flaws.

The major event of 2016 however will be the eventual release of Project Super Secret / CPNext. This will be CP’s biggest update yet; taking the entire game to a brand new level – all in 3D! Whilst the release date has currently not been announced yet, we can expect the game to change dramatically this year; hopefully for the better.

Here’s to 2016!

Random CP Fact #54: Sneak peeks of the upcoming Project Super Secret are coming more frequently than ever due to its’ release date edging closer and closer. Below is a image Spike Hike posted on the CP blog; showing a 3D model of the island.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 20.27.55

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

Fashion Festival Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

Well, the past few weeks have gone insanely quick. Anyone agree? I completely forgot The Descendants Party started this week, and thus ended up missing a pin in the process (oops!). Regardless, let’s look back at August’s main attraction: the Fashion Festival.

Content

As the name suggests, this party was based around fashion. And a festival. Different categories and sub-categories (challenges) were present across 3 stages at the party. These were ‘Silly Fashion’, ‘Fashion for the Great Outdoors’ and a third one located at the Snow Forts which didn’t have a name, for some reason. Each sub-category changed every three days, thus creating plenty of opportunities for players to dress-up and show off how well they could capture the essence of such favourites as ‘Robo Ninja’, ‘Magical Butterfly’ or ‘Hollywood High School’.

Once players were happy with their outfit, they could submit it and other players would vote for their favourites (more on that later). Overall, it was a party that managed to keep players logging in whilst successfully incorporating interactivity, and, to an extent, roleplaying.

Activities/Quests

So the idea here is to wear a combination of items to form an outfit which is relevant to a certain category. For example, ‘Prehistoric Prom’ saw plenty of items from the Prehistoric parties combined with this month’s Penguin Style. ‘Robo Ninja’ saw plenty of Protobot and Stormtroopers wearing ninja gear. Once happy with an outfit, player’s then submit their design and other players can then vote. To submit an outfit however, first players had to vote 10 times to receive an entry ticket. This could be done unlimited times, so multiple entries per category were certainly not uncommon.

The voting system was simple, somewhat fair yet flawed. A great idea and executed finely by the team, only to be ruined by the players. The voting screen showed two players’ penguins, either two Members or two Non-Members (as indicated by a Member badge or indeed a lack of). Simply clicking on whichever design you preferred would result in one vote for said penguin. After clicking, both the penguin’s name and the number of likes they had already received were shown. No biased votes here folks!

However, the issue arose with how much voting players actually had to do. 10 votes for a single ticket seemed a little much. Especially when there were three categories to submit for at a given time. Entering each one once would require 30 votes! Thus, many simply clicked on any penguin, regardless of their outfit, to quickly receive a submit ticket. This meant that naked penguins could receive 12 votes whereas a penguin fully decorated in contextual fashion would receive less (as a very rough example). Ultimately, good work by CP, but sadly let down by its’ own fanbase.

Items

There were 2, both of which were backgrounds. One was only available if you met Dot, the sole mascot at the event. Whilst this sounds mediocre, the idea of the party was to use the items you already had, rather than obtaining new ones. Regardless, I’d of liked to have seen some trophies or some other items of relevance as rewards for taking part.

Mascots

Dot! For the first time ever, Dot was available to meet as mascot. She of course had a new background, which was exactly the same as her playercard. She even sported a currently unavailable-to-the-public Lavender colour (known as Dot Lavender). Even as a male, I still prefer that to the Aqua colour which won the Colour Vote of 2009.

You may have expected Cadence to make an appearance here but this wasn’t to be. I feel she has appeared a little too much over the years anyway.

Decorations

If there was one word to some up the decorations for this party it would be purple. A sunset/twilight/dusk setting saw the island flooded in vibrant purples and reds. A nice change to once again see the sky a different shade, and probably the closest we will be getting to a day/night cycle anytime soon.

6 rooms were decorated fully, not including the rooms in which only the sky was the thing that had changed. Whilst this number isn’t the largest amount ever, it was satisfactory due to the fact that the decorated rooms were the only places you’d really be wanting to visit during the party anyway – with the Forest, Snow Forts and Dock being the major focal points.

Glitches/Bugs

Unfortunately this party was badly plagued with bugs to begin with. At first, voting wasn’t even working properly, resulting in the majority of players not being able to submit anything for others to be unable to vote on anyway. Confusing? You bet. There was also the slight issue of voting not working properly on the app, which was simply annoying and inconvenient. Thankfully, most of the issues were fixed before the party’s end.

Verdict

Ok, so I actually rather liked this party. I took part in most of the categories and received a modest amount of votes. I enjoyed the player interactivity which is always a bonus for a party taking part on an online game full of creative people. Some categories seemed a little gender-based or indeed Member-based. ‘Magic Butterfly’ being a prime example of both. Non-members never received many butterfly themed items at all. Don’t even get me started on ‘Rainbow Mermaid’..Anyways, I would’ve liked some sort of reward for taking part, other than a background. Maybe a medal or a trophy or something?

Also, did anyone else notice just how many items there has been throughout CP history? It all seems a little too overwhelming in my opinion. I used to know every single item and the party or event it came from. Nowadays? I get confused. And that’s coming from a player since 2007. Maybe I’m just getting old..

So now we look towards Septembe…oh yes we’re already there. The Descendants party is currently live so expect a review on that coming soon. Also, expect a review regarding the Talk Like a Pirate Day mini-event soon!

Random CP Fact #47: In 2009, there was a Colour vote which allowed players to vote on the next colour available to penguins. The choices were: Aqua, Maroon and Lavender. Aqua won which caused some controversy (due to how similar it was to Light Blue). Many suspect that big-time-blogger-at-the-time Mimo777 caused Aqua’s victory, as he promised a party hosted by himself if his choice won.

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson