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Club Penguin Island Version 1.2 Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

After quite the hiatus, I’ve decided to return to annoying the fanboys and being an overwhelmingly cynical Penguin. This time however, Club Penguin Island is the game facing the criticism!

So, after CP’s inevitable closure on March 29th, the game was reborn as a mobile-only app named Club Penguin Island. I’m sure most if not all reading this have played it as, you know, this is a CP-based blog. And I have posted about it numerous times before..

Anyway! The most recent version of said app released today – version 1.2. Promising bug fixes and performance improvements; but that’s not all! Also incorporated into this update was a few notable features in which makes the game more playable (and some unfortunate bugs which make the game UNplayable!). This ‘review’ of sorts will look at some of the updates we’ve seen today, including the unfortunate ‘bugs’ in which joined the slowly-growing island.

Quests!

Of course, new quests were added for Aunt Arctic. Whilst I can’t play all of them yet (too low level!), they re-introduce some very familiar characters such as Jet Pack Guy (more like Jet Pack Gains), Gary, Dot, Rookie and even Herbert & Klutzy. Players will notice that all the aforementioned characters have a new character design and some..and more ‘interesting’ than others. Whilst many of the younger players may find them appealing, I personally find the overly-anthropomorphic creatures somewhat disturbing.

Regardless, more quests are good! They replace the mini-games as the go-to form of entertainment and some are even a little reminiscent of the old PSA/EPF missions.

User Interface & New Features

The game introduces several improvements to the overall gameplay. Notable mentions include a well-overdue map has been added, allowing players to teleport to whichever room they wish as opposed to having to waddle to it themselves. Perfect for missions and those all-important Megg meet-ups!

There’s also a new clothing catalogue in which contains items designed by players of CPI. To make this better, a portion of the coins spent on said item will be sent straight to the original designer! This is a fantastic little edition in which makes the game more community-based. Certainly a welcome edition.

Another absolutely fantastic addition is the ability to tell whether something you say passes the filter. Yep, remember when I suggested this? CP finally introduced it! If a message doesn’t pass, a simplistic ‘____’ appears in your chat bubble, where the original message would’ve been. This is arguably the biggest chat update to the CP franchise of all time. Absolute game changer – literally!

A Bug’s Life

As with most software updates, this game saw the introduction of a few bugs and glitches. Most noticeably was a horrible frame-rate lag bug in which occurred after a short time if a player stays in a populated room. This became especially evident during Megg’s April 12th meetup – though this was approximately an hour after the update dropped so they can be forgiven just this once. Still an odd bug when considering this version was supposed to include ‘performance improvements’.

Another odd bug is that of texture errors. In numerous cases, an item in the clothing customiser will appear incorrectly textured – or completely black. This has happened several times to me and my long-time friend Jartarf. Hopefully an immediate update rolls out to fix the updates caused by this update. Ah, the joys of software!

Conclusion – Positives 

  • New quests with recurring characters
  • Integration of a much-needed Map
  • Construction of Mt. Blizzard, fore-sighting a new location
  • Amazing new icon when messages don’t pass the filter
  • New clothing catalogue with community-designed items
  • New Disney Tangled-themed items?
  • New Tubes!
  • CPI Phone, a new UI in which keeps track of Daily Challenges, Settings, Island News and even Penguin-Standard-Time, though it can be a little slow to load at times

Conclusion – Negatives

  • Annoying frame-rate bug which, at times, makes the game unplayable
  • Texture bugs
  • Overly-anthropomorphic characters such as Rookie and Jet Pack Guy (of whom now is a lifeguard?) leaving a sour taste amongst the older players of community
  • Non-Members still don’t have access to barely anything (including the Beta Hat & Alumni Jacket)
  • Levelling-up can be a farce, there’s still no solution to this
  • Still no Puffles or Igloos!

Final Thoughts

Overall, this update was a relatively solid one in which fixed many core elements of the games. However, the game still ultimately suffers from the same issues it has since launch. Pretty much everything is exclusive to Members, meaning that if users aren’t willing to pay for Membership then they are left without clothing items, quests or even the ability to consume food or drink. Balancing the game for Non-Members is something in which is urgently needed – and that’s coming from a (current) Member.

And so concludes my first post in quite a while. I have to admit, for all of CPI’s shortcomings, the game has helped me enjoy Club Penguin again. The franchise was in desperate need of a reboot and I believe CPI is a good attempt at doing so. However, the game is still lacking in several key areas – at least for now!

Oh and the Earth Day celebrations begin tomorrow which promise the first ever item available to Non-Members as well as Members. Expect a review of that too..

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

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Spike Hike: The end of an era!

Greetings Penguins!

Earlier this week, Spike Hike announced he would be leaving Disney.

It would be safe to say this shook the Club Penguin community. During this difficult period  of Flash CP – Project Super Secret, users needed stability and comfort. This is where Spike came in. Long-running General Manager of Disney apps (and of course, Club Penguin), he replaced Billybob and faced a massive swarm of attention due to this – whether praise or criticism.

Many believed Spike was “evil”, a replacement to Billybob which never quite settled too well with the games fanbase. Any issue or problem occurred on the game – Spike Hike was to blame. Whilst terribly unfair, Spike Hike continued the legacy left by the original CP founders. It was, and still is to this day, in very good hands. Even during the announcements of Project Super Secret, losing all our items and the new experience being mobile-only, Spike Hike was undoubtedly behind this. Solely? No. With the interests of everyone at heart? Absolutely.

Replacing a member of the community of which existed from the very beginning – and fast-tracked the games’ development since its early days was no easy feat. Spike took the role of a leader, someone to admire and look up to when times turned dark. Today’s meet up with the legendary purple-mohawk bearing penguin showed just how much of an impact this man had upon CP’s legacy. Sure, Billybob was the original manager, but absolutely nobody could argue Spike was significant and upmost the man to thank for CP’s continuous – if not somewhat declining – existence.

He lead us to PSS. For whatever reason, he now decides to leave this island and begin adventures anew. Is this because he was fired? Is this because of CP’s almost dramatic decline into barely-existence? I don’t believe so. Many of us feel the need to move on eventually. As did Rocketsnail. As did Screenhog. As did Happy77. As did Polo Field. As did Businesmoose. And so on. Many of us dislike too much comfort and decide that a new challenge is the most beneficial to our lives. As the overused cliche of 2013 says: You only live once.

We begin a new chapter very soon where we start again. Our current accounts are almost meaningless. Our new adventures await in the form of PSS. Mobile is undoubtedly the future (despite our battery life woes!), and CP on the desktop will continue to exist until Flash ceases to exist. What we can do now is simple: Look to the future. As a player since 2007, I can say – for the first time in many, many years – that I am excited for this new experience. I probably should’ve left this game years ago – just as my friends did. But something maintained my interested in this game and I believe PSS is just that.

Spike Hike, you were and are a truly great leader. Sure, the recent lack of communication was somewhat frustrating but we always knew the you – a long-lasting familiar face upon the CP scene – existed to keep us calm and motivated. You claimed that us, the fanbase, are actually the “new CEO of the game” but we need a familiar face to guide us – just as you did upon Billybob’s resignation.

With a new version of CP (in the form of PSS) rapidly on its’ way – what fans of the game need is familiarity and stability – something in which Spike Hike could’ve delivered during these admittedly difficult times for the game. If not, who will? The community! We exist regardless of the current manager and staff members. But we need someone to provide our faith too. Will this be Megg – a refreshingly young woman able to connect with the majority of players? Who knows. But please, give us something. We need as much support as possible during the transitional period.

A general manager leaving at this point is simply unsettling..

Until next time, Waddle on. And thanks, Spike Hike. For everything over these past few years. Here’s to your future! As well as ours.

-Jimbobson

1,050 Words of Utter Nonsense.

Prologue

It was an average day way back in May 2007 when it all began. I’d only just started using a laptop properly – yes, I was from the generation where the outdoors was a more favourable experience! Aside from learning the wonders of Google search and being overwhelmed by how vast the Internet truly was, I was by no means experienced with anything technical (ironic considering I’m now a 3D animation graduate..).

I remember playing the occasional flash games popular within my school. World’s Hardest Game and Bubble Trouble were amongst my favourites. I spent an unholy amount of hours on my laptop – an old, beat up device running the legacy Windows XP, discovering new content every day. Having an almost infinite library of things to discover was incredible, yet I often found myself struggling to discover things in which kept my attention for more than a couple of hours That’s when I remembered something a friend said. He recommended a game. I think by now we all know what game this was – Club Penguin.

So much has changed since that day and I won’t go into unnecessary detail. The facts are that Club Penguin will soon change forever – a completely new era. Project Super Secret will mark the start of a completely new Club Penguin, one that we’ve been expecting for a while now – and that’s a good thing! Times have changed drastically since CP’s inception almost 11 years ago. The mobile industry has changed the way we communicate and play games. Steve Jobs’ vision of a Flash-free Internet is quickly becoming a reality, with all major browsers beginning to stop supporting the antique plug-in.

The move to mobile is a logical yet controversial one. The lack of support for PCs alienates those who don’t have a smartphone (or one that will run the app smoothly). Unlike PCs (unless you’re an intensive gamer), smartphones become outdated within a couple of years meaning younger players who rely on their parents – or simply cannot afford high-end devices – are excluded from the CP experience. I have little doubt that the PC version will eventually arrive but will those users wait around until it does? Who knows. Luckily, quality smartphones are becoming cheaper and cheaper in the form of Android alternatives (and even the somewhat affordable iPhone SE). I digress.

CP is doing what it needs to in order to survive. Sure, the desktop version isn’t going anywhere anytime soon but the focus on PSS will likely leave it more unpopular than ever.

Controversy, Controversy, Controversy.

Whilst the majority of the CP faithful – like myself – are excited to test the latest offering from Disney’s virtual world (even if it is a geo Beta!), the news surrounding the community this week is that our accounts (other than potential usernames) will not be carried over to this new system. Despite CP spending what was likely countless hours in the computer labs re-creating every item in 3D for the app, PSS will have an entire new inventory system in which won’t be compatible. Will these items ever appear in PSS at all? For sure, but we will have to collect them all over again.

At first I found this move to be ridiculous. All of our items we’ve collected over the years – gone! All that money spent on Memberships to buy Members-only items – gone! Whilst this is true, the current CP will continue to exist on desktop for a while – we don’t know the exact date but we can expect another year at least. Still, with attention turning to PSS I can say that I’m excited. More excited that I was before.

The thought of a new start on a new game (basically signing up all over again) makes everyone on the same playing field. CP enthusiast since 2007 or 2-day old Newbie, it won’t matter (for the first year or so at least!). It’s an exciting time, discovering a brand new island and making new friends just as I did 9 years ago. It’s no secret that I had become tired of CP’s efforts as of late, so much so that I log in simply to get the pin then log out. Then again, why should I even do that when my account will seize to exist in a few years? I wonder if pins will continue to be released in PSS…I hope so!

RIP Club Penguin. Wait. What?!

It now seems many are sharing their fondest memories of the game, saying their goodbyes etc. Whilst the game as we know it won’t be going away anytime soon, we can say farewell to this era of Club Penguin – a game in which enhanced millions of peoples lives in so many different ways. The heavy investment, both in terms of time and finance is a clear indication that they think PSS will work – and work very well. Let’s just hope it’s not ruined by micro transactions.

Do I Stay Or Do I Go?

I realise I’m amongst the oldest of players of this game – alongside several other bloggers that I know of. Trainman1405 (Club Penguin Memories) recently decided to quit the game after his penguin turned 10. The majority of my friends I’ve met online have also quit. I’ve considered it myself many times. Unlike some bloggers, I receive no financial income from advertisements and thus many would probably question why is it I still play this damn game which is aimed at children?!

To that, I have no answer. But I don’t need one. I play the game because I want to play the game. Does logging in occasionally to collect pins, check out parties etc even count as playing? I’ll leave that to you. But for now, I’ll still be (somewhat) active around Twitter, post here occasionally and hopefully beta test PSS later this year (presuming it’s not a closed or geo beta). For the first time in a while, I’m genuinely excited for what comes next  on Disney’s #1 virtual world.

 

(I’m not even sure what this post was meant to be or why exactly I wrote it. I guess I just wanted to write something as I hadn’t in a while. I highly doubt anyone even read all this. If by some miracle someone did, be sure to let me know!)

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

Puffle Party 2016: Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

With March underway, most of us will be questioning why time is flying as if we’re all aboard the Time Trekker 3000. Already in the third month of 2016, we look at the third major event to hit the island; the Puffle Party 2016 edition. Along with many, I was sceptical of this event. Why? Well, every year since 2009 has hosted its own Puffle Party – some better than others. Lately, it seems the parties serve more to introduce a plethora of the furry creatures as opposed to celebrating those we already have. Will 2016’s return to the Puffle Party roots or spam us with more Puffle creatures? Let’s find out!

Content

As usual, this party is a celebration for the island’s beloved pets (No, not Fluffy. Sorry). Never one for a strong narrative or interesting character development, this party historically flourishes in activities and interactivity for players and their virtual pets. This time, we were blessed with some rather fun activities and decently decorated rooms to enjoy – for a whopping 3 weeks! This party also provided Members to adopt every single Puffle to date – even the rare limited ones such as the Blue Crystal & Snowman (Olaf)!

Activites

Each day, players had to hunt down a certain coloured Puffle in order to unlock items inspired by said coloured Puffle. Going to a specific room, players had to click on certain objects to uncover the hiding Puffle. Often, the objects would shake slightly to provide hints. However, sometimes the wrong species of Puffle would appear; meaning players would have to keep looking. An interesting scavenger hunt-inspired activity in which satisfied the cravings left from the absence of Easter Egg scavenger hunts. Whilst not too challenging, I found these simplistic daily hunts to be pleasantly enjoyable, if only the same could be said for the items..

Items

As stated previously, those who completed the tasks for each coloured Puffle received rewards. Basically, the daily rewards were the same, just recoloured. Whilst this can be irritating and certainly becomes tiring, I find that recolouring is suitable for Puffle-themed items as – like Puffles – each colour represents a different personality.

Each reward featured five items. A (specific Puffle coloured) O-berry pin, hoodie, hat, ballon and shoes. Unfortunately, as is with all the events thus far in 2016, Non-Members received nothing but the pins. Whilst everyone could’ve expected to obtain at least the hat if the same party was thrown last year, this is unfortunately not the case anymore; with pins serving as the only item for Non-Members in the 2016 parties thus far. An unjustified, greedy and poor attempt at trying to entice more players to purchase a Membership during CP’s slow decline in quality. The equality bar is continuously lowering, here’s hoping Project Super Secret fixes this.

Decorations

Pretty much the same as the 2015 version, bar a few new balloons and lack of attention to the Wilderness. Some satisfying decorations with some attention to interior rooms means – by recent years standards at least – few will be too disappointed. I think I speak for most when I say true Puffle domains would be a very welcome return (like those seen within the first few versions of the fluffy creature themed event).

Mascots

Everyone’s favourite Puffle-obsessed and for-some-reason-Australian (possibly in relation to how Aussies are stereotypically good with animals?) Puffle Handler; Paige! Sure, nobody actually calls her Paige but that’s still her name.

Verdict

Ultimately, the Puffle Party 2016 was a decent attempt at reviving a somewhat ageing themed party. The added activities provided some interesting things to do that, whilst somewhat lacking in variety, helped fill the void of the Easter Egg scavenger hunts of years passed. Was it the best one yet? Probably not, I preferred the Puffle domains of yesteryear combined with the interesting items – all, or at least most of which, were for everyone. Still, a solid attempt and one that didn’t seem to distract too much from the celebration of Puffles (which is what I felt the 2015 version did – though the Sasquatch plot was somewhat interesting).

Hey, at least we didn’t get plagued with even more Puffles!

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

 

Halloween Party 2015 Critical Review!

October on Club Penguin means two things – the Anniversary Party & the Halloween Party. Two of my favourite parties of the year which act as juxtapositions towards each other. One is a cheery event to celebrate the life of a game, whereas the latter is a spook fest full of all-things dead..and scary! With the Anniversary leading perfectly into this Halloween party – I had high expectations. So, let’s see how it turned out!

Content

During the second week of the Anniversary party, the MascBots began to act very…strange. This served as the basis for the Halloween Party. Whilst years past saw us encounter ghosts and werewolves, this year’s version had players face the malfunctioned MascBots. However, it turns out the reasoning for said malfunction wasn’t the island’s favourite inventor Gary, but rather the evil polar bear we’ve all come to secretly love.

Activities/Quests

This year, CP decided to combine a scavenger hunt of years past with puzzles to really challenge the player. Well, I say challenge, the scavenger hunts were incredibly easy. The way the MascBots were stopped were due to fear – something apparently even robots can feel. Each mascot revealed their greatest fear and players had to find said object to scare the MascBots into pausing for a while – just enough time to deactivate them.

The scavenger hunts were easy. So easy that the original mascots themselves would actually either give you incredibly blatant hints or actually tell you where the item should be. For example, Gary’s fear – Decaf Coffee, was obviously found in the Coffee Shop. The deactivation of the MascBots is completed by connecting green wires to yellow wires. It’s a puzzle that involves rotating blocks, thus connecting them to each other. Overall, it’s a relatively simply puzzle; though deactivating the HerBot was the most challenging as you would expect.

The usual ‘come back every day to unlock and complete this quest’ returned once more. That’s unless you were playing the app! Those with access to the app could complete the entire party’s tasks in one day. Hurray!

Items

The items for this years Halloween was a mixed bag. Members received all the ‘heads’ from the malfunctioned MascBots which was admittedly a good choice from CP and currently the closest we have to actual mascot items (bar the Herbert Disguise costume).  Non-members however, got something a little less remarkable. Each scavenger hunt item was also the reward for deactivating each MascBot. For example, the Decaf coffee spoke earlier was also the hand item reward for deactivating the Gary MascBot. Very original.

Some of these items were also an odd choice. Dot’s fear – an ugly sweater was actually a hand item. I guess it makes sense that a sweater that ugly shouldn’t be a body item (and thus a wearable sweater – imagine how many players would get offended if they actually liked it!), but it’s still a pretty odd choice. Other than the Robot Antenna, every other item for Non-Members was a hand item. Very little variety here..

..Oh, and Members could adopt the Ghost Puffles once again. These are some of my favourite Puffles, so I wish they were for everyone this year. Ah well.

Mascots

Gary of course! Whilst the other mascots had a pop-up in which they interacted with the player, they didn’t actually waddle around the island. A seemingly poor choice perhaps, but they were all present (bar Herbert & the Penguin Band) during the 10th Anniversary Party so I suppose this can be forgiven.

Decorations

Halloween on CP has always been famous for its’ decorations. Ever since 2006 changed everything by introducing a dark sky, it’s remained an iconic feature since. Whilst some years have had eclipses whilst others have had storms, this year’s seemed to combine them both. A great example of Pathetic Fallacy here, kids! (Google it!).

Whilst newly decorated rooms were few and far between, the mix of old and new was almost seamless. Herbert’s Lair was a very nice new room and served its’ purpose very well. Even old favourites returned such as the Slime Pool (in the underground pool). Overall, this was a very strong attempt by CP at providing us with an almost-island-wide-decorated party. As we have come to expect from this annual event.

Verdict

Okay I’ll admit it. I enjoyed this party. It brought a solid storyline and some much needed love for Herbert and Klutzy. Whilst I loved the twist of last year’s Halloween party, I felt that Skip the Bellhop/Ghost lacked a proper motif for his actions. This year however, this wasn’t the case as we’ve all come to expect such actions from the evil polar bear and his crab sidekick. The great visuals, satisfactory items (for Members at least) and a very solid storyline (combined with a prologue and foreshadowing from a  previous party all results in a Halloween to remember.

So now we’re in November and look forward to the next event. November was once known as the month of Ninjas, but they’ve recently made way for various EPF missions instead. This year will be no exception, as Operation Crustacean will hit the island. Little is known about the event currently, but we do know it will involve UFOs..

Random CP Fact #51: Many penguins are currently obtaining the Tinfoil Hat – a mysterious item that’s not available in any catalogue. How, you may ask? They’ve been abducted by aliens! At the times listed below, a random penguin from the respective room will be abducted. They will then be transported to a UFO ship for a few seconds before being returned to the room they were previously in. Once abducted, you will receive the Tinfoil Hat.

Note: The hour is irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the minutes past the hour.

Ski Hill: –:37

Ski Village: –:42

Beach: –:47

Dock: –:52

Town: –:57

Snow Forts: –:02

Plaza: –:07

Forest: –:12

Mine Shack: –:17

Skate Park: –:22

Cove: –:27

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

10th Anniversary Party Critical Review!

Today marks the end of the much anticipated 10th Anniversary party. A huge milestone in CP’s history deserves a huge party – a big statement when considering the Anniversary parties of previous years have fallen in the Halloween parties’ shadows. So, how did CP celebrate turning a decade old? Let’s begin this review!

Content

Most Anniversary parties simply have one or two decorated rooms (the Coffee Shop and Book Room / CP Times office). The only exception to this was the 3rd Anniversary, which also saw the Town decorated. Since then, the birthday events have grown smaller and smaller each year which is ironic considering its’ aim was to celebrate the game growing older and thus bigger, though this wasn’t exactly the case as we all know. This anniversary was the first to actually sport an actual plot – other than to simply celebrate the game’s birthday. Gary created MascBots – robot versions of CP’s beloved mascots. However, the second week of the island-wide event saw the MascBots go haywire. What did we honestly expect from a Gary invention that was only version 2999?!

Activities/Quests 

Like with all Anniversaries prior, we didn’t actually have to do much other than to collect a party hat and pretend to eat cake. However, there was a new Item Calendar which saw the return of 21 items from previous parties, and even a few extra bonus items for completing a few tasks that had returned too. The prime example here being that of Santa’s Sled (accessible from the Book Room during several Christmas parties).

Coming back every day to collect a new – or rather old – item may seem a tedious process but this time I found that it built up excitement rather than boredom. We could see every item on the calendar, but couldn’t collect them until they were unlocked. This meant that, upon logging in and clicking the calendar, player’s were greeted with the sight of extremely rare and sought after items – but more on those later. All in all, a fun and very simplistic party. Activities / quests were simply not necessary.

Items

Ah, where to begin. As mentioned previously, there was a brilliant 21 item calendar full of returning items. The best part? There were two very, very rare items that haven’t returned since 2006 and 2007 respectively. These items of course are the Ice Skates and Blue Lei. No, not quite the Hawaiian (or Red) Lei, but still a very rare item. Other items of interest are the Yellow Inflatable Duck (from 2006 and 2008), the Brown Pirate Boots (2008) and Marshmallow Stick (2007). Add to this several other items from 2008 – 2014 and you have a plethora of items to collect. There was also two items that were previously Members-only items. These were the Cream Pie (Muppet’s World Tour 2014) and the Lantern (Halloween Party 2008). These means that if your penguin has always been a non-member, you received at least two free items – even if you’ve played since 2005. It also of course means that if you signed up after August 2006, you received at least one item. Awesome!

These items were not randomly selected however, they were instead chosen due to the party the rooms were decorated from. For example, the Blue Lei returned as the Beacon’s decorations were from the Summer Kick off Party 2007. Likewise with the Ice Skates returning due to the Ski Hill’s Sports Party 2006 decorations.

But, that’s not it! 21 items is a huge amount for any party – but let’s not forget the main item from this event – the party hat! The 10th Anniversary Party Hat is undoubtedly the most complex thus far, sporting a more interesting and ‘busy’ design (complete with animated sparklers!). Whilst this item was great for a Anniversary of this significance, I hope they return to the simplistic design next year.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Yellow, Pink and Blue Lightbulb head item’s that were available for everyone after delivering presents on Santa’s Sled (returning from the Holiday Party 2012). Let’s also not forget about the 8 autographed mascot backgrounds that were also available if you managed to meet said mascots (all backgrounds returned from various years). Overall, this party offered the richest selection of free items from any party – ever. Best of all, everything was available for everyone!

Mascots

Not only did this party feature MascBots as tour guides for respective rooms, but the actual mascots themselves returned to celebrate the landmark event. Unfortunately, not every mascot made a appearance however. The Penguin Band saw themselves without an invite and Herbert was busy creating the Herbot. Sasquatch didn’t make an appearance either, which would’ve been nice since he seems to have been forgotten about since the Puffle Party 2015.

Decorations

This is another area in which the 10th Anniversary truly shone – in a way which no other party in history has shone before. Whilst only two brand new decorated rooms sounds lacklustre at best, this party’s focus was of course about the history of the game. Most rooms on the island were decorated the exact same way they had been during a respective party. For example, the Book Room was decorated how it was during the Halloween Party 2008, complete with the Secret Chamber special party room of the same year. Pretty much every major room had been decorated, complete with either a Tour bot or a MascBot, which was contextually placed in rooms that were decorated from a party focusing a certain mascot. For example, the Rockhopper MascBot could be found at the Forest, which featured the 2010 Island Adventure Party decorations.

This ensured the party had a lot of variety and randomness – something in which in this context is completely welcome. Some examples included the Christmas Party of 2006 at the Ice Rink, the Puffle Party 2010 at the Snow Forts, the April Fools Party 2008 at the Iceberg and even Camp Penguin of 2007 at the Dock. All in all, an incredibly richly decorated party, with a unique blend of classic and modern artwork. A perfect way to celebrate 10 years!

If I WAS to be critical however, I could’ve complained at the lack of room rotation. Imagine if each room changed on the second week to that of a completely different party. Whilst that would’ve certainly been interesting, it could’ve been confusing. Especially for the Tour and MascBots. Regardless, I’m happy with what we got.

Foreshadowing

Here’s an extra section I figured I would add exclusively for this party (or indeed any other parties in which show elements of this in the future). You may wonder what I mean by ‘foreshadowing’. Well, put simply, I mean in the plot sense. For example, something happens in a party that then leads the way for the next party. For example, a blizzard occurred during the Christmas Party 2006. The snow was then stored (and kept cool thanks to Gary’s AC 3000) in the Lodge Attic, only to be used two months later for the Festival of Snow in February 2007. Another example was when a crab broke a window in the Underground Pool / Cave way back in July 2007 – leading to the Water Party.

In this case, Gary’s MascBots began to malfunction during the second week of the event. This means that the malfunctioned bots will begin to cause havoc at the Halloween Party (2015 obviously!), turning them into almost zombified versions of themselves. A really nice plot device that I found worked especially well here. Kudos CP! Let’s have more of this in the future, please..

Verdict

Ultimately, this party was everything we expected / wanted and more. Celebrating CP turning a decade old by looking back at the previous ten years and providing entertainment accordingly. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing rooms I haven’t seen in a very long time and even experiencing some for the first time (the Ice Rink in particular). Combine this with the interesting narrative focusing upon Gary’s MascBots and we had a pretty great party – my favourite since Operation Blackout.

Will the Halloween Party 2015 top this? Well, at the time of writing it’s already begun and I’ve already completed all the tasks (via the app – no waiting necessary!). All I can say at this point is..No, nO…NO…ZZT *BZORT error 420 reSTART in PROGRESS…C0NTACT ManuFACTUR3R 

Random CP Fact #50: The current pin – the Anniversary Balloons – is the first pin to ever be hidden in the Town. The team had often stated they would never do this in the past due to the sheer popularity of the room. 

Until next time, Waddle on!

Jimbobson   JimBOTSon

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

Inside Out Party Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

After a very quiet month of June from everyone’s favourite winter wonderland virtual world, many including myself were excited to see what the team had been working on for July’s party. We knew it would be a takeover, focusing on the recently released Inside Out film by Disney Pixar. Add to this the inclusion of a popular CP original mascot and a fairly solid storyline and we have what looks, on paper, to be a major party of 2015. So, let’s see how it stacked up..

Content

Poor old Rockhopper had lost his memories, meaning Gary had to once again build a machine (the Minderizer 3000) that would save the day (with our help of course!). How did he lose memories I hear you ask? By eating cursed cheese from a dodgy island, of course! Entering Rockhopper’s mind and completing tasks for each of his emotions (inspired by those from the film) in order to recover his memories is certainly hard work. Or was it? If anything, it seemed a little too easy. But more on that later.

Activities/Quests

To recover the beloved Captain’s memories, players had to first venture inside Rockhopper’s mind – which was luckily accessible from the Dock (the only decorated room on the island..). Once inside, each of the emotions would provide players with tasks to complete, all of which were remarkably similar – leaving a bad taste of repetition on the beaks of many penguins. The typical ‘go to X room and find X’ applies here. Whilst more challenging than the infamous Frozen party’s tedious snowflake collecting task, finding the different memory ‘orbs’ was easy for most. Once found, players had to then complete an ‘Ice Jam’ style game which again, provided very very little satisfaction in terms of challenging the player’s mind (ha, mind).

Overall, this party had us completing the same tasks for each of the 5 emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear). As you can expect, this got tiresome. Very quickly. Whilst many may have enjoyed something different from the usual ‘come back tomorrow for another item!’ task, if you will, I personally found it underwhelming. The added dialogue from each of the emotions also seemed slightly cheesy, though I understand why it was done.

Items

Plenty of items inspired by the film. Who’d of guessed? The usual suspects appear here once again. Wigs, dresses, other outfits and a selection of hand items for non-members. Whilst none were particularly bad, none are either memorable either. The only reason anyone will recognise where they came from when searching through a plethora of pages within their inventory will be because of the characters in the film – not the memory of a truly enjoyable party. I realise I’ve said it before, but I dislike wigs and clothes in which make penguin’s appear too human (the uncanny valley, anyone?). Hair on penguins just looks odd..

Personally, I would’ve liked to receive each of the emotions’ hats they were wearing (basically the same as Rockhopper’s but the Puffle had the same expression as that of each emotion). It was a party about Rockhopper, after all. The Captain did of course give us some ‘booty’, a small collection of Member-only items that had all been seen at previous parties. Yay!

Mascots

Rockhopper, obviously! Well, kind of. Not really? He was sat at the Dock for the duration of the party. Gary did waddle around the island, however. No new backgrounds though.

Decorations

After last month’s Festival of Snow came without much warning, you’d expect a party as hyped as this one had decorations that even the Halloween parties would envy, right? Wrong! As stated previously, the Dock was the only decorated room on the island. Rockhopper’s mind was another, consisting of 7 decorated rooms (Headquarters, Dream Productions, Food Island, Imaginationland, Loot Island and the Subconscious). Each room sure looked rather pretty, but offered very little in terms of interactivity which is a huge shame. I also found that the Orbs didn’t necessarily fit in with each room. An anger-based orb in Loot Island? Why not Joy? Whyyy?

Little decoration is never fun. Never. The rooms in which are decorated are slightly above average at best, certainly not inspiring or anything too mind-blowing (ha, there it is again).

Inconsistences

Here’s a new one I bet none of y’all were expecting. What do I mean? Well, when we got to see memory flashbacks that would correlate to each emotion, one stood out as being almost insulting to us older players. When completing Joy’s task, we are shown Rockhopper first discovering Yarr. However, Rockhopper is wearing his current selection of items – including his pirates jacket in which he didn’t wear back in 2006. Most wouldn’t of noticed this, but I found it annoying.

Verdict

Okay, so CP had a month off. To produce this?! This seemed like an overblown mini-party as opposed to one that was as overhyped as this was. I personally much preferred last month’s Festival of Snow – featuring island-wide decorations, memorable items and player interactivity (players designed the ice sculptures..). This party seemed a little…rushed. Sure, there was a storyline, but it was too farfetched – a huge statement considering the context of the game. CP also managed to avoid returning the Migrator once again. The build-up notes sent by Rockhopper (available to read via the CP Times weeks before the party started) didn’t do the party any justice either. Sure, it provided context and a seemingly decent storyline, but it turned out to be a huge letdown – at least for me.

Give me an old fashioned Rockhopper visit, featuring Yarr and the Migrator over this any day. Who knows when we’ll next see our favourite penguin pirate. For now however, we turn our attentions to August’s party – the Fashion Festival. Let’s hope it’s not as gender-biased as it sounds.

Now, where’s that cursed cheese? I need to erase a certain film-inspired party from my own memory..

Random CP Fact #46: August 2015’s Penguin Style catalogue is the biggest ever. Featuring a plethora of old and new items, for Members and Non-Members. 

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

The Fair 2015 Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

Now we turn our focus to May’s flagship party; The Fair. Whilst certainly not a new, never-before-seen party, it incorporates most of the elements of 2014’s version but with a few added extras.

Content

Being the 8th Fair, most users will have had experience of at least one of these events before. Formerly known as the Fall Fair, these events began way back in 2007 and always occurred within the Autumn months (or Fall for all our American/Canadian friends). Of course, CP being the noble citizens that they are, realised that it is not Autumn/Fall for everyone at the same time of the year, so simply renamed it to The Fair.

2014 is where things changed. This was the biggest change since The Fair since the introduction of the series. The Amazement Park taking place off the island and the whole dusk setting was a large change from what many were used to. Anyway, enough of the history.

This years, being very similar to last years, incorporated some extras in which made the party much more enjoyable for everyone. The Daily Spin returned, featuring the same items as last year. For those who already have them, only silver tickets, standard tickets and coins will appear. For those who don’t, you have another chance to obtain them. There was also a new Medieval area which includes a new game entitled Medieval Monsters. Pretty fun, incorporating the usual ‘throw snowballs at target to win’ method.

Oh, and the Super Hero Bounce game returned (from the Marvel Superhero Takeover in 2013), including the ability to earn the Superhero Hoodie upon completion of the game. Some minor extras, but ones that certainly enhance the party in my opinion.

Activities/Quests

As with all Fairs, the aim is to receive enough tickets via playing mini-games in order to redeem them for items. 2014’s version frustrated many players as the pricing of items was simply too high. This year however, the team has listened and reduced the pricing (quite considerably). Added to the fact that there are more games and thus more variety in terms of earning tickets, this party improves on last year’s efforts in a plethora of ways.

Items

Unfortunately, this was one area this year’s attempt failed to match last years. As usual, there were items for Members and items for everyone. The items for members consisted of stuffed monkeys and starfish costumes. Non-members however, were treated to a selection of head, face and hand items. From wigs to pixel glasses, The Fair 2015 had it all. The Bell from the previous Coins for Change campaigns also made an unexpected return. Whilst the variety was certainly better than say, the Rainbow Puffle Party, I would’ve liked to seen more brand new items and less recoloured versions. And of course, some body items for everyone wouldn’t go amiss.

Mascots

Two mascots and a not-so-live performance from the Penguin Band ensured that May wouldn’t be a mascot-less month. Rookie is well known for his attendance during the fairs, but I still miss Rockhopper’s visits (the first Fall Fair was actually created by Rockhopper). Nevertheless, it’s better than nothing. No new backgrounds, though.

Decorations

Pretty much the same as last year. The island itself wasn’t decorated with anything other than a dusk sky which certainly adds some atmosphere to the island. If anything, it makes us desire the day/night feature even more so. Like last years, the off-island Amazement Park is where all the action took place. With several different themed parks to visit, including the new Medieval party-inspired ‘Ye Olde Castle’, there was elements from a few parties we’ve seen in the past. Not too shabby! But some on-island decor would’ve been effective, no matter how simplistic.

Verdict

2015’s version of The Fair simply took last years version and fixed its’ major flaws. Sure, there were glitches, some of which were quite major (i.e fair mini-games not yielding tickets), and the duration of parties is still far too long (20th May – 10th June after extension?!), but it still wasn’t an awful party. Member’s only transformations was a little unnecessary and not something I enjoy to begin with, but I suppose they add a little more role-playing opportunities. Regardless, let us look forward to June (even though we’re almost half-way through already), which promises some EPF-related stuff and some even suspect the return of the Sports Shop…

Random CP Fact #45: Despite the Penguin Band’s numerous performances over the years, their first official appearance as mascots was during the Music Jam 2008 – each sporting their old country-themed design.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

Rainbow Puffle Party Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

May marked a very interesting month on Club Penguin as, for the first time, two different parties would take place on the island – one on desktop, and one on the CP mobile app. The desktop version got treated to The Fair whilst those with the mobile app had a chance to explore a new Rainbow Puffle Party. As the title so blatantly suggests, this post will cover the latter. Let’s begin!

Content

I’m pretty sure everyone who plays the game and knew about May’s events knew all along that the Rainbow Puffle Party would be more of a mini-party themed event. Small scale decorations with a few items and of course, the opportunity to adopt an elusive Rainbow Puffle for free (for Non-Members this was a pretty decent offer). It wasn’t anywhere near as large as any of the previous Puffle Parties and ended up living in The Fair’s shadows for the month’s main event. Still, it was nice to have one of those old-CP-style parties that are such a rarity nowadays (with the exception of the infrequent mini-parties of course). Regardless, this was a pretty decent party considering the simplicity and overall atmospheric element of the event. However, this was a somewhat big reminder of how much the game has changed over the years..

Activities/Quests

Come back everyday to receive a new item! Great, we’ve all seen this before. Whilst not as satisfying as the free item boxes, it does the job. However, the sheer fact that this was on the mobile app was perhaps the party’s biggest downfall. Glitches plagued the event for many users, so much so that the party has been extended until June 17th. Personally, I had experienced some of the major ones, including not being able to receive any item upon logging in. To make it worse, the free item interface wasn’t available at any other time except when logging in. No button in the top right corner or anything – even better!

Would I prefer to have unplayable quests or simply the ‘come back everyday to receive a new item’ feature? Certainly the latter on mobile. Too glitchy for anything else.

Items

This is where I found the party to be at its’ weakest. Items were slightly dull and uninspired. Members got the better deal as usual. Non-Members were treated to a selection of rainbow-themed head items and ‘The Thundercloud’ which in all honesty is one of the better items I’ve seen as of late. Regardless, I’d prefer to see more variety of items – not just head items that are re-coloured versions of those released previously.

Oh, and don’t forget the free Rainbow Puffle. Was it an item? Not necessarily. But still. Oh, and the team didn’t extend the maximum amount of Puffles a Non-Member could have, so if you already had 1 Blue and 1 Red Puffle, you’d have to let one go to make room for a Rainbow! Ah, Club Penguin. You sure give us some hard life choices sometimes.

Mascots

Haha, mascots on mobile? Probably for the best.

Decorations

Simplistic yet effective. Plenty of clouds, rainbows and the like. In fact, the Town, Snow Forts and Plaza all showed the island below – indicating that this party took place in the clouds. It was a nice reminder of the Festival of Flight way back in August 2009. Whilst the rooms in which were decorated were minimal, and the lack of interior decorations was evident yet again – they were certainly sufficient for the party in question. A fine tribute to the most colourful of the island’s beloved fluffball pets.

Verdict

Overall the Rainbow Puffle Party was a small-scale event in which proved to be successful (obviously due to it being extended it was a fairly (no pun intended) popular event. I’d be happy to see CP keep up this trend, but the app itself needs way more attention if CP hopes to use this platform for more complex parties. Fix the app, bring the long-awaited CPNext technology to the web – all is well. But until then..

Random CP Fact #44: Propeller Caps were once very popular items on the island. Released at almost every April Fools party, they came in several different colours; with one released per party. Now, there are a total of 4 colours; green, purple, red and blue. When dancing with this item alone (and/or the Jet Pack), your penguin will hover slightly.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson