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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

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‘Operation: Tri-Umph’ Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

With Club Penguin still busy working on Project Super Secret, the lacklustre Prehistoric Party 2016 was forgiven. Sure, it at least had a narrative and reason for being but ultimately it was simply a rehashed version of those seen in previous years.

This month however, things were different. A brand new EPF mission came to the island, involving everyone’s favourite evil polar bear and crab sidekick. Originally known as Operation: Doom, many (including myself), had high hopes for this event. EPF events have always promised solid storylines and interesting tasks in which standard parties cannot compete against. After Operation: Crustacean in November, few expected another EPF so soon. Will Operation: Tri-Umph compete against the legendary Operation: Blackout? Or did the month-long event overstay its’ welcome? Let’s find out!

Content

EPF operations are known for their narratives in which progress every other day / week. In this case, the story took place over three weeks (hence the ‘tri’ in ‘tri-umph’; with the party lasting four weeks in total. Whilst this undoubtedly sounds like a pretty large-scale event on paper, the reality is unfortunately the contrary.

Herbert had a plan to use the stolen meteor from the UFO as a power source in an attempt to uncolourise the island and shrink penguins. Within the first week, this plan backfired and his laser malfunctioned; resulting in a laser party at the Snow Forts. Add some neon lights, a dance floor, some Member-only items and this was week one completed. No tasks, nothing!

In week two, Herbert’s shrink ray of doom managed to shrink all those who accessed the Town (I’m still confused with this too be honest). Construction workers then built a mini-village consisting of a baseball field and a city road for some reason. Again, Members-only items and the decorations were the only things to enjoy this week. No tasks, again.

In week three, things managed to progress. Herbert managed to de-colourise half of the Plaza (as opposed to the entire island like we were expecting). Both the Mall and the Pizza Parlour (and half of the Plaza) were stripped from their colours and left black and white. As usual, there were a selection of Members-only items to pick up.

This wasn’t it, however! A mysterious cave entrance also appeared at the Plaza. This lead many penguins to suffer from deja vu. Why? Because it was the exact same cave from the Cave Maze mini-event back in April 2015. Once the maze was completed, players then had to unplug Herbert’s machine by literally clicking on the plug. That’s it!

Activities

I pretty much covered this in the Content section. The only thing players had to do throughout this party was the maze (of which was returned from last year, so shouldn’t of given many players too much trouble) and click on a plug. Easiest operation ever!

Items

A very controversial area and in my opinion, a low point of the entire event (which pretty much consisted entirely of low points). Like last month with the T-Rex Hoodie and the Treasure Book exclusives returning as Member-only items in the Penguin Style, every item available at this event were Members-only. Well, okay there was the extremely common Mining Helmet (which is also available at the Gold Mine, all the time) and a Meteor pin. Add to this the Rookie & Herbert giveaway backgrounds and there’s your fill – if you’re a Non-Member at least.

Whilst this is annoying in itself (a party without free items, something CP themselves pioneered in virtual worlds), the real insult was how CP brought back old Non-Member items as Member items. This seems like a huge dig at those who choose not to purchase a membership, and a somewhat cheap effort to try entice more penguin’s to spend actual money on what is honestly, degrading content. I feel CP will become much stricter on items, providing free players the absolute minimum they can get away with without angering players.

Decorations

As there were only a handful of decorated rooms, you may expect all those to be of exceptional high quality in order to showcase what could’ve been a month (or even longer) of hard work from the team. Instead, the rooms were simplistic yet somewhat effective. If I was to some up the decorations, I would say they would feel right at home in either a classic Old CP event or a modern mini-party. Nowhere near Blackout’s standards though, unfortunately.

I feel the main issue here is that we expected Herbert’s contraptions to affect us on an island-wide basis. I expected most if not every room to become black and white, and at least a few to actually shrink (as opposed to it being penguins who shrunk in a limited amount of rooms). Maybe we expected to much from a game in which is still working on its’ biggest update in its’ decade-long history.

Mascots

Rookie and Herbert both appeared as the comic relief protagonist and antagonist respectively. Unfortunately, Herbert was never actually seen in the flesh, only appearing on screens and via the Club Penguin Times. He should’ve at least appeared at the end of the Mine Cave in an effort to protect his equipment and stop any intruders. Instead, he was nowhere to be found.

Verdict

Honestly, this party was a huge let down. The fact it was an operation promised some fun tasks, a strong narrative and the usual cameo appearance of Herbert. This event had none of these. Each week I was left feeling disappointed. Each week we had no tasks to complete or items (for everyone) to enjoy. It honestly felt like a mixture of mini-parties, something in which I thought I never would’ve used to explain an Operation. Constructive criticism? Weekly tasks, free items for everyone and an island-wide event, not limited to the Forts, Town and Plaza.

Once again, it seems like the excuse is Project Super Secret. However, next month we see yet another return of the Puffle Party. This looks to have more in common with the tradition versions of this party as opposed to recent renditions; with the return of the Puffle domains and even a new Puffle parade to get excited about. Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson.

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

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

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

Puffles, Pirates & Parties!

Greetings Penguins!

There’s been a few announcements this week – both official and unofficial – that have sparked interest amongst the community and have interested me personally. As the title so obviously suggests as usual, this post will be regarding the three P’s. Also, before I start, a slight warning – as usual, this post will contain some ranting and my own opinions on certain events and features.

Puffles

This year we’ve seen the introduction of many, many puffles. 5 different species to be exact (not including different coloured variants) have found themselves on the island this year. All of these however have been what CP dubs as Puffle Creatures, aka Puffles based on real animals (or other things such as snowmen and ghosts). Personally, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Puffles introduced this year. Traditionally, we were lucky to get 1 a year. Each one was a unique colour with carefully constructed animations and personalities. Nowadays, it simply seems CP are abusing the pets to try and persuade people to buy Memberships which is quite sad, really.

Some may argue that, after the Golden and Rainbow Puffles were introduced, CP had done pretty much all they could in terms of the standard colours. Sure, different shades and hues of each colours could be added, but it wouldn’t be as exciting as the first time penguin’s spotted the Yellow Puffle during the Halloween Party of 2007. Whilst I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Puffle Creatures (I find them slightly out of context and quite frankly, unimaginative), if they had to be introduced I’d prefer maybe 1 or 2 sets of a certain species per year. Not 5! The worst part, there’s more on the way.

So thus far, we have seen the introduction of Dog, Cat, Dinosaur, Snowman and Spooky (Ghost) Puffle Creatures. All of which are available exclusively to Members and all but the Dog and Cat have been party-exclusive. As many of you will know, CP plan to launch a puzzle app called Puffle Wild within the upcoming months. This app will allow you to unlock even more Puffle Creatures, 4 different species to be exact. These are the Racoon, Bunny, Moose and Unicorn Puffles. That makes the grand total of Puffle Creatures introduced in 2014 to a whopping 9. 9!

The mass introduction of Puffles this year seems way over the top, so much so it has devalued Puffles to the point where many are no longer excited about the introduction of a new one. I’d prefer to see more personalities and animations integrated into each one. If a Yellow Puffle is artistic and creative then why doesn’t the Yellow Dinosaur Puffle adopt any of these characteristics? Anyway, time to move on.

Pirates

A surprise leak was found this week. This time it was the code in CP’s files that pretty much confirmed November’s party. That’s right, our old almost-forgotten friend Rockhopper will be returning to throw a grand Pirate Party! There have been two Pirate Parties thus far, one in 2007 and one in 2008 (though the latter was officially known as Rockhopper’s Arrival Party – most of the decorations and items were re-used from the previous one). Not much at all is known about this party other than it will not be limited to one room as the Plaza, Dock and Snow Forts appear to be decorated (or so the code says).

I’m looking forward to this one in particular. However, the absence of anything Card-Jitsu or Sasquatch related is a little disappointing. I hope there’s plenty of classic and new decorations and an awesome quest to compensate!

Parties

Whilst briefly touched upon in the Pirates section, we can be certain what parties will conclude the rest of the year. Next week marks the introduction of the Anniversary and Halloween parties. Whilst the Anniversary is always a grand event, it seems to have been spoiled somewhat this year due to CP blatantly releasing the hat design (red and purple) which is slightly disappointing. I want to log in and find out for myself on the day, not weeks beforehand. Why would CP do this? Possibly to take the focus off the party and more so on the Halloween party which promises to be the biggest of the year thus far? Who knows.

As proven in my previous post, the entire island will be decorated for Halloween. This is especially exciting considering 2014’s lack of decorated rooms thus far. Sure, some have been exceptionally well decorated (the Mall, Cruise Ship etc), many rooms were left with no love at all – which was disappointing.

December will contain the beloved Holiday Party. Literally nothing about it is known so far but I’m sure it will contain the typical Winter-themed decorations, plenty of lights and the awesome sky to go along with it. Hopefully it will be the biggest yet to make up for this year’s lack of groundbreaking parties. No more Takeovers have been hinted at either, so I think we’re safe from those until 2015, happy days!

And thus concludes yet another lengthy post with no pictures. I simply wanted to put my point and opinions across which I hope made an interesting read. If not, be sure to let me know what you’d like to be included in future posts/rants/critical reviews etc. Thanks for reading!

Random CP Fact #29: The Sailor Hat has featured at both Pirate Parties in the past. The rare Red and Black Sailor Shirt featured at the most recent in 2008. It is unknown whether any of these items will see a return next month, though due to the older art-style, it’s very unlikely.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson

School & Skate Party Critical Review!

Greetings Penguins!

Okay, we know the score by now. These posts are basically reviews reflecting on a party that has recently ended. The aim of these is to identify points where the specified party which were done well, and ways it could’ve been improved. You all know this by now, so let’s get going!

This month’s review focuses on the School & Skate Party; a brand new unsponsored party that aimed to bring the fun of school into our favourite virtual world. But was the party an A-Grade masterpiece or did everyone want it to graduate as soon as possible? Well, upon its’ announcement many penguins flocked (not literally, they can’t fly..) to Twitter in order to voice their opinion. For the most part, responses were negative. Why would CP introduce school to the island? A widely-hated part of our lives, it certainly isn’t fun for everyone – and CP knows that. To overcome this, they tried to incorporate the fun things that school contains, like skating, apparently.

The Tiring Quest

Like almost all of the 2014 parties, this one also contained a Quest. Upon logging in you were instantly made aware of this, as the forceful messages almost demand that you do these quests before even trying to acknowledge your friends. Like last month’s Frozen Party, penguins had to find objects in a certain room in order to receive items. Unlike the Frozen Party however, the objects weren’t as easy. This is a good thing as the Snowflakes of the Frozen Party were easier to find than the gigantic modern pins. Regardless, finding the objects is still easy when you’re directed to each room that contains them. Why not spread them over the island and let penguins discover them themselves?

One major issue with this month’s quest was that of repetition. It’s just like last month’s party but with a different context. Why CP insists on using the same quests for several parties in succession is beyond me. Mix it around a little, otherwise parties begin to feel far too similar to eachother – and not in a good way. Scavenger hunts in the form of the Easter Egg hunt or the Halloween candy hunt were fun. The eggs/candy weren’t that easy to find, we weren’t bombarded with log in screens that transported you the room but instead got given clues as to which room an egg/candy could be found. There also wasn’t one every party which maintained the excitement.

Skate Park – Half Full or Half Empty?

This party saw the introduction of a brand new room – the Skate Park. A room that’s focused on Members (but not restricted to), it allows the purchase of Skateboards followed by the ability to do tricks in this room alone. Whilst an alright idea, I’d of preferred to see this as a mini-party which we didn’t see in September. Instead, we have a room that is unlikely to be used much if at all. Is it necessary? Not really, I can’t imagine myself using it whatsoever and I know many others feel the same way.

Recently, Polo Field announced that there would never be any new plays at The Stage due to it not being used. So why introduce a new room that has the same fate? The Cove was added way back in 2007 to provide a Summer-themed location all-year round and introduced surfing. The Lighthouse and Beacon were added in 2006 to provide penguins with the ability to spot The Migrator on the horizon, and thus had contextual purpose. A Skate Park however? I just fail to see the reason why.

Other Decorations

The entire island was decoration for this party. LOL JKS, no but seriously, we’ve come to expect to much with modern parties in terms of decorations. They aren’t as minimal as the Music Jam, but still few and far between when you consider the entire island. The Plaza, Mine Shack and University got a makeover with the best decoration in my opinion going to The Puffle Berry Mall which of course temporarily replaced The Stage. The issue with the Mall however is that you couldn’t purchase anything it in, which kind of defies the point. The escalators were also ridiculously slow to operate and once you were on one, you couldn’t get off without switching rooms.

Overall there are some decently decorated rooms, but nothing stood out as groundbreaking. Once again, the majority of the focus has gone into the Member features and quests, exciting times!

Items

After much feedback CP looks to have finally removed the “come back tomorrow for another item” feature that became tiresome. Instead, we can get all the items on the same day which saves time for busy people like myself. This time, the items ranged from Backpacks to Dodgeballs. Whilst the majority they were nicely designed and within context, the absence of Body/Feet items for Non-Members is becoming painfully more obvious. I’m quite positive CP wouldn’t lose Members if they simply gave away body items for everyone every now and again (not including codes).

It was also nice to see Rookie make yet another appearance. Like with every mascot nowadays, their giveaway background is never updated which is slightly depressing.

Plot

Like a good 100% of parties this year, this one suffered from the plot. Or rather, the lack of one. A good CP plot hasn’t really been seen in a while, especially after the master of all plots known as Operation: Blackout graced the island. Lately it seems that Cadence (who is becoming a very tired and overused mascot) has friends from far away that come visit the island and never appear again. This time however, Rookie was so excited for the new school year that he decided to throw a party. How exciting.

One major point that disappointed me was how the EPF were aware that Herbert was going to strike the University. However, he did not appear at all whatsoever during the party. Instead, the Director messaged us saying that the University is now secure. Why even mention Herbert at all? Oh yes, to remind us that he still exists but without actually making him a major character at all. It all seems a little lazy..

Verdict

What originally sounded like the disaster party of 2014 (and boy, are there many contenders for that fine award) actually turned out to be not so bad by 2014’s standards. Whilst it suffered from the usual lack of deco, lack of a real plot and a repetitive quest, it wasn’t as bad as the Music Jam. There we no Disney characters which was refreshing and hopefully this will last for the remainder of the year. It would’ve also been nice to have each mascot teach a respective subject. Gary for science, Aunt Arctic for English, Cadence for music etc.

Overall, it wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst either. I only found myself logging in once per penguin throughout the entire event which pretty much says all there is to say. Will it return next year? I hope not, I’d prefer to find something more creative within the month of September.

What’s Next?

Ah the month of October, by far my favourite month of the year in regards to the island. We already know which parties will occur this month as its’ the same every year. Does that mean its’ bad? No, the exact opposite. The Halloween Party dominates in terms of decoration and music, and I’ve yet to witness one that disappoints. Thus far, we are aware that Spooky Puffles (Ghost Puffles) will be making their debut for Members only. We also know that a Halloween-themed upgrade of the Puffle Hotel will be a central point of the party which is fine. I don’t mind when a room is the main focal point of a party, but it can’t be the only focal point of the party – something which was the main downfall of the Music Jam 2014.

Let us all not forget the 9th Anniversary either. October holds 2 parties every year – the only month to do so on an annual basis. Expect the two to be integrated with eachother rather than having them separate as CP once did (before the whole 2-week party duration was introduced). Regardless, I’m excited for this month and hope that it doesn’t disappoint – though let’s face it, it won’t take much to be the best party of 2014 thus far.

Next Time: Pins – Does Size Matter?

Random CP Fact #27: The Halloween Party 2008 marked the first official sighting of Ninjas. When lightning strook inside the Dojo, Ninja shadows could be seen for a split-second. Ninjas were then officially released a month later.

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson