[EDITORIAL] Why We Killed Club Penguin

ALASKA, CP Army Hub Headquarters Zamb’s Desk DDOSing, doxing, impersonation, scamming, you name it. Since their creation and overwhelming rise in popularity, Club Penguin Armies have been heavily censored and disregarded by CP’s administration for their blatant ignorance of the game’s rules. Disney envisioned Club Penguin to be a game for children to network safely and meet new friends, but was their aspiration dominated by the cynical army community?

Disney forces explicit Club Penguin clones offline - BBC News

Disclaimer: This post reflects the values of the author, that being me (aka Zamb), rather than CPAH as an entire organization. Also, the interview portion contains heavy use of profanity, so read at your own risk. 

Since Oagalthorp’s creation of the Army of Club Penguin, which marked the beginning of what we know as Club Penguin Armies, multiple scandals have taken place. Some scandals have made a significant impact on not only how armies chose to approach situations, but also on how security over a children’s game became a concern. According to the predecessor media site, CP Army Central, World War III, a significant large-scale battle, began with the Underground Mafia Army hacking the game for their advantage. Eventually, their misdeeds prompted ACPto take action and declare war. Disney’s team attempted to deflect the incoming “soldiers” through massive filtering, muting those who evaded the filter and even striking the banhammer on the unlucky few who were multiple offenders or caught at the wrong time. Although Club Penguin’s staff did the most they were able to on their platform, another location stood where laws were nonexistent and individuals were able to take refuge from the unyielding moderators.

Xat, the 2nd place I’ve been scammed in my life. First was because of Poptropica, but Xat was far easier to fall victim to.

Part I: XAT

Xat is a chatroom service where unlike Club Penguin, the servers aren’t moderated as heavily. As a result, swearing is allowed. Although the chatroom’s features provide basic moderation such as administrator privileges, ban, kick, and reset, they weren’t the best environments to be in. To gain super-administrator privileges (where you can remove another admin’s authority), all it requires is a password. Because I was young but had some knowledge of computers, I thought, “Hmm, if it requires a password, then it should be safe?” My thoughts such as that and others later led to many in the community acknowledging my stupidity. In retrospect, Xat faced a data breach in November of 2015, giving the hackers access to the hashed passwords of both users and even chatrooms. Not only were there backend (database) attacks, but phishing, or defined as the practice of stealing personal or valuable information through impersonation of an individual or an entity, was very common on Xat. The Xat developers made notice of this too and prompted a message to show before clicking on any links, stating that their team advises users to be wary of external links outside of their website. From my own experience, I can confirm that phishing was effortless: to fall victim to the practice, and to put it into perspective. Even if the misconduct was done outside of Club Penguin, it still uses the children’s game as bait to lure others into the scheme. Due to a lot of the community being duped by these malicious tactics, 

Unfortunately, some people (like myself) had no idea what phishing really was. Falling victim to phishing didn't help either, as I found out what I was duped months after the attack.

Unfortunately, some people (like myself) had no idea what phishing was. Falling victim to phishing didn’t help either, as I found out what I was duped months after the attack.

Although CPA has fortunately stowed away Xat and went to newer and safer platforms such as Discord, that didn’t excuse the destruction that occurred within their game. Despite the organization armies were proud to promote, armies were anarchists in a game that was believed to be governed well. Club Penguin continued to maintain order with moderators who got paid for their time on the game, talented developers who kept advancing the filter to prevent spam, and implemented many precautions such as the “Safety Quiz”. Though, armies kept finding ways to bypass these laws. Some individuals were extreme enough to promote themselves committing these in-game crimes, such as recruiting, inappropriate behavior, and more commonly, item and coin hacking. Both players who played legit and those who cheated valued coins because the Club Penguin economy ran on coins. Either you could’ve mindlessly played Cart Surfer for hours to receive all the stamps and earn double coins, or follow by the example set by armies and cheat items in.

PART II: HACKING

Light Troops, an army that has reigned above Club Penguin for years and one that is surrounded by controversy, endorsed the use of these cheating tools. Similarly, UMA too endorsed the use of an item and coin hacking, which like mentioned above, prompted World War III in CPA. According to the same history page on CPA Central, the war ended with Pink Mafias, creator of UMA, and his troops being banned from Club Penguin and having to use alts, losing all the rare items they’ve legitimately accumulated. Nonetheless, the damage is done as many others sought out for similar cheating tools, which later gave birth to the cheating community, where people utilized not only items and coin adders but also trainers. A trainer is a program where multiple Club Penguin hacks, both client and server-side, exist for a user to use. Not only were the children of Club Penguin being lured to lawless chats of toxic teenagers, but they were also tempted into hacking the game to receive a rare background from Rockhopper during the Beta or similar items. 

Light Troops leader Tobercold endorsed the use of an Item Adder, which

Light Troops leader Tobercold endorsed the use of an Item Adder, which in turn ruined the game’s aspect of earning items yourself through coins YOU’VE worked for.

PART III: BOTTING

Another disease that plagued across Club Penguin were bots. Due to the enormous amount of science fiction distributed to the public, we are more than familiar with the concept of a robot. A robot is an autonomous machine that can mimic movements to a certain degree. However, robots are typically programmed to promote working behavior, but the scripted bots on Club Penguin were rather counterproductive. One famous example of an organized bot raid was Purple Republic, a plague to armies that made its introduction and disappearance in 2011. Infamous in CPA culture, Purple Republic was a group rather than an army utilizing bots to terrorize CPA. Despite its reincarnation in 2014 by notable AUSIA leader Earthing consisting of real people, the original PR led by Violantealleta tyrannized both armies and uninvolved players. Using controversial formations such as a swastika, a symbol denounced for its prominence in Nazism rather than it’s origins from Hindu-based religions, the community grew to despise the bots. PR weren’t the only ones to strike fear using bots, as CPA was witness to countless bot raids. Several tournaments hosted by CP Army Central faced the threat of bot raiders. Ironically, the one’s who bot raided and ruined the fun of Club Penguin happened to be none other than CPA figures themselves. Similar to phishing, I can say that I’ve experienced botting: both as one who raided events, and as a leader/troop who couldn’t continue an event due to the nuisance. Unlike the other two issues, botting was more of an annoyance than a legitimate problem. Today, botting isn’t as common but isn’t off the radar.

Credits to SM Army Press for the image. Purple Republic are shown doing their signature formation, a swastika.

PART IV: TOXICITY

Toxicity is an issue in communities worldwide, particularly gaming. Toxicity is developed when a veteran of a game or a community believes they’re earned an elevated status that differentiates them from the newer or lesser-experienced members. This sense of superiority also came from an age difference, as most leaders and prominent communal members happened to be in their teens, whereas newer troops and others were quite young. Considering all reasons mentioned in this post before Part IV, toxicity is a pillar to the other three. In CPAH reporter Coolguy’s post on the rise and fall of toxicity in the community, his section titled “Argument 3” stated,

Maybe the community hasn’t become more toxic, maybe it’s always been toxic but we just didn’t know it. In the past, many members made jokes about the past, for example; many people would often joke about Hitler and the Nazi’s. If members did this today, it would be considered inappropriate and toxic.

I believe that every year, the world gets more sensitive. This idea goes hand-to-hand with Coolguy’s statement as insults previously thrown around could have a bigger impact today, and not necessarily a good one. An example would be jokes about LGBT. The LGBT community has unfortunately been condemned for years by the world due to certain widespread religious beliefs influencing followers to discern homosexuals. Nazi Germany was credited for not only their persecutions of Jews but also gay men and anyone else they found to be “imperfect”. Since then, the world has made significant progress in welcoming homosexuality into society. Disney themselves have made many public statements supporting gay rights, so it would make sense that their game advocated for it too. However, the toxicity in the army community was homophobic, racist, xenophobic, etc. In his original gayCP post, Albaro Lord went to Xat chats to ask members of armies what they think about the gay community. The majority of the people he’s interviewed demonstrated their support for the community. CPA Legend and Light Troops leader at the time, Waterkid101, denoted his hate for LGBTs.

Albaro Lord asked LT whether they’d support gay troops or not. A moderator, as well as leader DrMatt, said they’d support them. Waterkid is shown threatening anyone who’s gay with a ban. Click on the image to read Albaro’s original post!

Throughout this post, I’ve been involved in the previous three parts that ruin Club Penguin. However, I wasn’t consistent with my toxicity, so I can’t relate and make a statement on whether toxicity did destroy CP or not. To come to a conclusion, I’ve enlisted help from an individual who indisputably falls in this category. In 2017 before Club Penguin’s end, the community at CP Army Central voted Bam, Doritos leader, and legend, as the biggest savage of all time. I questioned Bam about his past allegations on multilogging, bot raiding, etc. and also if he thinks that Disney’s hate for Club Penguin stemmed from toxicity. Here’s what Bam had to say:

Bam, Doritos Legend:

I’m an innocent man. Disney hated armies because of faggots like elmikey who went out of their way to brainwash little kids into joining their 3 party site/army/cult. It wasn’t just the toxic ones it was “heroes of cpa” the same ones who are still leading armies 5 years later because they don’t do fucking shit with their lives. These virgins feed off the government and site views for wages because reality is too fucking hard for them so they stick with training 10 year olds how to form fucking circles.

Alongside Bam’s statement, I attempted to reach out to former CPAC CEO Goblin for a statement, considering he was a contender for Biggest Savage of All Time. However, I’ve only received a message from him showing his agreeance with what Bam had to say.

Goblin’s statement.

Based on what Bam said, toxicity may have been a part of Disney’s despise towards armies, but other reasons (such as “Elmikey’s brainwashing”) exist too. Likely another reason can be the age difference of individuals, as leaders of armies or veterans tend to be ages apart from their troops. Bam noted that some individuals use CPA as a means to make a living off, using the kid’s game to their advantage. I believe that Bam is right, but toxicity is still a root cause of why the game grew to be hated by Disney. If the people were more welcoming, PG, and child-friendly, maybe armies wouldn’t have been as censored.

Some people did take the game seriously, didn’t they. :wary:

PART V: MY CONCLUSION

Initially, I surmised that Club Penguin was destroyed by Disney itself for putting their management on other projects, and also disregard for the game. Due to recent controversial events resurfacing the old game, it provokes a thought of whether our community that killed the game or not. Club Penguin intended to be a place where children can socialize, make friends, and have fun. Similar to Native Americans, Disney and their audience were the first inhabitants of the land we call Club Penguin. Later, armies arrived on our own ship and brought diseases to the New World we sought out. Unfortunately, a vaccine could have never been found because the problems kept getting worse. Symptoms kept mutating from the initial virus, making it harder for Club Penguin’s moderation to contain. One by one, problem after problem, it happened to be that Disney abandoned their ship first, leaving the problematic pilgrims in the land they raised. With the disappearance of the original settler, Club Penguin was left to die. In spite of the fact that the community joined together for the sake of rebuilding the game, the original settlers had to return to take back what was theirs. Disney created CP as a place for kids to safely network, but unfortunately, armies corrupted it.

But what do YOU think? Are armies to blame for Club Penguin’s shut down? Or did we benefit Disney? Did Bam deserve the title of Biggest Savage of All Time? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Zambi

CP Army Hub’s Army Reject & Graphic Designer

One Response

  1. Now that was one hell of a post.

    Like

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