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Club Penguin: Re-imaging Game Mechanics With Tip The Iceberg

Club Penguin: Re-imaging Game Mechanics With Tip The Iceberg
Innovation

Michael Agger writes an interesting review for Slate of the kid's social networking site Club Penguin. The site where children roam and interact as penguins was sold recently for $700m to Disney. Michael's article brings the virtual world to life for all of us a little too busy or a little too uneasy to enter the place:

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 17 september 2007

Michael Agger writes an interesting review for Slate of the kid’s social networking site Club Penguin. The site where children roam and interact as penguins was sold recently for $700m to Disney. Michael’s article brings the virtual world to life for all of us a little too busy or a little too uneasy to enter the place:

The first thing you notice is that everyone is really dressed up. When you click on another penguin, their “Player Card” appears. This shows all of the pins, hats, props, and accessories that the penguin has acquired by completing various missions and shopping at various stores. The net result is that a lot of penguins end up looking like Elton John. (As Emily Yoffe points out, you must have a paid subscription to Club Penguin to properly outfit your penguin.) Many initial penguin-to-penguin comments are sartorial in nature, such as “Where did you get that hat?” or “Nice outfit.” A common opener, though, is the one that the pink penguin directed my way: “boy or girl?”

…Going to someone’s igloo usually means admiring how they’ve decorated it with three flatscreen TVs, an aquarium, and a drum set. You might do a little dancing to the booming rock soundtrack (penguins can acquire special dance moves) and then go your separate ways. After all, there are constant parties to attend.

…The iceberg is the site of Club Penguin’s most resilient urban legend: If enough penguins gather on one side of the iceberg, it will tip… The iceberg has never tipped, yet the idea will not die. If you hang around for a bit, a penguin might show up and start drilling, or a penguin would appear and shout, “TIP THE ICEBERG,” and start corralling everyone to one side. One tipping theory held that all penguins on the iceberg had to be the same color, leading to some incidents of colorism: “Get out of here blue!” A legend like this is a sign of a healthy game. Players are so invested in trying to figure out how the world works that they go beyond what the designers have intended.

More: An “adult” joins Club Penguin. – By Michael Agger – Slate Magazine

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