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Club Penguin Online

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Club Penguin Online
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"Ironically enough, the abbreviation of Club Penguin (CP) is also the abbreviation of child porn."
Genre(s): Massively multiplayer online
Platform(s): Browser
Release: January 4, 2018
Discontinuation: May 15, 2020
Developer(s): Riley
Publisher(s): Riley
Country: United Kingdom


"A certain club penguin private server blackmailing kids should watch out."
SomeOrdinaryGamers tweets warning people about Club Penguin Online.
"Club Penguin Online has been shut down by the request of Disney due to the drama and false allegations caused by rival competitors. We were the al CPPS and after our huge populanty increase due to the corona virus the admins of rival servers came together to plot to take us down. Unfortunately for them. all CPPSes are now targets to Disney. No CPPS will survive this. Do not believe the horrid lies said about us by paid off YouTubers and misinformed journalists."
Club Penguin Online's godawful attempt at playing the victim card before getting closed.
"Never forget that Disney went after a guy who wanted to put a Spiderman engraving on his dying son's tombstone, but they've allowed this to fester even after Kavos's video."
Slick McWolf pointing out Disney's hypocrisy, which can be found at SomeOrdinaryGamers' comment section.

Club Penguin Online was a massively multiplayer online game that was launched on January 4, 2018 and discontinued on May 15, 2020. It was owned by Riley. It was shut down by Disney after filing a DMCA lawsuit against the owner of the game. The game developed a reputation as the most hated private server by the private servers community due to the owner's actions.

Why It Went Extinct

Important note: Due to the extremely controversial nature of this game, and for reasoning explained below, no positive pointers/section will be permitted on this page.

Management-related

  1. To get the elephant out of the box, despite the game's popularity, the main reason for why the game was hated because the "owner" of this game was an actual pedophile, who was allegedly soliciting nudes from minors among other stuff.
    • Unlike many sexual allegations such as Harvey Weinstein, Riley was already exposed as a child predator in 2018 in the private server community, but not outside of the private server community until Joey Hues finally exposed him to the public in 2020.
    • Riley, went by Anthony who created Virtual Penguin back in 2016-17 that also shared the same history as Club Penguin Online (Swatting, Doxxing, Receiving explicit images from minors etc.)
  2. The game's moderation was absolutely atrocious for the reasons mentioned below:
    • Admin abuse was rampant here to the point that it was comparable with an authoritarian government. Say something bad about the staff or against Riley for being a pedophile, you get banned. In addition, there were few instances where players got banned without any reason.
    • The way moderators ban users for the reasons above caused many players (including those who were loyal to the game) decided to stick with Club Penguin Rewritten, as they don't ban players for the reasons above.
      • In addition, the official Twitter account can also block you for speaking out against them for the most ridiculous reasons imaginable in a similar manner to PeTA, proving they can't handle criticism.
  3. The official Twitter account actually celebrated Club Penguin Island's closure, which is just tasteless. We are not kidding.
    • Ironically enough, Disney (who owns the Club Penguin IP) later shut down Club Penguin Online in May 2020.
  4. The creator and owner of Club Penguin Online, Riley himself is a deranged criminal who has committed more than just pedophilia, ranging from doxxing, hacking or even swatting! (according to Joey Hues, he was swatted by Riley). He was despised by a lot of members in the private server community for his actions as well as one of the reason why many Club Penguin fans refused to play Club Penguin Online just not to support him. Even Club Penguin Mountains, one of the most popular Club Penguin news websites called Club Penguin Online "unnamed" because the author never wished to promote it to the blog.
    • Unsurprisingly, he couldn't take any form of criticism, using various methods ranging from banning anyone who against him, censorship, etc. He even took down Joey Hues' second exposing video and tried to take down the rest of videos. However, the reupload of the second video can be found here.
    • He even claimed that the rival servers are trying to destroy his reputation without noticing the irony that Riley destroyed his own reputation with the actions he did.
  5. Apart from Riley, some of the staff are very controversial individuals who defend/support Riley:
    • Kiwii, who became the "owner" of the game after Riley "resigned" in August 2019 to hide the fact that he is the true owner.
    • Epic101, an admin who used to operate the army league is a notable racist who actually doxxed an entire army in front of the army league, causing the army to cut tie with Club Penguin Online.[1]
    • Adamblaze, a friend and a former staff who associated with Riley with several CPPS databreaches (including CPRewritten), doxxing and threatening users.
    • Don Jacko, a former staff who was carried out by Riley to hack Tamago2474's Snapchat account all simply because the latter mentioned Riley in a video.
  6. While the game didn't have microtransactions unlike Club Penguin Island, the game used ads, which were placed everywhere to make money.
    • While Riley claimed that he used the money to keep the game running, things get darker when Joey Hues revealed that Riley actually used the money to do illegal stuff such as hacking.
  7. One of the reason why the game was commonly regarded as unsafe by the private servers community is when you register an account there, the admins would get access to your info, such as IP address, email, etc... Even more horrifying that it was leaked by Joey Hues in the second video that their Discord server had a bot that could reveal a player's info, including IP address and email.
    • If any of your accounts have the same password as Club Penguin Online's, unless they have 2FA, well they could get access to those accounts.[2]
    • To make the website even more unsafe, the site won't allow players to delete their accounts, and since Riley resides in England, which effectively qualified this as a violation to GDPR.
      • The staff team even tried to justify this by claiming that the rule breakers would create a new account again while hypocritically saying that the game was following the law.[3]
  8. According to former moderators, the work environment was extremely atrocious to the point that it ruined many users' lives. This includes the following but are not limited to:
    • Many female moderators, mostly underaged ones were forced to send explicit images of themselves to become a moderator.
    • Many moderators were blackmailed by Riley often forced them to do illegal things or else he will threaten them. In addition, Riley also forced them to defend his illegal actions. Joey Hues admitted that the reason he defended Riley because he was scared of him.
  9. The worst aspect of this game was how popular the game was. Not only the game had around 7 - 8 million players (which was on par with Club Penguin Rewritten at the time) but the playerbase was comprised of younger audiences who play the game without knowing the owner's true personality. It also did not help that the COVID-19 lockdown boosted the game's player count.
    • While Club Penguin Rewritten gained the popularity through nostalgia, Club Penguin Online, on the other hand gained popularity through false advertising (by advertising itself as the new Club Penguin.)
      • Ironically enough, while the game was created as a legacy to the original game, Riley's actions ended up being the opposite, which resulted in Club Penguin's name being tarnished.
        • Even more scarier that before Disney's involvement, some users have pointed out Disney's hypocrisy for not allowing a father who wanted to put a Spider-Man engraving on his dying son's tombstone but left alone a man who did not only used the Club Penguin IP for predatory purpose but also without Disney's permission.
          • This is supported by the fact that Disney did sue Club Penguin Online back in 2018 because of the domain's name but did not take them down.[4]
  10. Like Star Wars Battlefront II, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and "Gran Turismo 7", this game is yet another example of a treasured franchise being exploited, except this one is far worse. While the three formers were created for a quick buck, Club Penguin Online, on other hands, was created to lure children for the owner's personal gains. It did not help that Club Penguin's kid-friendly nature made it even more easier to lure children.
  11. The final statement before being shut down was an equivalent of playing the victim card. The statement was also the clear proof that the staff are unable to take the slightest form of criticismwel, and are also unable to take the slightest form of responsibility, as they blamed the YouTubers for being the responsible to the private servers' closure when it was obviously that Riley was the one who caused the actions in the first place.
  12. The developers actually falsely accused that Club Penguin Rewritten is the private server run by a pedophile, which is outright hypocritical and ironic considering the fact that Club Penguin Online is run by a pedophile himself.
  13. Because of all of the above reasons, they have been declared by the private servers to be the the worst Club Penguin private server ever existed, due to the owner's actions. Even many of private servers, including Club Penguin Rewritten despised them, as one of the admin was happy to see the owner gets arrested.

Gameplay-related

  1. This game just doesn't have the same feel as what Club Penguin once used to be. It was nothing but a generic "I'm gonna force you to play this game because I'm god!" game, and it has ruined everyone's good time.
  2. The concept of allowing mature content on a kids' MMO is a very bad idea, considering that not everyone, including minors, can handle mature content. Pony Town, despite focusing on a kid-friendly premise, worked out because it was also able to have NSFW/SFW channels separate, but in this game, it allowed mature content everywhere where the original Club Penguin strictly forbid.
  3. Just like Coin Master, the game gets old pretty fast and feels more of a carbon-copy to the original Club Penguin that kids from the new millennium are familiar with. In contrast to other private servers:
    • Club Penguin Rewritten being focused on classic Club Penguin era (2008-2012) with modern and entirely custom contents.
    • Super Club Penguin being focused on modern Club Penguin but with Club Penguin Island aesthetics and with their own custom contents.
      • Despite being a generic private server, the game somehow gained over 7 million players, likely due to the Google algorithm showing Club Penguin Online first when searching "club penguin" and advertised it as "the new Club Penguin," along with the majority of the fanbase being kids.
  4. The game lacked some of features in the original game such as the newspaper (in which the newspaper redirected to the game's blog instead of the Club Penguin Times newspaper) and the party construction.
  5. The option to play both newer and older Club Penguin, while is a neat concept but the old client received little to no updates as opposed to the new client. It felt like the old client was only added to pander to players who prefer classic Club Penguin.
    • In fact, the old client was added to pander to Rewritten players when the game closed around in March 2018 before being returned a month later.
  6. False advertising for two reasons:
    • The game intentionally advertised itself as the new Club Penguin, despite being a private server of the original game, and even used the original Club Penguin logo with the Disney logo, which may explain how the game became popular in the first place.
    • Despite being advertised as a kid-friendly game, the game had mature servers (which were basically 18+ servers) that allowed swear words, homophobic slurs, antisemitism and racist messages to be posted publicly, along with disgusting activities such as strip clubs. These servers also basically destroyed the purpose of the original Club Penguin, being kid-friendly MMO.
      • Although to be fair, the admins removed the mature servers in April 2019 before reintroduced them in October 2019.
        • In fact, this reason, along with WIS#1 contributed to Club Penguin Online's shutdown.
          • Due to how toxic the mature servers were, Club Penguin Rewritten made a right decision by not adding mature servers.[5]
  7. Chat filter was extremely abysmal, you could get warned even if you did not say something inappropriate. Even the word "girls" was filtered regardless of context, presumably to prevent "sexist" behavior. Even worse, swear words and racial slurs were allowed in mature servers.
    • Recently, the admins censored a YouTuber's name from the servers as an obvious attempt at silencing criticism.[6]
  8. While the game had designers who make stuff for Club Penguin Online, sometimes there were stolen stuff from other servers.
    • For example, the Marvel items for Marvel Endgame Party were directly stolen from a different private server.[7]

Reception

The game later gained notoriety as a pedo ring due to the allegations surrounded by its owner and "mature" servers. Although allegations against Club Penguin Online have existed since 2018 (or dated back to Virtual Penguin days to an extent), they didn't gain much recognition until Joey Hues, a former staff member uploaded a series of videos exposing them in 2020. The controversy became widespread that it caught the attentions to many big YouTubers like Kavos and SomeOrdinaryGamers.

A petition by Joey Hues was created to shut down Club Penguin Online, in which (thankfully) caused Disney to take action against them. Disney also released a statement:

"Child safety is a top priority for the Walt Disney Company and we are appalled by the allegations of criminal activity and abhorrent behavior on this unauthorized website that is illegally using the Club Penguin brand and characters for its own purposes. [...] We continue to enforce our rights against this, and other, unauthorized uses of the Club Penguin game."

The shutdown of Club Penguin Online was seen as a victory to many people.

One reporter for BBC News, Joe Tidy has investigated the game for 3 weeks and has documented some nasty stuff.

Trivia

  • Club Penguin Online's predecessor was Virtual Penguin. which was opened on December 2014 and closed in 2017.
  • Jonas (he is actually against Riley), who was the head designer and owner of Club Penguin Online later created a private server called New Club Penguin.
  • Around 2018, Disney filed a complaint against Club Penguin Online due to the domain's name contained the trademark clubpenguin. Because of this, the domain had been changed to Club Penguin's abbreviated word (which, ironically, also means "child porn".)
    • Disney also filed a complaint against Club Penguin Rewritten for the same reason above in 2017, and then in 2022, The said game is closed and its website is handed over to the United Kingdom's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

References

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52677039
  2. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-05-18-disney-shuts-down-club-penguin-clones-after-kids-were-exposed-to-explicit-messages
  3. https://techraptor.net/gaming/news/club-penguin-fan-server-club-penguin-online-shut-down-by-disney

Videos

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