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A Club Penguin resurgence has been sparked during lockdown

Since lockdown began, people across the globe have flocked to Club Penguin in hoards, using the virtually unchanged Disney chat game to socialise in the age of self-isolation.

With everyone bored at home right now, it makes sense that we’d be striving to find new ways of keeping ourselves busy and entertained. Many have streamed an entire year’s worth of films and TV series in a single month. Some have taken up a range of new hobbies such as baking. But, most significantly, quite a few of us have turned to gaming, downloading every Sims expansion pack ever or getting sucked into the Animal Crossing: New Horizons hype.

Slightly less predictable however, has been the overwhelming resurgence of Club Penguin, a Disney chat game that pretty much fell off the face of the earth once 00s kids had grown up. Hugely popular long before the likes of TikTok and Instagram, Club Penguin has seen its user numbers soar during the last few weeks, so much so in fact that at one point last week, its servers were completely overloaded.

Originally launched in 2005, Club Penguin allowed users to chat, play mini-games, dress up their avatars, and decorate their igloos. However, much of the experience was limited by monitored chats and features blocked behind a paywall, inaccessible without a paid membership.

Now completely free for players both old and new, it makes sense that the game would be making such a dramatic comeback, particularly when you take into account that the majority of its current users are actually students.

Alongside those of us just craving a little nostalgia, from group therapy sessions to proms and graduations taking place within the virtual icy tundra, Club Penguin has quickly become the new way for young people missing their friends to stay connected and over 6,000 people have now registered.

‘People are looking for friendship and at least someone to talk to in these uncertain times of the outbreak,’ says co-founder, Lance Priebe. ‘They’re using the platform to make up for the lack of real-life social interaction with online friendships, communities, and inner circles. It’s a safe space for anyone that might be feeling lonely and something that reminds us of the past, of a much more peaceful time.’

And he’s right. Amidst all the chaos, many are simply in search of innocent, childish fun to distract themselves and Club Penguin is providing that.

What’s more, where the original game would ban users for inappropriate language, the introduction of new, mature servers has brought about an influx of older audiences (primarily those of us still bitter from getting our accounts removed when we were younger for using words we didn’t even understand).

Now, anyone can say anything, and some are even taking this as an opportunity to date. ‘I’d completely forgotten about it,’ tweeted one user. ‘Now I can digitally hangout with people I’m interested in. Games like these let us imitate IRL dates, as we are currently unable to, and it’s great because there are no rules like before.’

It’s certainly a pretty bizarre transition from the Club Penguin I once knew and loved, but I can safely say it’s just as fun (if not more considering that I don’t have to beg my mum for permission to use it these days). So, and I never thought I’d be saying this, if you want something to do this Friday night and find yourself longing for nightclubs and bars, head over to their website for the next best thing. Oh, and make sure you don’t forget your propeller hat.