Waddling Down Memory Lane: Earth Day/April 2012

Club Penguin was well known for their parties and events. Each month a new party would appear on the island, adding many new things to do and items to obtain. Some parties expanded the focus from the main island to add extra rooms, features, or mini-games. It kept players coming back, and added a sense of mystery because what would happen next was unpredictable. Yet, players knew that whatever it would be, it would be a good time.

Parties were one of the best things about Club Penguin. The quality never seemed to diminish... up until 2012. (Before you storm away, hear me out!) 

2012 had some of the greatest Club Penguin parties of all time, some of which deserve their own "Waddling Down Memory Lane" article. That same year also had some of the worst parties, some in a long series of returning parties, and some even eventually resulting in their demise due to fan criticism. Here's a little background to catch you up to speed:

Club Penguin in 2012 was just starting their decline. Their heyday has been over for a while at this point, but they were producing content consistently and satisfying the community for a bit. However, the community had grown bored of the same parties they've had since 2009 with little variation in the monthly parties. Behind the scenes, Club Penguin was in the middle of planning a mobile application based around the web experience. They were also hard at work on creating brand new parties for the web game, bigger than ever too. (2012 was the first time since 2009 they brought in brand new parties almost every other month.) If that wasn't enough, Club Penguin was about to do a total redesign of their island. So, basically, they were swamped with work by the truckload. That's all not even mentioning the upcoming Card-Jitsu Snow that was beginning development at this time, one of the most in-depth and technically challenging minigames Club Penguin has ever developed.

As a result of their busy schedule, some parties and features had to be shafted. New minigames were never created (many of which were part of the Beta Team project in 2011), ideas were scrapped, parties that were supposed to return either got replaced entirely or were downgraded because the team did not have any time to make room for decorations. The parties, or events, that were most impacted by this change were the Earth Day event and April Fools Day party of 2012.

Now that you are familiar with the background of these events and Club Penguin's hectic schedule around 2012-2013, let's talk about the parties in particular. April was the month that got particularly got the short end of the stick in 2012. May was the month of the Medieval Party, a party so huge that it contained new items, a compelling story, and even a party-exclusive minigame. But in order to have time making May's party, both of April's events had to be limited in their designs.

Presenting, my first in a long-running series of Club Penguin retrospectives- let's talk Earth Day parties, and why it ended in April of 2012. 

Earth Day 2010 Mine Shack
The Earth Day event was a yearly event from 2010 to 2012, when it was replaced by Operation: Hot Sauce in 2013, and then by the Puffle Parties starting in 2014. The first Earth Day event introduced the Recycling Plant and the Mine Shack's garden (both removed and replaced by the University in 2013), a scavenger hunt where you collect trash around the island to recycle, and there were 2 free items, a Recycle pin and a Straw Gardening Hat. The purpose of the party was to promote taking care of the environment and the importance of recycling. Although not as popular as the Earth Day 2011, I would consider this party to be one of the most impactful to Club Penguin for the addition of the Recycling Plant.

Earth Day 2011 Forest
Earth Day 2011 shifted focus from recycling to promote the well-being of endangered species and protecting the wildlife. Each room in this party focused on a different habitat for animals to live in. A African-desert like area at the Dock where African Painted Dogs can play, and a snowy tundra mountainous region for the Snow Leopards. Both of these animals were spotlighted by Club Penguin as endangered and had costumes made for both animals. Every time a member bought a costume of a Painted Dog or a Snow Leopard, Club Penguin would donate money to charity to conserve their habitats in an attempt to save them from extinction. In addition, Rockhopper visited the island with his Migrator, the Easter Egg Hunt of that year was happening at the same time, and there was one 3 total free items for all players, not including Rockhopper's background or animal costumes for members. This event is the most loved among fans out of all the Earth Day events.

Club Penguin Earth Day 2011 Promotional Video

Earth Day 2012 added the lion and the rockhopper penguin to the list of spotlighted species Club Penguin is trying to protect. This event was to celebrate the donations Club Penguin had made with the money from Coins for Change 2011. The money earned from memberships during the month of April were donated to protecting the wildlife. Protecting the environment and donating to charity is one thing I've always admired about Club Penguin, whether it's with Earth Day or Coins for Change.
Yet, this party was also the weakest in terms of... everything else.

Earth Day 2012 Snow Forts (The only decorated room!)
Earth Day 2012 was scaled down from 5 decorated rooms in 2011 to just 1 (not counting the Town and Plaza, which just consist of a gate to the Snow Forts). Although the event had the least amount of decorated rooms of any Earth Day event, it is a full week, as compared to only 5 days in 2010 and 6 days in 2011. As the hub of the Earth Day event, the Snow Forts was cramped. There was little room to roleplay on a four or five bar server. Every penguin was confined to the Snow Forts if they wanted to enjoy the Earth Day event.

Earth Day 2012 Town?
The party had no scavenger hunt alongside it, one free item to all players, and the only mascot visiting was Aunt Arctic, which had already recently visited four months prior during the Holiday Party and would visit again two months after during the Marvel Super Hero Takeover. This is also around the time mascots visits no longer were a rare occurrence on Club Penguin.

Earth Day 2012 Plaza?
Many players didn't like this party because it was cramped, it was lazy, and it got boring having little variation in the scenery. Keep in mind, up until 2012, all parties were massive, island wide events, consisting of multiple features and things to do. This was our very first taste of what Club Penguin would be like in the years to come, specifically in 2015 onwards with newer 1-3 room parties like the Descendants Party. The designs of the Plaza and Town during the party were also very inspired, especially comparing it to pre-2009 Club Penguin parties.

But Earth Day 2012 is low on my least favorite parties list for one reason: unlike the newer bad parties, Club Penguin responded to Earth Day's criticism and gave the fans what they wanted. The Club Penguin team were aware it was lacking and so they showed the fans what they were working on next so we were satisfied. The party after Earth Day 2012 was the Medieval Party, and all the flaws of the Earth Day event were forgiven, because the extra time spent on that paid off to create a spectacular Medieval Party.

That is something that I didn't see in modern Club Penguin and still don't see in Club Penguin Island. I like how Club Penguin handled the fan complaints constructively and focused their time and energy on satisfying their community with the Medieval Party and Marvel Super Hero Takeover. Of course 2012 still had some rough patches afterwards, but it was proof Club Penguin was listening to what their fans want. Nowadays, Megg and the Club Penguin Island team seem content to just do their own business and ignore the fan criticism, even so far as to remove the ability to comment on the Club Penguin YouTube channel. But that may change someday, we can only hope.

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