Disney’s Club Penguin is a virtual world made up of cartoon penguins (avatars); a multiplayer role-playing game with a wide range of activities—and on a very large scale of playing. It is a game designed for ages six to fourteen years old, and with “safety” being the major focus—including “safe chat”: users select comments from a menu, which filters and prevents swearing, by using moderators who patrol the game.
Profits from the game are primarily raised through paid memberships which allow the players to access a wide range of features: the ability to purchase “virtual” clothing, furniture, and pets called "puffles".
For the sake of validity, I have interviewed my nine-year-old grandson, an active member and knowledgeable game player, and present him here in his own words.
HRC: How long have you been a member of Club Penguin?
Elijah: Two years.
HRC: What is Club Penguin?
Elijah: It is an island. You live there. You buy an igloo from a catalog, or buy other places, if you want. You can buy as many places as you want to live in. You buy with coins you earn.
You can also buy from a gift shop. You can buy furniture, clothes, or a pet, like puffles. You can bathe the puffles, or walk them, or comb them, and play with them.
HRC: How do you earn coins?
Elijah: By working or playing games.
HRC: What kind of jobs do you do?
Elijah: We work as Tour Guides or EPF (Elite Penguin Force) Agents that go on different missions, such as guiding new penguins.
HRC: What other things do you do on Club Penguin?”
Elijah: We send mail to other penguins, and send Friend Requests, too. We also play Card-Jitsu. It’s like martial arts but with cards.
HRC: What’s it like when you play in Club Penguin?
Elijah: When I play Club Penguin, it makes me feel like I’m really there. It’s fun!
HRC: I heard that Club Penguin came to the rescue when the tsunami disaster happened in Japan. How did your club help?
Elijah: We donated our coins and they turned them into real money to help.
COINS FOR CHANGE
Every year during “Coins For Change” the Club Penguin kids donate billions of virtual coins to help change the world. And though the virtual coins won't buy them anything in the real world, their donations come at a real cost to the kids virtual world adventures with their penguin avatars. It is backed up by the genuine green stuff by means of the New Horizon Foundation, a charitable organization begun by the founders of Club Penguin.
We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)