Zooming in on ClubPenguin

Grownup Michael Agger's experience as a penguin was quite different from the impressions left by Emily's "focus group" of 11-year-olds (he might've been a little more ingenuous than they – see previous post). Michael, an associate editor at Slate.com, spent enough time in ClubPenguin to observe various behavioral patterns, to understand how the safety features work, and to go a little flippy on the iceberg that penguin urban legend says might tip if enough penguins stand on one side of it.

As for behaviors, he notes: "Club Penguin may be heavily monitored, but, similar to school, messing with the authority figures is part of the fun…. Club Penguin regulars seem to enjoy their outlaw status, posting videos on YouTube of how they got the boot. Better yet are the tribute videos to banned penguins. This one uses the Puffy Combs ode to Biggie Smalls, 'I'll Be Missing You,' as a soundtrack."

Counter to Emily's observation, he suggests "it's slightly hypocritical to tell them to turn off the computer and go play kick the can. Looking around my workplace, I see a lot of adults spending their entire day flirting/working/planning on instant messaging. Welcome to the club, kids."

Here, too, is the Washington Post on Disney's acquisition of ClubPenguin.


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