As a Gen Z-Kid, a large part of my childhood was spent online. This includes the endless amounts playing Wii Games and computer games, but also online games. While most of the games I played were just simple short minigames on sites like Spele.nl (for all my Dutch readers), I also emerged myself in multiplayer chatting games. It was games like Habbo hotel and NeoPets that taught me how to deal with money or helped me develop my language skills, all while playing in a fun and safe environment. As I grew older, I sadly had to witness how my favorite games from my childhood were slowly dying out. Even worse, some of them were even officially being discontinued.
The death of Club Penguin
One of the most famous cases of discontinued childhood games might be Club Penguin. A game full of minigames and ways to chat with friends while you play as a penguin, this game was put online on October 24 2005. With a relatively successful early run of nearly 12 years, it was announced that the game was canceled due to growing unpopularity and would be brought offline on March 29, 2017. The cancellation of Club Penguin created quite a stir on the internet at the time, for old lovers of the game were not ready to let go of their childhood friends and memories. Underneath the announcement of its cancellation, hundreds of players expressed their disappointment and heartbreak. Fortunately, the game did not leave its players feeling completely heartbroken, for there would be one last party for the last few months of its existence.
Transforming the old
Luckily, there are still some childhood games that we are still able to play. For example, the NeoPets website has recently undergone some construction and is preparing for a mobile version of the game. In addition, even a discontinued game like Club Penguin was shortly transferred to a mobile version as well. The game has also been recreated by fans and these versions still function today. While these versions might not have the same feel as the original, it is still an honorable homage to our beloved games. Even though fans put their heart into recreating these games, some companies might not. It is companies like these that often butcher the original and generally tend to focus a lot more on making profit. Take for example the previously mentioned Club Penguin. The game was bought by Disney in 2007, hoping to launch the game to a new level and improve its profit. This, however, was not how it turned out. While the early years of the Disney takeover created a growth in both users and profit, the game eventually began to dwindle in 2015 which led to its demise. As stated before, a mobile version of the game was released on March 19, 2017. However, data and collected items or memberships from the previous online version would not be transferred here, which was bad news for longtime fans. The mobile version was discontinued only a little less than two years later and put an end to Disney’s attempt to restore Club Penguin to its former glory.
The internet never dies… or does it?
Even though we are led to believe that the internet is an endless thing, some of its content might not be. Sure, dedicated users and fans might revamp or remake our beloved games, but a lot of original versions are lost in time. So take your time to cherish your beloved online games and remember: the internet might not always be forever.