I Promposed to My Girlfriend Through Club Penguin and It Was Surprisingly More Difficult Then You’d Think To Pull Off


I was never a Club Penguin kid growing up. Paid membership for a site full of strangers you could freely contact was a double nightmare for my parents. Puffles, Aunt Arctic, “iggies” - this lingo existed outside of my consciousness and was replaced by the petpets, Doctor Sloth, and Neohomes of Neopets fame.


Until now, in 2019 - a more unlikely time to be discovering a child’s MMO from the mid-2000s. 


Now, you know as well as I that Club Penguin had a very public shutdown in 2017. A virtual online funeral occured, with thousands of millennials congregating on the overburdened server to say their final goodbyes. And yet, from the ashes, life stirred.



Meet Club Penguin Online, a complete reupload of the game as it appeared in 2017, right before the shutdown. Same content, same characters, same copious amounts of dubious sexual roleplay and swearing. The kicker? This time, everything on the site is free, even items previously behind a paywall. Since the site can only exist legally as an educational instance, a form of fair use where something copyrighted can be replicated within teaching settings (which, personally, is why I play it in my classes, to keep it legal), it cannot ask for payment. Big news for college students like us who can’t afford to keep shoveling money at talking penguins.


I came into Club Penguin because of my girlfriend, who spent their study breaks on a vicious shakedown of every game Club Penguin had to offer (seriously, their approach to Cart Surfer? Brutal). It didn’t take long for me to get hooked - coins are relatively easy to earn, and the appeal of dressing up my penguin in whatever dyke disaster of a manner I saw fit was intoxicating. 



Plus, with me and my girlfriend joining forces, we could pull all sorts of good-hearted nonsense, like staging elaborate dates in the pizza parlor or spamming “trans rights” in our textboxes while we marched around the town square. We even met a few queer internet friends this way, with discords and emails quickly exchanged in order to stay in contact (more on that in a future article).


In the background of this, our Geneseo Pride Alliance was ready to hold their annual Second Chance Prom, an event where LGBTQ+ college students get a “second chance” at prom by being able to dress however and dance with whoever they want. I figured - why not go the extra mile and prompose to my girlfriend? And why not do it on Club Penguin?


A secret group chat of my close friends was made.



The plan was as follows: I would decorate my igloo (the “home” that the game gives your penguin) to look like a prom catering hall, and at a designated time, my friends would gather inside with their own penguin avatars. I would lure my girlfriend into the igloo under false pretenses (“ooh, look at the secret catalogue item I just unlocked, so chic”) and prompose to them in game. Simple, right?


I mean, yeah, on the surface. Problem one - Club Penguin changes the types of items you can buy once per month, and what with my account being a month old, the types of decorations I could buy were limited to kitchen cabinets, bar stools, and a shit ton of pumpkins - none of which particularly screamed “prom.”



Luckily enough, though, the catalogue decided to run a quick re-run of some circus-themed items, among which was a balloon-bouquet and a popcorn cart. I nearly missed the cutoff for when these items were available, giving me a small heart attack when I began to consider how many games of Cart Surfer I’d have to play to afford even half of what I needed. This problem was solved when the site glitched out and decided to give me x10 the amount of coins I was supposed to earn for every game of Puffle Roundup I played - thank you, Club Penguin Jesus (praise and raw fish be unto him). With my newfound cash in hand, I leaned heavily on these circus items in my design, eventually coming to something that looked like this:



I’d like to say that was the harder part, coming from someone who to this day cannot interior design to save her life, in real life or otherwise (deepest apologies to all of the Sims that had to live in my handiwork). But the real difficulty was figuring out a time that would knowingly work for my friends and unknowingly work for my girlfriend, which, spoiler alert, I severely miscalculated. Trying to inquire as to when my girlfriend would return from their meeting which dragged on forever while not seemingly desperate enough to give anything away while also ensuring my friends that I had some idea of when they would be leaving the meeting as well as reminding them each to move their penguin every ten minutes before the server auto-disconnected them was stressful, to say the least.


But the payout was worth it. The minute my girlfriend stepped into the house, I resisted the very strong urge to scream “CHECK MY IGLOO CHECK MY IGLOO CHECK MY IGLOO” and instead, very suavely suggested that we take a little decompression break and play Club Penguin together, “oh-while-you’re-at-it-check-out-how-i-arranged-my-igloo!” My friends were informed of the development via group chat, and all sat in wait.



(This was taken after an extensive time begging them to please, please move their penguin from out behind the face-in-hole, which they were very unwilling to do).



The octopus-covered-puffle-covering-me look didn’t exactly make these screenshots pop, but it’s the thought that counts!


And in case you’re wondering, we totally killed it at prom, too.