Club Penguin turns 10!

The First Newspaper

The First Newspaper

10 years ago today, we launched Club Penguin to the world. Over the years I have had the amazing opportunity to work with hundreds of crazy talented people and the opportunity to watch a generation of kids become creative young adults. In the past 10 years, around 400 million children have created penguins, made friends and waddled around. I look forward to the next decade.

Mech Mice Animated Series and Toys

Lance Priebe with Mech Mice Prototype by PlaymateS Toys

Lance Priebe with Mech Mice Prototype by PlaymateS Toys

Today I am very excited to announce the Mech Mice Animated Series and Toys!

Nelvana Partners with Oktobor Animation on New ‘Mech Mice’ Series

CANNES, FRANCE -- Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana is teaming up with Oktobor Animation and Playmates Toys to develop and produce Mech Mice, an animated action-comedy for kids 6 to 11.

The CG series, about a ragtag team of heroic hi-tech mice ready to save the world, is anticipated to premiere in 2017. Mech Mice, created by Oktobor Animation’s Dan Wang and Chris Waters, is an original idea from Lance Priebe, creator of Disney’s Club Penguin and founder of digital gaming studio, Hyper Hippo. Priebe will oversee development of web and mobile games based on the series. Oktobor, Nelvana and Playmates Toys are partners in the production, with Playmates Toys also acting as the global master toy partner for the brand.

“We’re thrilled to announce this array of partnerships that benefits from Oktobor Animation’s world class capability, Playmates Toys’ strength and history of success and Lance Priebe’s industry-leading digital gaming expertise,” said Scott Dyer, President, Nelvana. “Kids will love the high stakes adventures, robust storytelling and hilariously funny characters found within the Mech Mice world.”

Mech Mice follows the adventures of the incorrigible young mouse, Scratch Whitepaw, and his teammates, a ragtag squad of heroic, mini, mech-powered mice, as they turn “awwww” into awesome. Their mission: to protect the weak and defend the mouse way of life. Whether it is facing down the galaxy of natural predators terrorizing mousedom or saving the world from the Dark Union’s evil army of cybernetically enhanced mutant bugs, these furry fighters always find a way to get the job done – usually by the skin of their tiny incisors. Whenever mice are in danger, wherever critters need help, they can count on Scratch Whitepaw and the Mech Mice.

“After two years, Lance Priebe finally figured out how to get mice to pilot their own miniaturized mechs. With their class leading expertise in anthropomorphized hero action, there is simply no one better to head up mech design and manufacturing than Playmates Toys,” said Chris Waters, EVP Business Development at Oktobor. “And parents will no doubt be thrilled that we have a global powerhouse like Nelvana on board to train and deploy these adorable, heroic mice into unsuspecting homes all over the world.”

“We are very excited to be working with such industry veterans as Nelvana and Oktobor Animation for this truly unique, one-of-a-kind property,” said Thomas Chan, CEO, Playmates Toys. “Mech Mice provides a number of unique opportunities to create a highly interactive line of toys that will allow kids to bring Mech Mice to life through their own creative high octane adventures.”

Ninjas and Penguins

The original penguin ninja from Penguin Chat 3

The original penguin ninja from Penguin Chat 3

I have always had a fascination with ninjas. As a kid I would spend endless hours doodling ninjas and reading my favourite comic GIJOE. Snake Eyes was my favourite.

The penguin ninja first appeared in Penguin Chat 3 early 2005. To unlock the ninja you would have to click the "n" in "penguin" to unlock the ninja. The secret penguin ninjas proved very popular.

The History of Club Penguin Ninjas

I had always planned to release ninjas before pets, pirates, and secret agents in Club Penguin. The original plan was to include the dojo in the Plaza, but the Pet Store and the Pizza Parlor were not ready, so the Dojo was hidden on the map with the iceberg. The mountain became the perfect home for the Dojo and later Card-jitsu. When Club Penguin launched on October 24th, 2005 the Dojo and all the clothing items were ready to be unlocked. (Including the sword) Then something happened.

The players wanted pets for their penguins!

The original Dojo was in the Plaza

The original Dojo was in the Plaza

THe original dojo was inspired by the Matrix

THe original dojo was inspired by the Matrix

I immediately stopped working on the ninjas and started working on Puffles. I did not realize at the time how popular the Puffles would become, and how many years until I returned to the ninjas. The new Plaza, Pet Shop, and Puffles launched March 2006.

The original concept animation for the penguin ninja in Club Penguin. The game was inspired by Monty Python's Fish Slap Dance 

The birth of Card-Jitsu!

For years I wanted to add a comedic paper, rock, scissors game to Club Penguin. The original game was going to appear on Rockhopper's ship as a pirate sword fighting game, inspired by the insult sword fighting of Monkey Island. We decided not to launch the this game.

In early 2008 the Club Penguin team was looking for a collectible card game. Disney introduced us to the design team at WizKids Games. I was inspired after our first meeting. I went home and decided to write the design document for Card-Jitsu. I wanted something more than a collectible card game. I wanted a card game that worked with the digital world. Card-Jitsu was born. Card-Jitsu was launched November 17th, 2008 and quickly became the most popular game on Club Penguin with millions of daily players.

Penguin Ninja Demo

Below is the original penguin ninja from Penguin Chat 3. Waddle around, enjoy!

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

As a game designer, I really appreciate the game of Golf. I am fascinated by the balance of strategy, skill and luck. The course design itself tells a story and increases in difficulty for the player. The challenging holes are followed by a simple hole, building off what the player has experienced.