In May 2016 a player who goes by supermanover00 decided to speedrun the children’s online browser game Club Penguin by seeing how fast they could complete all 11 missions in the game, which they did at 45:43. Club Penguin is no more, but nearly three years later, supermanover00 has returned and beat their previous record inside a fan recreation of the original game called Club Penguin Rewritten.
On Monday, supermanover00 took first place in the same category in Club Penguin Rewritten with a time of 22:14, 19 seconds better than the runner-up. It was the runner’s first successful stab at this category since Club Penguin ended on 29 March 2017, and they beat the seven other people who have been running it over the years.
It’s unusual that people are even still playing this long-dead game, let alone speedrunning it. Many players who grew up playing Club Penguin, which Disney released in 2005, remain fond of it. Long before Fortnite or even Nintendo’s Miiverse, Club Penguin offered a social space that was part AIM, part MMO. “It’s a magical experience and a lot of people remember those times as the best times of their childhoods as it truly has a special place during those times,” the chief admin of Rewritten, who in the community goes only by Stu, told Kotaku in an email. Speedrunning the game is one of the ways the game’s fans have found to keep that magic alive, even though the original is no more.
The All Missions speedrun supermanover00 pioneered consists of completing each of the game’s 11 Penguin Secret Agency (P.S.A.) missions in order. These missions basically play out like a traditional adventure game with players clicking on different stuff on the screen to have conversations with characters, discover clues, and solve puzzles. They can be quite involved, with the last mission including over 70 individual steps.
Unlike a lot of other games, there aren’t any glitches or tricks to exploit. For the most part, speedrunning Club Penguin is simply a matter of clicking through the entire adventure in the most efficient way possible. There’s also a fair bit of luck involved because some of the adventure’s randomised sections, like a series of tunnels in mission eight, are quicker to guess through than solve by finding the corresponding clues.
Supermanover00 told Kotaku in an email that their latest record wasn’t a result of grinding but just the natural evolution of someone who loves the game returning to it every so often and retracing well worn paths. “All games are good speedrun games in their own way, some just take more time to optimise,” they said. “I don’t care how many other players there are that do it. It’s just fun.”