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5 Things Club Penguin Armies Taught Me

NORTHERN LIGHTS, UKAHALA: Commander Prior Bumble reflects on five things CPA has taught him–for better or for worse.

There’s no doubt that Cub Penguin Armies was a larger and more transformative part of my life than I ever could have imagined. Below, in no particular order, are the top five profound lessons I learned through this experience.

  • 1. Tribalism will form anywhere people gather
The Christian Mandate to Subvert Tribalism | Christianity Today

I’ve spoken academically to fellow leaders in this community about man’s underlying nature that Club Penguin Armies demonstrates. Tribalism, groups bonding and adopting “us versus them” mentalities, happens wherever people gather. This experiment of mostly adolescents turning a bright and colorful Disney game into a warzone proves it. Currently, I’m authoring a nonfiction book about CPA and the history of armies*, and the key pillar of the thesis is that Club Penguin was never intended for armies. In fact, my writing on it is not about a game at all–it’s about a community that hijacked the game to carry out their own tribalistic goals. Our community is Lord of the Flies made digital. And it’s nasty. It’s meaner than it needs to be. When I created Club Penguin Warfare in January 2020, one of my main slogans was, “Armies don’t need to be this way.” We don’t need to take our pathological dualism as far as doxxing, unimaginably offensive language, open letters, and vilification. But we do. Because tribalism happens anywhere people gather.

*This book will be in hardcover on Amazon and it will be gifted to the community.

  • 2. Love doesn’t always work.

Some darkness is too deep. Some cancers are too embedded.

Before engaging in this community, I truly believed that if you loved others, they wouldn’t betray you. They will. I truly believed that if you don’t dox someone, they won’t dox you. They will. I truly believed if you treated someone with tenderness, they would treat you the same. They won’t. I truly believed loving heals all. It doesn’t.

Do it anyway.

  • 3. I Chose the Right Patron Saint.
Prior’s statue of St. Peter on his desk. You can see WWI and Civil War soldiers in the background.

I’m a Roman Catholic (most days…). On Confirmation, young faithful choose a saint as their patron, usually of their own gender, and usually a saint they feel a likeness to, because the Bishop will address you by the name of your patron. I chose St. Peter. Back then, I’d deliberated between St. John and St. Peter. John’s gospel is by far the most loving; the most humanistic. I do have a side deeply akin to those characteristics.

Peter, on the other hand, is full of love, too. But darker. He’s a natural leader that founded the largest army–I mean, church–in the world, but his famous temper saw his sword drawn in Gethsemane and lobbed off the ear of a Roman guard. He walks on water, but slips into its waves when fear overtakes him. Dripping wet, he still climbs back into the boat. And he, like me, couldn’t bear to look when his best friend died.

Y’all caught me. My temper is legendary. My darkness, too, maybe. But so is my love. Peter was the right choice.

  • 4. Refusing to Kneel Won’t Make You Popular–Choose

It’s one or the other. I guess my choice is obvious.

  • 5. How to Be a Good Man When You’re Trying to be a Great One

It’s not the same.

RFCP taught me how to be a good man.

I still desire to be a great one. But it’s hard to pursue your dreams, ones that require aggression and swung punches, when you also want to father a family to protect, provide for, and nurture.

You don’t need to be a good man to be a good leader. I know there are some readers out there who think I’m an absolute son of a bitch but who’ll concede I’m a good leader.

Still, RFCP, by loving them, caring for them, and being their patriarch, taught me how to be a good man. How to be a man, period. We’ll see if I’m ever remembered as a great one.

What has CPA taught you? What do you think of Prior Bumble’s top five? Let us know in the comments.

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