I know, that is a very bold statement to make like that. Wasn’t Neopets that web-thing that was popular with kids about ten or fifteen years ago? Only little kids just barely out of kindergarten have time for feeding their clip-art Tamagotchis. Well, I just recently got back into Neopets and I thought I would share my ideas.
My first Neopets account was, I can barely remember, but I think it was around 2002. It was a magical time for me personally, I was just getting introduced to this thing called the Internet, and I was just learning about video games.
I remember playing online games before, crappy little flash games and such, but nothing like this. Now, when you did well in a game, you got rewarded! Going online and playing whatever at Bonus.com (God, this is all about the 00’s nostalgia, isn’t it?) seemed so pointless now. I could be earning POINTS for doing well at games! POINTS! Is there any higher purpose?
And that wasn’t all! Neopets was goddamn revolutionary with what it could do with a simple website.
One of the their biggest claim to fame was the idea of “plots” that happened around the site. Essentially, there would be a bad thing happening around Neopia, like Dr. Sloth invading. As you read what is happening, sometimes you found a small link embedded inside a seemingly innocuous image.
Other times you had to open the damn source code for the page, look at the code, and find the link in some comments. Then you put the link through a cipher, that was discovered on another page if you got there at the right time with three odd items in your inventory.
It was seriously amazing, and for a KID’S game, rather complex.
If you want to take a quick peek, check out the Altador plot solution page at http://thedailyneopets.com/altador-plot/index/. And remember, this puzzle was made in 2006, almost 12 and half years ago!
But, even with all these fancy flash games and complicated puzzles, there was one singular thing that drew us all in. One thing that held everything together. It motivated people, drove them to create, imagine and work. Countless millions of hours were spent on that one task: making Neopoints.
The main beauty of Neopets wasn’t just that you could earn some sort of currency, many other sites had that at the time. The main draw of Neopets was the sheer number of ways you could make points, but most importantly, spend points.
You want to play games until your eyes bleed and your fingers are numb? Go ahead, and make a surprising amount of money. Heck, if you are super amazing good, you can earn a lot of Neopoints purely for being the best! And you can win trophies, the only thing better than points!
Or, you could do the buy-low, sell-high gimmick. Go to the site-run shops and quickly buy up incredibly rare and expensive items to flog on your personal store. You could play the stock market, or play in any of the numerous games of luck and chance. Take on the Battledome for fame, glory and sweet loot. Design a wicked theme for your pet, store or your own profile and make it big with one of the site-run contests.. Write for the Neopets editorial. Or go full Pokemon and try to get all the secret avatars you can find.
Money, however, is only good if you can spend it. Sure, you may have a trillion Neopoints, and that may be your goal. You may even have the MOST Neopoints. But, all of them are worth nothing if you can’t buy anything with them. And here, my friend, is were the real magic lies.
There may be a hundred ways of earning Neopoints, but there are well over a thousand different ways of spending them. And, if you plan on getting “serious” with any of these, you will be spending a loooooot of Neopoints.
First, you could become the world’s greatest Battledome battler. But, to train your pet up to the highest level will cost, according to a training calculator, a whopping 304,611,800 NP over 5 years of constant training. Of course, there are ways to speed up that process, with a variety of potions, quests and random events.
But, in the end, you will spend a lot of money on simply training your pet. Kitting them out will set you back a couple million per item, and you may need around 12 or so to adapt to the metagame. So, let’s say a top-tier Battledome Neopet will cost around 500 million to a billion Neopoints, plus 5 years of training.
You could collect items. The types of different items are virtually limitless. You could be boring and collect stamps, the most expensive of which go for 30 million points. You could aim to read every single book to a Neopet, 2,677 in all with the most expensive going for five million.
You could feed a Neopet all 1,354 “gourmet” foods, with the most expensive being 6 million points. You could dress your pet up with the most expensive of clothing, which is just too goddamn innumerable to even list. You can even collect some other random item, like all the “slime” items or items relating to a specific character.
Or, you can just use it as a platform to hang out with your friends. Maybe play a few games, maybe not. Unlike other games, there is no way to “lose” Neopets, outside of getting banned. You can be great at Neopets, but you can’t be terrible, which is a fairly exciting premise.
However, and I regret to inform you I may have lied in the title of this article, because there are a few things Neopets could improve.
One of which is the general attitude of the site. There have been, in the past, a lot of darker themes on the site in general. Pets, at least in the stories, could die. There were references to some types of pets eating others. Now, everything seems so toothless and baby-proofed.
This extends into the pet care itself. As it stands, there is virtually no benefit at all to feeding your pets regularly. I have not fed any pet, aside from my main Battledomer, in over 6 years on my main account and literally never on my old account. I think there is some sort of illness your pets can get, but it is hardly impactful.
And finally, there needs to be more plots. The last one was what, three years ago? Personally, I would enjoy a major plot, which would take about 8 months to finish, every year. This shakes up the lore enough that the world feels alive, and it allows the Neopets team to really stretch their creative muscles.
Also, the Battledome needs a bit of a shakeup. I do enjoy the prediction style gameplay that reminds me of Pokemon (I could seriously write a whole article about the interesting design choices), but I sometimes feel it is a bit shallow. Of course I don’t mean turn it into a third person shooter, but just change some of how the battles are handled. They did it once, and the original Battledome was just garbage, and they can do it again.
But, despite these flaws, I do feel that Neopets is literally one of the best free games you could ever play. It has the depth of a goddamn ocean, while providing something for everyone. Whether you want to spend hours upon hours a day, or just a few minutes every once in a while. Whether you want to completely devote yourself into one aspect, or sample a little bit of everything.