A long time ago in a land far, far away in the year of 1998, two collage buddies notoriously known as Adam and Donna set out to create a world of wonderment, intrigue, magic and excitement. Unknown to them, that this world would one day become one of the most talked about worlds. Gracing television channels, newspapers and magazines worldwide, the amazing and intriguing world of Neopets now boasts multitudes of games, an awe-inspiring gaming world and an overwhelming interactive experience as you, the player, evolve your game play and grow alongside your pet as a person and friend. Welcome to the wonderful world of Neopets.
Project Neopets began as a small game created on a whim by Adam and Donna while they were in their college years. While Donna focused on the artwork and ideas, responsibility for programming and site work fell upon Adam’s more than capable shoulders. The concept was simple. Post the Tamagotchi era when virtual pets were on the rampage, Neopets provided an avenue for people who could not afford the luxury of having a real pet, own one on the Internet. The person would create his/her pet from a selection of many species, and then would be charged with feeding it, playing with it to keep it happy, and building homes to house their pets. To fund these activities, a person required a currency system, called neopoints. Neopoints could be earned by playing games, gambling via the lottery and emulations of card games, and by opening a shop and selling items, which were obtained by either buying them or randomly finding them around the site.
In its first year alone, Neopets began drawing in thousands of people worldwide. Hardly focusing on advertising itself into culture through more direct means, the game was rapidly infiltrating mainstream society through word of mouth and recommendations by other players. The world had never seen such a thing. An easily accessible gaming experience which incorporated the best aspects of game classics, the interaction, the novelty, the many possible paths and specializations a person could choose and the never-ending challenge with no clear finish line was a clear indication of Neopets’ growing success.
Incredibly, all this was free. Neopets was supported via a system of integrated advertisements, now more commonly referred to as product placement. Running by the slogan ‘We’ll always be free!’ Neopets has kept true to its word, and has continued in its endeavor to provide each new player with the best possible experience that can be gained from such a game.
While it was not the original intention, Neopets, apart from being a totally engrossing past time, has significant education value. Like other facets of real life, this game is riddled with puzzles of logic which tests the player’s problem solving skills, is infiltrated with scammers which provides all players with a quick how-not-to-get-scammed-101 lesson, and has provided avenues of gaming experiences, which quickly teaches the player that gambling never prospers. In addition, its own system of stock market exists for those wanting to learn how the trade works, while its option of having shops quickly teaches every user valuable and all-too-important commerce skills. With its currency system, everyone is able to learn the valuable economic concepts of opportunity costs, and learn to budget carefully. Neopets undoubtedly has a clear socio-economic value through playing the game (such as spending responsibly and learning how to trade with people). Neopets easily aides the player in learning how supply and demand workds. Clearly, Neopets is a work of genius and if its past growths are anything to go by, we can surely expect even better things to come.