Most people remember Pokemon and Digimon but forget about the virtual creatures known as Neopets. The game was created in 1999 and was one of the first online games on the Internet. Today, the game is still active and completely free (unless you want to pay). Players can enjoy free games, including action-packed platformers, puzzles, and luck & chance. Gamers can also buy items in shops with their neopoints, partake in auctions, chat with other players, fight in the Battledome and much, much more. They can explore various lands with different themes, including pirates, prehistoric times, and a fantasy world filled with faeries.
What have we all forgotten about Neopets since it faded from our collective conscious? Remember when Bruce Forsyth was a Neopet? The numerous paintbrushes that could change your pet from a fairy to a baby? When the site was bought for over $160 million? The horror of “getting iced”? We’ll remind you of all that and more in 15 Things You Forgot About Neopets.
15. It Was Founded by Adam and Donna Powell
Neopets was founded by two British college students, Adam and Donna Powell (formerly Donna Williams). Adam Powell came up with the idea while he was at the University of Nottingham in 1997 and brought in Donna Williams to help him. They worked on the site and launched in 1999, with Adam working on programming and Donna on web design, creative development, and marketing.
The various asparagus-related items around the site are a nod to the fact that Adam enjoys the vegetable. Donna did the artwork on the site, helped work on the plots for the various stories in the games, and also worked as the head of the Neopets Magazine and its editorial section. The two got married in September of 2008 after knowing each other for 12 years. They eventually sold Neopets to Viacom but continued to work there for several years afterward.
The two of them founded Meteor games in 2007, which the company announced was a “cross the appeal of social networks, web-based casual games and traditional massively multiplayer online games.” This included a Neopets related game, Neopets: Treasure Keepers.
14. Bruce Forsyth Was A Neopet
The various types of Neopets have changed appearances over the years. Some only had slight changes, such as the wolf Lupe and the bat Korbat. But the Bruce Neopet went through a major change. Originally, the creators used an actual image of Bruce Forsyth, an English television presenter and entertainer, as their Neopet “Bruce.” Because of copyright issues after the site became mainstream, the founders changed Bruce to a cartoony image of a man. He later evolved into a the penguin with a bowtie.
Another Neopet who went through major changes was Kau. Originally called Macy Gray, this Neopet was a black woman with an afro surrounded by music notes and holding what appears to be a gun with an antennae. Her name change to Kau led to a new look as well, a blue cow. Kyrii used to be Fuzio, a fuzzball with red shoes, before becoming the weasel-like Neopet he is today.
You can see the evolution of all the Neopets tracked on the site.
13. So Many Different Paint Brushes… That Can Get Stolen
There are numerous paint brushes you can buy or find around Neopia to give your Neopet a new look. There are your basic colors, including red, yellow, blue, green, and purple. Then there are the dozens of themed brushes: Disco Fever (so your Neopets can feel the groove of the mid-1970s and the early 1980s), Scritchy Sketchy (so they can look like living sketches), Zombie (so they can look like they just dug their way our of their own grave), and Biscuit (so they look good enough to eat!). Their Petpets can also get a paint job with the proper brush.
One of the horror stories people share about Neopets involves getting their paint brush stolen by a Pant Devil. This creature enjoys stealing players items, which are only safe in their shop, safety deposit box, or when they’re put up for auction. Apparently, it especially likes items with an estimated value of at least one million neopoints or items with a combined estimated value of five million or more. Examples include 9 Baby Paint Brushes, Tiki Armour, and the Air Faerie Crown.
12. Your Neopets Can Have Pets, Who Can Have Pets
Besides having a Neopet to take care of, you could give your Neopet a pet as well. These are called Petpets, and they can be assigned and taken care of by each of your Neopets. They can’t speak, with a few exceptions, such as the Desert and Robot Petpets, who know a few phrases. Just like Neopets, they can be painted by brushes to change their appearance. They’re also referenced in various games on the website, including Crisis Courier and Warf Rescue Team. It’s theorized that many Petpet species come from Petaria, but some, like Baby Blu, look similar to Neopets. This suggests they evolved in similar environments as the Neopets who care for them.
A Petpet Protection League was an organization created to promote the longtime care of Petpets. The League awards Neopoints to a particular color and species of Petpet each week. You get more rewards the longer you’ve had the Petpet, encouraging you to not abandon it. There are a lot of benefits to owning a Petpet, including being able to participate in the Petpet Battledome – meaning not only can you force your virtual Neopet to fight, but also your virtual Petpet! We’ve learned a lot from Ash Ketchum.
11. They Had Some Really Good Digital Comics
The Neopian Times, “Neopia’s fill-in-the-blank news source,” is Neopet’s very own newspaper. It has various sections, including articles written by users, an editorial section, short stories, series, and, arguably best of all, comics. These comic books take place in the world of Neopets and the events in those comics can drift over into events on the website and new games to play. Players of the game were able to partake in some of the plots by doing puzzles on the site.
One of the best may be “The Lost Desert Plot,” which is reminiscent of Aladdin if Jafar turned out to be a fairly decent guy who fell in love. The story is about Prince Jazan trying to force Princess Amira into marriage. Then there is “The Faerie’s Ruin,” in which the faeries were turned to stone. Several leaders went to Faerieland in order to help, including King Jazan from the “Lost Desert Plot.” These stories are still available on the site to be enjoyed.
10. Great Games (And Reskinned Classics Too)
There are tons of games you can play for free on Neopets. Players can explore various categories of games, from action to card games to puzzles to strategy games. All of these related to Neopets in some way, whether it’s finding Petpets or playing an adventure as a Neopet. Some of the best games star “Hannah the Brave”, an adventurer who explores icy caverns in both “Hannah and the Pirate Caves” and “Hannah and the Ice Caves.” Even better, by playing these games you can send in your score to get Neopoints– though you can only send your score in three times a day per game.
Neopets also reskinned several classic games with their own Neopian touch. They have Snake in the form of Meerca Chase, solitaire in the form of Sakhmet Solitaire, and Bubble Shooter in the form of Faerie Bubbles. These games, as well as the more original ones, can range from easy Neopoints to challenging missions. Do well enough and you may just get a trophy tailored to that game and a place on the high score board.
9. You Can Pay For A Premium Plan
While you can play Neopets for free, you have a few options to pay for it. If you become a Neopets Premium member you can get a variety of benefits. It takes a monthly or yearly subscription fee; the fee is $7.95 per month, which works out to $95.40 for twelve months. With the Premium account, you get no advertisements, a toolbar, access to premium-only Neoboards (their word forums), and more.
One major benefit is access to the Super Shop Wizard (SSW). It’s similar to the regular shop wizard, but instead of searching a few shops in Neopia at a time, it will search every user shop.
Another thing you can pay for on Neopets is Neocash. By buying Neocash, you can purchase items at the NC Mall. This includes wearables for your Neopet that are only available in the NC Mall and cannot be bought by regular Neopoints. You can also buy backgrounds to surround your Neopet. However, there are backgrounds and clothing that do not require Neocash. So really, there is no reason to purchase anything in order to enjoy Neopets.
8. Your First Banking Experience (And More)
Neopets can be the source of a lot of firsts, including your first banking experience. In the world of Neopia, there is the National Neopian Bank. It is owned by a Skeith banker who loves money. Benefits to using the bank include a safe storage place for your Neopoints as well as interest you can collect everyday. You can also qualify for different plans depending on how much money you have deposited, starting as a Junior Saver ($0) to Ultimate Riches (10,000,000 NP).
Kids can also experience the stock market for the very first (and maybe only) time in their lives. With some help from Nigel the Commodity Broker Chia, players can learn about the Neopian Stock Market. Buy a particular volume of stock in various Neopian companies, including Alien Aisha Vending Ltd., Breadmaster Bakeries, and EEEEEURGH!!! Ltd., and ake money or lose it (most likely the latter).
And if you become one of the Ultimate Riches, maybe with some help from the Neopian Stock Market, you can donate some of your riches or luxury items to the Money Tree for other players to try to snag.
7. There Were Tie-In Plushies, Video Games, A Card Game, And More
There were a lot of tie-in products created for Neopets. Besides the stickers and cereal, a line of real-life plushies came out so kids could cuddle with Aishas, Kacheeks, and other lovable Neopets. Then there was the Neopets Trading Card Game – not the collectible card you can collect in the game but real-life cards that can be played between two people. The card game pits Neopets against each other in arenas of Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Magic. If a player wins a fight, they can bank or draw a card; if they bank enough cards, they win. They stopped releasing cards in 2006 when the card game was discontinued.
Then there were the tie-in video games. There were the series of handheld electronic games that recreated areas in the world of Neopets and let you play some games. Then Sony Computer Entertainment published the Playstation 2 game Neopets: The Darkest Faerie, an action-adventure game set in the world of Neopets. You play as one of two young heroes, Tormund the Knight and Roberta the Sorceress, in order to save the world from the Darkest Faerie’s evil plans.
Meteor Games, the company created by Neopets founders Adam and Donna Powell, created a game in conjunction with Neopets. It was called Neopets: Treasure Keepers and featured quests on a board game-esque map. The game was shut down after the company lost money, the number of users declined and 90% of Meteor Games’ staff were laid off.
6. You Could Create Your Own House
Beside raising your own pet, you can also own your very own house in Neopets. You can pick a location anywhere around the world in Neopets, from the Lost Desert to Mystery Island, to settle in. Construct your floors and walls. Buy your own furniture and place it wherever you want to give your home that personal touch. Players can use Neocash to buy some unique furnishings and structures. Their Neopet can be placed inside or outside their house.
Other features include the player’s ability to share a picture of their Neohome, as well as view and rank each other’s homes. Gamers can even tend their own gardens and add beautiful flower arrangements. You can also get various extensions for your NeoHome. This includes levels of security that starts with clanking cans and end with satellite security. Then there are various heating levels, from basic heating to a neo heating system. Then there’s insurance, which ranges from basic insurance to Peophin Platinum. So anyone can learn the importance of keeping themselves warm and covering their backs with insurance.
5. Lots Of Gambling Games
Anyone can gamble in the world of Neopets. There are your basic card games with a Neopian twist, like JubJub Blackjack, Cheat! and Krawps. Then there are scratchcards you can purchase in the hopes of winning items and Neopoints from around the world, including the Race To Riches Scratchcard, Terror Trove Scratchcard, Faeries Fortune Scratchcard, Peak O Plenty Scratchcard and the Icetravaganza Scratchcard. You can use tokens to get a prize from the Neocola Machine on the planet Kreludor; or use star-shaped tokens called Nerkmids to get a prize from the Alien Aisha vending machine. Plus you can spin wheels all over Neopia for prices, including the infamous Wheel of Monotony, which can take anywhere from two to nine hours to stop spinning. Hope you’re patient!
Gambling in a kids’ game did draw a few raised eyebrows from parents, though. The parental outrage sparked by Neopets reached its peak in Australia back in 2004. Apparently, when the Australian McDonald’s made Neopets plushies Happy Meal toys, which also included information about the Neopets website. When a mother of a nine-year-old found out her son was playing poker to feed his Neopet, she spoke with the current affairs show Today Tonight. She claimed the game was getting her son addicted to gambling; this may have been a bigger issue in Australia versus other countries because of the high rate of gambling problems related to poker machines. Despite the protest, you can still gamble to your heart’s content with Luck & Chance games on Neopets.
4. The Faeries Of Neopia
Many faeries (always spelled this way, never “fairies”) live in Neopia. From the faeries of the elements (Air Faerie, Fire Faerie, Earth Faerie, Dark Faerie, Light Faerie) to the more abstract faeries (Battle Faerie, Crafting Faerie), to the Faerie Queen herself, these creatures have different personalities and storylines. And if a faerie loses their wings, they lose their magical powers and become a grey faerie. They live in Faerieland and can provide various services to Neopets. The Water Faerie helps out at the Healing Springs, and players can choose whether to fetch items for Jhudora or travel to Meridell to do one of Illusen’s quests.
Players can randomly be assigned a quest at random from the other faeries, which involves fetching them an item in exchange for getting a stat raised. For example, the Fire Faerie will only ask you for clothing items and will reward one of your Neopets with strength points, the Dark Faerie will only ask you for toys and will reward one of your Neopets with additional hit points, and the Soup Faerie (yes, there’s a Soup Faerie who works in the Soup Kitchen, which provides food for poor Neopets) asks for smoothies and will get you two different stat boosts.
3. Neopets Bought Out For $160 Million
Neopets started making a lot of headlines when it was bought out by the MTV Networkds unit of Viacom Inc in 2005. The company was planning on splitting into two and adding web content to its agenda. Viacom bought Neopets for $160 million. The purchase was covered by a lot of big news sources, including The Wall Street Journal. Jeffrey Dunn, the President of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, commented on The Globe and Mail: “If you look at [Neopets] demographics, they are perfectly aligned with the MTV demographics…. We love it from a creative approach, we love it from an audience approach and when you add it together with the other space we have on the Web, it’s a perfect one-two punch from an advertising point of view.”
However, despite all this love, Viacom would end up selling Neopets for an undisclosed amount to JumpStart, the same company who brought kids Math Buster and other educational school games, in 2014. It was originally criticized since, shortly after taking over, the website experienced glitches and lag.
JumpStart CEO David Lord said one of the reasons JumpStart was drawn to Neopets was because of its older audience. “Something about Neopets has always attracted an older audience – and especially now 17 years after its beginning, with so many players who have grown up on the site and are still there,” Lord commented on Kotaku. So if you’re an adult who still plays Neopets, you are far from alone.
2. “Getting Iced” on Neopets
For lesser crimes against Neopia, you can get your account suspended for a certain period of time. But many players have horror stories about “getting iced” on Neopets. This is a term created by the community referring to their accounts getting disabled (or frozen) for a variety of alleged reasons. If you create multiple accounts and send the Neopoints you make to your one main account, that is considered unethical and your accounts can get frozen. Some players trade scam items and get froze, and even if you get scammed, you can be iced in order to protect your account.
Others are frozen for using a bot; this bot does things automatically for you, which includes refreshing a page to get an avatar or buying cheap items from shops. Then there are the people who publicly misbehave on the Neoboard, either by cursing or talking about topics the Neopets team deems inappropriate. The site also specifically says you can get banned for using Neopets as a dating site.
Many players claim they were unfairly “iced” and that accounts can get frozen due to mistakes, glitches, and hacks. However, you can fill out a form after your account is frozen if you feel it was unfair and (in theory) get a response from a member of the Neopets team about the reason why your account was “iced.” Feel free to share your “getting iced” story in the comments if you have one!
1. Your Neopet Is Still Alive
Yes, you read that right! If you played Neopets at any point in your life and left your account intact all those years ago when you stopped, your Neopets are still alive. They’re probably starving, suffering from an illness, and pissed off at you for leaving them alone for so long, but they still exist. However, if you decide to go back to your account now, we highly recommend throwing your pet in a hotel immediately so all their needs can be met for the next month and you can feel a little less bad. If you’re poor, you can always go to the Soup Kitchen for handouts.
Or, if you want to create a new pet and forget your past mistake, you’re given a few options. You can go to the Neopian Pound and are presented with three options. You can adopt a brand new pet, transfer your pet to someone else, or abandon your pet altogether. The abandon option is particularly disturbing. When your cursor hovers over the door for the abandon option, you are greeted by a mad Neopian scientist wringing his hands together. We don’t know what the scientist plans on doing, but if that evil gesture is anything to go by, he most likely isn’t going to be baking them cookies.
Do you have any other trivia to share about Neopets? Leave it in the comments!