Your Guide to the Neopian Times
THE DEEP CATACOMBS -You may think you know The Neopian Times like the back
of your hand. You may think that you're the most knowledgeable expert on the
Neopian Times in the whole of Neopia, and know everything there is to know about
it. You may have memorised every single article, story and comic in all past
issues of The Neopian Times, and can recite them while tap-dancing with a pineapple
on your head.
Well, if those last few points hold true for you, pause for a second. Now put
on your tap-dancing shoes, balance a pineapple on your head, and put on a little
show while reciting every single article, story and comic that have ever
been in The Neopian Times. Now, ask yourself- do you really meet the criteria
mentioned at the start of the article? Well, if you don't (which you obviously
won't have- pineapples are mighty difficult to balance on your head while tap-dancing),
keep reading. And don't stop until you have a) finished, b) been kidnapped by
tap-dancing radioactive pineapples with optional drink holders, or c) been zapped
with Boochi's ray gun and consequently forgotten how to read. I mean, if you
had been turned into a baby by Boochi, who the heck would want to read? Especially
when you can shake that cool little rattle, and suck like crazy on that pacifier!
Whoa! Just too much mind-blowing fun!
Anyway, now that I've (hopefully) convinced you to read this article, here
I go! Firstly, I decided to write this article about the exact thing this article
is in. If you don't know what thing this article is in (and I don't mean the
computer monitor) you obviously pay little attention to what is on the screen.
In that case, stop reading right now, because you're obviously not going to
take any notice of what I'm writing anyway. (In spite of the fact you have neither
finished, been kidnapped by pineapples, or been zapped by Boochi.) But for those
who do know what I'm talking about (The Neopian Times, for those who are a bit
slow to catch on), well, keep reading. For I'm about to take you on a magical,
wondrous journey through, um, well, a newspaper. Just a few dull, plain little
sheets of paper with ink splattered all over it. But take note of the fact that
The Neopian Times is Neopia's only newspaper! So, that exciting fact (you can
tell it's exciting because there's an exclamation mark on the end of it) compensates
for the whole dull, plain thingy… somewhat.
Anyway… firstly, you have to know how to get to The Neopian Times. You can
go to the news link on the yellow sidebar, and enter the news page. From there,
there is usually a caption and a picture which announces the new Neopian Times
is out. The picture is a actually a link, so if you click on that, a nice new
window pops up, displaying the front page of The Neopian Times.
Before I tell you about the front page, you might like to know that the next
few following features will ALWAYS be there, no matter whether you are chuckling
at a comic, reading an interesting story, drooling at an article on how to make
more money, or dancing in a conga line consisting of radioactive tap-dancing
pineapples with optional drink holders.
· A large, golden picture of a Jubjub reading a newspaper, with all but his
feet, upper head and eyebrows obscured by the newspaper (presumably the Neopian
Times). Of course, for some strange reason, the newspaper the Jubjub is reading
has no writing visible on it. Must have been a really slow news day when the
artist drew that particular picture. Or, alternately, the Jubjub wrapped his
precious newspaper in an opaque material, so it would be protected from the
elements. But then, of course, he wouldn't be able to read it. Oh well. Small
price to pay. Behind the Jubjub is a large golden, um thingy, which looks like
a circle with two thick bars sticking out on either side. On the large circle-with-sticking-out-bars-thingy
there are the words 'The Neopian Times™', conveniently letting you know both
that you are reading The Neopian Times, and that the name 'Neopian Times' is
a trade mark. Oooohh, aaaahhh. Trade mark. Below that, there is the word 'Circulation'
followed by a very long number.
· Below that gold circle-with-two-bars-sticking-out-thingy there is a yellow
row of links. This is probably the most important navigation you will find in
The Neopian Times. I refer to this as the main navigation toolbar. It will allow
you to access the short stories, the articles, the new series and the continued
series, simply by clicking on the correct labelled button. There is also a link
called 'Main' which allows you to access the front page. I think this is rather
odd, as I feel the link should be labelled 'Front Page', as it does, after all,
lead to the front page. But, hey, since when have I been one for common sense?
Hey, fellow pineapples, let me join that conga line of yours!
· Okay, I'm a little outta breath from all that conga dancing (I got kicked
out because the pineapples took offence to the hat of exotic fruits I put
on my head). So, I'll go through this next section a little more slowly. Not
that you'll notice. After the main navigation toolbar, there is a row or two
of links, reading 'Show All', 'Week 74', 'Week 75', 'Week 75' etc. This allows
you to see any recent edition of The Neopian Times you wish to see (except
for the non-existent issues- those are available only to various pineapples
and myself). If you want to go back farther than just Week 74, click on the
'Show all' link and you will be magically allowed to access the rest, all
the way back to Week One.
· Just underneath that, you will see a caption, such as 'Neopia's Fill In
The Blank News Source' or 'Neopia's Most Dungalicious News Source', for example.
I'm pretty sure this caption is just random, but I'm not sure. Next to that
caption, there is the current date. Just underneath that is another bar with
tells you what issue you're looking at, and if you are currently reading something,
what type of work it is (eg. article, short story, etc.) and what its title
· There also happens to be a sidebar to the right hand side (or right paw,
wing, or fin side, depending what species you are). This displays one front
page headline and picture, search engine, as well as a list of stories and
articles to read with an accompanying small picture and caption. Personally,
I never use this sidebar to access the articles and stories shown, as I usually
just use the links at the top of the page to look at all of the articles/stories/comics
at once. For me, all the sidebar does is lengthen the time it takes for the
page to load. It's about as useful as a nail made out of jelly. Unless you're
building a house made of jelly, that is. In which case it still wouldn't be
very useful, 'cos it'd still be pretty fragile. There is one exception to
the sidebar arrangement though, but I'll tell you more about this later.
· The page background features faded images of various books, medicines,
Battledome weapons, foods, Petpets and Neopets. But, of course, no pineapples.
Just typical. Not even pineapple Chia in sight. My conga line buddies won't
be very happy. And if there's no pineapples in the background in a week, there'll
be trouble. *Makes menacing face* Big trouble
· Also, the ten blue links at the bottom of the screen will always be there.
They will take you to the same pages accessible through the main navigation
bar, but with the addition of Neopets, The Neopian Times search engine and
the Neopian News Brief.
The Front Page
The front page displays a few of the week's topics, with a large picture and
caption for each. There are also a few more captions (without pictures) leading
to more stories. Down the bottom there is that edition's sponsor, often a game
or shop. Below that sponsor, there is a part that reads 'Submit your articles,
stories, comics, and your opinions! Your opinion counts. The address is... email@example.com'.
At the bottom there is also a small caption and link leading to the Neopian
News Brief. The sidebar, rather than having a front page headline and picture
at the top, has the quote of the week, a sometimes insightful, sometimes humorous
quote from a story or article. I often enjoy reading the quote of the week,
but on which have never had the privilege of being featured *wink wink, nudge
nudge to editor*
The Neopian News Brief and Editorial
These two things are completely different. The Neopian News Brief is pretty
much a amusing and detailed outlook of the week's news. One enormously helpful
feature is the section of it that keeps the readers up to date with the latest
fluctuations of the Neopian stock market. I'd have to say that the Neopian News
Brief is extremely underrated. It is essential reading. Yet, somehow, it only
has two small, easy-to-miss links. Very strange.
The editorial is a page where readers (who have e-mailed their questions beforehand
to firstname.lastname@example.org) can have their questions answered. The most common
or bizarre questions are usually answered. This is a pretty nifty part of the
Neopian Times, as it can sometimes make you a bit of cash. For instance, when
one reader wrote in to inquire about the use of bottles of sand, the answer
(very unsubtle) hinted that something drastic would soon happen that would raise
their price. Of course, all the entrepreneurs who read The Neopian Times rushed
out and stocked up on bottles of sand. And consequently, they made a bundle
of money, because, whaddaya know, a few days later Neopets released sand sculptures,
which could be made by combining different Bottles of Sand at the Cooking Pot.
The price of bottles of sand skyrocketed from 1 NP to 50 NP practically overnight.
Similarly, the editorial hinted at the retiring of cupcakes, letting more Neopian
Times-reading shopkeepers rake in more money. But it can make you laugh just
as often (if not more) as it can make you NP.
Short Stories, Series and Continued Series
I always love to read the short stories. They're usually around 1500 words
in length, but some are much longer, as there is no real limit. If the first
few paragraphs of a story seem badly-written, I just skip the rest, and read
something else. The same goes for articles. I always read my favourite (usually
the most amusing) writers' stories first, such as too_kule, peachifruit, and
battlesunn. And assorted others, of course.
A series is not always a series. That does sound kind of confusing, huh? Well,
I've written short stories before that kind of got out of hand, and magically
decided to grow in length faster than a conga line at a pineapple parade. In
the end, they ended up being too big for just a single short story, so I just
split them up into separate parts, transforming them into a series. Albeit a
series with only two parts. Other series are HUGE, with the number of parts
going well into double digit territory. Some series have sequels, like the ever-popular
'Zafara Assassin' series. And let me tell you, once you get hooked on the first
part of a series, sometimes it's hard to let go until you know the ending. So
be warned. You might find yourself setting up a camp bed in front of the computer
just so you can go on Neopets every five minutes to see if the new part of the
series has come out yet. Or every two minutes, if you're hyped up on caffeine
from numerous cups of hot Borovan.
Ah, the articles. Where I first got started writing for The Neopian Times.
Usually there is a wide variety of articles, such as humorous, practical, and
um, well, others. Interviews with Neopian celebrities can also be found fairly
often. There are quite a few writers out there who contribute to the Neopian
Times on a regular or semi-regular basis, so don't be surprised if you see the
same usernames in more than one edition. But there are also the one-off articles
written by other Neopians, which are also of high quality. Article series (quite
different from story series) can also be found. There are two kinds of article
series- the kind where the writer sends in all the parts at once, and one part
is published in every edition without skipping a beat until the series is finished,
and the semi-regular kind where the writers just write parts whenever they feel
like it and send them in. Both are great.
The comics are a relatively recent addition to The Neopian Times, considering
the long, colourful history of Neopia's only newspaper. But now, you'll probably
wonder how we ever survived without our weekly doses of Fluffy The Cobrall,
Neopian Acres and Really Confused. There are comic artists who regularly submit
their comics, and usually those are the ones I load first.
So, that just about wraps it up. You now have your complete guide to the Neopian
Times. And once you've finished reading the latest issue of The Neopian Times,
fold the paper into a triangular hat, wear it on your head at a rakish angle,
and waddle around like a lost Mallard. It'll help to keep you sane while waiting
for the next edition to come out.
Legal disclaimer: The writer of this article holds no responsibility and
has no legal obligations whatsoever should any Neopian fall over while waddling
in a similar manner to the aforementioned Mallard. The writer also holds no
responsibility for victims' injuries incurred while waddling, should the aforementioned
newspaper hat fall over their eyes, thereby blinding them and vastly increasing
the chances of an accident. Say, walking into a lamp post for instance.