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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Storing, Yr 19
The Neopian Times Week 74 > Articles > The Old Standbys

The Old Standbys

by tdyans

GAMES ROOM - "Gormball is SO Year 3." This is what the front page of Neopets proclaimed when the brand new game Zurroball premiered. Neopia, you see, is in a constant state of change. New games like Zurroball are popping up all the time, often causing older games to disappear. But what about those older games that don't disappear? Perhaps they aren't as popular as all of the newer games, but the fact that they've managed to stick around for as long as they have suggests that there must be something special about them. Sure, they may not be very high-tech-but that makes them more accessible to many different types of players. And they may not be as fancy as some of the newer games-but they offer a little look into Neopia's past.

So, in this article I'll be reviewing five of these older games-these "old standys" as I like to call them-rating them, summarising how they're played, offering tips, and maybe giving one or two insights into what makes them special in spite, or perhaps because, of their age.

Scorchy Slots
Cost to play: 5 NP per play
You could win: Varying amounts of NP, faeries, map pieces
My rating: 2 out of 5 Watermelons

One of the joys of Neopets is that you can gamble without the risk of losing any real money. (Okay, I know, many of us consider Neopoints to be "real money" by now, but still-it's only 5 NP per play. And there's no rent to pay in Neopia.) As you may have guessed from its name, Scorchy Slots is basically like any slot machine, with a few added Neopian bonuses. Of course, getting really lucky and winning some of the better prizes or even the jackpot is a thrill, but it's probably a pretty rare occurrence too. But, just about anyone can play it, so it's still not a bad game if you need to pass the time, blow a few Neopoints, and possibly get lucky.

It's difficult to offer tips for a game that is based so heavily on luck rather than skill. However, I will say that if you go into the game with realistic expectations and quit at the right time, you may be able to walk away with a few hundred more NP than you came in with. If you're determined to keep going until you hit the jackpot, there's a great possibility that you'll simply end up walking away with a lot less than you arrived with. But, you never know; if you are willing to take that risk, it could pay off-big time!

Techo Says
Cost to play: Nothing
You could win: NP equal to your score
My rating: 3 out of 5 Old-Style Chias

Techo Says is more involved than Scorchy Slots, but still fairly simple to understand. You're given a board with six holes in it, each with a different tiny Neopet inside. As the game starts, one of the Neopets will pop out of its hole. Then all you have to do is click on that hole and make it pop out again. On the next round, the same Neopet will pop out and another one will pop out after it. Once again, you have to click on the two holes in the correct order to make the pattern to repeat itself. You get the idea (hopefully.) Just repeat the pattern each time and you get to move on to the next round. As I said, it's a fairly simply concept, but unless you get pretty far along, it's not that much of an NP-maker. If you have a good memory, however, it's the perfect game for you.

If you have sound on your computer, try turning it on or up for this game. You get all the fun of the Pronunciation Guide and more; the little Neopets say their names each time they come popping up out of their holes. But all fun aside, not only seeing but also hearing the pattern may help you to memorise it more easily. Test it out and see if it works for you. Try saying the Neopets' names along with them or making up a different sound to go along with each Neopet. Find out what method helps you to remember things best and use it.

Codebreakers
Cost to play: Nothing
You could win: NP equal to your points, with a 500 NP limit
My rating: 4 out of 5 Giant Throbbing Heads

Codebreakers has gotten a bit of a makeover since it first arrived in Neopia, but underneath the slightly different look, it's still the same great game. The only possible drawback is that along with that makeover, Neopets also decided to limit how much NP you could make from the game. But don't let that deter you, because you can still make plenty from it if you know how to play. It's a fun puzzle game that provides a nice challenge to those who like to think logically, without being quite as intimidating as that game run by a certain Ixi.

Basically, you're given four codestones, which can be made into 6 different colours. Your mission is to try to guess what colour these four stones are supposed to be and what order they need to be in. Each time you make a guess, you will see a white mark when you have the right colour but in the wrong position, and a black mark when you have a stone of the right colour in the right position. Confused yet? You'll get the hang of it... or maybe not. The best advice that I can give for this game is this: find a pattern-a certain way that you proceed with making your guesses-and use it every time. This will help you to keep track of what you have and haven't guessed already and help you move through the puzzle more logically and quickly than if you just make completely random guesses every time.

Gormball
Cost to play: 20 NP per game
You could win: NP equal to your score (or more if you win) and possibly various items
My rating: 4 out of 5 Pink Gormballs

Gormball is another game that recently got a bit of a makeover but still retains its "old standby" charm. At the beginning of the game, you choose one of eight characters to play as. Then you go to the playing field, where you discover that Gormball is basically a game of hot potato... except that your character will be cold, not hot, if the Gormball explodes on him or her. Each time it's your turn, you choose how many seconds you want to hold the Gormball for and then throw it to the next player. When the Gormball explodes on someone, they're out of the game. Bonus Gormballs can also pop up randomly throughout the game. The difference since its revamping is mainly that there are many more possible bonuses-which means the payout can be significantly more than it used to be... but it can also be less, since some of those bonuses are negative ones.

The longer you hold the Gormball, the more risk you take that it will explode in your hands (or paws or claws as the case may be.) I usually take the risk of holding the Gormball for three or four seconds if I'm the first or second player to hold it in a particular round. In any other case, I play it safe and hold the ball for only the minimum of two seconds. But this is just my strategy, and I'm certainly no Thyassa the Chia. You may find your own way to keep from getting wet.

Dice-A-Roo
Cost to play: 5 NP per game
You could win: Varying amounts of NP, food, lottery tickets, faeries, level-ups
My rating: 5 out of 5 Mystic Winds

Dice-A-Roo is a simple game, but good. With each roll of the die, you can earn NP, absolutely nothing, a game over, and other things, or you can get moved up to the next level. If you make it to the sixth level, the silver die, you have a chance at winning the Jackpot. Part of the greatness of Dice-A-Roo (and many of the old standbys) is that anyone can play it, regardless of age, skill level, or whether or not they can play Flash games on their computer. And if you think it's monotonous, perhaps you've never experienced the thrill of slowly moving up die by die, holding your breath as you wait for each roll to load on the screen, wondering if this will be the one that says "Game Over" or that sends you on to the Jackpot. Still not convinced? Well, let me add one last detail: Dice-A-Roo is one game that is also a veritable buffet!

In fact, my only advice for this game is to just ignore those Blumaroos who pop up at the bottom of the screen and tell you to "Take the money!" Nope, I'm in it for the food. Once you make it to the third die, the green die, your rolls can win you various food items. That may not seem like much of a prize, but foods cost upwards of 50 NP, so even if you play 10 games in order to win one food item, it will have been worth it. And if you're persistent, you'll most likely win more than that, providing your Neopet with a nice variety for its dinner while you get to play a game instead of shopping! On higher levels of dice, you can even win lottery tickets, faeries and increases in your pets' levels-and there's always that elusive jackpot to aim for. But trust me on the food.

Well, there you have it. I hope you try some of these old standbys if you haven't already, or find a new appreciation for them if you have. I realise that I haven't covered every single older game in this article--there simply wasn't room! Whether it was listed here or not, please feel free to Neomail me to sing the praises of your favourite old standby.

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