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Random Contest Fandom


by qbureau

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When it comes to having fun in Neopia, randomness rules! Never the same contest twice, the Random Contest is the only competition that everyone has a shot at winning. That's right, everyone! Any age, any talent, any anything! Every week the contest changes and an exciting new challenge is put forth. Maybe next week it will center around one of your greatest talents, you never know!

The History

The Random Contest first appeared on October 29, 2004. The very first task was to carve a Neopets themed pumpkin, and an amazing amount of creative entries overwhelmed the judges. It's been rumored that the judges run and scream in terror at the mere mention of pumpkins now, so if you want to win you might try and refrain from mentioning the rotund orange globes. Selecting just one winner from the vast creative talents of Neopians is an impossible task, so several winners are chosen for each of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Lucky us! It's not terribly hard to nab a 1st or 2nd place spot if your entry is very clever and shows a lot of hard work and creativity.

In the beginning, the release of a new contest was very random. These days it has settled itself down and is judged and a new contest begins every Thursday. Well, nearly every Thursday, it's still just a little bit random ;) The news page always heralds the start of a new competition, so if you're wondering when the next one starts simply read the news each day.

The Basics

It's random. Random Contest, get it? An awful lot of people run around asking "Which contest is it?" It is only one contest; it's just that the theme changes weekly. It can be found in Pet Central under Current Competitions as the Random Contest link. On the current contest page you'll find everything you need to know about entering. A pictorial representation, title of the contest, and full instructions on what you are expected to create are given along with safety tips from Lawyerbot.

Though it always requires imagination and creativity, that is about all you can expect each week. Some of the themes have required cooking, writing, drawing, poetic prose, or making very peculiar and highly embarrassing noises into a microphone. If you haven't seen a Random Contest yet that is right up your alley, you can bet that one day soon you will. Everyone has some talent, and the Random Contest is a great place to show off just how talented you are (at some random thing!).

Very rarely will you need to spend any money for supplies. Most often you need nothing but your computer and imagination to enter. Even when supplies are needed you will be able to find cardboard, pasta, baking ingredients, paints, paper, or other craft materials around your home. Your local dollar store can be a great source for many craft items, and if you keep your eyes peeled you'll discover other items that can be cut up, shredded, or glued together to make just what you need. Creativity is the key here, not money spent.

How To Win

The very first rule of thumb is to enter. Yes, enter! It's amazing how many players write to me and say they wish they could win just once, and when I ask them what they have tried entering they say they have never entered at all! You cannot win if you do not enter. You most likely will not win if you enter only once, or if you have never reviewed past entries to see what types of entries catch the judges' eyes.

Read the contest guidelines - This is very important. You want to make sure you understand what is expected and what is allowed for this specific contest. If the judges want to see Neopets, and you work up an elaborate diorama with Dr. Sloth as your star, your entry will not win no matter how amazing it is. When the judges demand humorous entries to make them laugh, sending them an entry that makes them cry is a surefire way to get your entry tossed into the circular file. Take note of when the contest ends so you don't miss the deadline and enter your masterpiece, then get all embarrassed when you realized you entered a wacky poem instead of a pet made of pasta.

Free your mind - Turn on some music, jump up and down, wiggle your toes. Put yourself in a good mood, and look for inspiration. Ideas aren't ready made in your head; you will have to get your creative juices flowing before that winning idea will present itself! Don't let yourself be hindered by trying too hard. Browse through Neopets looking at images, colors, and themes. Play some games and have some fun. Somewhere along the way you will see an item, a character, or even some wacky kid on the neoboards that will give you that much needed inspiration. If your idea doesn't pan out, either start afresh or try and figure out how you could approach it from another angle.

Plan out your entry - Take a day or two to plot out your plan of attack. Write down all ideas you have, then figure out which one fits your time schedule, ability to obtain supplies (if needed), talent, and skill level. Then gather your materials together and lay everything out in an organized fashion. If it's a writing or sound contest, open a text file and make a general outline. Whatever the contest is, sketch it out (figuratively or literally) so that you have a starting point to build upon.

Be original - You're not the only Super Pea on the planet! Several other people are bound to come up with the same idea you did. It's inevitable, so you will just have to make sure that your twist on the idea will make your entry stand out above all others. For example: the contest is to create a Marshmallow Grundo. Everyone puts two marshmallows together, sticks on candy eyes, adds chocolate sauce for drama and hopes they win. You, on the other hand, create a whole army of them, complete with graham cracker boots, walnut shell helmets painted green, and gumballs and licorice twists for weapons. Result: you win first place! More elaborate, detailed, and creative entries will show the judges that you went that extra mile. Show you had fun, went crazy, and put aside everything important in your life to make your entry the best it could be!

Review your entry before submitting - Pretend you're a judge and critique your submission. Are there spelling errors? Is it clearly written? Did you include everything you had planned on? Does your jaw drop every time you look at it? If you submitted a photo, is it clear and does it show enough detail? If you submitted a drawing, does it look like you put a lot of effort into it? If this was an audio entry, is it audible and can you tell what's going on? If you were a judge, would you pick this entry above all others or just delete it?

Photography tips - Not having a digital camera doesn't mean you can't find one somewhere. Family, friends, neighbors; someone has one you can use. They may not let you borrow it, but you could certainly ask if they will take a picture of your entry for you. If you're taking the photo yourself, take some time to set up your entry. Make sure your lighting is good and check your focus. Dark and blurry pictures cannot show off your entry and will likely get deleted. Set up a plain backdrop to show off your creation, whether it be a blank wall, a plain piece of fabric held up, or whatever you can think of. A distracting background will make it difficult to see the details in your entry.

The Prizes

This is not a contest you enter in hopes of winning a prize. Very rarely is the item you win worth much, and the NP payout is not a staggering amount. The item selected for the winners most often relates to the theme of the contest and will just be a treasured keepsake. So don't enter the Random Contest just because you think you'll become rich. You must do it for the sheer joy of it.

The trophy you can win is magnificent, if a little lumpy. It varies, but generally the first 5-10 winners get gold, the next 6-20 get silver, and the third place winners get bronze. Third place entries are never displayed, and will not know they won until notified when prizes are given out.

The awarding of prizes is another random goodie! On the rare occasion, prizes are handed out right away. Most of the time you'll have to wait at least a week before getting your congratulatory Neomail and prizes from TNT. It's not unheard of to wait over a month for prizes to be awarded. If you're worried you've not received your prize, just check to see if everyone else that won the same contest has gotten theirs. If you're the only one without a trophy, send in a bug report. TNT usually sends several weeks' worth of prizes out all at once, so if you've won more than once you might get all your prizes at once!

The Random Problems Of Being Random

Are you having trouble submitting your entry? Don't worry, you're not alone. There are a few problems that occur; randomly, of course!

jpg, not JPG - Ahh, this is a troublesome one that plagues many contestants. Even though your file is labelled jpg, the form sometimes sees it as JPG and refuses it. First of all, send in a bug report if this happens to you. Your best solution is to resave your picture as a gif file. They keep claiming this problem is fixed, but it still plagues many participants for some reason.

More than 25 characters - Oops! If it tells you your words are too long, you've probably pasted your text into the box. The form views linebreaks differently than you do. Just type it into the box instead of pasting it, and your problem should be solved. If not, within the entry box try adding a space with your spacebar between paragraphs to make the form think you've entered a character in that blank space.

Must submit image - What? This contest doesn't require an image? Hmm, looks like somebody forgot to reset the form for the new contest. Wait a day and try again. Sending in a bug report letting them know of the mixup would be helpful.

The Mysterious Lawyerbot

Verging on dastardly, Lawyerbot oversees the safety rules of the Random Contest. If he thinks you can get hurt by dropping a pillow on your foot, he'll make sure you're forewarned not to perform such a dangerous stunt. He thinks so highly of himself that one week he demanded that the Random Contest be devoted to him! Well, the contestants showed him, alright! They embarrassed him so much that he's rarely made a public appearance since.

Not much is known about him, other than that he has a penchant for Hairy Tashes and is delighted when people send them to him. Nobody knows just what he does with all those Hairy Tashes, but we're probably better off not knowing.

Note: I'll be happy to answer any random questions about the Random Contest. If you found this article helpful, and especially if it helped you win, drop me a line and let me know!

 
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