Newspapers Across Neopia
If you’re reading this right now, you know what the Neopian Times is, and you probably enjoy reading it as well. However, I’m sure that you’ve also noticed what the news page often tells us- that 4 out of 5 Neopians think it’s the best Neopian Times there is. What about that fifth person? What do they prefer? Is there such a thing as a different, better Neopian Times?
Well, I can tell you right now that the Neopian Times is the only Neopian Times in existence- however, it is not the only newspaper on Neopia. While it has been printed in Neopia Central and delivered around the globe for many, many years now, other competitors have risen up over time, organizing local papers for the lands above, below, and planted on Neopia’s soil. Some of the newspapers have become respected and gained a large reader-base, while others have fallen out of favor with even their own local readers. Unfortunately, a large percentage of Neopia still has no idea that these papers are being printed, and, if they were to learn of them, wouldn’t know which to read first.
That’s where this article comes in. I’ve taken the time to research the papers from the sixteen major lands in Neopia (for Kreludor and Virtupets combined their two papers a year ago), to find their strengths and weaknesses, and to find out general reader’s opinions. So someday, if you’ve finished the week’s Neopian Times but still want something more, you might decide to buy one of these issues at your local Neopian Times stand.
Altador at a Glance
Description: Nothing but peace and quiet reported here, and that's the way Altador likes it.
Content: The articles here, though they proclaim themselves top-notch, are boring, as ‘nothing but peace and quiet’ will inevitably lead to many long-winded discussions about the very involved history between the Altador Cup and the Perfectly Flat Rock Quarry. But the astrology section is magnificently done, and all the cool Neopians read the Janitor’s Rant each week. It makes the paper, really. (3/5)
Structure: It’s a scroll, nothing special, but the lettering is very well done; kudos to the calligraphers. (2/3)
Price: 936 NP is a decent price, especially as a new issue is released only every three weeks. (1/1)
Other: I heard that the Darkest Faerie is behind those controversial stories lately... better watch out, folks. (0/1)
Total Score: 6/10
Description: This bi-weekly publication will keep most up to date on what is happening in Brightvale.
Content: I’ll just tell you this nice and straightforward: read this paper for the articles. King Hagan himself manages them, and has written quite a few. Most of his advisors write the others. They’re informative, they’re concise, and they’re grammatically correct. They’re usually interesting, too! The book reviews are well done too, and there is a small story section- it’s mostly dry, though, with the kind of elaborate prose you’d see in classics like The Grand Usul Adventure, only without the action. (5/5)
Structure: It’s a bundle of papers rolled up together in a scroll. You aren’t going to see much structure here, other than the most interesting articles being on top. (1/3)
Price: 727 NP isn’t all that much to pay every other week; most of King Hagan’s books cost a lot more than that. (1/1)
Other: Don’t read ‘King Hagan’s Quote of Wisdom of the Week’. It’s usually just some nonsense someone threw at him that he decided was profound. "It's a sad day when you can no longer trust nature are like the power of a family of adventurous Baby Blu" has no real meaning, seriously. (0/1)
Total Score: 7/10
I attempted to get a copy of the latest Darigan Drivel, but was told that it wasn’t printed anymore because ‘we don’t need a newspaper, since we won the last Altador Cup, land-dwellers!’ Riiight.
Description: Part One of a six part
Content: By Fyora, those faeries sure can write! Everything’s about twice the length of the typical pieces you’d find in the Neopian Times, with flowery script to boot, and the prose is of the kind that will put you to sleep in minutes. Read the ads in this one- a lot of them are for Faerie quests, and they don’t always give out the conventional rewards. The Employment Agency runs a great classified section, too. (3/5)
Structure: It’s purple and pink and it’s got glitter galore, PLUS, despite being in a typical newspaper format, the articles will magically rearrange themselves according to your preference! (3/3)
Price: Okay, so 1486 NP is not cheap, but it’s got wings! C’mon! (1/1)
Other: I can’t find the other five parts; can someone help me out here? (0/1)
Total Score: 7/10
The Happy Valley Report
Description: Find out all about the sports events and the happenings of Happy Valley.
Content: The description doesn’t lie; this is the paper to go to for game scores, whether it be for the Altador Cup’s pre-games or the latest Gormball match. The articles give great play-by-plays on the big games, too, though you’ll want to stay away from the debates by crazed fans. Oh, and don’t bother with the weather predictions- it’s just always snowing, okay? (4/5)
Structure: Slabs of ice are a great idea in concept, but I found that if I didn’t accidentally shatter them while reading, they’d just melt as soon as I got back home to Mystery Island. (1/3)
Price: 1100 NP + a breakable paper = Not a good idea. (0/1)
Other: Neggery Coupons are an awesome, awesome idea. (1/1)
Total Score: 6/10
Haunted Woods Reader
Description: Reading this paper out loud has been known to summon spirits, but don't let that scare you.
Content: The comics are creepy, I have to say; I don’t get them at all. What’s so funny about the Brain Tree looming over a few pets and booming ‘YOU HAVE FAILED MY QUEST!’ with a menacing glow about him? I don’t see humor in that. The advice columns aren’t that great either. Arnold keeps submitting entries with tips on how to win Test Your Strength, and they do not work. I’ve tried them. But the stories are another matter entirely- creepy, chilling, haunting, they’re everything that scary stories should be. Thumbs up to those writers! (2/5)
Structure: It’s laid out simply enough, in much the same style as the NT. Not bad, but not fantastic either. (2/3)
Price: 665 NP makes this paper cheap as dirt. Be warned, though- the paper itself is very susceptible to tear and wear, which might lead to multiple copies being bought. (1/1)
Other: Reading it out loud does not summon spirits, by the way. Sure, the Ghost Lupe walked through my wall when I tried, but he does that all the time; it isn’t unusual. (0/1)
Total Score: 5/10
News... In... SPACE!
Description: As long as you can read at the speed of light, you'll never miss anything with this publication.
Content: With a team of over 100 writers, researchers, and artists working full-time for this news source, updates are bound to come continuously. Just browsing through the newest articles this morning, I found a span of topics from a debate on the statistics behind random events to a paper on the most delicious jelly to be found in non-existent worlds. And then, checking back on the main page, I found that three new stories had been submitted while I was reading. However, this constant stream of information must lead to some problems- all articles and stories go unedited, and the grammar can be truly atrocious at times. Someone needs to teach these robots how to spell. (4/5)
Structure: My more technologically-advanced friends have told me that the layout is actually very easy to navigate, but I prefer using paper myself. And since when does ‘editorial’ lead to scrolling 1s and 0s? I found the ‘back’ button very handy, though. (2/3)
Price: At 529 NP, this is the cheapest ‘paper’ you can get (excluding the Neopian Times, of course). And it updates itself, so you’ll only need to buy it once. Need I say any more? (1/1)
Other: The name is rather epic. (1/1)
Total Score: 8/10
Kiko Lake Happenings
Description: This is for those who can't spend much time at Kiko Lake but love to know what is happening.
Content: So, uh, Kiko Lake. It’s got a lake. It’s got some Kikos. You can’t really get any deeper than that. Nevertheless, the small staff that writes this paper does manage to dredge up a few decent articles about events around the lake, and the writing is top-notch, never mind the content. (Did you see the article about the Altador Cup Conspiracy? It was BRILLIANT!) (3/5)
Structure: The idea of making the paper waterproof by surrounding each page with plastic is interesting, but makes reading very difficult. (1/3)
Price: 775 NP is pretty cheap, and it’s only released once a month or so anyway. (1/1)
Other: Who knew that anything happened at Kiko Lake to begin with? (1/1)
Total Score: 6/10
Krawk Island Chronicles
Description: Reporting on all of the latest smugglings, raids, and adventures of the pirates on Krawk Island.
Content: Some of the articles in this one are, ah, ethically-challenged, but the comics are remarkably well drawn, and the adventure stories are swashbuckling-good! The recipes section is decent, as is the training tip included with each issue. But I’ve been told by at least four people that there’s a secret code involved that tells you when the smugglers will be visiting their cove- yeeeah, I don’t think that’s true, people. (3/5)
Structure: Putting a newspaper on a map is an ingenious idea, and, though it may look small when handed to you, it’s actually rather huge when completely unfolded. The organization could do with some work, though. (2/3)
Price: Aren’t pirates known for going for the cheapest supplies possible? Why, then, does this paper cost 1320 NP? (0/1)
Other: Don’t ever submit anything to this paper calling anything a ‘boat’. IT IS A SHIP. (0/1)
SUPER SECRET WEEWOO BONUS +1
Total Score: 6/10
The Lost Desert Expose
Description: If you want to keep up on all of the dirt in the Lost Desert, this is your publication.
Content: The Lost Desert Expose keeps it simple: no serious articles, no true stories, no comics, just lots and lots of gossip columns. If you’re into that kind of thing, you won’t find anything better. But ohemgee, did you know that King Coltzan used to play Scarab 21? I know, it’s absolutely scandalous! (5/5)
Structure: It’s a slab of sandstone. Yeah... someone needs to do an upgrade. (0/3)
Price: 975 NP is a bargain for all the juicy secrets you’ll find in here. (1/1)
Other: Sure, this paper does all right with keeping up with all the dirt, but what about the sand? The Lost Desert’s got a lot of sand, and no one pays any attention to it anymore. (0/1)
Total Score: 6/10
Description: Quite interesting to read, but first you have to get it out of the bottle.
Content: I’m still trying to figure out how they do it, but the comics in this one are beautifully inked and written! The stories kind of drift along, though. Get it? Drift along! Haha, ha- what, you don’t get it? It’s ‘cause they’re in the ocean, which... drifts... heh... ahem. The Underwater Fishing Cavern will put up pictures of the best catches that week in the paper, too, so that’s always interesting to see. (3/5)
Structure: It’s impossible to get those little bottles open, I swear, and the paper still manages to get soggy, somehow. And really, how are you supposed to read this underwater? (0/3)
Price: 1780 NP... yeah... don’t blame it on shipping fees, either, they just have to float the little bottle up. (0/1)
Other: If you’re stranded on a deserted island and you happen upon one of these, you probably won’t complain. (1/1)
Total Score: 4/10
Description: Find out what King Skarl has announced most recently with this publication.
Content: Ignore the proclamations on the front page- they’re useless- and ignore the comics as well; Skarl has a weird sense of humor. Actually, skip everything except the Recipes section. I don’t know who Skarl’s chef is, but he can make Gross Foods taste like gourmet! That’s practically magic, people, and no Faeries involved. (2/5)
Structure: This is one of my favorites. It looks like a regular scroll at first, with the proclamations on the front, but if you take out the spools you’ll find all these thin sheets wrapped around them, making up all the different sections (Potatoes Today, Illusen’s Advice, etc). It’s brilliant, I say! (3/3)
Price: 790 NP isn’t bad at all, but at the rate Skarl releases these, you’ll be visiting the Soup Faerie for want of Neopoints in a month or so. (0/1)
Other: I’m sorry, Meridell, but you need to get over potatoes. They aren’t that cool. (0/1)
Total Score: 5/10
Mystery Island Monthly
Description: Trading Post updates and cannibal warnings.
Content: The stories in this newspaper are perfect for reading on the beach, and the articles are light-hearted and fun! The Haikus are well done (of course), the Island Mystic’s advice column is ridiculously funny, and the classifieds are full of excellent trading post offers, whether it be looking-for or on-sale. Honestly, in terms of content, this is my favorite paper of them all! (5/5)
Structure: Palm leaves may keep up the island theme very nicely, but the ink bleeds through them pretty badly. Still, you have to admire the stitching and the cut! (2/3)
Price: 1798 NP is a bit pricey for a few leaves that have been sewn together. (0/1)
Other: CHET FLASH WUZ HERE. (1.337/1)
Total Score: 8.337/10
Roo Island Magazine
Description: Keep up to date on the latest events and news from Roo Island.
Content: The comics in this one are great, even if the art is a tad old-style, and the stories make for great light reading. Watch out for the land ads, though- Roo Island Properties likes getting money out of people. Actually, the whole magazine is full of ads; it’s a regular tourist trap. (4/5)
Structure: There’s an index, and everything is organized precisely. Once again, though, I could do without all the ads. (2/3)
Price: It’s only released four times a year, and 802 NP isn’t bad at all. (1/1)
Other: Blumaroos love nachos. Just in case you forgot. (1/1)
Total Score: 8/10
Description: This hand-painted bulletin will keep you informed and is also prized by many collectors.
Content: Bonju used to do a (nauseating) recipe section, but then the whole Cyodrake’s Gaze catastrophe occurred, and now he just submits angry rants all the time about how everyone misjudges him and no one likes his cooking. Linae runs a very creative puzzle section, though, and the other inhabitants of Shenkuu will submit many an article on how to be more ninja-like. (2/5)
Structure: Isn’t it beautiful just to look at? And the way each section is in a tiny roll of paper is brilliant. Be careful not to smudge the ink! (3/3)
Price: 1230 NP may be a bit costly, but this paper is hand-made, so, honestly, it’s a fair price. (1/1)
Other: Everyone likes ninjas. Well, except for the pirates. (1/1)
Total Score: 7/10
Ugga Ugg Times
Description: Ugg ugga ugg ugg ugga ugg.
Content: Maybe it’s just because I don’t actually speak Tyrannian, but all of the articles seemed oddly phrased to me, making reading an abrupt process. Of course, it doesn’t help that they can only put one article in per issue, due to the lack of space. But galloping Gallions! Those comics are hilarious! I’ve actually rolled on the floor laughing my ankles off while reading some of them! (3/5)
Structure: I’m sorry, but we went over this already with the Lost Desert Expose, and a slab of rock just isn’t practical. There’s hardly any room for content. (0/3)
Price: If you’re Tyrannian, it’s cheap at 908 NP. If you’re from anywhere else on Neopia, the translation is ridiculously expensive. (0/1)
Other: Does someone want to translate the Concert Hall schedule for me? I really want to know when the Hikalakas are playing next! (1/1)
Total Score: 4/10
And finally, as a special addition, I’ve reviewed the Neopian Times itself!
Description: Neopia’s fill-in-the-blank news source.
Content: You can’t really say anything bad about a paper which combines instructive and humorous articles, hilarious and thought-provoking stories, guffaw-inducing comics, engaging series, and an editorial that’s both highly informative and sarcastically written. I’m not going to list any of my favorite stories or comics, but I can easily assure you that there’s something for everyone in the Neopian Times. (5/5)
Structure: Classic is good, classic is good. And the weekly sponsor keeps ads off your pages, thank goodness! (3/3)
Price: It’s FREE. Really now, I don’t want to hear anyone complaining. (1/1)
Other: ... you didn’t really think I’d give the Neopian Times anything less than a 10/10, did you? (1/1)
Total Score: 10/10
So, there you have it- note that I didn’t include the Battledome Digest, since it’s really more of a list of information than a newspaper. Still, you now have 15 (16 if Darigan gets its act together) more papers to browse and make submit a new piece to, each paper with its own personality and flavor. Still, I for one have to say that the Neopian Times is still my favorite by far.
Oh, and by the way, I recently got sent a Jelly World Travel Brochure by the same company that prints the Neopian Times. Does anyone know what that’s about? I mean, it’s obvious that it doesn’t exist. I’ll go to Jelly World when Snorkles fly.