How To Fail Spectacularly At Getting Game Avatars
I confess - when it comes to game avatars, I'd rather eat a pail of Poisonous Jelly then try for one yet again.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with their appearance - actually, I'm a rather big fan of their lovely, flashy animation. Nor am I speaking of the endless amount of them there are to collect, because this only makes Neopets all the more fun to the average player.
No, my own dislike of them is the fact that I can never seem to obtain any of them.
Aside from the game avatars that only come from random events (Wheel of Excitement, Wheel of Misfortune, etc.) I believe that the only game avatar I own is the one that I got from beating level 5 of Shapeshifter. While most Neopians would agree that there's nothing wrong with this, they will immediately retreat to the Avatar Chat board and ogle the newest person to achieve, say, Feed Florg.
I, myself, have uttered countless congratulations to such people, and to just as many games, while I sit, displaying my lovely collection of clickables (avatars that anyone can get if they know where to find the right pet/petpet/item), sadly sighing over my lack of game avatars.
Now, it may be time to let you in on a little bit of my past life. I have siblings who play Neopets. One of them possesses the Sutek's Tomb avatar, the Dice Escape avatar, the Snowmuncher avatar, and the Grand Theft Ummagine avatar. The other has the Feed Florg avatar, the Kass Basher avatar, and the Eliv Thade avatar. As I said before, I have... Shapeshifter. You could say I have a little bit to live up to. I refuse help - somewhat ironically - and insist on getting the avatars myself.
You can guess by now that this hasn't exactly been my strong point over the course of the years. But, I digress. Onto the point of this article.
It has been my goal, for about half my time on Neopets, to get the Ice Cream Machine and Petpetsitter avatars. What first attracted me to these particular avatars, I can't say: Was it that cute little Chia being pelted with ice cream yet again? That adorable Noil desperately trying to stop himself from making a mess of the floor? All I know is that I wanted those avatars, and thought, "Well, how hard can it be to get them?"
Two years later, I still laugh at my question.
So today dawns a new day of dailies - Tombola, Fruit Machine, Coltzan's Shrine, and the Deserted Tomb. Adver-Video to get some free Neopoints while I check my Neomail. Then.... it's showtime. Hesitantly, I click on the "Ice Cream" link that takes me to the game page. Click "Play Now" and wait while the game loads.
And then, the music that haunts my dreams comes on. We all know the tinny little tune, that falsely cheery music that signals pass... or fail. I click the "Play Now" button yet again, and the scoops fill with strawberry ice cream.
The first few levels pass by quickly and with no significance, really - strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, mint. My heart rate speeds up every time a) I see an extra life scoop, b) a scoop comes a little too close for comfort, or c) I'm trapped and there's a very narrow chance of escape. But nothing really starts to anger me until I reach the Neapolitan level. Those scoops spell "EVIL" if ever anything did. At least, for me.
I lose a life. And then another. And another. Somehow, I make it onto the Peach level - usually with only one or two lives left. My cheat has been used ages ago. It's time to get down to business.
My nose hovers about a foot from the screen, my wrist aching with the violent movements as Adee jerks from left to right and back again, missing bonuses and scoop shields left, right, and center. By this time, I've probably lost another life. And "GAME OVER" pops up on the screen. My heart sinks at the score: anywhere from 4,500 to 6,000 points. Only thousands more to go for the avatar. Sighing and feeling like a grey pet, I click the "Send Score" button. No use in trying again, I think glumly.
On to Petpetsitter. Now, when it comes to losing with style, this game is the one where I succeed. One look at my high score tables can tell you that. I start the game and see a lone petpet roving across the screen in old Miss Williams' home. All right. I can handle that.
Soon he needs to sleep. Well, okay. Drag him to the bed - there we go. I start to relax. I got this under control. Two more petpets appear, and soon they do the wee dance and start to feel sleepy. That's fine - three petpets I can handle.
And suddenly, without any warning, more and more and still more petpets appear on the screen. My mouse darts across the screen, always managing to stop just short of the room where the petpets need to go. The mop lies forgotten at the bottom of the screen as this Feepit starts hopping around, needing to go outside, and that Noil licks his chops, hungry for dinner. I start to panic, and when I panic, I think bad thoughts about the particular game I'm playing. A recurring thought in Petpetsitter is, "Aren't you only allowed to have FOUR pets with only ONE petpet each? Where do these all little beasts come from?!"
And suddenly, my attempts are gone. The score flashes upon the screen - it's never been more than about 400. Sighing again, and once more feeling the loss of the ability to get the avatar, I send the score.
By this time, some of my close Neofriends have been neomailing me between games as I lament on my daily failures. "Why don't you just stop?" they ask politely. I give them a withering glance (as best I can through a Neomail, anyway) and say, "Hello - it's an avatar!"