Christmas Countdown: 25 Memorable Moments from Y10
Temperatures are diving to “Brr!”-inducing levels, and hearts are warming kindly towards each other. Can it be that time of year already? A time of remembrance, family, friends, giving, traditions, and joy; yep, Christmastime is here again! A few of my favorite traditions are: making cut-out sugar cookies, visiting with family around a lit, decorated tree, and, of course, Christmas stockings! Waking up Christmas morning and discovering a stocking embroidered with my name just brimming over with goodies was one of the day’s highlights. As I pulled each gift out — perfume, DVD, candy — I savored each one. All too soon though, I reached the end; then, I’d stuff the contents back into the stocking to enjoy again later.
Years and Christmas stockings have a lot in common, since each year dawns absolutely bursting at the seams with promise. As time passes, the days are filled with dreams, fulfillment, disappointment, surprises, and celebrations. Before you know it, the year is nearly gone. Now as we prepare to welcome a brand-new year, it’s the perfect time to look back at some of the happenings that made this past year what it was. So, join me for 25 — one for each day until Christmas — memorable moments, both major and minor, from Y10. How many do you remember?
January: The Month of Sleeping
1. Mid-December - January 30th — Kicking off the year, Neopets held six weekly Plushie Giveaways. Masses of interested Neopets users entered the contest, and each week 1,000 lucky people were randomly chosen to win the real, limited featured plushie. The plushies awarded were: Purple Chomby, Yellow Poogle, Blue Bruce, White Aisha, Red Meerca, and Green Cybunny. One user was even given a twelve-set collection, the grand prize. All came with virtual prize codes and will never be made available again, so the plushies are retired and quite cherished by their owners.
2. Jan. 18th and 31st — The new cloud-like petpetpet called a Strale and the petpet named Bikiwan were both discovered.
3. Jan. 29th - March 15th — The Return of Dr. Sloth plot quietly began as it was revealed this villain had returned with an even more diabolical plan to gain control of all Neopia. The plot contained comics, fierce fighting in the Battledome, and some of the most difficult, harrowing puzzles in a Neopets plot to date as users tried to decode Sloth’s top-secret mail. Many gave up, but those who persevered were honored. In the end, it took the help of the Space Faerie, a group named the Resistance, one young, brave Cybunny, and much of Neopia all working together to bring Dr. Frank Sloth down. He’s been captured, his power neutralized, and for the sake of everyone, let’s hope that was his final return.
At the time of his defeat, gradually all throughout Neopia, purple pets lost their orange spots! While the speculation thinks it related to the end of feuding between the Purple and Orange Grundos, no one knows the reason for sure, but there is much happiness at solid Purple pets again.
February: The Month of Awakening
4. February 1st — Coinciding with the Return of Dr. Sloth plot, the Virtupets Space Station was completely revamped with amazing new graphics mainly featuring — no surprise here — the color green! Hurray for makeovers!
5. February 5th — Following a bit of a drought in new Neopets merchandise, an absolute deluge began, leading off with the Series 1 Plush made available to purchase in February. At the same time, the ability to collect tokens started for the new game Key Quest, although still in development at the time.
March: The Month of Running
6. March 1st - 31st — The second annual Daily Dare spanned the month of March as Aristotle A. Avinroo, otherwise known as AAA or the Games Master, and his little sister Abigail returned. Every day featured a different Flash game, and the object was to either beat AAA’s tough score or Abigail’s considerably easier score. This year had a twist, however, for it was disclosed the siblings had been abducted, locked away in a dungeon without provisions, and forced to constantly play video games 24/7. Their tormentor? A game-hating Blumaroo named Roothless who at the end of the month issued a challenge to beat a game called Dungeon Dash. It was up to Neopia’s gamers to help rescue them. Some tried and failed, but those who succeeded were rewarded. And don’t worry about the siblings; I don’t think the escapade hurt them a bit. AAA’s, um, shall we say “confidence” hasn’t suffered in the slightest. *cough*
April: The Month of Eating
7. April 11th — 150 free NeoCash was given to every account who collected it, even sides! And, yes, there was much rejoicing throughout the land! :D
8. April 27th — Hard to believe, but exactly one year ago was the day known as Neopets v.2, when the whole site altered more drastically than in its entire history. The site navigation, layout, user lookups, guilds, site themes, and even basic pet art completely changed. But while confusion and irritation abounded at first, Neopia learned to adjust and find fun in the midst of change, like customizing your pets with clothes and backgrounds. It was a rocky, exciting, eventful year, and we survived it. Give yourself a pat on the back! :P
9. April 29th — Following an entire year of being “Down for Maintenance,” the Neopian Pound returned with an all new look and function. Now, there are three doors, each leading to a different venue: At the first, Adopt, a smiling Pink Uni greets you and will lead to all the abandoned pets in need of loving owners. The third, Abandon, shows Dr. Death waiting with clasped hands, eagerly anticipating cruel owners who leave their pets. And the second, Transfer, with the Robot Hissi, is the biggest update of all! For years, users have begged for a secure means of moving pets between accounts. So, let’s give a big hand for The Neopets Team (TNT), because transferring is finally a reality!
May: The Month of Hunting
10. May 10th — After years of banning pet trading, TNT completely changed their position and stated it was acceptable to trade Neopets as long as it was a 1:1 trade with nothing extraneous added, such as NP, items, etc. The decision stunned most players, and while some still refuse to trade their pets, others have found it a great way for two searching users to become two happy owners, each with their own dream pet. The same weekend, a Pound Neoboard was added to the list of boards.
11. May 30th — The 1,000th game in the history of Neopets was released: Techo Says, a remake of one of the first games on Neopets, or in other words, a classic!
June: The Month of Relaxing
12. June 18th — Altador Cup III, the annual site event which pits players supporting sixteen Neopian world teams against each other, began with the same double-round robin set-up as last year; each team would play every other team twice. However, there were two major changes. First, unlike previous years, no switching teams was allowed, even during the finals; whatever bracket your team placed in, you’re stuck, for better or worse. Second, although the structure of Yooyuball, the game AC III centers around, remained the same, the design altered drastically for the better. Instead of indistinct figures on the field, the players are active and actually look like the team you support! For example, a Krawk Island player would see Garven Hale minding the net and Dasher Soley blinking and swishing his tail. It was an amazing update that made the game much more realistic. Include the fact a new avatar was released, and Neopia had a lot of happy players!
July: The Month of Swimming
13. July 4th — The 350th issue of the Neopian Times was published!
14. July 16th — The NC Mall celebrated its 1st birthday in style with numerous new items, and everyone in Neopia could collect a free Birthday Goodie Bag!
15. July 19th — The mischievous Morkou petpet was first spotted running through the ruins of Geraptiku, desperately in need of an understanding owner.
16. July 22nd — After over a month of fierce competition, Altador Cup III ended. Although the contention was rather close, the top three places went to: 1. Roo Island, 2. Krawk Island, and 3. Lost Desert. Congratulations to the winners!
August: The Month of Hiding
17. August 8th — Following years of a very simple Neohome format, a brand-new Neohome program was introduced, which made the classic homes look rather outdated, and in fact, the classic homes were excluded from the spotlight just a week later. The v.2 homes available are beautiful, original, and quite versatile, though it may take some people a while to adjust as is usually the case with change.
18. August 28th — The Petpet Park Grand Opening Celebration commenced with activities, weekly games, and a new daily, Weltrude’s Toy Chest, but most exciting of all for nearly everyone was the beginning of the Petpet Park Mini-Plot. The plot involved the Petpet Protection League’s Secret Agents and a sour wannabe-agent who caused havoc and problems at every turn. But thanks to the Neopians who volunteered, the PPL was able to fulfill seven different missions in a month, safely bringing six new petpet species into the park for introduction to the public shortly: Drym, Hifflo, Pinixy, Kassegat, Oukin, and Dipni.
September: The Month of Gathering
19. September 12th — The Camelior petpet first crawled out of Tyrannia.
20. September 23rd — For a couple years, users six years and over have complained about their shields, since even users older than six years were stuck with the same ol’ six year shield. Finally, TNT drew some new shields, allowing the old shields to be shed and for every six months after six years, a cute new shield appears. Yay!
October: The Month of Collecting
21. October 18th — Subsequent to many months of beta testing, Key Quest, the unique new game created this year, was made available to all users in every language. Key Quest is an amazing development since Neopets has never had a game quite like this: a Flash, multi-player virtual board game, the object being to collect all five colored keys and reach home first. It also contains mini-games, power-ups, and tokens. Over six series of Key Quest plush were released this year, each individual plush bearing a Key Quest token code and having specific programming for use in the game. The game and collector’s case make collecting tokens fun, and the game itself has become incredibly popular.
22. October 31st — The Neopian celebration of Halloween this year was multifaceted: First, at random times near the end of Oct., the NC Mall gave out three free Halloween goodie bags which featured a Spyder, Meepit, and Meowclops; in addition to spooky food, the prize for collecting all three was a spooky-themed NC Mall item for use in customizing your pet. Second, Key Quest became quite Spoo-key, and for about ten days around Halloween, Key Quest awarded double keys! Finally, as is tradition, special spots throughout Neopia gave out Trick or Treat Bags (though it was rumored a few tricks were given out as well). All enjoyed opening the bags and finding fun, new wearable items, including Vampire Wax Lips, Mutant Ona Mask, and probably the most popular, the Butterfly Mask.
November: The Month of Storing
23. November 15th — Neopets turned nine years old! To celebrate Neopets’ birthday, special goodie bags, a birthday background, and pretty cakes were released! Also, throughout the month of November, dailies such as wheels and Buried Treasure were half-price and on the 15th, completely free! And for a week, all games could be played five times every day, which definitely helps the feeling of festivity, not to mention the bank account. Happy 9th Birthday, Neopets, and many more to come!
24. November 25th - December 1st — In an encore of last year’s Games Master Challenge, AAA (a.k.a. the Games Master) returned with a week of fresh challenges, spanning around 100 games, everything from Splat-a-Sloth to Super Hasee Bounce. Trophies and prizes were awarded, and the challenge forced many to play games they might never have played otherwise and find enjoyment in the process.
December: The Month of Celebrating
25. December 1st - 31st — Christmas is a special time in Neopia and marks the beginning of the Advent Calendar. Each day in December, everyone can visit a spot on Terror Mountain, watch a short animated movie, and collect correlating prizes: NP and items ranging from books and wearables to toys and petpets. Sometimes on Christmas Day, a particularly special gift is awarded. Add two avatars and the possibility of unlocking the Winter site theme to the mix, and you have a fun, exciting event, the gifts of which are often treasured for years to come.
The Advent Calendar brings us to 25, Christmas — the Day of Giving — and now it’s nearly time to bid farewell to Y10 and prepare to welcome the new year. Of course, we wonder what Y11 will contain, though no one can say for sure. However, one thing is certain: it’s bound to include many surprises, so hold on tight and enjoy the ride! :D
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a new year full of beauty and joy!
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|Letters for Lia|
"Oh, get in the spirit, Val." Lia stuck the card onto the gift box. "Though it is kind of hard to get in the Winter spirit in this dreadful weather."