Time to Reflect: A Historian's View of The Times
Greetings one and all. My name is Werewithal and you might be surprised to see me featured here instead of in my native habitat, the throne room. It has recently come to my attention that my friend and fellow royal Mynci, Svadhishthana, was given the honor of an article on the front page of The Neopian Times. I am here to prove that I am just as talented even though I have a distressingly long grey beard and a ridiculous hat. So without further ado, let me begin.
If I am not mistaken, today marks the 500th edition of The Neopian Times. What a momentous occasion! We have come so far since the first issue so many years ago. While I was on that train of thought and struggling with my inadequacy in writing, I was struck with a brilliant idea. As you probably know already, I am exceptionally brilliant along with being fabulously famous. I figured that I could donate my prestige to The Neopian Times by interpreting Neopet’s past through a close historical evaluation of previous issues of The Neopian Times. So let us rewind time together and examine what we find.
1) Neopian Times Issue 500
I’m not a psychic! If you want to know about what is going to happen in the future, visit that bizarre Island Mystic or the cryptic Haiku Generator Kougra.
2) Neopian Times Issue 400
The first thing I noticed upon perusal of this issue was the victory of Krawk Island in the Altador Cup, for an article on their recent wins was featured on the front page. I remember this moment quite vividly. I had just come to live with my current owner. Previously, she had always picked Krawk Island for the cup but out of dedication to me, she chose Shenkuu. When the results were released, she ran about tearing her hair in frustration while I nervously plucked at my beard. Needless to say, we were both quite distressed and soon, rather bald. Shenkuu should have won. Obviously the rest of Neopia shared this sentiment because only one article was dedicated to the onerous Krawk Island.
While no attention was paid to the Altador Cup, the Neopian Times reveals that Neopians of that era seemed to have an uncanny obsession with two other items. If my research is correct, and it always is, the entirety of Neopets loved space and the white Weewoo. Now, I lived during this period and remember no such trend, but I am wise so am impervious to the frenzied fads of the youth. Would you believe that there were six articles, stories and comics dedicated to Virtupets, Kreludor and the dreaded Dr. Sloth? My explanation is as follows: writers spend so much time with their heads in the clouds that they just get stuck up there after awhile and cannot come back to earth. Therefore, they write about the only thing that they can see properly from above: space. As for the white Weewoo I have no explanation. There were eight stories and comics dedicated to that feathered fluff-ball! Perhaps Neopians like them because they are costly. My extensive research (actually I just typed in “White Weewoo” into the trading post) shows that they cost about 600,000 neopoints. However, if Neopians only like Weewoos for their price, they should like my beard even more. I spent over a million at the Grooming Parlour cultivating my perfect facial hair. Sadly, my beard is not the subject of Neopian Times articles, even though it should be.
3) Neopian Times Issue 300
Now after complicated statistical analysis (in this case, counting to four), the frenzy over life in space was not so extreme in the past. There were only four articles and comics dedicated to space but none featured Virtupets or Kreludor. Rather, they all were focused upon the dreadfully devious Dr. Sloth. This is an excellent indicator, in my not-so-humble opinion, of how much we have progressed from our barbaric pasts. Clearly a strong cult following of Dr. Sloth means that a large part of the Neopian population was obsessed with violence, subjugation, and the use of fountain faerie quests on buzzes, along with all other manifestations of evil. Now we have progressed to a point where we appreciate heroes (or in Hanso’s case, maybe we only appreciated his fabulous coat) rather than villains.
Although they were all barbarians, Neopians of the past were in one way more sensible than those who wrote for Neopian Times Issue 400. Just as I analyzed what each issue includes, I also pay attention to what is notably missing. In this case, there is a severe lack of weewoo adoration. In fact, one young Neopian even asked in the editorial what is “that little chick” that serves as the mascot for The Times. Oh, what a clear example of that trite old saying, ignorance is bliss.
This particular Times serves as a time capsule for the state of mathematical knowledge at the time. Perhaps the game Maths Nightmare had not been released yet because no one knew how to count. For example, in the comic “300 Reasons Why Not to Own a Petpet,” the author only lists four reasons. However, they made up for their lack of knowledge with an abundance of enthusiasm. It seems that everyone wanted to talk about numbers back in those days! Twenty-three of the stories, articles and comics included the number three hundred in the title. Surely I avoided this bad habit and progressed since the days of my youth. As you can see, my title is truly original and says nothing about five hundred.
4) Neopian Times Issue 200
My first reaction was as follows: “Holy stick-o-mynci, Issue 200 happened in the dark ages!” By simply browsing the editorial I discovered several shocking facts about ancient Neopian life. Apparently Hissis and Yurbles were new species. There was no such thing as the petpet lab ray. Camouflage did not exist as a paint brush color. Even our beloved Altador was not yet a part of Neopia. Do you understand the implications of that fact? THERE WAS NO YOOYUBALL!! Therefore, Neopia must have been a sad place devoid of any fun.
Also, instead of including invigorating articles like this one that have great educational value, all the articles were merely guides to everything on the face of Neopia. Seriously, guides ranged from rules of Neopian etiquette to techniques on Usuki Frenzy. I almost expected to see an article that had managed to blabber on for a thousand words on how to eat Grackle Bug on a Stick without gagging. (Hint: become a Skeith)
5) The First Issue of The Neopian Times and Issue 100
Honestly I can’t tell you much about these two issues. As you may know, they are not archived with most issues of the Times, but rather in a dank, dark, dangerous room that houses issues of The Old Neopian Times. Let me warn you before you go seeking this crypt that The Old Neopian Times burns the eyes. There is bright yellow. Everywhere. I was so blinded that I left after only viewing a few pages. There was also a very busy background that distracted me from the text so it is not my fault that I did not collect much knowledge. But I did discover one important thing about these Neopians of eons past: they must have had super-powers in order to endure looking at the Times for more than half a second!
So let me finally conclude. Thank you so much to The Neopets Team who has made The Neopian Times a readable product for 350 issues (the Old Neopian Times died out at issue 150) and who has worked so hard for 500 issues to keep The Times an essential part of Neopian life. I wouldn’t be so wise without you!