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Emergent Gameplay of Neopia


by welikedots

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     Hello there, I’m writing from the frosted cobblestones of Neovia to bring you a story about the fascinating culture of emergent gameplay that comes from our boards here on Neopets. Emergent gameplay refers to user created and motivated games that grow as a result of official mechanics. In today’s cases I will be focusing on community run events and activities that exist outside of guilds, because those could be in a whole article for themselves!

     Pet Adoptions

     Pet adoptions have been around since I was a small Mynci swinging around the oasis floor of Tyrannia. You’re likely familiar with the subject and thus I thought it’d be a good first example to begin with. If you’re not familiar, a pet adoption usually occurs when a Neopian decides they don’t have the time to dedicate to all theirs pets, and would therefore like to find a new home for one of them. The pet will be “UFA,” or up for adoption, and the user will make a board advertising as such. They’re looking for the best fit for their Neopet, maybe someone who will take care of them forever or someone who has been dreaming of owning such a pet for a long time! All a user can require from an applicant is a neomail stating interest, but often interested parties go much the extra mile. Some of the most creative petpages I’ve ever come across have come from pet applications, filled with beautiful stories, imagery, customizations, you name it! While only one new owner can be picked, pages can be reused as project pages (which track the Neopians journey to finding a certain pet), or can be used as an application for a later pet. This is the perfect example of emergent gameplay that occurs from the otherwise simple mechanic of adopting one pet out to another person.

     Pet Trading Auctions

     If you’re a regular to the Pound Chat board, it’s no secret that trading has been stagnating lately. With a price decrease of rare species morphing potions like the Draik and Krawk due to the Forgotten Shore daily, paired with inflation, Fountain Faerie Quests, and other site features making it easier to paint converted pets, there hasn’t been a lot to trade for lately on the converted market. We have seen an increase in popularity in certain name conventions, but in general it’s slow going.. At least it was, until one of our members took it into their own hands to introduce a new style of trading. There has been a small revolution with the introduction of Pet Auctions, a user motivated game that relies on communication, trust, and a little luck. The rules are as follows: You may place a pet up for auction, and others may bid their own pets in return. In putting a pet up for auction, you agree to the rules of the game and you’re making a gentleman’s agreement that by the decided end time, you will choose a pet to trade for! This game has stimulated trading in a way I haven’t seen in months; Neopians are ending up with pets they never would have considered or been offered on the otherwise slow-going boards, and often pets are finding unexpected permanent homes with new owners! Of course, to play you have to be willing to accept that your pet may not get any offers in return that you love, it’s a risk - and while there’s no real consequence to not following through, this rule makes it fun for the bidders who know that by the end a pet will be chosen and will go to a new home. This emergent gameplay has only been around for a few months now, but thanks to the dedicated hosts of the auctions, generally the boards involved go fast and smooth like a well-oiled clock! They’re extremely fun to watch and to participate in, as long as you understand the agreed upon rules and are a good sport. Who knows, maybe your unappreciated pet will find a great new home, or maybe you’ll find the most lovely addition to your neohome!

     Invisible Customizations

     Not too long ago, invisible pets were considered some of the least desired; after all, you can’t see them at all! However, an interesting new trend has been increasing in popularity as of late in the form of invisible pet customizations. Their unique paint job opens up the world of design to boundless possibilities. Some users are dedicating pets to showing off landscapes, or using a customizable invisible pet (such as a Blumaroo) to create entirely unique looking creatures! I’ve seen an invisible Blumaroo who looks like the kraken from Krawk Island and another that looks like an undead flying petpet! It’s a new trend bringing a spark of creativity to the world of customization, and the only way it could be improved is if more invisible pets had the option to wear clothes.

     Neopian Times & Beauty Contest Collaborations

     It wouldn’t be right to forget something about the Neopian Times you’re likely reading now! Hosted by a few dedicated users, NT collaboration weeks choose a theme and dedicates an issue of the Times towards it. Other article writers and artists are encouraged to participate by following the chosen theme and submitting to the Neopian Times for the same edition. A few previous themes have been “Magic and Curses” edition 837, and “Dreams and Nightmares” edition 738! You’ll even find special themed backgrounds on those editions, showing TNT’s support of the events! It’s incredible what we can do when we collaborate and work together. Similar theme weeks are created by users on the art board focused on Beauty Contest entries. Artists are encouraged to use the themes such as “Doodle Week”. Often times the theme between the NT Collaboration and Beauty Contest Collab are the same, promoting cross publication unity. Such themes encourage camaraderie and community even in a contest setting!

     There are endless examples of emergent gameplay across Neopia, and more pop up every day, which is why it’s so interesting to live here! I hope this article encourages you to get out there to the boards and experience some of these things firsthand. Thank you for listening to me, and have a wonderful day! Signing out,

     -Mads

     

 
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