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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 14th day of Eating, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 35 > Articles > Neo-what?

Neo-what?

by lor_ell

I'm afraid I must begin my article in that barren, boring and humourless time that shall now be known as "Life Before NeoPets." The time when only a pathetic prototype of a virtual pet existed: a bizarre and crudely drawn creature that marched monotonously across your desktop, drawing your eye and entertaining for a whopping five minutes, until you came to the sad conclusion that this was not a clever ploy on the creature's behalf. A trick to lull you into a sense of boredom, before magically turning into something interesting and spectacular. No. Thirty minutes of downloading time and this was, in fact, the entirety of the result. Sad but true. However, while this feeble graphic was lazily blinking at you from its precarious perch on your word processing icon, plans were being made. One the surface, simple plans. In reality? World domination. A Web site that would change lives and welcome literally millions of people into the wacky, the wonderful, the weird world of Neopia.

It all started when your friends started to act strangely. A zoned out look here, a dreamy smile there... almost as if they were on a different planet. You begin to realise that your circle of life is changing. You can't explain why, but you feel excluded. As if the world knows something that you don't. Paranoia? Perhaps. But what are these words that keep slipping into conversation? What's a "Lupe", a "PetPet", a "Neopoint"? To ask these questions and display your apparently quite staggering ignorance is to be met with a look of disbelief. After all, anyone who's ANYONE in the cyber world has heard of NeoPets.

And then one day it happens. Neopia reaches out its sticky web and draws you in. During a study period, while contemplating an hour of hideous boredom and the heinously absurd idea that you might have to resort to actually STUDYING, you realise that a friend does not look so bored. In fact, she's typing away fast and furiously. You gape... is she... is she?!? She is!! She is SMILING at SCHOOL!?! Drawn by your curiosity, you look over her shoulder and are met with your first glimpse of the colour and shapes of Neopia. Your hand begins to creep towards the mouse.

From there on, the rest is history. One visit to NeoPets is never enough. Suddenly you are no longer just living your ordinary life. You are the proud owner of a bouncing, demanding baby NeoPet, working in your own shop, building your home and making friends with people just as hooked as you. Apparently NeoPets is not just a Web site, it's a way of life. Sure, your ordinary life continues as normal, mixing with two Earthly cliques: the NeoPets Players and the "Ignorants". Just as the site is starting to lose its appeal, you discover the answer to that all eluding question: "What is a guild?" and discover a whole new facet to your addiction. You can almost hear a princess or the daughter of a president or prime minister saying to her parent: "YOU'VE had a hard day?!? Running a country? Child's play. Try running a guild."

But where will it all end? The "real world" and the world of NeoPets are beginning to mix, to entwine. Our NeoPets will soon be off to their schools, we owners to ours. NeoPets merchandise is starting to leak into stores. Are we destined to one day walk past a bus stop and see two old ladies comparing their photos:

"This is my youngest grandchild."

"Oh, really? Isn't he sweet."

"Yes. And this is my Lupe"

"Oh really!! Oh, how simply adorable!! I have a Kacheek, don't you know."

So we play the site. We leave our world and spend a few blissful hours in Neopia. We make solid friendships and celebrate real triumphs and suffer real disappointments. Do we become too involved? Probably. But the question is simple. Would we rather live with NeoPets or without it? And I think we all know the answer to that. :)


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