What Neopets Taught Me About Life
I am prepared to defend this claim to the death: Neopets is the greatest kids’ game website ever.
Neopets is a virtual pet site created in 1999 by Adam Powell and his then-girlfriend (now-wife) Donna. More than just a series of little mini games to pass the time, Neopets is it’s its own little world, a replica of Earth. It’s called Neopia and is complete with its own stock market, economy, and infrastructure. Logging into the site is like entering a parallel universe: everything is a slightly different copy of something that exists in the real world. What one actually does on the site is a bit harder to explain: you take care of your pets, yes, but you can also manage a store, have a job, do quests, play games, go on forums, open a gallery to show off your hard-to-find items, and so on.
I used to spend hours in Neopia, trying to explore all there was – the site is surprisingly complex, so understanding it took a while. Now that I’m familiar with how it’s done, I play quick, short games and stick to the menial tasks of everyday life: I restock my shop, put items in my gallery, feed my pets, check my interest levels at the bank, check my stock portfolio. These seem like mock adult things now, but as a kid the possibilities were endless. In real life we don’t earn money by playing Meerca Chase II over and over again, but Neopets is a metaphor for the world and prepared me for life. See, I learned nothing in my high school math class, but I learned all about the stock market while restocking my shop playing Neopets.