Neopets (PC : BROWSER)
Release Date: November 15th, 1999
Publisher: Neopets Inc.; Viacom Inc
Developer: Neopets, Inc.
Genre: MMORPG - Browser - Fantasy
Posted: September 21st, 2007
Last Updated: September 21st, 2007
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Neopets is a browser based game that is in essense a series of mini-games (flash/shockwave) with elements of scripted events and areas that relate and interact with your virtual pet(s). Neopets is based around these player-owned virutal pets that inhabit the world of Neopia. Player can own up to four neopets in which they can buy food for, buy accessories to wear and other items which can be used in other ways. The currency you will be using are Neopoints, which can be acquired playing games, trading/selling items, or winning contests. Players can explore different places in Neopia using flash (or image) driven interactivity to find shops and other places of interest/interactivity.
There is hundreds if not thousands of different pages all guided through clickables on the Neopia map and area system. These pages can contain shops, php-script bases games (like card games), flash games, events for your Neopets to take part in (like a prize wheel), quests and other seemingly random informative/humorous pages. Most of these pages can be accessed from the basic navigational panel that is available to everybody on the site.
Neopets kind of reminds me of Pokemon, in fact, it was most undoubtedly based off of Pokemon. Although the founders of Neopets explained they wanted to go more a less-cute version of Pokemon, it seems they have almost abandoned that idea as more and more younger kids are being brought into Neopets, and as such their content must appeal to them, to ultimately make advertising dollars. A lot like a Pokemon is your Neopet which can actually increase in strength, agility, endurance, intelligence and level.
I probably know what you are thinking: "Why the hell are you playing Neopets". The answer is fairly easy to answer: it's addicting as hell. I can criticize all day how bad the economics are, how bad some of the games are, how unbalanced systems are, but the simple fact is, no matter how poor the content, it is still addicting. One of my weakest points is I love a large selection of items to collect and gather. Neopets takes this to a bold new level. I mean, there's probably close to 100,000 items in the game, if not more with new ones coming out daily or weekly. I think, to me any ways, this is the most addicting aspect of Neopets. It doesn't even factor in to me anymore that this might be a kiddy or childish game, because I really don't care, JUST GIVE ME MORE ITEMS!
The main economy of Neopets is driven mostly from the shops in which players usually buy out everything in the store within minutes or seconds. These shops restock every eight minutes (approximately). These items that player buy usually are sold in player-shops at a inflated prize or kept for personal/collection use. The most important of these items are items that can be used in battle (weapons, magic, potions) and food that can be used to feed your Neopet. Unfortunately to most, food items are practically useless as their is many places in which you can feed your Neopet for free, or if not at a very low price. Once your pet has been feed, it usually takes a day or so before he needs to eat again, making food even less useful in my opinion. Even so, there is many expensive types of food which in essence do the same thing for your pet, the difference is they are more rare, or harder to get in the Neopian world, creating an economy based on rarity of items, not usefulness.
One of the huge downfalls to Neopets is that it is a browser-based game, and as such there is many problems. Mainly these consist of: incompatibility on some browsers/systems, cookie/login problems to some, and hacking/cheating running rampant. Cheating is a huge problem for Neopets. Mostly everything on the Neopets site uses server requests and as such many things can be faked or cheated through hacking or automated problems (such as auto buyers that will automatically buy items for you from shops). Or in the case of flash games: some of the flash games use simple dynamics to score points, and as such, programming languages like Visual Basic and AutoIt can easily mimic human input that is needed, scoring high-scores and getting you a trophy, or winning world contests.