10/18 – Neopets

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Back in the 90’s, Tomogachi’s were huge and everyone wanted a keyfob containing their own virtual pet. After a time though, people started to realize that the experience was pretty shallow though and started looking for something with a bit more depth. By the end of the Tomogachi craze, virtual pet simulators were coming out all over the place but one in particular caught on big with kids my age in the early 2000’s. Today’s game is Neopets, developed by Adam Powell and Donna Williams in 1999 and released on web browsers everywhere.

Neopets is a virtual pet simulator played on your web browser through Adobe Flash. Players sign up for an account and then get to create their very own pet based on many different types of fictional animals. While most neopets are available from the start, some have to be unlocked by participating in games, completing quests or hatching them from eggs. There are also premium neopets that may only be available during limited time events or that players would have to buy.

Once you get started with your neopet, you can play various minigames or compete against other neopets. Minigames help win neopoints which can be used to buy various items. Neopets also have their own stats so raising them and feeding them right will help to build up their stats. Neopets can then fight in arena battles akin to Monster Rancher. Neopets can get injured or sick but they cannot die. If you don’t take care of your pet though, certain games and events will be locked out until your pet gets healthy again.

Neopets has consistently remained one of the top children’s entertainment websites for two decades. During the mid-2000’s, Neopets was praised for being family-friendly and also inviting to girls, at a time when games were increasingly violent and often targeting boys. That said, Neopets has always skirted controversy throughout it’s time due to the use of product placement and marketing in a children’s game as well as being one of the first mainstream uses of microtransactions in gaming. Still the controversy has never been enough to hold them back for long and Neopets remains popular to this day.

Thank you so much for listening! I apologize for being unavailable yesterday but Amazon support was able to help bring Video Game of the Day back up quickly so shout out to them. If you want to hear what happened, go check out videogameoftheday.com or my Twitter account @vg_oftheday. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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