On November 15, 2017, Neopets celebrated its 18th birthday. The game, which peaked in the early 2000’s, was an integral part of millennial childhoods and played a huge role in shaping today’s internet culture.
While it might seem like a relic from the past that no one really pays attention to anymore, many people today are actually still very much interested in the game.
Ex-players have been trying to get access to their old accounts lately, and the website has been seeing a slow rise in new players. Its official Facebook page also has a following of over 200,000 people, which is pretty decent considering its decline over the years.
And, despite dealing with the stress of unresolved tickets, many people have responded positively to the birthday celebration (for the most part):
While it’s not likely to undergo a full-on revival, it may be comforting to some that people are still working to make sure this fragment of our childhoods isn’t lost forever. This is especially important today, as a lot of nostalgic things from the 90s are quickly disappearing - it started with Blockbuster, then Cartoon Network, then Club Penguin, and now it’s happening with Toys R Us.
The Rolling Stone published an interesting article that talked about the importance of Neopets for young girls in particular, stating that it was “a safe place for girls to play in an unoften unfriendly Internet” and that it allowed them to “create a culture of play that supported a breadth of creative endeavours.”
For many young girls, Neopets wasn’t just a game - it was also a chance to experiment with the then-growing digital landscape. Many of them were introduced to coding via Neopets, as they began to teach themselves how to design websites and fan pages for their Neopets. Those very same girls grew up to become developers and software engineers in today’s tech industries.
"[Neopets] just literally introduced me to the concept of, 'you can build a thing on the computer and it shows up on the screen,'" says Nina Freeman, a game designer. "I had to be 12. I was really young."
Hopefully, games like Neopets lives one to continue to inspire the next generation as much as it has inspired millennials!