Neopets Are Still Cool: Zimbabowie and Me

Zimbabowie, my rainbow Gnorbu, is very special to me. After a long day of class, work and social engagements, Zimbabowie is my patient and kind companion. He watches me with that bright grin of his while I lay an extensive pipe system to deliver juice to thirsty Meepits.

I’m talking about Neopets, of course. I’m sure you all remember Neopets and now you’re probably wondering how your abandoned Neopets are doing these days.

I’ll tell you how they’re doing – they’re dying. Thankfully, since this is Neopets, your beloved pets may be in a perpetual state of near-death but they’ll never actually bite the bullet.

The fact that I still play Neopets is my not-so-deep, not-so-dark secret. Like many of you out there, I began playing Neopets at a very young age, but it didn’t really hold my interest until embarking on my senior year of high school. A few friends of mine had played obsessively when they were young, and for some reason, had a renewed interest in the Web site.

During lunch, we discussed our high scores, our paintbrush finds and our Pant Devil related strife. We developed a complex system of sharing our resources by adding each other as friends and sending items back and forth through NeoMail. If anyone was in need of NeoPoints, we were there to give them some. If anyone’s Neopet came down with a Neo-malady and needed a Neo-cure that the pharmacy was out of, we would scour the Web site for them.

Neopets was a form of therapy for us. Nothing about it was serious; nothing about it was an obligation or responsibility and there’s nothing like a mindless point-and-click flash game to take your mind off the endless banalities of high school. We held these truths to be self-evident: our Neopets will never leave us, and Faerie Bubbles will never fail to be an effective time-killer.

But like every 10-year-old, we grew out of Neopets. Months later, during my first round of finals during the fall of 2007 here at UCI, I remembered Zimbabowie. He came from a time of band practice and home-cooked dinners, not from a world of humanities core and Del Taco five nights per week.

I broke down and tried to log into my old account. The username had something to do with being the queen of a land called “Morbidia,” revealing a frighteningly embarrassing picture of my young psyche. Needless to say, I opted for a new account. I logged back on and found my old friend in the Neopian state of perpetual dying and never looked back.

Neopets helps me avoid a lot of things – it appeals to my capitalist sensibilities and it’s the most enjoyable way to unwind. I’ve had friends ask what I actually do on the Web site.

“Do you even get to fight them?” my friend, a shameless Pokemon addict, asked.

I could battle if I wanted, but even a virtual dog fight leaves a bad taste in my mouth. However, Zimbabowie is a proficient underwater fisher. I keep to playing brightly colored flash games, feeding fictional cartoon animals strange food items and hoarding Neopoints.

Nearly all my friends played Neopets when they were younger and some of them even had their own guilds. Still others had their accounts frozen due to intricate Neopoint laundering schemes.

I bet you want to log on now, don’t you? Sparkleshine, your blue Kacheek, misses you.