Ann over at For the Long Run says: I want to hear about a web site and not just about any old web site. I want to hear about a web site that’s changed your life. A web site that you can’t live without. A web site whose inventor you’d like to see win a McArthur Genius Grant.
I LOVE Neopets! It’s KIND of like those Webkinz things that kids go crazy over, but you DON’T have to buy the multitude of stuffed animals to mess up your kids rooms BEFORE you can play. This is great for young kids AND it doesn’t cost a thing!**
Here’s how it works: you use your name and email address to sign up, you have to create a user name and password. That’s really it. The pets look like cats, pterodactyls, frogs, cows, etc. and you can name them whatever you want — there are a lot of users so you may have to be creative to find one that hasn’t been taken yet. You can create as many pets as you like, but remember you have to take care of each of them, feed them, and play with them.
Feeding and playing with your pet: You play games to earn points (neopoints) and with those points you feed your pet, buy books for them to read, toys, you can even buy clothes, etc. Sometimes you win food from games (Fruit Machine, Dice-A-Roo) or other items. Besides the main shops, you can own your own shop to sell items, there are also auctions, and a simple shop comparison wizard that allows you to find the cheapest price on the items you wish to purchase. You have a neopoints balance and also can open a bank account that draws interest — but YOU have to login and collect the interest daily. Pets can battle each other and even get a job! You can send messages to your neopian friends as well through a simple intraprogram email system.
Vacation: THAT makes it easier than the little key chain thingys as well, because your pets will never die. Not that I advocate abandoning your pet (they have an adoption agency, if you MUST abandon them), but I have gotten busy and forgotten and like a month later, they were still going, just hungry! You do have the chance as I said to put the pets on vacation (like a hotel) and they are fed and looked after for however many days (up to a month) and then you get the email to let you know they are off of vacation and need to be looked after again.
Free Food: There are also ways to get free food or points such as the money tree if you have only certain number of points–good for when you first sign up, or if you explore Neopia (the world) you can go to the plateau of Tyrannia and see the giant egg that breaks open and spills omelet everywhere, you can get a free slice once a day, which has 3 bites to it, and will take your pet from hungry to full!
Games: The games are awesome and a lot are similar to games you already know, they are colorful and many are very very simple to play. There are sponsored games such as ones by cereals you are familiar with, and you can earn a lot of points through them, due to having to look a Toucan Sam or whatever. Games are as varied as word games, kids style poker, hide and seek, action and adventure, you name it, they’ve got it.
All in all, Neopets is an awesome website for kids of all ages, it teaches responsibility, game skills and in some small ways, balancing money.
**note: if you’re so inclined, there are ways now to spend money doing this, but you don’t EVER have to, you just have to not make your kids aware, OR, not allow them to do so! They have ways to spend ‘neocash’ now but you can ‘buy’ clothes for your neopet to wear, but they’re perfectly happy naked, OR you can buy them clothes with neopoints, which you earn from games.