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Nostalgia and the Niche 2021 Neopets Presence

Neopets

By Alleah Boisvert

Anyone who spent enough time on the Internet in the 2000s was probably familiar with the groundbreaking multiplayer online game, Neopets. Started in 1999 by an independent media company, the virtual pet website built enough hype to be bought out by Viacom for $160 million USD in 2005 and peaked into the mid-2000s. 

Photo via Danii Meger

Danii Meger, a collector and voice over actor living in Vancouver, started playing in 2001 when she was a kid and has kept her account since.

“When I started out, I was [about] 5 so you don’t really understand what you’re doing or anything like that. At that point it was just cute pets, play games. So, it wasn’t until I got older, 10 or 12, that I was like, oh, this is how you play the game,” said Meger.

Meger, who still spends time weekly connecting with Neofriends online, started getting more involved with the side of the game older players enjoy, like quests, boards, and collectibles. 

As kids, lots of users looked to Neopets to learn about basic HTML coding, internet safety, online economies, and investing and saving money. Since the near beginning of Neopets, Meger has built up an impressive online Neopets presence.

“You get noticed or you have an established base of Neofriends that you don’t know in real life. So, people would talk to you on the Neoboards, people would Neomail you, I had people asking if they could adopt my pets or buy my pets for Neopoints. Or, look for specific items I was selling or recognize my username,” said Meger.

Although it isn’t the cultural phenomenon it used to be, longtime players who were heavily involved in the extensive community are still playing today. Meger thinks that many people who are still involved in the Neopets community are now adults who have had their accounts since childhood, like her.

“It’s the same people, and they keep pretending like it’s a kid’s site, it’s not. Those kids are now adults and they’re still playing,” said Meger.

Other online communities have recently been bringing up areas of nostalgia, and Neopets is a common theme. Childhood players are curious about the nostalgic feeling behind memories like the Giant Omelette, the Snowager, and Hasee Bounce.

“If anybody wants to get back into it or to know if it’s worth it, […] I feel like it really depends on what you want to get out of it. It’s not going to be the exact same as it was when you were a kid. It’s been 15 to 20 years for some people. So, it’s worth going on and seeing if the thing you liked is still fun [for you]. Because it could be, there’s a chance,” said Meger.

Check out more of Meger’s neat Neopets content, streams, and other niche collections and hobbies through her Twitch, TikTok, and Instagram @masqueradesfox.

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