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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

A Place to Call Home - Neopets on its 20th birthday

Neopets celebrated its 20th birthday recently.  I have a lot of fond memories of this website that has, inexplicably, followed me throughout some of the more stressful periods of my life. 

Like many people my age, Neopets was one of the first websites I ever visited.  I remember loading up the PC in the dining room, gritting my teeth as the internet made the familiar dial up internet screeches.  It was worth it though to be welcomed by the friendly yellow of the Neopets home screen and the smiling face of my pet Aisha who I had named MiniLara.  (I was, and in many ways still am, in love with the Tomb Raider series)

My family lived in a small village away from my school friends so I often felt isolated.  Neopets made me feel less lonely, I could play with my pet and talk to other people on the Neoboards.  This was back in the early days of the internet and because I was not yet 13, I had to get my Mum to sign a letter and send it to America to give me permission to access the message boards.  How times have changed!

I largely forgot about Neopets as I passed through high school and university, until I was hospitalised in 2013.  Long hours spent in a ward with a need for something, anything, comforting, I stumbled back onto Neopets.  I created a new account out of boredom.  I slipped back into the daily routine of tasks and taking care of my pet easily.  Those were some dark days and my new Usul AriasShard kept me company when others couldn’t.  In some ways she saved my life.  Just knowing that I could log on and see a friendly face made a huge difference.

Fast forward to today.  I log into my account again and immediately feel like I’m home.  The familiar rhythm of dailies and games and looking after my pet came easily.  The game welcomed me back with open arms, and I am ready to sink into its comfortable embrace once more.  Just in time for the advent calendar.

I’m so happy you made it, Neopets.  20 years is a long time on the internet.  One thing is for sure, I would miss you if you left.  Thank you for being my friend when I felt alone in the world.  Without you, I’m not sure I would still be here.

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