If you’re an early twenty-something Internet user with a fair grasp of HTML and an unusual penchant for omelets, odds are you picked up both of those traits from playing Neopets at some point in your life.
But no matter what I did back then, it never quite felt like enough to actually buy the things I wanted to buy.
The asking price for rarer items were always just beyond my reach.
There was also once a Neopet of Macy Gray brandishing a ray-gun. In order to manage the influx of visitors, Williams and Powell sold the site to media research expert (and Church of Scientologist member) Doug Dohring, who moved Neopets headquarters to Southern California and set to work making the site into a family-friendly media empire through the use of “immersive advertising”—basically, by sneaking ads for actual products into places where kids would be more likely to remember them.
It was during this period of growth that I first came across the site in the fourth or fifth grade.
Immediately I fell in love with Neopia and all it had to offer: I’d spend hours reading up on the staff murder mystery events, pouring over neo HTML tutorials to create the best pet pages ever, roleplaying in the (very restricted, heavily censored) chat fairies, and believe me when I say it took a while to break the habit of using the English spelling after Neopets had indoctrinated me so thoroughly—to submit to the Neopian Times.
(Also, I have a very vivid memories of breaking up with my fifth grade crush after he attempted to sabotage my Eventually I got older and started to spot the ads a little more clearly as they became more and more pronounced, and sometime around 2003 I fell out of the habit and couldn’t pick it back up no matter how many times I tried.