Neopets: Why I Partially Owe My Success to it’s Online Community

April 9, 2011 at 5:40 PM 2 comments

I remember the days when Neopets was a big deal. I remember when it wasn’t a big deal before it was a big deal. I probably got my first Neopet when I was 10 years old, almost 10 years ago. My very first Neopet was a blue Shoyru.

I was quite sure it was the cutest thing in the world. I fed it, trained it, read books to it so it would get smarter, played online games, drew pictures of it, wrote stories about it, created coding for it’s own “Pet Lookup” (homepage) and had loads of fun. I traded items for Neopoints, or for other items, with various users. I learned the secrets of the marketplace, and checking for prices to see that I always bought items cheaper than what they were normally sold for, and that I was always selling at just slightly above. I role-played and desperately did not want to be called a “n00b” so I made sure to learn proper spelling and grammar. I earned my title of “literate” on Neopets quickly. People drew pictures of their Neopets for contests, so of course I had to rigorously practice in all my favorite styles.

I did not draw this, but this is VERY similar to the drawings that I was proud of when I was eleven. After a while, I still didn’t feel like I was doing enough to have a successful Neopets career so I created a website where I used to make Custom or Pre-made Userlookups and Pet Lookups for people. I don’t even remember what that website was called, but it was my first real attempt at CSS and HTML. All this time I was self-taught, using bits and pieces of online tutorials and a lot of trial and error. By the time I was 13 years old I was a Neopets Pro. I had my own website that people visited frequently to get custom designs for their lookups, I was drawing like crazy, I must have had over a million NeoPoints, I was constantly improving my writing skills for the roleplaying, and I was also learning how to care for something that would “become ill” if I did not care for it. It might have been a game, but at this point I was learning skills that would prove very valuable in my current adult life.

After a while I almost “outgrew” Neopets and the young crowd that was populating it’s forums. It was around the time they started selling Neopets cereal and stuffed plushies. I followed links to other websites that introduced me to a world of professional skill levels. I learned about Wacom drawing tablets, Adobe Photoshop, Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9.0 (now Corel), dSLR cameras, lighting, PHP, XHTML, and other things. I studied all of my favorite artists and authors and photographers like it would save my life.

By the time I was 15 years old I was outgrowing my own Digital Point and Shoot Camera, and I had purchased my Wacom Intuos3 4×6 tablet (something I use DAILY for artistic purposes), I was very skilled using Photoshop 7.0, Paint Shop Pro 9.0, and Animation Shop Pro 3.0. I started saving money for my own dSLR camera, because I knew that I needed to go pro to get that quality look in my pictures that I was after. Little did I know that the drive I have had since a small child to improve my hobbies from an online game community would lead me down a path of creative profit.

Now I am skilled in using a computer and familiar with maintaining websites, two things that I use daily for my job. I get paid for my art skills to paint faces, take pictures, and other oddball things. I have a basic understanding of marketplaces such as eBay from using the NeoMarketplace. I am a skilled and imaginative writer, because I used to study writing all the time so I would improve for roleplaying. I remember to check on certain things, like I used to do with my Neopet so it wouldn’t starve.

I have two dSLRs with three lenses, a Canon printer/scanner/copier combo, a computer with 1 TB of hard drive space and 8 GB of RAM, my trust-rusty Wacom Tablet, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and plenty of other hard-earned goodies that I have worked hard for so I could do the things I love doing. I almost have a complete studio that many people twice my age would love to have, and I am working toward professional level goals from my “hobbies”.

I would like to give a special thanks to the Neopets community for fueling my fire at an early age and helping shape me into the well-rounded creative person that I am today. It was some great years of my life.

Happy Adventures,


Entry filed under: A Day in the Life, Art, Entertainment, Gratitude. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

APPLES AND MANGOES (via shikuscafe) A Walk Through My Yard (Photographs!)

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. starrlife  |  April 10, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Geesh Heather- you sure know how to maximize time in a life! By my age you are going to be running the world!

    • 2. Heather  |  April 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      How did you know? 😛 Maybe I’ll share my crown.


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Reading: just about anything I can get my hands on, other blogs, and especially YA Fiction Novels. Lately I have been really into anything by SARK and other non-fiction books. __________________________________ Writing: updates for my blog, a children's book, music/lyrics, and letters to pen pals. ;) __________________________________ Singing: Warm-Ups. __________________________________ Learning: How to use my voice as an instrument, History of Art, Watercolor, how to be actively involved in creating a better community, and something new every single day. __________________________________ Hoping for: Wisdom and patience when things are hard, a smile no matter what, and a better community. __________________________________ Dreaming about: HAPPINESS __________________________________ Eating: <3 Peanut Butter Pie. Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies. __________________________________ Drinking: Water, usually. __________________________________ Playing: The Sims 3, Dance Central, and the Piano and Guitar. __________________________________ Watching: Christmas/Halloween movies, Who's the Boss? reruns, and crazy-cool documentaries about dead people. __________________________________ Listening to: Informative & Educational Podcasts, all kinds of music, and trying to listen to my parents (they are very wise, after all).

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Heather loves hats that are designed to look like cute animals, fairy wings, cheese pizza, swimming in ponds, roller blading, taking silly self-portraits, learning, spending time with people, and just about everything else too. Heather does not love ... well, there isn't a lot that she doesn't love. You can probably figure it out after a little while!

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