Simply put, Neopets is a Web site that allows members to create and care for virtual creatures. Creating a Neopets account is free. The Web site is supported by the money they make through advertising and marketing, which we'll discuss in more detail in Behind the Scenes. Each account can have up to four Neopets, and there are currently 53 varieties to choose from. The pets themselves are loosely based on animals or fantasy creatures.
At the most basic level, caring for a Neopet simply requires feeding it every few days. There are other ways to interact with the pet, however. You can make your pets more intelligent by "reading" books to them, for example. You can acquire toys, food and other items in several ways. You can purchase them with Neopoints (NPs), the currency of Neopia, the fantasy realm where all this takes place. A simple food item like a cheeseburger might cost 200 NPs, while rare items can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of points. Some games within the Neopets site give out items as prizes, and occasionally items are awarded as random events.
There are three primary ways to earn Neopoints:
- Playing games - there are currently over 140 games to choose from. They range from simple memory games to complicated 3D action games. Some games reward dexterity and skill while others reward math skills or an extensive vocabulary.
- Filling out marketing surveys or signing up with Neopets affiliates.
- Selling or auctioning off items within the Neopets' shop and auction systems.
From time to time, the creative team at Neopets constructs a storyline that will help shape Neopia. The storylines can be influenced by Neopets users, usually through playing a certain game or trying to solve a puzzle. As a result of the storyline's outcome, a new area may appear or a villain may leave Neopia. For example, when Tyrannia was invaded by monsters, Neopets had to fight them off in the Tyrannian Battledome.
Next, we'll find out why Neopets is one of the Web's "stickiest" sites and see where else the Neopets have appeared.