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Something Fishy About the National Neopian


by queenjadia

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Most of us have grown to know and love the National Neopian. Represented by an Ionic column wearing a triangular hat on the yellow shop scroll, it gives us a chance to hide our money from thieves such as the Tax beast and to collect interest. We are greeted each time we enter by a kind-of-reluctant-looking Skeith who says something polite, refined, and ignored as we scroll down to deposit our money. For those who are uncomfortable carrying around all of their money wherever they go, the bank is a haven that no words can describe. But, as with all things we respect and admire, we begin to grow suspicious as time goes on. The bank may have been a nice, normal virtual bank (as far as virtual banks go) back in the golden days when people under thirteen were considered mature enough to write descriptions about their pets. Nowadays, one domineering piece of evidence shows us that the bank isn't really what we think it is - the game Trouble at the National Neopian.

This game is a clear tribute to our beloved bank and the Neopians who wish to guard it from danger. I personally enjoy it - catching thieves, intentionally misusing the security system when I lose a life on level one, and getting freaked out by the Quiggle. I like the Quiggle. But as I continued playing, I became aware of how strange the National Neopian had become. People needing only to walk in through the door to deposit money, with no tellers? Tax-beast-phobes who deposit money every time they earn a single-digit number of Neopoints? Thieves dressed super-conspicuously and entering in the most obvious manner possible? A security system that lets thieves out within the second they were captured? And why do the thieves steal money from you instead of the bank? Why would the Skeith, who seems to be the sole employee in this bank which hundreds of thousands of people visit daily, let this game make a mockery of his bank?

Perhaps it's a warning to us that the bank may not be as safe as we think. Then again, it's impossible to rob a virtual bank with no accessible vaults, and definitely not by entering through the door, wearing a ski mask, and looking threatening. After earning a few Neopoints, I decided to investigate the bank again. The Skeith gave me the same automated response and glared slightly to my left, showing off his blue striped tie draped over his hand. Why doesn't he like looking people in the eye? And why is withdrawing too many times a crime, yet depositing too many times is not? Other than the bank being almost completely surrounded by advertisements, I felt comfortable here and decided there was nothing to be skeptical about inside the normal bank. But this bank-clone that we try to defend from obvious attackers was still pretty suspicious.

I call it a bank-clone because it is, obviously, some mutated form of our beloved bank gone wrong. Here is a short list of the things that distinguish it from the non-Flash version:

1. The sign reads "Neopian National Bank" instead of "National Neopian Bank," as the title says. Is this vandalism, or the creator's way of distinguishing this one from an entirely different bank? Suggested by the different material put into making this sign, it was probably put up by vandals.

2. The structure of the bank in the game and in Neopia Central are completely different in every aspect except for the triangular roof... part... thing. What is it called? The game bank has a cool chimney-like hat, while the regular bank looks kind of like a mushroom.

3. The food shop and auction house are not visible next to the game bank, and there is also a pavement path in the game. That one door in the front magically becomes six doors.

The game bank is clearly some kind of alternate-dimension form of the National Neopian, maybe from some mirror world, yet they are so interchangeable that we sometimes refer to the game as "the National Neopian" and refer to the real National Neopian as "the bank." (The hatted Ionic column may also be an alternate dimension form, but I have recognized it as their mascot, Mr. Ionic Hatty, who is POSING as a bank.) But someone decided to use this alternate dimension bank in the game, and someone chose to create it. Our suspicion moves from determining whether the game bank is really the National Neopian, which it is clearly not, to figuring out why the freaky alternate dimension bank was used instead of the real one. Why would the bank refused to be recognized in the only game to feature a Neopia Central shop and use a clone instead? Who would move the spotlight from our beloved bank?

After a number of scientific experiments which mostly consisted of me determining the effects of ingested jelly on jelly Chombies and ingested jelly Chombies on jelly, I have determined that green jelly has special powers over the other colors. And then I started thinking about the bank again. We get a clearer view of the inside of that column with a hat by playing the game, yet it might not be the actual bank. It's hard to tell. The entire bank-clone used in the game may have been developed by the Skeith as revenge for us a) not greeting him back and b) not admiring his tie. Freaking us out that the bank is unsafe and strangely run is a harmless form of revenge for our ingratitude. Maybe a criminal mastermind was trying to alert us about what they have in store for the bank. Maybe some guy that makes plastic swans for a living got tired of making plastic swans and decided to make a replica of the bank for us to play in. Or maybe it was a maker of virtual doors.

Or maybe, I'm just inventing random conspiracies and the game was developed by a group of people, including some Flash experts, who thought this was a cool idea and would entertain us.

Nah.

 
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