I'm NOT Too Old – A Rant
Recently, after a little hiatus from my Neopets obsession, I have returned to Neopia and my poor starving pets (sorry, guys - how about a nice luxury Neolodge stay and we'll call it even?). You know how it is – school, work, friends, and home life get in the way and eat up all of your time. But since my return I have been eagerly collecting missed avatars, playing the games I love, and visiting the Neoboards to chat about what I've missed. The community is still the same welcoming and fun community that I remember (aside from a few bad apples)... but the real world? Not so much.
I made the mistake of telling a few friends about my rekindling of my Neopets account, and was greeted with a chorus of laughter! Some of them said 'wait, you're not serious, are you?' and others 'you know that's a kid's site, right?' So I sat in my silence and shame and pretended that yes, I was kidding, I would never play on a website for children... But I'll confess that I wanted to scream at them all. I'm NOT too old for Neopets! Why in the world should I be ashamed about something that makes me happy?
Contrary to the belief of my friends, and maybe some of yours too, Neopets is NOT just a kid's site. In fact, I would wager that a large chunk of the community is comprised of teenagers and older. Personally I have a grandmother that still plays on here! And why do the older people stay? Here are a few reasons for you:
The Nostalgia: Here's an easy one: a lot of the community of older Neopets players have been playing since they were little. There's something so nice about that wave of nostalgia when you log on to your old account and play some of the games you used to love. (And if you're like me, there's something even nicer in checking out your bank account and seeing a nice amount of NP that you forgot you left in there! Cha ching!) The nostalgia factor is a big one in bringing back older players... and the rest of the reasons I'll list keep them here.
The Games: If you can sit through writing an entire essay for school, or studying for a test without taking a break to do something unproductive, I salute you. For most people though, this is an impossibility. That's where Neopets is such a great option. There are an incredible amount of games on this website, all catered to different skills and interests, so it is impossible not to find something you like. And while the games may feature cute cartoon Neopets, they require skill, persistence and luck to master them – things that you only get better at with practice and age.
Also, I know many of my friends will play normal Solitaire or Sudoku when they're bored or stressed. I play Sakhmet Solitaire and Roodoku. What's the difference? The Neopets games are great as we all get older and have real world responsibilities that we need a break from.
The Challenge: Neopets is much more than just the games though, and this is what many people do not understand. It is an entire world on a website, with numerous lands to discover and explore. Depending on what your personal interests are, there are many, many ways to challenge yourself. Personally I am an avatar collector. Some people challenge themselves to have the perfect pet colours and species. Others collect stamps, some fill their galleries with rare items, some collect game trophies, and others just let the friendly neighbourhood banking Skeith hoard their NPs until they reach Ultimate Riches!
Whatever your personal goal is, the great sense of accomplishment that you feel when you've challenged yourself and won is felt at ANY and EVERY age. When things are particularly stressful in my own real life, coming to my Neopian life and finally attaining an elusive avatar makes me happy! And there's nothing wrong with that.
The Community: TNT struck gold with the Neoboards – a place for the community to come together and help each other out, meet new friends, and share interests. With over 25 different boards to choose from, it's easy to find one with your particular interest. If games aren't your thing, the Neoboards are a great alternative for taking a break from the real world by finding some great players to chat with. And nobody cares about your age on there – as long as you don't t@lk lyk dis, you will find somewhere to be accepted.
The ADDICTION: Yes, this place is addicting, plain and simple. You may have started playing when you were a kid and caught the addiction bug early, or you may have made an account as a joke when you were in college, or maybe your kids made you make one just for fun, but no matter the age you started, know this: if you spend any amount of extended time playing around on this site, the addiction will take over. There is so much to do at any given time, plus new things to do added every week. As soon as you discover the challenge that you are drawn to (avatar collecting, gaming, etc) you will look at the clock and realize that hours and hours have passed since you first logged on (don't worry, it happens to the best of us). Even if you yourself feel that you're "too old" for this site, the addiction bug will get you again and again!
So, my fellow Neopets lovers, don't do what I did and sit in silence if you're ever mocked by your friends for playing on a "kid's site". There is no age limit to this world. There is no such thing as "too old" for something that you love. And if you keep playing and striving for your goals well into the retirement home, look me up – I may take breaks now and again, but I'm confident that I will still be here. :)