I have a confession to make: I am a 29-year-old Neo-multi-millionaire and I love it.
Do y’all remember Neopets? It’s basically The SIMS mixed with a little bit of Tamagotchi, except online. I was ADDICTED to Neopets in middle school. I spent half my time in typing class (yes, the good old days where we spent forty minutes out of our day playing “games” that taught us how to type faster so we could find the mid-level management job of our dreams) scouring Neopia for Fearies and rare Uuski dolls to add to my growing collection. As I am writing this I realize that I should have seen my Funko Pop addiction coming from a mile away.
The name of my Neopet reflected who I knew I never could be in middle school, with my dingy white button-up collared shirt and slightly over or undersized thrift store flared denim pants — HotNSpicy113. You know, just in case a cute 12-year-old Neopian was looking to meet me in an AOL chatroom after we finished battling our Neopets. My darling Kougra is named HotAngel5001, which is very fitting because she has a lovely purple faerie paint job. She is magnanimous and spoiled rotten. Now that we’re living the high life, I just check her into the best neohotel for 30 days at a time and give her all the amenities because I worked so she never had to. Which is to say my fictional pet lives and eats better than me and any other real pet I’ve ever had.
In retrospect I realize a lot of important facets of “adult life” was first introduced to me on Neopets. Here I got my first taste of the stock market, banking, food banks, shop owning, gambling, health care, being a home owner as well as caring for someone that wasn’t myself. I learned more about the real world from a middle school gaming community then I did in high school and college. (Same way we all learned basic coding from Xanga and Myspace.) Can I allocate my student loans to Neopets?
Unlike my Xanga and Myspace, which I will never return to out of pure shame, I still log onto Neopets from time to time. As a neo-multi-millionaire I collect the daily 1000 neopoint interest in my bank account and I donate it to the giving tree (basically a shelter for less experienced Neopians). I still play the same nine games I played in high school. But mostly I go into the auctions and overbid on items. Who I am in Neopoets is who I aspire to be in real life: I want to be able to have enough money that I can give back as often and as freely as I want as a silent benevolent benefactor. But also have fun. Not to get all preachy on you, but I know what it’s like to struggle in real life and the game. So why not pay it forward? and I know what you’re really wondering — did I grow up to be HotNSpicy(113)? No not at all, I am still awkward as fuck and only moderately attractive, but it works for me.