“I could never give them up”: Neopets users play on

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“We just had to get on with the layout change,” Steph Skrot, 24, wrote on Neomail, sharing a link to a user’s repurposed homepage that has secret instructions for the modules. browser add-ons that modify the appearance of the site.

Skrot, an animator living in Pennsylvania, uses a script that adds an extra navigation bar to the platform and another to make the Neoboards more readable. “They are coded by other players who were also frustrated with the new layout,” she explains. There’s a script that displays the now-extinct cards and another that removed the Adobe Flash tombstone when it appeared on an animal’s individual stats page, replacing it with a colorful portrait of the happy Neopet ( the Neopets team has since fixed this specific problem, and now non-Flash-based animal portraits have reappeared).

Tristan Brown, 25, of Aiken, SC, created a script that brings some pages back to their old design; he’s “very committed to media preservation,” he said, and cites Neopets’ HTML tutorials as his own introduction to coding. Players do not know if running these scripts puts them at risk of their accounts being blocked; for now, they hope not to be detected by the Neopets team. Many have also turned to using browsers that can still run Flash, like Waterfox, to dress their companions, while still others are using outdated computers to continue interacting with their pets as they once did.

“If I want to play the game, I have to play it in a fun way,” said Julie Bonk, 29, of St. Louis, Missouri, who also uses user-designed scripts. Bonk runs a YouTube channel on virtual pet games called Pet Simmer Julie and has been making videos on Neopets since 2006.


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