Neopets, the critter-raising website that was all the rage in the early aughts, is getting a cartoon. Without hyperbole, this is simultaneously the best and worst idea in human history. On one hand, a lot of 20- and 30-somethings retain nostalgia for Neopets—including Yours Truly. That's a guaranteed audience right there. On the other hand, the property's in a sad state, and the once-thriving Neopets site is a Flash wasteland. It holds little appeal to today's kids, the cartoon's intended audience.
The upcoming cartoon, which is still in its early planning stages, is a co-production between Beach House Studios and JumpStart Games, the company that currently owns Neopets (which was acquired by NetDragon in 2017). JumpStart makes edutainment products for young kids, and the Neopets cartoon similarly hopes to attract a young audience somewhere in the range of 8-12 range.
I'm not sure how JumpStart plans to do this. There's nary a trickle of fresh blood to be found in the Neopets community, so I don't know who this cartoon is for. I get it; nostalgic millennials will no doubt plop their kids in front of the show and encourage them to watch. But even if said kids latch onto the show, they're going to find an ancient site that was only very recently optimized for mobile. The small community is almost entirely made up of hardcore players who've been present since near the start of the game in 1999. I'm not saying the old guard won't welcome new players, of course. I just don't foresee kids gathering around a web-based community in a world where they build, chat, and play with their friends across Minecraft and Roblox servers.
Worse, the only presence Neopets has outside of its site is a couple of sketch mobile games. If JumpStart wants to attract new players to Neopets and keep them there, it has a lot of work to do.
Heck, before writing this article, I tried to search for my old Neopets so I can apologize for keeping them locked in "Starving" status for [checks watch] 18 years. Instead of whisking me to profile of my emaciated pets, I received a pop-up ad that was stuck on autoplay. I quickly closed the site, because I don't watch to catch Neopets syphilis or whatever the site's handing out. RIP Hawkmoon269 the Eyrie, Zoostation the Kougra, and LoveIsBlindness the Pteri.
Look, I was going through a major Rattle and Hum phase in the early Aughts.
Don't let my snark sour your mood. I'd honestly be happy to see the Neopets community grow well-fed and happy again. I have so many good memories of playing Deckswabber and Cheat for hours. I still have doubts this upcoming cartoon will refresh the franchise, but like every one else who chugged across the world of Neopets via a Pentium equipped with a 56K modems, I will certainly give it a look when it's out.