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Can Chrissy Teigen Bring ‘Neopets’ Back to the Mainstream?

Nearly 20 years has passed since Neopets first launched. Sure, the site has maintained a few thousand die hard users. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to their early-aughts heyday. The site has passed through several ownership groups and hemorrhaged active users over the years. Every now and then, a group of people will attempt to “save” the site from extinction, but it never seems to get much attention.

Until Chrissy Teigen got involved.

The supermodel/funniest person on the internet is pregnant with her second baby. The doctor has told her to take it easy (and, clearly, she handling that news well). Which brought her back to a bygone love: Neopets.

For those of you either too old or too young to remember, Neopets is basically an online mashup of two of the hottest ’90’s trends; Pokemon and Tamagotchi. Users create and care for creatures in a variety of species and colors. While a Neopet can’t die, poor care can affect it’s abilities within the game. Healthy, well-trained pets can do battle with one another. 

While many of us have fond memories of spending hours on the computer tending to our pets, many people have let their collection completely fall into the abyss, logging in occasionally for a sudden burst of early internet nostalgia.

Late last night, the undisputed queen of Twitter was struck with the urge. She was thrilled by what she found.

One of her followers even solved a mystery he had been working on for years.

Knife Dog confirmed that, at the age of 22, Teigen won a Neopets caption contest. She was a bit embarrassed when she realized how old she was.

At the time this post was written, Chrissy’s “I miss Neopets” tweet had garnered 18K+ retweets. Hundreds of her followers responded to the thread, saying they were trying to remember their login info or that they were looking through the site as well. 

Between Chrissy’s 10 million followers and the millennial generation’s insatiable thirst to relive our childhood, maybe this is the rebirth of something really special for Neopets. Which is super rad for so many reasons.

via GIPHY

The Neopia world was primarily dominated by girls and young women. It was a fun, safe place for girls to interact with each other online. More importantly, this silly kids’ game taught a generation of women some very important life skills. According to an article on rollingstone.com, many girls learned how to code and program because they wanted to improve their Neopets game.

What started out as a care taking game quickly evolved into an endless bound of opportunities. The game’s original creators laid the foundation, but it’s young users turned it into something bigger. In addition to battle, you could trade your Neopoints (NP) on a virtual stock market, write for and read the Neopets newspaper, even turn your talents into a business. 

From rollingstone.com,

 “I would build profiles for people with HTML and CSS and exchange that for goods and supplies,” [Madison] Kanna says. “Just going on and knowing I could create anything I wanted was huge. I didn’t start coding because I thought it’d be a promising career. I just wanted to create something really cool, and on Neopets, you could do anything you wanted. From there I just started tinkering around and experimenting.” 

via GIPHY

The Neopets effect inspired girls to pursue careers in technology, a typically male-dominated field. Perhaps the time is ripe to introduce it to the next generation. And with Chrissy Teigen leading the charge, the future is in great hands. 

via GIPHY

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