The Mary Sue Interview: Neopets’ CEO On Their First Mobile Game And Getting Girls Into Gaming
Neopia is finally entering the twenty-first century with the release of Neopets’ first-ever mobile game! Whether you’re a long-time fan, in it for the ’90s nostalgia, or perhaps someone who missed the original Neo-bandwagon, the OG addictive online game is making its way onto your phones.
After nearly a decade of ownership by Nickelodeon under Viacom, Neopets was picked up by children’s media franchise JumpStart last April. Though there have been some noticeable issues, like glitches and lag, since the changeover, JumpStart is committed to bringing Neopets out of your memories and into your mobile devices.
With Ghoul Catchers, Neopets’ new mobile game currently for Facebook, iOS, and Google Play, they’ve developed a simple but effecting match-3 type game that can earn you Neopoints and items directly to your main account. The story here is that Bren (a lady Neopet, which is nice to see), Glyn, and the Professor have to rid this mansion of scary spirits by, you know, matching over forty levels. Given that one of my – and many others, I imagine – favorite things about Neopets online is their huge selection of games, I’m glad they’re finally being brought to the app world.
“Our goal with Neopets moving forward is to bring all of the experiences, fun, stories, and games from Neopets.com to every platform and every device, so that members of the Neopets community don’t have to be in front of a computer to play,” JumpStart CEO David Lord told The Mary Sue. “We want new and existing users to have the ability to interact with their Neopets quickly and on-the-go.” Which is great news for my Neopets, who are definitely starving and miserable at this very moment (sorry, guys!).
Apparently Ghoul Catchers is not JumpStart’s only plan for Neopets’ future, either. Some of you Neovets might remember the failed Neopets Mobile, disabled way back in June of 2009 – but Lord says they want to revitalize it. “Our ultimate goal is to bring more, if not all, of the Neopets content to mobile platforms.”
But don’t worry; JumpStart also has plans to modernize and grow the original site, too. “The events and stories that made Neopets so popular over the years will continue and grow,” said Lord, so “both new and existing fans have the best experience possible.”
As someone who learned HTML as a teenager by needing to update my Neopets userlookup and store front, I know this site was an important gateway for a lot of young women to get into both gaming and coding, and Lord is committed to getting more girls into gaming – both in front of and behind the screen:
Girls are an important and growing segment of both computers and gaming; we are always encouraging opportunities for girls and women of all ages to enter into the world of gaming. Gaming overall (console, mobile, [and] PC) is no longer a male-dominated endeavor. With the advent of mobile games, we are seeing more and more women both playing and designing/producing games and gaming content.
JumpStart just added nineteen-year-old Paulina Raguimov to their team as a producer and game designer, so we know they’re on the up and up. I have great hopes for another generation of girls and women inspired to get gaming because of their tiny and stylish digital pets. And their extreme urge to hoard Neopoints.