For years, tons of Neopets’ best games were unavailable in the wake of Adobe Flash’s demise. It was a reality that pained longtime Neopets players attached to the beloved classics as the site continued to decay. But times are changing in Neopia; with new management, Neopets is bringing back more than 50 classic Flash games that have been offline for years.
The Neopets team, now housed under an independent company known as World of Neopia, Inc., announced last week that it’s looking to bring the site back to its “glory days” — first, by bringing back fan-favorite mini-games.
Neopets in its heyday served as an early internet platform for kids to build communities and create around an overarching story filled with adorable creatures and faeries. Neopets’ Flash mini-games were big part of it all, serving both as entertainment and a crucial way to earn the ever-important currency of Neopoints. The Neopets team attempted to preserve some of its games by converting the site to HTML-5 after Flash shut down, but a majority of the classics didn’t make the cut. To bring these games back, the Neopets team added Ruffle integration into the website; Ruffle is a Flash emulator that allows the classic games to run without too much extra work.
That means beloved games like Snowmuncher, Meerca Chase, Turmac Roll, and Hasee Bounce are back. In total, more than 50 games that didn’t make the HTML-5 conversion have been added back into Neopets. Not all classic games are running perfectly, as several games aren’t fully compatible just yet, according to the Ruffle FAQ. A list of known problems is available on the Neopets website. Likewise, the Ruffle emulator is not built to work specifically on mobile, so players may have some trouble there.
It’s been a rough few years at Neopets, with the site running up against illicit pet trading on a secretive black market, on top of a general decline in useability. Last year, Neopets faced a major hack that compromised tens of millions of accounts and led to a proposed class-action lawsuit that has since been dismissed. Neopets players have spent the past few years upset with Neopets leadership, an anger that came to a head when then-owner JumpStart Games announced both a metaverse project and Neopets NFTs. For once, the community was united: They absolutely don’t want NFTs.
New Neopets leadership said in its announcement last week that the metaverse no longer aligns with Neopets. Instead, the company will keep the Neopets website running with new content while building a new mobile app called World of Neopets, described as “a social life-simulation game in which you live your ideal Neopian life from the perspective of a Neopet.” Dominic Law, the new Neopets CEO, was originally heading up the metaverse project, but he remains adamant, via the new leadership announcement, that World of Neopets is not “built on a crypto model” and has no NFT elements.
Neopets has been operating at a loss under then-owners JumpStart and NetDragon, new management said. The announcement said there’s now $4 million in funding for Neopets, but it’s unclear whether this is the same $4 million raised in January specifically for the web-3, metaverse project. The future of Neopets remains unclear, but players are pleased, for now, at the updates made since last week’s announcement; alongside the new games, the Neopets team has fixed the Neopian map and several other longstanding problems. In Neopets communities on Facebook and Reddit, players are cautiously optimistic for the future of the site, with some players deciding to return to the world after years away.