Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Here are some old sketches of anthro Neopets wearing customization items from the website.

I will be completely honest, I feel like the idea of allowing you to dress up your Neopets sounded fun on paper, and the old site artists came up with some really lovely clothing items (as evidenced here), but I think a lot of the clothes just didn't translate well into the fact that on the website, owned Neopets have much more animal-like physiologies than many canon characters. As a result, wardrobe pieces that would look really good on something shaped more like a human just come across as a bit doofy on, say, a stubby-legged quadruped or a cartoony-proportioned dinosaur.

For example, back when I still played the website, it annoyed me that the real(?) Blynn's pose had her sitting on her haunches, so any tops, pants, or skirts I put on her made her look squat and fat, when Zafaras are actually quite svelte. Clothes looked just as bad on Hyren, and it didn't help that the new Grundo artwork gives them even shorter torsos than before, when I consistently imagine Grundos looking like Gorix from the Return of Dr. Sloth plot. There's a huge discrepancy between how Neopets are portrayed in canon material and the graphics used for user-generated Neopets, and you can't just slap clothes on the latter and assume it'll come across the same as the former. 

I just feel like overhauling the pet graphics and introducing a dress-up system was unnecessary, somewhat devalued painted pets who used to have unique (i.e. non-palette-swap) artwork, and in many cases actually made the species designs less appealing (cough Zafaras and Grundos cough). Unfortunately, it was a decision probably made by the fact that offering wardrobe items for real money would likely be a great source of revenue, because plenty of site players aren't as pedantic about design as I am and just want to stick some shiny clothes on their virtual pet.

I mean, it worked, and that's where most of Neopets's revenue has likely been coming from since they introduced pet customization, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

At least it's better than (shudder) NFTs.

/opinionated rant

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