A MESSY DESK - Neopia is a huge breeding ground for fandoms of all sorts. With
almost forty million users, it is only natural that people would bond over issues
and topics other than Neopets itself, as illustrated by the proliferation of
guilds and communities devoted to role-playing, Buffy, Star Wars
or whatever other obsession one might choose to obsess over. With such a thriving
fandom base, it only seems right that the Neopets staff and site have seen fit
to pay tribute to certain fandoms of their own. Whether overused pop culture
sayings or just flippant adaptations of certain characters or lines from books
and movies, the Neopets staff has seen fit to allude to such throughout the
site. This article is a research article of sorts, involving me rooting through
the Neopets site and picking up a good number, though certainly not all, of
the allusions to Star Wars, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
and Zero Wing, amongst others. (Note: allusion: an instance
of indirect reference)
Let's start with the institution that has been the object of reference for
many of these allusions - Star Wars. Those who have looked at the shopkeepers
recently (or not so recently), might notice three rather familiar, albeit slightly
twisted, names - Kayoda, Darth Kau, and Bye Gon Jinx. Star Wars fans
will quickly pick up on this - but for the uninitiated, Kayoda is a green-Kacheek
adaptation of Yoda - the old, green Muppet also known as the wisest and one
of the most powerful Jedi Masters of all time. Darth Kau is a Kau, complete
with Sith tattoos and black robe, a trademark of the Sith (that would be the
bad Jedi order, for those who wonder) apprentice, Darth Maul. Bye Gon Jinx,
on the other hand, might be more familiar to the majority of the site, having
appeared at the Ski Lodge, and Krawk Cup and Sacrificers competitions. The name
is an obvious spoof of Qui Gon Jinn, a Jedi Master, and very nifty guy. The
shopkeeper version of Bye Gon (there are two; the one I'm referring to is located
between the Ice Cream Shopkeeper and Halloween JubJub) also happens to come
complete with a lightsaber. A lightsaber, for those who aren't aware of it,
is essentially a weapon of destruction wielded by Jedis.
Shopkeepers aside, those who have visited the About Us before its current
incarnation may have noticed fairly blatant Star Wars references in two
of its previous forms. For instance, the groupings of "clones", "ewoks" and
"jedi", amongst others, not to mention "Donna Fett, bounty hunter". The former
are references to groups of characters in Star Wars, while "Donna Fett"
is a reference to the Fett family, consisting of Jango (episode II) and Boba
Fett, both who possess uncanny tendencies to do rather unsavoury things as occupational
The current version of the About Us page is a tribute to the cult science
fiction classic series, Dr. Who. The references to Adam and Donna as
"The Doctor" and "Ace" respectively, are rather amusing considering the descriptions
of the characters on the official BBC Dr. Who site. The BBC site for
the show states - "When the Doctor first met Ace she was working as a waitress
on the planet Svartos, after being plucked from her home in Perivale by a freak
time storm". Similarly, the About Us page declares (and has generally had some
variant of this paragraph) - "Adam found Donna on the planet Galactrox-V where
she was earning a living breaking biscuits for a local confectionery company.
Impressed by her rudimentary drawing ability, Adam invited Donna to accompany
him on his travels". It's quite an amusing parallel.
For those who pay attention to The Neopian Times and its regularly changing
header, another point of note is a previous Neopian Times heading - "Neopia's
Most Cloned News Source". Yet again, this is a reference to Episode II: Attack
of the Clones. While on the topic of The Neopian Times, yet another heading
("The Pan Galactic Gargle News Source") contained another allusion, this time
to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a book by Douglas Adams. This
slightly more obscure reference alludes to a description of a rather potent
drink in the Hitchhiker's Galaxy universe. As quoted directly from the hook
- "It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your
brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick". Another
Hitchhiker's Guide allusion is in the Robopets Shop at the Virtupets
Space Station. You'll find the phrase "It's your metal pal who's fun to be with"
there, a slight reworking of "Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With.", a phrase
coined by The Cybernetics Corporation(another one of the corporations noted
in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) as a definition for robots.
The Virtupets Space Station is another one of my favourite "allusion spots",
most notably for their loudspeaker announcements. There's "space eggs and spam!",
a glib parody of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, and my personal favourite
- "McCoy to the Sickbay, McCoy to the Sickbay...". Having grown up on a healthy
staple of Star Trek (you know, the original series with William Shatner),
I truly appreciate that line. There are a number of other announcements that
are reminiscent of Big Brother (as in Orwell's 1984, not the reality
TV show), such as "Virtupets good. Neopets badů" and "Remember, laughing is
prohibited. A smile costs nothing, but will get you a fine".
Another treasure trove of Neopian allusions can be found quite accidentally.
More specifically, the 404 page. Some of the more obscure references are contained
here, for instance, a reference to Stanley Kubrick's 2001, A Space Odyssey.
Hal, a talking computer in the film, declares, "I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I
can't do that". The 404 quote, which parallels this is "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't
let you view this". The classic 80's film Labyrinth is yet another that a 404
quote makes a reference to. More specifically, this 404 - "Sarah, go back to
your room. Play with your toys. Forget about the 404". In Labyrinth,
the Goblin King (played by David Bowie in tights) advises a young girl, "Sarah,
go back to your room, play with your toys and your costumes. Forget about the
baby". My personal favourites however, being both an English major and computer
geek are "This is an ex-page, it has shuffled off the mortal coil", an allusion
to Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy and "All your pageviews are
belong to us", an allusion to Zero Wing, a miserably translated Japanese
video game. I don't think the latter needs any more explanation as popular media
has now beaten the once cool phrase "All your base are belong to us" to death.
There are numerous other allusions throughout the Neopets site, and I have
merely touched upon a few of them. There are the bands continually performing
at the Tyrannian Arena (The Blue Kacheek Group parodies the Blue Man Group),
other shopkeepers (Bruce Chee/Bruce Lee, Wolvercheek/Wolverine and John Nimmo/John
Lennon, amongst many others) and even the Neopets staff (Mr. Shankly and Mr.
Roboto are both names that appear in songs, by The Smiths and Styx respectively)!
There are even stories in The Neopian Times that parody other stories or characters,
for instance, Shidi's Krawk
Files, a Crocodile Hunter spoof. Better Than You contestants
are often Neopian versions of real life characters. You'll be amazed at what
you'll find around the site, just by looking around a little.
Either way, I hope that this article provided you with some trivial, and perhaps
even interesting, information. I would love it if you Neomailed
me with comments, suggestions and anything else regarding my article. For now,
I shall take my leave before somebody sets me up the bomb.