Hello and thank you for joining us as we present this week's edition of The Neopian News Brief, your one-stop summary of everything that's been going on in the world of Neopia. We've got some exciting new stories to cover this week, so let's get to it, shall we?
Our lead story today is the first in a trio of new games (Ha! You probably though we just sat around playing cards all day... pshaw!). Entitled Grumpy Old King, the object of this game is to try and cheer up King Skarl by telling him a joke. You see, the poor guy's been downright despondent since that whole "war" thing, and he could really use a good laugh right about now. Supposedly, Skarl has a rather quirky sense of humour, so I guess that the stranger your joke is, the better your chances are of winning something. Just keep in mind, though... you only get one try per day, so make it good!
On Tuesday, the second of this week's new games, called Cellblock, was unveiled. Down in the dungeons beneath the Darigan Citadel, the inmates participate in a game created by the nefarious warden Master Vex. Deftly manoeuvre the board to line up five pieces in a row, but be sure to block your opponent from getting their five first. Vex has made an offer to free any inmate who is capable of defeating him, but thusfar none of the inmates have been able to rise up and claim their freedom. Will your pet have the skills to take down Master Vex, or will they just become the warden's latest victim?
As everybody knows, there's nothing that The NeoPets Team hates more than annoying pop-up adverts (that's why we don't have them on our site). Well, at least we didn't have any pop-ups on our site, until Doctor Sloth and his retinue of Virtupet villains came along on Thursday with the third of this week's new games, Advert Attack. Here's the premise: the spacecraft of Ace Zafara is fueled by your ability to click on the "Go!" button as often as possible (work with us on this one, folks). At first, this is remarkably easy... but then, during Round Two, your efforts to guide Ace Zafara to victory are suddenly subverted by a steady stream of pop-up ads. Can you successfully dispose of the pop-ups in time to defeat Race Robot?
Following up with the latest installment of our award-winning Jellymania coverage, this week produced two new developments to report. First, on Tuesday, was the debut of some cool new mango jelly weapons. If you happen to pick up a mango jelly axe, club, or shield, just be sure to keep it away from your clothes (I've heard that the stains are murder to get out!).
Additionally, on Friday, a quartet of bizarre new jelly food items found their way into the marketplace. Now you'll be able to pick up some tasty ham, cereal, bread, and green cheese jellies for your pet (Hmph! With all these new products, how will I ever complete my Jelly Gallery?!?).
In NeoPets merchandise news, there has been a great deal of excitement and anticipation surrounding our two latest product lines: Voice Activated Neopets Toys and Pocket Neopets! Right now, the details are still a little sketchy, but here's what we know so far: there are eight varieties in the first line of Voice Activated Toys (red Kougras, purple Shoyrus, red Scorchios, blue Kacheeks, blue & white Unis, and purple & green Myncis). No specifics on which stores are carrying them yet, but we've gotten some emails indicating that they can be found at most of the bigger retail toy chains. As for the portable Pocket Neopets player, the developments on this are a lot more recent. However, I've been promised full details in time for next week's News Brief... so, for now at least, all we can say is that they're coming soon!
This past Wednesday marked the arrival of Kacheek Day, a time when Kacheeks were eagerly seeking to find the nifty goodies accompanying their yearly tribute (Get it? Kacheek Seek? Meh, nevermind...). Of course, there was the usual endowment of free training, new weapons, books, and food items, along with a trio of new Battledome moves (including the notorious Kacheek Sneeze--Hiyaaa...choo!) However, that wasn't all; Neopia's second most popular pet also received two new paint brush styles (island and baby) and a trio of Neogreetings. Plus, this week's Poetry and Caption Contests, Art Gallery and Petpet Spotlight all prominently featured Kacheeks. Congratulations!
Now, it's time to take a closer look at today's top financial stories. After the gradual turnaround of the previous two weeks, the Neodaq was able to post its first double-digit gain in more than a month, climbing a healthy thirty-eight points. Leading the way, for the second straight week, was rising star Peophin Water Parks, which topped last week's thirty-two-point gain with a staggering forty-one-point surge. With share prices now in the neighbourhood of 130 NPs each, PEOP has emerged as a serious challenge to the fading dominance of The Neopian Auction House.
Speaking of TNAH’s share price, after last week's modest five-point-gain, we suggested that "TNAH just might be ripe for the picking." Well, sure enough... they got plucked. Shares of The Neopian Auction House fell a staggering thirty-six points, posting the market's biggest loss of the week. Also taking a big loss was PD Secure Storage, who not only lost two-thirds of their share price, but were also one of three companies that fell beneath the dreaded fifteen NP mark.
So then, with Peophin Water Parks waiting in the wings, can this really be the end of a golden age for The Neopian Auction House? Do the folks at PEOP have what it takes to finish off TNAH and emerge victorious, or will the Auction House rise again, like a sleeping giant looking to reassert its dominance? And what about Unis Beauty Salon, which used a twenty point gain of its own to charge past the 50 NP mark? Could they have a role in this dynamic shifting of the Neopian economy? We'll just have to wait and see....