Reading Back: Last 100 Special Issues
Happy 700th Anniversary Neopian Times! There have been big changes to Neopets since the last 100th Anniversary Issue so I thought it would be a neat idea to go over some of the special issues that had been released between then and now. I’ll be covering three kinds of special issues: Annual, Neopets’ Exclusive, and Collaborative. I’ll also include links to these issues so that you can check them out for yourself. So with plenty of back issues you may want to read (not to mention the one you’re reading now), let’s not waste anymore time:
Annual issues are special issue that are done once every year. These issues are usually for the big holidays (Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Winter Holidays) though there are some which aren’t. You’ll see what I mean as we go through them:Valentine’s Day: (14th of the Month of Awakening (February))
Issues: #632, #680
What’s Inside: As with the rest of the world and Neopets, the Neopian Times too celebrate the day dedicated to love, hearts, and chocolate! The layout color is changed to shades of pink and the background filled with plushies, cards, and candy with hearts. In the Articles section you can expect to see suggestions on how to spend your Valentine’s Day and lists of Valentine-related subjects like gifts or wearables. The Short Stories section tells tales of romance, heart break, or comedy. Speaking of which, the Comics section is filled with comics of happy wishes and jokes of the more satirical side of Valentine’s Day. And if you want to take a break from the lovey-dovey stuff or it just isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are still some non-Valentine materials you can enjoy.April Fools: (1st of the Month of Eating (April))
What’s Inside: Why it’s nothing odd, it’s just a normal everyday issue, right? Well that’s at least what those who forget it’s the week of April Fools think and how can the Neopian Times pass that up? While Neopets is doing their own prank on the entire Neopian populace the Neopian Times authors get together to do their own on unknowing readers (or even if they do know it’s still fun to read).
Last April Fools issue (which was last year’s due to this year’s sadly being skipped) talked about the "Oracle Games". What are the "Oracle Games"? The Oracle who appeared from the Tyrannian Obelisk had decided to bring several famous Neopian character to a deserted island and put them through several tasks to see whose worthy of its wisdom, and it’s up to you to decide who! How do you play? Well that’s where it gets complicated as it seems like every article and story doesn’t seem to agree with one another. But no need to worry, there are plenty of material that aren’t pranks to help you remember what week it is.Halloween: (31st of the Month of Collecting (October))
Issues: #618, #667
What’s Inside: It’s Hallow’s Eve and the creeps and ghouls are out trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have anything to read when they get back. The Halloween issues are a grab bag of creepy Halloween tales; the layout reflecting this with shades of orange and a background of items having bones, glares, or Haunted Woods related. The Articles section has trick-or-treating advice and a number of lists covering topics from candy, costumes, & general spookiness. The Short Stories section has your pick or genres like horror, drama, and thrillers; though that doesn’t mean there aren’t some light-hearted stories too. Once again that leads us to the Comics section where the comic authors are having fun illustrating their own scares and jokes. There isn’t a lot of non-Halloween material aside from the on-going Series sections, though with the wide interest of the Neopets community there’s bound to be a treat that fits someone’s taste.Neopet’s Birthday: (15th of the Month of Storing (November))
Issues: #621, #669
What’s Inside: Of course the Neopian Times is going to celebrate Neopets’ Birthday, it’s part of Neopets after all! While some may say this belongs in the next category, I feel that something like a Birthday is as big of a celebration as a holiday. The layout’s color remains the same but the background has changed to cake, hats, and other party favors. Surprisingly there aren’t as many Birthday articles, stories, and comics as one would think, there being more material you would find in a usual issue of the Neopian Times. But that’s alright because its NEOPETS’ Birthday, so while they’re not all Birthday themed you definitely know they’re all Neopets’ themed *wink*. And maybe that’s on purpose, by limiting the amount of Birthday material it means readers can focus on all the other things Neopets has to offer as told from the Neopian Times authors, players just like them.Winter Holidays: (25th of the Month of Celebrating (December))
Issues: #625, #674
What’s Inside: Admittedly more Christmas than any of the other Winter Holidays, no matter what holiday you celebrate Neopets and the Neopian Times just wants to spread holiday cheer. The layout is given a seasonal theme with shades of evergreen and the background covered with items representing Christmas, gifts, and the winter. Like the Halloween issues most of its material is Holiday and winter themed. Articles have ideas and lists for gifts, things to do in the snow, inside, or to stay warm, and for everyone’s favorite Month of Celebrating activity: The Advent Calendar! Short Stories are heartwarming holiday tales, be them original or adaptations of popular carols. Comics are giving their season greetings with plenty of merrily jokes. Though there is few non-themed materials, with how festive everything is you’ll probably find something you’d want to sit down and drink hot borovan while reading.
Neopets’ Exclusive Issues:
While the Annual Issues are fun, Neopets has plenty of its own special days that an issue can be dedicated around. Looking at the Neopian Calendar you’ll find it lists plenty of other special days other than Pet Days and holidays. And while not always, sometimes the Neopian Times likes to celebrate these special days. Here are the ones that were celebrated last 100 issues:Illusen Day: (17th of the Month of Running (March))
What’s Inside: An issue dedicated to everyone’s favorite quest giving Earth Faerie (well, except if you’re a Jhudora fan), it’s actually kind of odd how last year Illusen got a special issue while a month later Jhudora didn’t (also helps Illusen Day just so happens to land on Saint Patrick’s Day). But that’s neither here nor there; right now we’re focusing on Illusen. Being an Earth Faerie, naturally the layout is shades of green with the background items Illusen or Earth Faerie related. The materials relating to Illusen either topic about her quests, how to celebrate Illusen day with recipes and customisation, or her rivalry with Jhudora. For Jhudora fans there are plenty of other material to read; if they can stomach all the green.Grey Day: (14th of the Month of Eating (April))
What’s Inside: *Sigh* Do I gotta explain what this issue is about? Oh alright, but only cause ya asked. The Grey Day issue is as gloomy as you think it would be, the layout being a singular grey color with sad grey items and Neopets in the background. And sorry to disappoint, but there’s not even that much material about it being Grey Day either. There are plenty of other things for you to read though, maybe that’ll bring you a smile. Maybe. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound so down, how about we go to something a bit more brighter? Fyora Day: (2nd of the Month of Relaxing (June))
What’s Inside: Ah, there we go! From grey to shades of pink and lavender, it’s no mistaking this issue is for the Faerie Queen herself, Queen Fyora. The layout is mostly lavender in color though the background picks up on the lack of pink with it covered in Fyora and Faerie related items. Though there is a handful of Queen Fyora material to read, naturally, Fyora never was the egotistical type so there are plenty of other things to read. That is if you can deal with ALL the pink, there’s more pink here than in the Valentine’s Day issues combined!Petpet Appreciation Day: (8th of the Month of Relaxing (June))
What’s Inside: Of course we needed an issue dedicated to Neopets’ best friend, the Petpets (and to their best friend, Petpetpets (at least the ones who don’t make them itch)). Though the layout color doesn’t change the background is filled with a wide assortment of Petpets. Indeed, with how many Petpets there are there’s plenty of material to read up about them. From Articles listing them and giving grooming advice, to Short Stories showing how good companions they are, and finally Comics detailing their shenanigans. There’s no shortage of what you can write about Petpets, but if Petpets aren’t your thing then you still got plenty of material to read, Petpet (and especially Petpetpet) free.Faerie Festival: (20th of the Month of Gathering (September))
What’s Inside: Another issue dedicated to Faeries, but instead of one of them it’s all of them! Taking place during the season of autumn, the layout is colored a solid orange but the background assures you this is a Faerie Festival issue being covered in Faerie theme items (and a random smirking Faerie Grarrl). Though this particular Faerie Festival issue is a bit dry on the Articles and Comics side for Faerie material, the Short Stories section is filled to the brim. But like with the previous Faerie related issues there’s always room for non-Faerie material if those fit your fancy.Neopian Times Anniversary:
Issues: #600, #650
What’s Inside: It’s not only the 100th issues that gets to be anniversary issues but also the 50th as well (and no "half as special" jokes here, wait...). An issue ending in double zeros or 50 is a hectic time for everyone involved in the Neopian Times. Having a golden layout with writing tools and Weewoo decorating the background, these issues are also double stuffed with content! Good thing too, with the anniversary issues giving out the coveted "Neopian Time Writer" Avatar and a rare Neopian Times item everyone is trying to get something in, though only a small few do. The anniversary issues are the best of the best (at least of those submitted), finding an issue as varied as them is quite difficult! But don’t take my word for it, not only have I linked you to issue #600 and #650 but you’re reading issue #700 right now!
Back in the April Fools issue I mentioned how the Neopian Times authors like to get together and to their own April Fools prank. This is known as a "Collaborative", a joint effort by the Neopian Times authors, and it’s not the only time it happens. These past 100 issues saw 4 collaborative issues to add some spice to what would have otherwise been another normal issue. It’s actually these issues that made me decide to write this article, and we’re going to discuss them now:Ode to Villains:
What’s Inside: What’s a world filled with excitement and adventure without a villain to antagonize and stir up the status quo once in a while? Neopia is filled with a gallery of some of the most devious, charismatic, and just downright plain evil villains you’ll ever encounter. Many stories revolve around them from the Neopedia to entire plots, and this issue honors them! Though the layout doesn’t change color the background’s usual items have villains and item relating to them mixed in. As you read through it you’ll see the faces of such villains as Dr. Sloth, Jhudora, Pant Devil, and many more of those who had made their way into the Gallery of Evil and then some! There’s almost no material that isn’t about the villains (aside from the Series section, but even then some do). Just like any story, you just can’t escape from the villains. MuaHAHAHAHAHA! *flash of lightning seen, roar of thunder heard*Hero’s Day:
What’s Inside: But with villains everywhere, that just means that heroes too need to be everywhere. For where is a story without a villain and where is a villain without a brave hero to vanquish them? Much like the villain issue the layout color didn’t change but where there was once villain and their items in the background there are now heroes and their items. And just like the villains most of the material is about heroes, though there are some other topics, heroes tend to be more courteous than villains in that respect. Still you’ll be seeing plenty of Jeran, Hannah, Defenders of Neopia, Faeries, and all the others who are in the Gallery of Heroes and protect Neopia.Brightvale University:
What’s Inside: Not the most obvious choice next, but after doing villains and heroes a more "grounded" Collaboration is more inviting and shows that no theme is out of the question as long as one can create something from it. Coming off from a quick joke in a previous Neopian Times’ Editorial, this Collaboration fleshes out the details making a simple joke into a complete sounding location. The layout is given the colors of Brightvale, green and yellow, as books and school supplies are spread out in the background. The Articles add detail to the university such as classes, teachers, and how a student should prepare oneself. The Short Stories give personal experiences from the eyes of the students and teachers giving the university character. And the Comics help show that, though filled with the brightest of minds, they’re not immune to some wacky hi-jinks. And here and there is material for those who read the Neopian Times to get away from thinking about school.Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey:
What’s Inside: Based on a saying by a popular doctor whose name escapes me, this Collaborative Issue is dedicated to time (specifically messing with it). With no layout color change but a background full of clocks, events such as time travel, alternate history, and the occasional paradox are all covered with the usual lesson that it’s best not to mess with time. But that is just the opinion of one player in one timeline who could have an alternate version of himself say the opposite thing in an alternate timeline. Confused? Well if messing with time messes with your head then there is still plenty of other material to wrap your head around.
And those are all the special issues from the previous 100 issues of the Neopian Times. I know you’re probably going to be busy reading all the great articles, stories, and comics in this issue, but if you haven’t read any of these previous special issues I highly suggest making plans on at least giving them a quick peak. You may never know what may catch your eye. And even if you have read these issues before it never hurts to go back and reading up on a favorite material or maybe you can check out on one you skipped over your first time.