“We just had to take care of the layout ourselves,” Steph Skrot, 24, wrote of Neomail, sharing a link to a repurposed user’s pet page with covert instructions for browser add-ons that change the look of the website.
Skrot, a Pennsylvania based animator, uses a script that adds an additional navigation bar to the platform and another to make the neoboards more readable. “They were coded by other players who were also frustrated with the new layout,” she explains. There’s one script showing the now-defunct cards and another that removed the Adobe Flash tombstone when it appeared on a pet’s individual stats page and replaced it with a colorful portrait of the happy Neopet (the Neopets team has since fixed that particular issue, and now non-Flash based pet portraits have re-emerged).
Tristan Brown, 25, of Aiken, SC, created a script that reverts some pages to their previous design; he is “very concerned about media conservation,” he said, citing the Neopets HTML tutorials as his own introduction to coding. Players are unsure if running these scripts puts them at risk of their accounts being banned. for the time being they hope to remain undetected by the Neopets team. Many also turned to using browsers that can still run Flash, like Waterfox, to disguise their companions, while still others maintain outdated computers to continue interacting with their pets, as they used to do.
“If I want to play the game, I have to play it in a fun way,” says Julie Bonk, 29, of St. Louis, Missouri, who also uses user-designed scripts. Bonk runs a YouTube channel about virtual pet games called Pet Simmer Julie and has been creating videos about Neopets since 2006.