Take a look at this. Just take a look.
Aren’t these just the most adorable things ever? These are called Nibbles, the basic pets of the site Digis (yaydigis.net). This colouration is the Flavour of the Month, known as Neapolitan Ice-Cream. Doesn’t it remind you of the lip-smacking blend of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice-cream? Look at those swirly creamy designs at their legs! The Nibble on the left is male and the Nibble on the right is female. And guess what, you can own them free of charge! All you have to do is devote hours and days of your time accumulating golden chocolate coins by playing games on the site, in order to earn enough to buy one of these virtually.
Yup, virtual pets are a great market to tap into for the female internet users. Neopets is the most popular virtual pet site by far, and it has survived for years with millions of members. Sure, it has a high turnover rate, but it still retains enough charm to capture new nine-year-olds everytime a mature seventeen-year-old leaves. 8 years of the time of millions of girls around the world sounds like a worthwhile investment.
In a way, virtual pets are to girls what video games are to boys. Boys can spend days addicted to getting experience and level-ups on DotA, or new unlockable items. Girls play simpler, but no doubt equally time-consuming, games on the virtual pet sites in order to feed their pets, make their pets stronger and best of all, buy accessories or new skin designs for their pets. Of course, the key to sustaining attention for both video gaming and virtual pet sites is art, especially when it comes to the visual advancement in digital technology nowadays. Anything with bad art cannot be played for long. I have seen virtual pet sites with really bad art for their pets, and these are never as well-known or well-liked as things like Digis.
So why do I spend so much time playing mindless games on Digis? For this.
In a way, virtual pets are our achievements, much like the levels, items and rare skills gained by guys in MMOs. The more beautiful and admired our pets are, the more time and effort we’ve put into the site to milk such a reward. Only through dedication, skill and sheer artistic sense can your pet ever turn out to be a head-turner. People even pay real money to get Digis artists to make custom Nibbles, so they have a special design all to themselves to show off. Perhaps you can think of it as Pokemon collecting. You like to show off all your legendary Pokemon, don’t you? Well, what if they were really legendary, rather than the typical “guaranteed to get one in the game”? Having a great virtual pet is like having a Shiny legendary Pokemon.
Maybe people will judge if an adult woman is still into virtual pets. But really, there is no crime to wanting beautiful and cute things at any age. Isn’t that why guys get girlfriends to fill such a want?