Hello and welcome as we present this latest installment of The Neopian News Brief, your one-stop resource for all the latest headlines and happenings in the world of Neopia, from the ghastly gateways of the Deserted Fairground to the scalding sands of the Tyrannian Plateau. It's been a very busy week, with plenty for us to go over, so let's not delay any further...
Our lead story today is the arrival of Frumball, the last in Neopia's trilogy of bizarre ball-bouncing games from outer space. Are you sick of playing Zurroball, and totally over Gormball? Of course you are! I mean, really... those games are SO Year 4! If you really want to stay on top of what's going on in the world intergalactic gravity gamesmanship, then it's all about Frumball for you! The premise is pretty simple: you control a bat and ball at the bottom of the screen, and your goal is to score points and advance to the next level by sending your ball through the patterns of larger balls at the top of the screen.
That's not it, though... the game is loaded with all kinds of power-ups--some that will greatly aid your pursuit of the High Score Tables, and others that could potentially derail your efforts... the key is finding out which is which! Among the powerups awaiting you are: ones that speed up and slow down the ball, another that adds an extra ball to the screen, one more that shrinks the size of your bat (I hate it when that happens!), another still that warps you to the next level, and the "glue" power-up, which stops the ball and makes it easier for you to direct.
There are others out there, but we didn't want to give them all away... after all, that would be no fun. To figure out the rest, you'll just have to get in there and try the hit game that's got everyone on the Space Station hanging out at the arcade--Frumball... YEAH!!!
This past Tuesday, all of Neopia took some time to doff their cap in tribute to Draik Day. There was a bountiful reward awaiting Neopia's soaring spitfires of the sky, beginning with the usual array of books, baked treats and Battledome accessories (including the mysterious Draik enhancement brew, which is said to give your Draik 'domer a temporary boost of fighting spirit).
That's not all, though, as these winged warriors also received a new blog and avatar combo, the pink PB style, and a quartet of Back to School items (great, just in time for... oh, you know). However, probably the most talked-about new arrival on Draik Day had to be the unveiling of the Draik transmogrification potion.
Capable of turning your adorable little aviator into a gruesome beast with hideous fangs, shriveled wings, and bloodshot eyes (not to mention that little pink squishy bit on its forehead... ew!!!), I can't imagine why anyone would want this for their Draik. However, based on what we've been hearing around Neopia, the mutant Draik seems to be all the rage... go figure! Draiks were also featured in this week's Caption and Poetry Contests, along with an installment of the Site Spotlight and a Neopedia story about Valrigard the Draik. Congratulations!
On the merchandising front, this week has been very exciting, thanks to all the news surrounding the releases of the Neopets magazine and Trading Card Game (TCG). Speaking of the TCG, Monday's news mentioned that a comprehensive guide to the game, along with images of the first 120 cards, were just one of many reasons to rush out and pick up a copy of the Neopets magazine (available at fine book and toy stores near you... hehe). That was followed by two more announcements on Tuesday, the first being that every day, until the TCG's release on September 19th (or, as we like to call it in the office, International Talk Like A Pirate Day), there would be a new trading card featured on the site. Tuesday's card spotlighted the Yellow Scorchio card, while Wednesday's featured Faerie Pancakes. Thursday's card depicted a Doglefox, and Friday's card rounded out the week by showing off the Sword of the Air Faerie (which is supposedly quite helpful in getting rid of Earth opponents).
Also announced on Tuesday was the arrival of the Neopets Staff TCG Tournament. Starting at sixteen, but spreading by the end of the week to twenty-four staff members, the tournament to determine who is the staff's best Neopets TCG player certainly seems like it could be anyone's to win. After the first round, the field will be narrowed to twelve, and opponents will be drawn again.
Another best-of-three will be played, and six contenders will be left. It gets a whole lot more complicated after that, so I'll just leave the explanation of the last two rounds 'til next week. On Friday, Neopians were given a chance to pick who they think the winners of the tournament will be, and huge prizes were promised for those who put forth the best estimates... so start guessin'!
In other merch-related developments, this weekend saw two excellent new releases hitting the shelves at Limited Too. Not only will you be able to stroll into LTD2 on Saturday and pick up a spiff-a-riffic orange Kougra, but you'll also have a chance to get your happy little mitts on... *gasp*... a Faerie Poogle doorhanger! Seriously, how can you resist? Oh, that's right... you can't! Muahahahaha!!!
As if that weren't enough, orange Kougra shirts are also now available for a limited time from the 99dogs.com store. Now, just how "limited" is "for a limited time," you might ask? Well, let's put it this way. Why don't you try asking some procrastinator who "never got around" to ordering their Faerie Scorchio shirt (that, as of September 12th, is now long gone) how limited "for a limited time" is? See what I mean? I figured you would...
Rounding out this week was Friday's celebration of Techo Day. Along with the regular assortment of Battledome accessories and books, which included the ultra-handy, super-portable Little Techo Book, this year's Techo treats also contained two avatars, a shop blog, two new PB styles (ghost and speckled), a quartet of lollypops from the Chocolate Factory, and four new Back-to-School items (among them, the ever-so-stylish red Techo backpack). Lastly, Techos were also prominently featured in this week's Poetry and Caption Contests, as well as Friday's Pet Spotlight. Way to go, Techos!
It's now time to take a closer look at today's headlines from the world of finance. After hitting rock bottom at 648 on the 20th of June, the economy has managed to skyrocket over the past three months, doubling in value while posting a gain for twelve of the past thirteen weeks. As the Neodaq rockets into the 1200's for the first time since early March, many analysts find it hard to believe that the market could possibly go any higher--and yet, these are the same speculators who predicted that the economy would collapse more than a month ago, so what do they know, right?
Leading this latest charge into the economic stratosphere is the recently resurgent Fish Pops!, who have posted back-to-back gains of fifty-three and forty-three points. This is even more remarkable when you consider that Fish Pops! had just endured a three week collapse that saw their shares drop from 156 to 56. Now, thanks to their profits from the previous two weeks, they've exceeded that initial high, closing out the week as Neopia's most valuable company at 162 NPs a share.
Coming in at #2 is Meri Acre Sausages, whose slow and steady rise took a slight hit, as the company's stocks dipped by five points, to end the week at what is still a phenomenal 138 NPs a share. Rounding out the top five are Breadmaster Bakeries at #3, who tacked on another sixteen points to close at 68, plus Chia Steel and Chiatech Password Security, who utilised respective gains of twenty-five and twenty-seven points to finish up fourth and fifth, at 55 and 57 points a share. By contrast, this week's big loser was the Neopian Bank, who unceremoniously gave back thirty-nine points after a thirty-five point gain the week before. Oh well, easy come... easy go.