A Million Little Unis: The Green Uni Controversy
NEOPIA CENTRAL - For those of you who frequent the boards or spend any time at all perusing the Editorial of the latest editions of the Times, the term 'GUP' is likely not unfamiliar to you. It is the Green Uni Project, a band of fearless rebels travelling the roadways of our fair planet in support of a cause beyond any Neopia has seen before it.
Their mandate is simple; their mission is not. And just what IS their mandate? I told you, it's simple: Members of the Green Uni Project (and many who are not, but more on that later) patrol Neopia's one and only Pound, seeking out the rare and illustrious painted pets, or ones who are restricted or limited edition. If they can claim it fast enough, the pet in question is then taken back to a GUP-held location and transformed into a- you guessed it- Green Uni. Why? Let's find out.
Interviews Of A Startling Nature: Secrets Revealed
To shed some light on the Green Uni Project, I interviewed a sock puppet that claimed to be a member of the GUP. Maybe he was, I don't know. Everybody seems to be nowadays; it's the new 'in' thing.
Brains: Tell me, Mr...
Brains: I should've guessed.
Sock: Quite frankly, I'm not sure how you did not.
Brains: That's beside the point. The article has already explained what GUP is, why don't you tell us some more about it.
Sock: You seem to be getting the point across, but I find your choice of words less than optimal. “Illustrious”? “Optimal”? Really? What are you trying to prove?
Brains: Don't think I won't hit you with a pointy object just because you're a sock.
Sock: Quite so. But I guess you could say that we of the GUP feel that Neopia has become a bit, shall we say, shallow, over the past few years. Many of the people living here compulsively collect money that isn't real just to validate themselves over other people. It's distressing.
Brains: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. I was counting my money.
Sock: I suppose your Virtupets-Brand tape recorder will catch it for the transcription later?
Brains: Oh, undoubtedly.
Sock: I see. But as I was saying, many people use Painted Pets as a quick shot for status amongst their fellow players, and the Pound has become a sort of focal point for their activity. They dump pets and dig through the mountains of other perfectly good creatures just to find one with a funny polka dot or a cape, or a darker shade of blue.
Brains: If they're willing to work for it that way, is it so bad? They've technically earned it, for what it's worth.
Sock: I disagree, and so does GUP. If you ever check the Neoboards, they're full of people announcing that they found this at the Pound, that they're abandoning that at the Pound, that they're surfing the Pound. And people go onto their boards and pretend to care, and it just goes on and on.
Brains: So what's your solution?
Sock: Green Uni Morphing Potions. GUP nabs as many rare pets as it can and recolours them as Green Unis. That way, people can stop checking the Pound and actually earn their pets' colourations through the Lab Ray or Paint Brushes, or Potions.
Brains: I see. Thank you for your time.
Sock: My pleasure.
As you can see, the members of GUP raise some valid points. A quick glance at the petpages of any number of people reveals that they all agree on one thing in particular: Painted Pets are only a symbol of status if you actually earned it. They feel that the depravity of the boards has turned pets that are, for all intents and purposes, real, into commodities to be swapped out like simple marbles or coins.
Not all people in Neopia, however, agree with what GUP is doing. To find out more about the anti-GUP sentiments, I talked to Dr. Sloth.
Brains: Hello, Dr. Sloth, glad that you could join me for an interview.
Sloth: Oh, you have no idea how good it is to get out of the Space Station and go for a walk on real honest-to-goodness ground once in a while. All winter I've been up there with those pesky minions. 'What can I fetch you, sir?', 'What should I clean next, sir?', 'Who should I vaporize next, sir?' It drives a man insane, I tell you.
Brains: Without a doubt. What are your thoughts on GUP?
Sloth: I'm actually anti-GUP, to tell it like it is. I think that they should relax and just accept that some people act like n00bs any time they're alone without supervision. It's what people do.
Brains: All the same, it is pretty annoying.
Sloth: Try and get a perm on a Space Station midwinter, now THAT is annoying.
Brains: A... perm?
Sloth: NO! Don't print that!
Brains: You signed the consent forms, it's all fair game.
Sloth: BLAST. At least make sure your photograph makes me look menacing.
Brains: I make no promises.
Brains: About GUP...
Sloth: It's a terrible idea, and a waste of good funds. All they're doing is spending money and inflating the price of potions to make a trivial and insignificant point. The economy of this wretched planet does what it wants; you're just wasting time inconveniencing other players over a silly and completely wasteful point.
Brains: Those are some strong words; you may anger some people.
Sloth: I think it's every person's right to have a painted pet- no matter how they get it. These 'GUPs' have no business going around and disrupting the entirety of Neopia like this. If they don't like it I think they should just ignore it and go about their business.
Brains: What about the outpouring of support for GUP?
Sloth: Have you even READ what some people are writing on the boards these days? Threatening people with so-called 'Guppings' if they abandon their pets, just making threads and writing 'GUP'... As far as I'm concerned, a large portion of the Green Uni Project's support is nothing more than a bunch of n00bs seeking attention, just like the people they claim to dislike so much.
Brains: Words of wisdom from a crazy, crazy person. Thanks for joining me.
Sloth: The pleasure is all mine. Support Sloth for world domination in Year 10!
A World At War With Itself: Factions Divided, People Indifferent
After interviewing the representatives of both sides, it became clear to me that some people are just using the conflicts to get attention. What mystifies me is that people on both sides are supporting these people, jumping to attention whenever somebody even makes a slip of the tongue. Just watch:
“New Neomail for Brains03- Hate Mail, Fan Mail, Random Shout-Outs”
There is a sort of small war at hand, unlike any seen in Neopia before. While personally, I think the whole affair is quite silly and blown well out of proportion, I'm very glad it happened. The Green Uni Project and its many, many, MANY detractors have brought an old issue back to the forefront of Neopian consciousness and sparked an enormous open discussion between the community of users who spell without using numbers. It has created a dialogue for our people in a new and exciting way, proving you don't have be staff to make things happen. GUP and the anti-GUP will fade in time, without a doubt, but for now we should relish the fact that we have been made to truly THINK about the consequences of our actions.
The next time you go to abandon a pet, you may think twice. What really happens when you click that button? What effect is it having on people? And even if GUP never succeeds in its goal of Green Unification, it has reminded us that there's more to what we do than just the action. There's also the reaction. And that, my friends, is something that is worth all the flames in the world.