The Funny Habits Of Avatar Collectors!
Someone on the Neoboards made an astute observation, one that was so true that I gaped at my computer screen for a few seconds, then typed back that I completely agreed. Her observation was that people, no matter how many expensive and rare avatars they already own (such as "MSPP" and "Super Attack Pea!"), always use their latest achieved avatar, rather than their rarest. For instance, instead of using their "MSPP" avatar, they'll use their latest game avatar, such as "Carnival of Terror."
I totally do the same! Though I have my share of expensive and rare avatars, my active avatar right now is the "Snowroller" avatar, which took me 3 months of agonizing practice to attain. I got this avatar literally 2 hours ago, and I screenied the event, and I'm so proud of my accomplishment! (My hands are STILL shaking, haha!)
Wondering if this would make for an amusing Neopian Times article, I thought I'd write all about the funny habits and idiosyncrasies of avatar collectors! Avatar collectors are a completely unique breed of player, willing to spend 100+ hours on mastering a game just for the avatar score. I don't think any other kind of player on this site is quite so crazy! Why are avatar collectors so zany, obsessed and strange?
So here are the top 10 strangest habits of avatar collectors! I think they're quirky, bizarre, and absolutely charming, and I hope you do too!
1. Time Is No Object
I achieved a high score of 13,280 in Ice Cream Machine years ago, with absolutely no idea when or how I possibly achieved this amazing score. Ever since then, I've been obsessed with reaching the avatar score of 14,500, even though my average score is currently around 10,000. Only an avatar collector would try harder and harder rather than giving up, even though each loss should teach her to despair and never try again. It seems that having good luck is part of Ice Cream Machine (you have to cross your fingers and hope for valuable scoops), so all that's keeping me from the avatar score is time!
2. Latest, Rather Than Most Expensive, Avatars
As I mentioned earlier, us avatar collectors have the odd habit of making our latest avatar, rather than our rarest or most expensive avatar, our active avatar! I do own the very expensive "Grarrl Warrior" avatar, for instance, but I prefer to use my "Snow Roller" avatar, at least until I earn my next avatar. (Extreme Potato Counter, my eye is on you!)
3. Never Tired
I love how, after achieving the "Snow Roller" avatar, I was totally re-energized and ready to play another avatar game! I didn't rest on my laurels. I didn't take a well-deserved nap, to soothe my frazzled nerves. I didn't stare in happy satisfaction at my new avatar. Instead, I started collecting a list of all the games whose avatars I still need to accomplish, such as TNT Staff Smasher and Extreme Herder. Only an avatar collector would be invigorated by her success, and choose to charge forward with another game, rather than taking a weeklong break from every game that exists on Neopets!
4. Our Pets Match Our Avatars
With avatar collectors, their pets usually match their avatars, rather than the other way around. One person I know, who achieved the "Stamp Collector - Lost Desert" avatar, gave away all of her pets and started fresh with four Desert pets, just so that her pets would match her sparkling, golden avatar. I thought this was quite unique, and something that is particular to avatar collectors!
5. We Get Cramps
With every game, no matter whether the controls are keyboard buttons or mouse clicks, we suffer from gamers' cramps! This makes sense; regular players would never devote 6 hours straight to Goparokko. It's only the avatar hunters who suffer this way. This is why we take advantage of breaks in the games, such as stretching our arms before starting level 11, or pausing a game when we're really close to achieving an avatar score but have jittery nerves. (Jittery nerves are the mortal enemy of any serious gamer.)
6. The Page Swims
Avatar collectors, deranged in their passion to achieve high scores, often experience the phenomenon known as "swimming pages." Basically, after stopping a game (either by pausing on purpose, or because they lose), the page looks like it's swimming to the right or the left. Serves them right for staring at their screens for hours on end! I think it's hilarious that despite this visual and mental impairment, we go ahead and restart the games. Only an avatar collector would take this physical abnormality in stride!
7. We're Missing "Easy" Avatars
I think it's funny that even the most talented avatar collectors despair of achieving certain random avatars, such as "Snowager - Rawr!" and "Geraptiku - Deserted Tomb." People with an astonishing 300+ avatars, and account ages of 100+ months, still haven't gotten Snowy's avatar after years and years of being blasted. I thought this was unusual, but it turns out, it's actually really common! One player admitted that she's been going to Snowy for 7 years, and still hasn't gotten his avatar yet. I thought it was interesting that veteran avatar collectors are missing these basic and random avatars, and I wished them much luck with getting them in the future! (Aren't randoms just the worst?)
8. Even Experts Can Be Wrong
I noticed that even when we consider ourselves to be experts at a game, oftentimes, we then learn a new hint or clue that could boost our score to new heights. For instance, I was playing the Snow Roller game every day since November (it's currently the end of January). I thought I was doing well, striving hard to reach the avatar score, and wondering why the game was so "glitchy" (the snowball would randomly speed up despite me jamming the up button to slow it down). Turns out, I was playing the game all wrong! If you go extremely to the left, or extremely to the right, the snowball speeds up. I had no idea the controls worked that way! After learning this tip, I reached the avatar score on the second try, and never once lost control of my snowball. Astonishingly, I also ranked #20 on the high score list, which was a total accident. Thanks, to the person who told me this trick! (I hope this hint helps other people!)
9. Our Scores Deteriorate
Many avatar collectors have experienced the phenomenon where we've been playing a game for so many consecutive hours that our scores, rather than improving with each restart, end up deteriorating instead! For instance, I was playing Ice Cream Machine recently, and my average score went from being 11k to being 10k, and from being 10k to 7k. My nerves were so frazzled with each new restart of the game that my scores were deteriorating. That's when I knew I needed a break! I made myself a cream cheese bagel, read the morning newspaper, and attempted the avatar score later that evening. I'm happy to report that my scores jumped back up! (Though the avatar score still eludes me, darn it.)
10. We Have Heroes
The same people usually end up on the Avatar Collector high score list over and over again by disabling, and then re-enabling, the Emo Usuki shopkeeper. TNT has said that they're looking to close this loophole, but until then, us avatar collectors gaze at the high score list and sigh longingly at the winners! We've memorized the usernames of the top collectors, and despair of ever catching up. We're not jealous -- we're something deeper. We're ambitious. We're motivated. We're hopeful. And looking at the top collectors drives us to succeed!
11. We Live Vicariously
The Avatar Neoboard is full of enthusiastic people who are all supportive of each other and each other's individual goals. When someone achieves a really tough avatar, such as the "Chokato" avatar, no one posts that they're jealous! Instead, we congratulate the player, and sometimes admit that we ourselves hope to achieve that avatar someday. Regardless of whether we have 100 avatars or 300, there's always that one avatar that we're aching to own. I love that we celebrate each other, and live vicariously through other players, when those players have gotten that avatar we've always wanted and admired!
These were all the peculiar ways in which avatar collectors differ from normal Neopets players! I had a lot of fun gathering this list, since it highlights my favorite group of people. Regardless of whether we have 55 avatars, or 363, the name "avatar collector" is wielded by us with pride and delight. I think avatar collectors are special people who love this site a little more than the normal player does. I hope this article pays tribute to avatar collectors and all their eccentricities!
Thanks for reading this article, fellow players! Stay tuned for more articles from yours truly, and have an amazing week!