I don’t know if April Fool’s Day was ever particularly funny, but the ubiquitous internet “pranks” have left me worn out on the day. The only joke that I can even remember wasn’t from the internet; in March of my junior year of high school a girl began talking worriedly about a missed period and having serious conversations about who the father might be and what she was going to do.
On April 1st she arrived at school with a concise sign around her neck. Scrawled hastily on the cardboard was simply, “I like pussy. Duh.”
Aside from that memorable moment, to me this day is just like any other day on the internet: everyone is biased and/or outright lying. Except it’s not just links to known tabloids and Fox News that you’ve got to look out for, it’s everyone.
It generally boils down to one of three categories: fundamentally altering a site into something its constituents hate (often in the form of selling out), closing down a site, or offering a product that doesn’t actually exist (looking at you, ThinkGeek).
I’m at the point where April 1st is just an annoying day to be on the internet.
In all fairness.
There were a couple of good ones.
The first one was that The Geek sent The Historian the newest Game of Thrones. About five minutes in, just as The Historian was getting comfy and assured that it was not a joke, the rickroll came on. Delayed prank for the win!
The Guild Wars 2 team didn’t make a prank, per se. The fad thing to do is take your game or site and downgrade it to 8-bit for a couple of screenshots. Instead, they made three levels of Nintendo-style platforming and limited lives (with an “infantile” setting for those of us that suck at that sort of thing) and the rewards could be traded for actual in game items of value.
My favorite in recent memory, however is 5 Guilty Pleasures That Are Secretly Saving the World. It’s smart and subtle, playing on the fact that Cracked often has exaggerated or unexpected headlines and that most people are on the lookout for extreme lies. These are all things with links to back them up and that sound or feel right.
I’ll admit, he had me until he tried to pull off that blogging is leading to a mini ice age. Touche, and well done. With any luck maybe in the future we can have subtle and smarter pranks to make the day saner and more enjoyable.