April Fools' Jokes Archive

Over the years this site has usually had some kind of an April Fools' joke each year on April the first. This page lists all the various jokes and attempts at jokes.

April Fools' Day 2003

The site's first attempt at an April Fools' joke was a silly thing where the front page was suddenly a page claiming to be "uploading your hard drive" to the server, with a fake progress bar and a button to supposedly cancel the upload. When pressed, it would bring you to this page (warning: eye-searing red background), which would announce your foolishness and tell you you should have just waited for the "upload" to finish to demonstrate your nonbelief in it, duh. The fools counter was at fifteen before I put up the joke archive; as the site was still only five months old at the time (and still named Butterfree's Pokémon Site and looking like Oldie Style), it didn't get a lot of daily visitors.

April Fools' Day 2004

I can't find any record of there having been an April Fools' joke in 2004, so I'm guessing there wasn't one, though it's been so long I can't properly remember. Before I made this page, the last modified date of the file that keeps track of the number of pageviews on the 2003 joke page was April 1st 2004, so it looks like somebody looked at that page at that time, but that was probably just me remembering the previous year's joke and wanting to review the page (after which I most likely facepalmed at the stupidity of it and ditched any possible plans of recycling it).

April Fools' Day 2005

This year, I claimed on the splash page to be eloping with my then-boyfriend Nidokingu (the same one who wrote the Sevii Islands walkthrough) and shutting down the site. This fooled absolutely nobody, not least because I admitted it was a joke on the actual main page and had reminded the viewer that tomorrow was April Fools' Day the day before; apparently I was feeling very uninspired.

April Fools' Day 2006

In 2006, I pretended I was giving up on the then-monthly crossword because I was pissed that nobody got it right. It was good timing for a joke, because April the first would be the day I'd have revealed the results of the previous crossword anyway... too good, because as it turned out pretty much everybody accepted this as a real thing, thought it made perfect sense nobody had gotten the crossword right because it's just way too hard, and didn't really care. Which made it kind of fail as a joke, since the results had little entertainment value.

April Fools' Day 2007

2007 had probably my favorite April Fools' joke in the history of the site. For the occasion, I made the front page redirect the user to this page. It claimed to be a website for "TCOD Solutions", produced by a company named "DRAG Productions, ltd." located on "Flyc Avenue" (to justify why their URL would be 'dragonflycave.com'). The TCOD Solutions site included an "Our Products" page offering three different products - all having descriptions that, while very complimentary, contained no hints towards what those products actually did - as well as a "Customer Testimonials" page vouching for the awesomeness of the products, again without any indication of what the products actually are. The "About TCOD" page then admitted it was a joke and gave a working link to the real home page.

A few people legitimately freaked out about this, telling me frantically that some company had taken over the URL, and apparently didn't think to check the About page. But most people immediately realized it was a joke and just enjoyed its humour value in itself. I enjoy April Fools' jokes that are amusing on their own more than those that rely on actually fooling people, so that was fine with me.

April Fools' Day 2008

There was no joke this year; I had meant to write some patently ridiculous theory, but I ended up not having the time or inspiration to get it done before April the first. Oh well.

April Fools' Day 2009

Unfortunately it seems this year had no joke whatsoever. I don't know why that was, when I'd at least tried to have a joke the previous four years, but at least if there was one I can't remember it and it was sneaky enough to leave no evidence of its existence behind.

April Fools' Day 2010

The site didn't actually have a joke this year, but I did make a joke: I wrote a fake chapter of my long-running fanfic The Quest for the Legends and posted it as the real chapter 53. In this ridiculously over-the-top installment, the main characters were suddenly in the deepest love ever loved, Mew suddenly appeared to explain to them that their destined relationship was what would resolve the plot, one of the 'bad guys' was suddenly turned good by a throbbing pink glow of love, and in general everybody's problems were resolved in the most ridiculous way possible. The chapter got more comments than any chapter before it, with the reactions ranging from repulsed to amused to desperately hoping it wasn't real, plus one person who actually said they'd prefer it was the real chapter over the actual chapter 53 (having written the chapter to be terrible in absolutely every possible way, I can certify that this person was nuts).

I later posted a detailed account of the creation of this joke (which had been years in the planning), if anybody cares.

April Fools' Day 2011

This year I did another fanfic-oriented joke, but this time it did take place on the site itself, since Morphic, its subject, doesn't have its own minipage. [Please be warned, before clicking any of the links here, that Morphic, joke chapters included, is rated R and contains both violence and a lot of profanity.] Basically, I had finished Morphic in December 2010 and mentioned that I had an idea for a sequel at that time. At midnight (Icelandic time) on April 1st 2011, I then claimed that I'd given over the writing of the sequel to my friend Espeon and that he'd written the first chapter. Espeon, who really did write the chapter, had never read Morphic; instead, I wrote one-liner descriptions of the principal characters that I sent to him and let him go wild. This fake chapter featured everyone dying and going to the afterlife, a technically ten-year-old sociopathic Scyther Pokémorph having the hots for the grown-up jerkass I keep writing extras about, another ten-year-old becoming a bus driver, everyone being hilariously out of character, and doors made of solid pine as a key plot point. This was a pretty obvious joke and nobody really fell for it, at least not after actually reading the chapter.

The joke wasn't over yet, however, because in the evening, I posted another fake chapter, this time of my own creation. This one featured a Mew and Mewtwo morph suddenly turning out to exist, a dead character being resurrected by a Misdreavus morph thinking about her hard enough, and finally a dark twist where several main characters were murdered. Some people actually believed it was real, since it is in a twisted way very much something I'd write, and there had already been a joke.

Like in 2010, I wrote a more detailed postmortem of the joke explaining how the idea came about and what the process of creating it was like, for those who might be interested (contains severe spoilers for the fic, but it'll probably not be very interesting to those of you who haven't read it anyway).

April Fools' Day 2012

In 2012, I went with a kind of an obvious opportunity for a joke, namely to claim that I was permanently translating the site into Icelandic. For the purposes of the joke, I translated the front page, menu, footer, etc., plus the output of the Zodiac script (both dates and images), turned the update dates into the European format (DD/MM/YY instead of MM/DD/YY), and promised to continue with the rest of the site.

I had a lot of fun with the translation, especially on the Almighty Random Poll; I translated the whole thing myself in as sane a manner as I could manage (no Google Translate laziness involved), and it was interesting coming up with semi-workable equivalents for all the many, many things that really don't translate well to Icelandic. Often the actual translation I came up with amused me a great deal more than the joke in itself, especially the "You suck" option in the polls becoming "Þér eruð fífl" ("You are an idiot", except using an archaic, respectful form of "you" that makes it one of those inherently hilarious phrases). I'm kind of sad none of my actual visitorbase could have understood that half of the joke, but oh well.

Surprisingly many people fell for it, which was a bit funny because I'd imagined it was an incredibly obvious joke. It turned out many people were actually puzzled I hadn't made an Icelandic version of the site long ago, even if they'd rather I kept an English version around as well. The reason that idea seems so absurd to me is that Icelandic is pretty lacking when it comes to video-game-related vocabulary - video games are never translated into Icelandic, and as a result we completely lack actual remotely agreed-upon terminology for more or less anything video-game-related. I'd go so far as to say translating any section about something like stats into remotely serviceable Icelandic would be flat-out impossible - Icelandic geeks just throw the English words in there, but those would never pass in proper written Icelandic, and if I were to just make up neologisms, they would sound awkward and nobody would have any idea what the hell I was talking about. (We don't really do loanwords; we have a committee painstakingly making up proper Icelandic words for concepts in computer science and the like, but that committee doesn't exactly cross over with video game culture.)

Moreover, the fact video games aren't translated means that people who seriously play video games in Iceland can read and understand English by definition - the number of people potentially interested in this website who would understand it in Icelandic but not in English is minuscule, if they even exist at all. So yeah, no, I'm not going to actually translate the site into Icelandic, ever.

As an easter egg of sorts, the translation function for the Zodiac is still around: if you add ?lang=is to the URL of any page of the site, the Zodiac date will appear in Icelandic, and likewise, if you add &lang=is to the URL to a Zodiac image, you'll get the Icelandic version of that image:

Dagur Barboach í valdatíð Kyogre, árstíð vatnsins

April Fools' Day 2013

For April 1st 2013, I put up a fake R/B/Y Safari Zone mechanics page. It claimed, among other things, that by holding down A at precisely the right time you can get a Safari Ball to act as a Master Ball (referencing the many R/B/Y-era "cheats" asserting any Pokéball could be made infallible with the right button timing); that the calculation of whether the Pokémon will run away is based partly on a "nervousness factor" estimating how jittery the player is acting and thus how wary the Pokémon would be (simply the first absurdly elaborate mechanic nobody could have predicted that popped into my head); and that encounters in the Safari Zone are systematically biased towards Pokémon you've already caught (playing with the way many players love to insist baselessly that the Pokémon games are horrendously biased against the player, which they are in fact not). I sprinkled some more silly pessimism on, like saying Pokémon are by default four times harder to catch in the Safari Zone than elsewhere, and to give the whole thing an added air of plausibility, I included formulas, tables, algorithms and stuff about possible overflows and the game freezing.

I had already analyzed the R/B/Y and G/S/C capture algorithms and unearthed pretty counterintuitive information from there, and had been talking about the actual Safari Zone mechanics page I was making for quite a while, so all in all it added up to several people being fooled. That was more than I'd dared to hope, since to me the idea that the game would actually do nonsense like factoring in the timing of button presses seemed pretty absurd, and since I crammed in three ridiculous mechanics and had assumed people would perhaps fall for the first one or possibly two but definitely catch on when they got to the third. But then again, G/S/C's capture algorithm had more weirdness than that, so it may not be all that surprising that this seemed almost plausible by comparison.

April Fools' Day 2014

By April 2014 I'd been promising a new personality test for a long time, and I provided one in the wee hours of the morning on the first of April in the form of the What Trainer Class Are You? test. It had both a "psychic" and a "normal quiz" version, the former claiming to read your mind from your mouse movements and the latter featuring mostly reasonable questions with some reasonable and some bizarre answers. Both versions would give a completely random result, with each of the eight chosen trainer classes' descriptions starting out like a fairly regular personality test result before developing into something considerably less regular. I really didn't expect anyone to fall for this, but incredibly enough I saw multiple people comment that it didn't seem like a joke.

The idea for this came about because I'm nosy and sometimes read through my website's referral logs, where I often find threads on various forums linking to my What Pokémon Are You? and What Type Are You? quizzes. Among the people posting their results, being elated if they got a powerful Pokémon or insulted if they got Magikarp, there would regularly be some smug cynic who walked in to comment that sure, that's a cute test, but you guys know it's just coughing up a random result and it has nothing to do with your answers, right? Or (if they arrive sufficiently early in the thread) you do realize it's rigged and just gives the same result for everyone, right? While that brand of smuggery is pretty irritating, it's not an absurd sentiment - there are psychological principles that cause us to be willing to recognize completely generic descriptions as specially fitting ourselves - and at some point I started kind of wanting to make an actual randomized quiz for hilarity's sake. By the time April was close to rolling around I'd actually forgotten about the idea and was considering doing something like declaring the site's primary purpose was now as a home for my new epic Pokémon/Breaking Bad crossover fanfiction, but I didn't end up having the time to go through with that, and then I realized this was the perfect time to make a silly fake personality test.

For the record, my other personality tests really are 100% genuine - they're for entertainment purposes only and cheerfully unscientific on every level, of course, but they do in fact make an honest attempt to read personality traits out of your answers and give you a result that coherently describes your particular combination of traits. I would never make a random or otherwise dishonest test without disclosing what it is for any occasion but April Fools' Day.

April Fools' Day 2015

On April Fools' Day 2015, I wrote an update claiming to have been taken over by "Daybreak Recreation & Activities Group Productions, Ltd." (Though I didn't make it explicit in the update, this is the same "DRAG Productions, Ltd." that supposedly obtained the domain in 2007's joke; that was further hinted in the footer, which claimed the site was a registered trademark of "DRAG Productions, Ltd., 483 Flyc Avenue, Tikodopolis, DF", and on the About Us page that replaced the regular About Me page in the menu.) Supposedly, the company had created a "brand-new, responsive mobile-first design ... to better reflect the web design sensibilities of the modern age" (you can see the style here), and this style was forced on everyone for the day. Finally, as the first step in the "new direction" the company was taking the site, I wrote a silly list article with generic stock photos and almost no text entitled "You Won't Believe These Bizarre Glitches Elite Hackers Have Discovered in the Pokémon Games".

This was actually a pretty rushed joke - after being incredibly busy for most of March 2015 and having had no real time to think about April Fools' Day jokes, on March 20th I was made to read through some incredibly incomprehensible marketingspeak at work and, in my frustration, had a stroke of inspiration about a sort of revival of 2007's joke. It ended up mocking elements of corporate takeovers of independent websites, uninformative clickbait articles, and the sort of web design and aesthetic the Internet is moving towards.

From there, obviously most of the time preparing this joke went into creating an entire new style with fancy-looking dropdowns and CSS transitions and so on. At first I meant the style to be quite parodesque; the first thing I decided to do with it was to make the top banner ludicrously huge, the way a lot of websites today have such massive fancy banners that odds are none of the actual content of the page is even visible before scrolling (one of my pet peeves). But one way or another I ended up taking the style more seriously than I meant to, probably in large part because of the actually-quite-nice official artwork that I found to put in the banner; I just quickly started to feel this had the potential to be a pretty good style and didn't want to go out of my way to sabotage it. I hadn't made a style since 2008(!), and not only have I learned a lot about web design since, but the Internet has fundamentally changed: a very significant number of people today mainly browse the Web on mobile phones, and none of my old styles actually had any kind of special support for mobile devices with tiny touch-activated screens. So this was also a good opportunity to add better mobile support to the site - which also just gave me more buzzwords to describe the new style with.

On April 2nd I then explained it was a joke and made a permanent style based on the joke style, "Modern style", which reinserted the style switcher and shrank the banner to a more sensible size. It is currently the default style.

April Fools' Day 2016

When 2016 rolled around, I had for a long time wanted to start seriously practicing drawing. I used to draw a lot when I was a kid, and doodled all over my notebooks in class at school before I got a laptop, but I hadn't done any serious drawing for years. So, starting January 2nd, I decided I would draw something every day and post the results on a Tumblr blog - I'd seen people improve hugely by doing similar things before, and it seemed like a fun challenge in any case.

When it came time to start thinking about 2016's April Fools' joke, I had the idea that I could combine it with my drawing efforts somehow - perhaps replacing the top banner with some crudely hand-drawn thing. It seemed a little underwhelming by itself, though, so I expanded the idea into claiming that I was going to convert all the images on the site into my own drawings, starting by replacing the sprites next to the Almighty Random Poll and Site Poll on the front page with pencil drawings based on those sprites (a R/B Bulbasaur and a B/W Ditto).

The top banner in the default Modern style was also replaced with a drawing featuring the mascots of the site, but it ended up a lot less jokey than it was meant to be - I'd envisioned something very sketchy-looking, but because I am trying to improve my drawing, I didn't want to draw something intentionally bad, and furthermore, I ended up shading the whole thing, which I definitely hadn't meant to do. The end result was that the banner actually looked fairly decent, if kind of absurd what with featuring a giant Dialga plushie, and a lot of people actually liked it. So, while the sprites were turned back to normal the next day and Modern style was restored, I kept the version with the hand-drawn banner around as "Sketch style", and if you really like it you can switch your style cookie over to it on the style switcher page.

I liked the implication, with the replaced sprites, that I was planning to redraw every single sprite from every single Pokémon game. That sure would be a drawing project. Others pointed out that if I really meant every image, that would include the screenshots in my movie reviews, which in retrospect makes me wish I'd done that for the joke because it'd be pretty hilarious.

Page last modified August 26 2016 at 12:33 GMT