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 - starting with brief throwaway gags but growing increasingly elaborate over the lifetime of the site. Usually my goal is less to fool people and more to just make something amusing - I love getting this chance one a year to just do something ridiculous and entertain people with it. This page lists all the various jokes and attempts at jokes.
April Fools' Day 2020
In 2019's joke, I had created a demo of a Scyther dating sim titled Sutoraiku High, ending in a mock advertisement for the full game, expected to come out in April 2020. I didn't exactly intend on it then, but after a lot of people said they wanted more of the game, I kept working on it, starting by creating colored, polished versions of the character sprites and fleshing out some of the day 2 routes that I wasn't quite happy with. Unfortunately, I never quite completed those script changes, and the project languished... all the way until mid-February 2020, when I decided for this year's joke I could just actually release the full version of the game as promised.
I made pretty good progress, completing the day 2 edits to my satisfaction, then sketched out how I could have days three and four work without the exponentially multiplying number of possibilities really getting away from me, and then started work on day three, by which time it was early March. Unfortunately, this was when the COVID-19 pandemic got bad enough in Iceland for my workplace to switch to having everyone work from home - which meant that I lost my commute and lunchtime as my usual designated peaceful, distraction-free writing time, which kind of wrecked the pace of my progress. By March 28th I was still working on finishing day three. I had my playtesters test the unfinished game on March 31st and April 1st while I was frantically writing the eight different endings one by one; I had no time to even playtest all the endings myself before finally throwing the game up onto the site, and by that time it was technically about one in the morning on April 2nd (but my largest audience is in the US where it was still April 1st, so I considered it just about acceptable).
There wasn't much of a joke element to this joke all in all - effectively, the joke was just to make the promised release date of the full game in 2019's joke turn out to be not a joke. But mostly I just wanted to finish this game and make something fun that people could enjoy in these trying times, and I hope I succeeded at that.
April Fools' Day 2019
For April Fools' Day 2019, I made Sutoraiku High, a Scyther dating sim (sutoraiku is a basic romanization of Scyther's Japanese name), which I described as "a visual novel about drama, friendships, prejudice, bullying, total societal upheaval, and high school romance". The game was stated to be a demo and used free VN backgrounds combined with rough, sketchy black-and-white character portraits, but I claimed the finished version would be published on all major platforms next year.
Sutoraiku High had you take on the role of a Scyther, who is inexplicably enrolled in what looks like a normal high school with a class of four other Scyther and a Scizor, being taught about 'the Code', the reigning law of the Scyther, by a teacher known only as 'the Leader'. Although the 'demo' only covered two days' worth of content, the plot involved the Leader persistently singling out and bullying the Scizor, Nightmare, ostensibly because the Code condemns evolution; the complicated, strained interpersonal relationships between the students; and the player character's efforts to make friends and help everyone with their issues. Despite the silly premise, the actual story was played pretty straight, taking inspiration from Hatoful Boyfriend (a dating sim where the love interests are pigeons, which turns out to have a very involved and serious plot).
The whole game was essentially a high school AU of some fanfics I wrote in 2006/7 (they are pretty bad, though, please don't read them), adapting the characters and their relationships into a new setting and timeline. Initially I pretty much only chose to use the same character names and core personalities to save time, but the fanfics were just also a very convenient source of ideas to pull from when I had to do a bunch of narrative writing in a short time. The original fics were pretty dark, so I had to brush very vaguely over some of the backstory and worldbuilding elements to keep Sutoraiku High from becoming way too heavy to function as an April Fools' joke; if the game's being vague about something, you can pretty safely assume that originally significant amounts of death were involved.
I got the initial idea for making a Scyther dating sim for April Fools' Day on March 15th. The plan was essentially to just get as much done as I could, starting with what would be absolutely necessary to have a functional 'demo' and then adding on from there; thus, once I'd found a suitable in-browser VN engine (Monogatari), I first snagged some free backgrounds, then drew extremely basic character portraits, then wrote the content for day one, then did some more work on the portraits and drew more expressions. Once I'd done this I finally made the decision to do a second day of content; this was on the 29th, but I didn't actually get the chance to do any more writing until late in the evening on the 30th, so almost all of day two was written in a frenzy in the late afternoon/evening of the 31st.
After the game went up, multiple people expressed an interest in seeing the game continued for real, which I did, publishing a full version a year later in 2020's joke.
April Fools' Day 2018
On the first of April 2018, I put up a new style and made it mandatory for all visitors. The style was actually a semi-recreation of what the site looked like in 2003, shortly after its name was changed to The Cave of Dragonflies, only with a somewhat more sophisticated execution: the awkward, clumsy-looking Butterfree cursor trailer made with a script I'd copy-pasted off a website became a far nicer-looking custom-made one; the Comic Sans font I'd used extensively in my thirteen-year-old enthusiasm became the 'fixed' alternative Comic Neue; the banner featuring a collection of Advance-era sprites of bug and dragon Pokémon in awkward rows became a banner featuring the more dynamic Sun and Moon Pokédex sprites arranged in a less artificial way with a somewhat more sensible sense of perspective; the third-party-hosted neon green hit counter became a nicer-looking neon green hit counter. Meanwhile, the color scheme and basic layout remained faithful to the original design.
I waffled a bit over how to introduce the joke, but ended up going with not mentioning the origins of the style at all and simply announcing it as if it were an all-new style designed today. Some people fell for it, but most of course recognized the obviously retro-inspired style as a joke - though I'm not sure how many of them could have actually recognized the specific reference!
I had a lot of fun making this style, especially the cursor trailer - cursor trailers are a terrible idea, but there's something inescapably fun about dragging your mouse around and watching some rudimentary form of physics take effect in its wake, and it was a blast to have an excuse to create the cursor trailer I'd actually wanted to create back in 2003 but didn't have the know-how - something truly giving the illusion of a Butterfree spreading Sleep Powder or the like. (It actually creates a random spread of particles as you move the mouse, with each individual particle animated to fade while drifting downward a few pixels. Thirteen-year-old me would have been in awe.) I'm a little sad only the inevitably tiny subset of incredibly loyal visitors who've been frequenting the site for fifteen years would have been able to fully appreciate exactly what I was doing, but overall this one was a delight to create.
If you liked the style, you can set your cookie to it on the style switcher page.
April Fools' Day 2017
I spent most of March 2017 working on the Gen VII Zodiac - it was taking a while, but finally it was getting close to the end. And then, I realized the timing was perfect for a joke Zodiac. Thanks to the new Python backend for the site, it was actually a breeze to throw in an extra zodiac and even generate images for it - it was perfect. So on April the first, I announced the Alolan Zodiac, not a Pokémon zodiac this time but a human one! Every day was assigned a trainer class and a named character, with seasons named after the islands of Alola:
In addition to the Zodiac itself, the Zodiac page featured a new, ridiculous backstory, involving a forcible takeover of Alola by its greatest trainers, cosmic bribes, fourth-wall-breaking references to which trainers had the correct kind of versus sprite, and a list of silly traditions around the days that included a couple of callbacks to 2014's joke.
Nobody actually fell for this one, I think; it was pretty obviously ridiculous once you actually read the backstory. I had a lot of fun making it, though, and people seemed to enjoy it.
The Alolan Zodiac page is still up and generates working Zodiac images, for your amusement.
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.
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.
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 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 in comparison.
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:
April Fools' Day 2011
This year's joke involved my fanfic Morphic. [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.
After the dust settled, 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 if you haven't read it anyway).
April Fools' Day 2010
The site didn't actually have a joke per se this year, but I did make a joke: I wrote a fake chapter of my other long-running fanfic, The Quest for the Legends and posted it as though it were 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).
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 2008
For this year, I had meant to write some patently ridiculous theory and present it as a serious one, but I ended up not having the time or inspiration to get it done before April the first, so regrettably, this year didn't end up having a joke either.
April Fools' Day 2007
2007 had one of the site's most iconic jokes, which I would go on to reference again in 2015's joke. 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.
April Fools' Day 2006
In 2006, I pretended I was giving up on the then-monthly crossword because I was annoyed 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. Unfortunately, this made it kind of fail as a joke, since the results had little entertainment value.
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.
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 and ditched any possible plans of recycling it).
April Fools' Day 2003
The site's very 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.
Page last modified April 4 2020 at 23:00 GMT