We’ll always remember April Fools’ Day as a time of merriment for some, endless outrage for others, and especially for the merriment had at the expense of those outraged. No matter how you felt about it, you have to be a little sad that it’s been cancelled this year thanks to federal budget cuts resulting from the sequester. Thanks Congress! We’ll do the best we can to keep the spirit of April Fools’ Day alive, by looking back on some of the finest jokes the Internet had to offer in the past couple of decades.
In 2011, LinkedIn told us that our lives were way more interesting than they are, slotting in the likes of Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robin Hood into the “People You May Know” suggestions. Werner Heisenberg was listed, but it might have been a spoof account. You just never know with that guy.
Drunk Driving on the Internet
Way back in 1994, when the World Wide Web was but a child, there was much legislation to be done. PC Computing brought one such new law to light – one that would ban drinking and driving on the information highway. Imagine what YouTube comments would be like with that law in effect. Funny joke, or missed opportunity? You decide.
In 2010, Google made a bold move, changing its name to Topeka after the city changed its name to Google for a month. And it’s too bad this one wasn’t true, because then Google Reader would have been called Topeka Reader, which would have been turned into Treader, which would have been way too awesome of a name for an RSS tool to kill off.
World of StarCraft
Way back in 2006, before StarCraft 2 had been announced, the gaming world was starved for anything coming out of Blizzard’s StarCraft franchise. So, when GameSpot put together an incredibly detailed and convincing preview of World of StarCraft, many fell hard, even knowing it was April Fools’ Day. Sadly, the Internet pitchforks were raised in great number and the torches burned brightly, and the original page was taken down.
In 2011, Kodak introduced what would have certainly been an instant hit. Relationshiffft was an app that would have removed exes from pictures, reconstructed the background, and updated your relationship status on Facebook with one touch. It’s even funnier because two years later, we can say that if that isn’t already possible, it may very well be in the near future.
A classic – in 2007, one Dan Baines of London pulled off an exceptional prank, creating a highly detailed corpse of a fairy and an equally well-crafted story to really sell the hoax. He didn’t just sell the story – he sold the corpse too, although after informing everyone that the eight inch deceased being was nothing more than an April Fools’ Day joke. Turns out it was much harder to convince people it was actually a fake.
Internet Spring Cleaning
In 1996, most people still didn’t really know how the Internet worked. Now, that might still be true today, but it was a lot more true then. That’s why, when a forwarded email started going around telling everyone that Internet Spring Cleaning (handled by five Japanese robots, of course) was going down from March 31 to April 2, more than a few people took heed and stayed off the Web until it was safe, and all the crud had been cleaned out. They would log on on the April 2 to find the Internet, unsurprisingly, was just as clogged up with smut as it had been before.
YouTube has always come to play on April Fools’ Day, but one of its best outings was wresting control of the Rickroll away from the Internet, and turning it against everyone. In 2008, every featured video on the front page of YouTube went straight to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ It was a great thing, regardless of whether you loved or hated the Rickroll. If you hated the RickRoll, you won because YouTube so fully mastered the Rickroll on that day that the trend more or less died out after 2008.
Also, here’s the new GTA V trailer.