April Fools' Day - 2009
2009 was a busy year for the pranksters on the Neopets staff, as they effectively managed to pull off 2 pranks. Whilst one was obviously a joke, it acted as a diversion tactic of sorts and stopped people from suspecting the second (TNT are sneaky like that). ;) We've included as many screenshots as possible, but some are rather big and so had to be scaled down a bit; click on any of the images to be taken to a larger version.
Upon logging into their account, everybody had their site theme automatically changed to the "Neopets Green" theme and received the following pop-up message:
Clicking on the link in the pop-up took you to a page outlining all the features users could "look forward to" with the impending arrival of Neoplants. (A few curious users also discovered that www.neoplants.com redirected to the main Neopets page.) Amongst the planned changes was the conversion of Neopia to Plantopia, with the world map screen bearing a banner to advertise the upcoming switch.
Less conspicuous was the banner at the top of the games room, although the ambiguity of the phrase "Gaming Plants" did frighten us a little--it just sounded so ominous. :(
To give users somewhere to discuss (and inevitably freak out about) the upcoming changes, TNT created a new Neoplants message board. The bulk of the topics were made by people announcing their intentions to quit should they log in to find that their precious pets had been converted into cacti, though there were a few amusing ones made by people who claimed they would quit if their pets didn't suddenly start sprouting blossoms. But the best topics were those made by users determined to go along with the prank, who appeared requesting tips for the various new games that had been announced. At one point, there was a full-scale discussion going on between several players about the best way to complete the third level on Magnolia Chase; all the while, other people who weren't in on the joke frantically begged for a link to play the game and demanded more information. The teamwork involved was brilliant to watch.
But it wasn't all fun and games, something far more sinister seemed to be going on in Neopia, something which had managed to claim all the stock in the Hidden Tower. Upon visiting the tower, users were presented with this terrible news:
The Economy Crashes
Fyora wasn't the only person suffering economically, though--a trip to the bank revealed that the Bank Manager had been forced to tighten his belt as well. Or rather, had forced him to remove his belt and trade in his trousers for a rather fetching barrel ensemble. That wasn't the only change though, as interest rates had apparently been lowered by 1% for each account type (though observant players would have noticed that when you clicked the "collect interest" button, you still got the amount you should have received and not what it said on the button ;P). This proved to be the most convincing part of the prank as we received a lot of bug reports from people who thought this was a legitimate decrease; in fact, it looked like it might have been a genuine change after all as the interest rate remained the same even after the rest of the site had returned to normal, though this was later explained as having been an oversight on TNT's part as they had simply forgotten to mend it.
If you fancied imitating his style then a trip to the Second Hand Shoppe was on the cards, as a number of Wooden Barrels (and a lot of other wearable items) had been donated by the likes of Princess Amira, Hubrid Nox and Lucie.
Generosity was in short supply over at the Tombola, where the Tiki Tack Man spent the entire morning asking for donations and insisted he didn't have enough Neopoints to buy prizes with and so wouldn't let anybody play. Rather than relying on donations completely, though, he decided to increase his income by raising the rate of inflation in his store from the usual 2.31% to 23.10%. Not to be outdone, shopkeepers across Neopia copied him and hiked up their inflation rates, too.
Pets looking for work at the Faerieland Employment Agency were out of luck as no jobs were available.
The icing on the financial crisis cake was the Stock Market, which could be heard crashing from several hundred miles away. From the opening of the financial day, the only direction any stock went was down; although a few lucky ones remained frozen, the rest tumbled by several points and made a mess of a lot of people's portfolios.
Although the lackluster graphics of the Neoplants didn't really convince anybody, they served their purpose by lulling people into a false sense of security for long enough to get them to fall for the second prank concerning the Neopian economy. As such, if we worked for TNT, we would have chalked this year up as a resounding success. Although if we did work for TNT, we're sure we could have come up with something much more evil!
This article was written by: JN Staff