April Fools' Day - 2011
A pandemic swept Neopia in 2011 shortly after midnight NST on April 1st. Owners who logged in noticed their pets looked a little funny...
Not every pet was visibly ill. Those with different body types (unconverted pets, certain Maraquan/mutant pets, certain fruit Chias, etc.) were still sick, but didn't show it in their public appearance. If you owned the pet, though, you might've seen them with a sick expression, but on lookups, they would've still had their normal emotion. Sometimes it also took awhile for the infection to spread to all your pets (if you really wanted them all infected, you could've visited your user lookup and kept refreshing until the pet images changed). Ready to see an infected pet? Dun dun dun...
Oh no, what happened?!
Upon checking the quick reference page, you'd see a little notice. The descriptions changed as the day progressed.
Both the quick reference page and pet lookups had links to the hospital.
Visiting there only fueled the panic as the countdown clock of doom ticked down. The number of pets infected increased as more users logged on.
The Pharmacy offered no extra help--the shopkeeper would tell you: "If you're looking for a cure for the new disease, we don't have one. They are working on something over at the Hospital, maybe check there."
Bulletins were posted at the hospital at intervals.
BULLETIN [1:03:56 am NST]: Neopets all over Neopia have complained of not feeling well. Crowds are rushing to the Pharmacy for a cure, but the illness has not yet been identified. Scientists across the land are hard at work, trying to find the source of the illness so they can contain it as they search for a treatment.
BULLETIN [3:42:21 am NST]: Symptoms of the unidentified illness include growths on the face and body, a persistent cough, and severe headache. Neopians are encouraged to remain indoors and avoid those showing symptoms of the illness. It is recommended that Neopians cover the gaps in the doors and windows of their Neohomes to keep out germs.
BULLETIN [8:37:06 am NST]: Neopian Hospital over-run with sick Neopets, all suffering from this mysterious illness. Further symptoms include itchiness, dizziness, and muscle aches. If you have any of these symptoms, please avoid contact with healthy Neopets, drink plenty of fluids, and rest in a darkened room.
BULLETIN [10:20:13 am NST]: Neopian health crisis worsens as doctors, chemists, and potion-makers scramble to find a cure. Panic sets in among a worried populace; shelves at the Pharmacy are emptied by Neopets desperate for a cure for this horrible illness. Meanwhile, cases have been reported in every Neopian land, making it a pandemic.
BULLETIN [12:51:59 pm NST]: The mystery disease has been identified as the Scourgies. It is highly contagious. Avoiding contact with other Neopets is critical at this stage so the disease does not spread any further. Doctors are continuing to look for a cure before all hope is lost.
Thankfully, a number of cures were available and you could give them to another pet (but not your own!). Other people could heal your ill pet as well. All infected pets (even unconverted/mutant/etc. ones) could be healed. Cures did not show up in your inventory; rather, they were directly applied to your pet and worn for all to see (unless your pet had a special body type). Again, they showed up in customisation but could not be permanently removed. You did not get an alert telling you your pet was healed or who healed them. If you needed help, though, there were tons of "I'll heal your pet" threads on the Neoboards; Neopians coming together as a community--it's a wonderful thing!
I guess Slorgs are a step up from crusty scabs!
The following cures were available. Clicking on the item image will take you to our wearable preview section!
Unfortunately, Freezing Cold Ice Pack only showed up in static pictures, not the Flash versions of pets. Here are some examples:
Cures wore off in about half an hour, and then your pet would be re-infected with Scourgies, starting the process all over again.
For curing a lot of other pets and using Blazing Hot Soup, you had a chance to win a free background: the Blazingly Hot Soup Background.
There were no huge disadvantages to being infected--pets could fight in the Battledome even while they had Scourgies.
As the infection continued to spread, hazard signs began to appear in the games room, the new features page, Krawk Island, the Neopets front page, the Neoboards, pet central, the main explore page, Maraqua, Mystery Island, and finally, Neopia Central.
In the afternoon, The Neopets Team had something to say about the situation when they released the day's news:
The phrase "Neopian Hospital" was originally a broken hyperlink that revealed this text: "*cough, hack* A mysterious illness has been spotted in Neopia and has been spreading fast to neighbouring lands! Hide your Neopets so they don't catch this disease! (Oh, it's probably too late now. You're doomed. DOOMED, I tell you!)" The link was later fixed and led you to the hospital.
Despite what was said, going to "hazardous" pages had no special ramifications.
Poor Mr. Insane... According to the Official Neopets Facebook Page, the infection got him as well!
The Final Countdown
Over 771,449 pets were infected during the course of the day. At the very start of April 2nd, the hospital returned to normal and the wooden signs were taken down. Pets could finally be free of Scourgies by going into customisation and saving an outfit. Cures and the disease item never showed up in closets or inventories.
Neopets often inspires users to come up with their own pranks. This year's Neoboard pranks included fake avatar alerts and false information about being able to access Lutari Island. It's always nice to see people going along with Neopets' joke: the Premium Neoboards (Charter) concocted a story about how you were able to receive random events that gave you materials to take down the wooden hazard signs. There were also those who claimed you could win more bonus items by curing hundreds of pets with Slorgs!
This article was written by: JN Staff