Thursday, April 1, 2010

The April Fool's Legacy

Yup, it's the first of April, which means most of the threats your coworkers made about pulling some prank will not come to fruition. They'll back down, is what I'm saying, it was nothing more than woolgathering. Yet pranks will be out there, some subtle and some reliable. For instance, ThinkGeek always generates good joke merchandise. Only once has this backfired on them, when their Tauntaun sleeping bag proved so popular an item they were compelled to manufacture and sell it.

This is the e-mail alert I received from them today: along with a handheld digital tattoo printer and a "zero points of articulation" action figure of the obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey, these were some of the wicked-cool and somewhat questionable items ostensibly for sale. I don't understand the clock one at all, so that means it's a very deep movie or literature subreference for hardcore sci-fi fans. I love sci-fi, but I'm not that deep a geek to pick up on an oblique reference such as this, I'm afraid.

And observe this image on the left. This is in the third-party game by Zynga, called FarmVille, playable on its own site or more popularly through Facebook. You own a farm and can plow your own fields, plants seeds, harvest your crops, and through income and luck purchase buildings, animals, and accoutrement to dress up your property.

Just before midnight, however, I noticed something new in my inventory: a roll of toilet paper. I clicked on it and a message popped up, asking me whether I knew anyone who owned a barn. I figured my higher-level neighbors in the game might and, upon finding such a structure, clicked on the toilet paper, then the barn, and here is the scene that ensued.

Not to be outdone, Mafia Wars has transformed one of its in-game properties. When in the New York setting, you can collect income from various businesses you own, anything from a flophouse to a casino. The most recent addition was that of a chop shop where, using parts attained elsewhere in the game, you can design a variety of vehicles for offensive and defensive strategy.

Only today, the chop shop has transformed into a magical Unicorn Castle. To upgrade it, you can request such parts as Starstone or a Pretty Tower. Rather than churning out cars, it produces all sorts of unicorns:

I'm going to keep my eyes peeled the rest of the day for other April Fools surprises. They'll turn up in news sources (as per the zombie epidemic the BBC reported several years ago) and other unexpected venues. I'm looking forward to it.

No comments: