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Brian Szabelski
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On gaming sites and April Fools' Day


Today's a good day to not be online. At all. April Fools' Day is a pranksterís paradise, and to quote my good friend Coonskin on Twitter:

ďApril Fools on the internet is so annoying. Not that I get fooled, but it gives everyone the opportunity to showcase how "witty" they are. Ö Every website becomes an amateur version of The Onion in their given subject field.Ē

As such, chaos can ensue quite easily, which made me wonder: why do gaming sites so serious about being taken seriously play along and do ridiculous stuff every year?

Why prank?

Because it's fun, duh. April Fools' Day is a day when everyoneís trying to get everyone else, so itís kind of participating with the rest of the world. And if you do it right, you can get all kinds of crazy hits and/or attention, mostly through people linking to your site or reporting on it. For example, this year, BMWís Mini division tricked USA Today into reporting on their new invention, car polish that would be able to change your carís color temporarily.

Is it ethical?

If you do it right, sure. British newspapers frequently participate, and as long as it doesnít violate some basic principles (see below), then itís harmless fun.

Aren't there repercussions?

If you do it wrong, yes. Such repercussions include losing credibility, people thinking you're lame, and having everything you do on April 1 in the future be dissected under a microscope, even if it's real news. Trust matters in the Innernets, and if you've got none of it, then you've got nothing but a nice shiny Web site or blog with no one to read it.

So how do you do it right?

There are a few main things to remember:

Make it believable, but not stand out. No one's going to think, for example, Nintendo's buying Sony, but you might be able to convince them patent infringement suits are being filed over PlayStation Move. Still, even that's too big of a deal. Subtlety is the key to success here. If it's believable but big like our above example, the Internet Matlocks will tear it apart within minutes. So something smaller like Sony considering a Smash Bros.-like game might work. It's believeable and big, but it's not too big.

Second, no cruelty. It's ok to trick people, but not ok to hurt them in the process. Plus, people remember getting burned like that, and they'll find some way to exact revenge. Probably by spreading rumors about you and/or hacking your Web Site.

And of course, make sure you have the necessary Photoshops and/or video to back it up. Once again, believeable is the key word here. Don't go posting screenshots of the new Zelda game. Everyone knows you're lying if you do that.

And that's about it. In fact, there's one place that's done it quite right: here's the best April Fool's joke I've seen all day. Magnificent.
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About Brian Szabelskione of us since 12:13 PM on 02.11.2007

Oh, hi there. Didnít see you enter. Anyways, welcome to my humble little blog. For those of you not familiar with who I am, the nameís Brian. Iím 24 years old and hail from Findlay, Ohio. I work at the local newspaper here as a copy editor, putting my four long years of college to actual use. Kind of. I think.

For those of you who might recognize me from elsewhere, I work as Assistant Gaming Editor over at Blogcritics Gaming and as Features Editor over at Tomopop. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it because I get to do a lot of cool shit with a lot of cool people.

I've been gaming since the relatively young age of around 3 and I've played plenty of games, both good and bad. I'm continuously expanding my gaming collection, which has become more of an archive in recent years as I'm focusing on collecting older, less well-known titles. You'd honestly be surprised on what people are missing out on in bargain bins...

Other than gaming, I love anime, manga, sports, movies, TV, and a whole lot more. I also happen to have something of a legendary love for Cammy, to the point that I am the site's unofficial official Cammy fanboy. And yes, I do play as her in Street Fighter and do so quite well, too.

Also, I am Chad Concelmo's B.F.F., my prize for coming in first in The Great Retro Quiz .18 - ActRaiser. Accept no substitutes. Not even Aerox.

Contact Info:

AIM: NihonTiger90
MSN: hurricane317 at
Skype: NihonTiger90
Twitter: brianszabelski
GMail: brianszabelski at
MySpace: Click
Steam: NihonTiger

Mad props to Ghost for this amazing card!

Great Retro Quiz! Results

Punch-Out! featuring Mike Tyson

Star Fox (winner)
ActRaiser (winner)
Ninja Gaiden
Street Fighter II
Super Mario Kart

Donkey Kong Country
Smash Bros.
Zelda II

Nihon's Gallery of Hotness:

(Yes, thatís one of Dtoidís own, Hollie (a.k.a. phoenix-blood). I met her at PAX and she is awesome.)

(Ooooh, I think I found a new favorite :3)

Psst, more here.
Xbox LIVE:NihonTiger90
Mii code:1555-3898-0488-3828


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