April Fools’ Day 2024: the best and cringiest pranks

Welcome to the worst day on the internet! As Chaim Gartenberg pointed out in 2021, brands and a holiday dedicated to hoaxes are rarely a winning combo. If you’re a company with any kind of social media presence in 2024, you really, truly only have four options on April Fools’ Day:

  1. Don’t do an April Fools’ joke. Put the time and energy into doing something productive that will materially benefit the world (or, less idealistically, your business) instead. Or just don’t do anything. Abstaining entirely would still be a net positive over the drain of resources and mental energy.
  2. Do an April Fools’ “joke,” but actually follow through on your stunt. This is arguably not a prank since you’ve actually created a video game skin or a real product that people can buy — but it doesn’t really hurt anyone.
  3. Do an April Fools’ joke, but be extremely clear from the start that this is a dumb joke and you have no intention of doing the thing that you are “humorously” pretending to do. Does this defeat the purpose of doing an April Fools’ joke because you’re not “fooling” anyone anymore? Absolutely. (Please see my first two points.)
  4. Lie to your customers, successfully tricking them into believing you are making some product, rebranding, or service you are not. By doing so, you will almost certainly annoy everyone once your deceit is made plain for the extremely small gain of pointless PR. The aphorism goes that there is no such thing as bad publicity; the seemingly endless line of companies willing to make fools out of themselves has proven this false time and time again.

Luckily, most companies seem to have gone with Option 1 this year. It’s a very quiet April Fools’ Day on the internet so far today, with a prank related to the Pokémon sleep tracker app and a couple of other harmless jibes. It’s also typically a bad day to launch a new product, even after Asus launched the (very real) ROG Ally handheld gaming PC last year.

Also, Gmail, which is perhaps Google’s longest-running April Fools’ Joke, turns 20 today. However, Google’s homepage seems to be prank-free for now.

If you see anything that particularly sticks out for good, bad, or just unusual reasons, send it to us.

Highlights

  • April Fools’ 2024: SciShow’s living pet rocks.

    SciShow claims it has tapped into the source vein for living pet rocks. As one-time Decoder guest host Hank Green says in the video, it’s clearly an April Fools’ bit, but then he follows through with an announcement that you can preorder a pet rock sticker collection from the SciShow merch store.

  • April Fools’ 2024: Overwatch 2 “Really, really balanced.”

    It’s April Fools’ Day, so the googly eyes are back in Overwatch 2, complete with other extremely balanced adjustments (Lifeweaver’s platform goes way, way up now, and Mercy is armed and dangerous), plus some special challenges and sprays that players can earn.

  • April Fools’ Day doesn’t have to be this cruel.

    All I want is a tiny, colorful laptop, something Apple used to do! And could do again! For the briefest moment, this April Fools’ joke gave me hope for that. Almost.

    Guess I’ll just keep using this gloomy, barely-blue MacBook Air.

  • April Fools’ 2024: Bluesky Shorts.

    Unlike every other app and service chasing the bouncing ball of vertical video (off the top of my head, we have YouTube, Instagram, NBA, Amazon, Reddit, Twitch, Netflix, Spotify… you get the picture), Bluesky’s April Fools’ contribution is… actual shorts.

    At least, assuming they get enough orders on Custom Ink to put the shipment through, but I’m not sure why Bluesky CEO Jay Graber didn’t mention this when she was on Decoder?

    A screenshot of the ordering page for Bluesky shorts.

    A screenshot of the ordering page for Bluesky shorts.

    The best April Fools’ “prank” in tech.

    Turns out, it was Gmail. Twenty years ago, nobody believed Google would give out a whole gigabyte of email storage for free. But like Sundar says — it was, in fact, not a joke. The rest is history.

    So, where were you when you got your first Gmail beta invite?

  • April Fools’ 2024: Razer Cthulhu gaming chair.

    If the only problem with your gaming chair is that you ever have to get up, try Razer’s Cthulhu. It’s equipped with eight arms to grab Hot Pockets, shave your beard, and more, all with “a 96.9 percent chance of the tentacles always listening to you!”

    According to the FAQ:

    The Razer Cthulhu’s behavior is derived from its interactions with you. If you’re unhappy with the behavior this may be a skill issue.

  • April Fools’ 2024: Elden Ring expansion.

    They didn’t say DLC (Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree won’t be here until June 21st); they said expansion. And they delivered.

  • April Fools’ 2024: Don’t copy those (97,619) floppies.

    For April Fools Day, CD Projekt RED is going old school: floppy disks.

    The developers of Cyberpunk 2077 have “announced” a (very not real) new limited physical edition of the game arriving on floppy disks — 97,619 of them to be correct.

    A fun gag, but I’m not looking forward to the legion of kids who’ll look at this and go “oh cool they made the save icon real!”

    Mockup of CyberPunk 2077 PC game box and thousands of 3.5-inch floppy disks.

    Mockup of CyberPunk 2077 PC game box and thousands of 3.5-inch floppy disks.

    a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: CDProjekt Red
  • April Fools’ 2024: Doki Doki Palworld Club.

    The developers at Pocketpair are doing that annoying game developer thing where on April Fools Day they announce a legitimately cool new game idea only for it to be a joke. And for some reason, it’s always a dating simulator.

    In Palworld: ~More Than Just Pals~ choose from a roster of dateable Pals and trainers including the busty Lovander with a student ID number… errr… 69. It’s a shame this is fake; weird dating sims are always fun.

  • Remember to like and subscr— AAAAH!

    Landfall Games, developer of TABS and Stick Fight: The Game, continues its tradition of launching pretty neat games on April Fools Day.

    In Content Warning, you and up to three of your friends journey to the underwater Old World to film all kinds of spooky shit. Survive the night, upload your video, ???, profit! Best part is, for the next 24 hours the game is free on Steam. After that you’ll have to pay a whopping $7.99, which seems like the best part of the joke.

  • April Fools’ 2024: finally, an esports competition I could win.

    Sadly, the Pokémon Sleep World Champions Tournament is just an April Fools gag tied to the sleep tracker Pokémon Sleep, which sucks because I’ve been training my whole life for this.

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