April Fool’s Day. Probably one of my least favorite days of the year. It doesn’t affect my life at all in reality, at least not with my current social relationships I have. In fact, if I didn’t go online, I would most likely forget this day exists every year. Unfortunately, I am quickly reminded of what I like to call Liar’s Day every year when I venture online to some of my favorite sites. It is the one day a year where game companies believe they have the ability to lie outright to their fans and have no consequences afterwards.
I won’t deny that some of the jokes make me laugh. Oftentimes, they are well thought out and can elicit a chuckle. Clearly, some work is put into these jokes every year. The part where this angers me is where these companies lie to us every year, and we let them get away with it! Thankfully, we have moved away from the days of when gaming sites would report these stories as fact, only telling us otherwise after the day had ended. I’m glad to see that these sites are taking their jobs seriously, as they should, but I don’t really think they should report on them in the first place. It’s a minor thing, but I feel like it just supports these lies. Now, all the blame lies with these companies.
This can even be a harmful thing for some sites. Today, GamesBeat reported on the supposed information that Adam Boyes would become the new head of EA. This information apparently came in an e-mail directly from EA. The writer in question tried to get confirmation on this but hadn’t heard back at the time he published his story. Quite possibly, since the story came directly from EA, they didn’t respond in order to perpetuate this joke. While I don’t think the writer should have reported on this story without that confirmation, all of the blame lies with EA. I would expect an e-mail from an official game company to be perfectly legit too. This is news that is a little far-fetched but could be truthful in the right circumstances. It wasn’t, however, and made a writer look like a fool and potentially confused fans of EA. (Editor’s Note: We did briefly publish the story, and we apologize for our poor judgment. The person who sent us the e-mail, however, wasn’t from EA, and the company had no involvement with the article.)
Some of the best jokes go the extra mile. They put together a video or images that try to support the lie. While these are clever and elaborate, it makes my wonder why they bothered to spend the time and resources to make them. In the current economy, particularly the way that the games business has been going the last few years, why would anyone waste time on jokes like these? It seems like every week another developer is fired or disbands. I’m sure those guys and girls would like to be working. If you have money to throw away, give it to them. Don’t waste it on a stupid joke that doesn’t really benefit anyone.
You may be wanting to call me a fun-hating jerk at this point. Feel free, but that’s not the point I’m trying to get across. I think that these gags are often quite funny; I just wonder why companies bother with them. This is a fairly recent trend in gaming and one I would love to see disappear before too much longer. I would like to get on the Internet on April Fool’s Day and actually believe everything I read, like every other day (well, for the most part). I’m not saying that game companies should be full of mindless drones who work 80-hour weeks and never sleep. A little fun is fine; just don’t have it at the expense of your fanbase.