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April Fool's Day, Sean style

I never really got into the whole April Fool's Day ... I'm not much for pranks, and while I have a silly sense of humor it doesn't suit itself well for AFD-style shenanigans. That said, when I was TSR webmaster I did manage to pull off a couple nice ones.

1) Beholder website becomes Flumph website.
The TSR website used to feature a beholder on the main page (taken from the cover of the 2e MM), with the various eyestalks taking you to the pages for downloads, product listings, etc. One year on AFD I replaced the beholder with a flumph and changed the company name from "TSR, Inc." to "Flumph, Inc." While this was just a cosmetic change (all links worked and pointed to their normal pages), I did receive a very confused email from a Japanese gamer who saw the site late in the day (shortly before I changed it back to the normal page on April 2nd). He wanted to know the business relationship between TSR Inc, and Flumph Inc., what sort of changes this would foretell for TSR's future products, and so on. At first I denied knowing what he was talking about but he insisted the site said Flumph Inc. even though it was back to its normal version, and even managed to find someone with it cached and sent me a screenshot. I finally explained that it was an AFD joke and he still didn't get it, kept asking about what sort of Flumph Inc. books TSR was going to do. It took several emails explaining the concept of AFD to him (which at the time must have been unknown to most of Japan, or at least to his circle of friends) for him to get it, but I think deep down he's still wondering.

2) Sean fired, replaced by Geoff Essex
April 1, 1996. I've been working at TSR for about a year, and have made good headway on the ongoing "TSR vs. the internet" debate about copyrights and derivative material (at the time, TSR's official stance was that if you wrote something using D&D stats, TSR owned it ... an unreasonable stance that I and others were in the process of reversing). People had accepted me as a real gamer, recognized the progress we were making on the whole copyrights issue.
Mid-day on April 1 I posted from my home account to the rec.games.frp.dnd newsgroup (back in the day before everyone had a blog or message board), saying "Sorry if this is rushed, I'm a little mad right now, I just got fired, the worst part is that they've already hired someone to replace me." Then I logged in from the (generic) TSR Inc account and posted a message as "Geoff Essex," the new Online Content Manager for TSR, basically stating that they were going to crack down on derivative contect, go after ftp sites with fan-made adventures, etc.
A flood of sympathetic posts and emails followed my from-home statement. The sentiment basically was, "This is SO typical of TSR, they finally get someone helpful and they fire him!" And in response to "Geoff Essex" the sentiment was "Crap, looks like the velvet gloves are off!" Later in the day I revealed the joke. Many people laughed. Some god mad. Among the angry ones, the sentiment was, "This is SO typical of TSR, they treat their customers like it's a joke, etc. etc." ;)

Haven't really bothered to do any AFD jokes since then. I've fallen for a couple, though.... :p

Edit: Found my "I've been fired" announcement in an archive here, and the Geoff Essex thread here. Yay!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Wow, I read the first page of both those, and there's a lot of people without a sense of humor.
Apr. 1st, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
AFD issues of Dragon were the best.

Blink woolly mammoth.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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