For April Fools’ 2004 I decided to do something a little different to tease our many loyal (perhaps?) viewers. I was up pretty late the night before and realized April Fool’s was only a matter of hours away, this time around having come up with nothing fun to play a prank with (hey, if thousands and thousands of people view your site, how can you not want to play pranks on them?) I tried to think of one of the most unrelated but barely believable alternatives to Kongming’s Archives, and Pikachu’s Archives then became the project. I started immediately, and would finish about an hour and a half later just before midnight GMT -7. This is not a real site, to view the main page please click here: Kongming’s Archives.
The idea out of the way, it came down to construction. Content was easy, it was just explaining the idea in an insane but just barely believable way. I needed some Pikachu images and the font with which I would create the site though. A Google search for ‘Pokemon Font’ (external) found me a font that was close enough to what I remembered from the programs I had seen kids watching in the past and a Google Image search for ‘Picachu’ (external) revealed the ‘Pikachu Pokedex’ entry (external). There I found a good illustration of Pikachu itself (himself?) along with links to a collection of insanely cute animated GIFs. The animated GIFs could be used in the form presented there (and I’m glad to put credit where it is due), but Pikachu could not. I downloaded the character graphic, opened it in Adobe Illustrator (external), and proceeded to draw him from scratch so I could make him as large or small as I wanted without any loss in quality (see image below for outline/layout examples). Download Adobe Illustrator original file. View SVG version of vector-pika (plugin required).
I then imported the vector-Pika, complete with the ‘Pikachu’s Archives’ text below it, into Adobe Photoshop (external) and rasterized it (changed it from Vector to a bit-map format that couldn’t be upsized without a loss in quality). I shrunk it and saved it as a transparent GIF for the banner (see below).
Next I undid the downsizing of the image and dropped Pikachu’s layer to something like 4% opacity, cropped to show only the top of his head and tail, then saved it to serve as the background image displayed on this and the other Pikachu’s Archives pages.
“Wouldn’t this make a great wallpaper?” I then asked myself, after which I undid the opacity change and crop and added a multi-color background and enough whitespace to make the image 1600x1200 and made the Pikachu’s Archives wallpaper (shown below with two flying Pikachu’s I added from the Pikachu Pokédex, an external site referenced above). Download original Adobe Photoshop wallpaper document.
Next, after deciding how I wanted the simple page to be presented, I made the headers in 18pt ‘Pokemon’ font, increased the letter spacing by 100, painted them ‘Pikachu’ yellow, added a faded bevel and emboss, a drop shadow, and finished with a 1px black stroke. I then typed new text in for each header and, after increasing or decreasing the canvas size, saved them too as transparent GIFs. Download original Adobe Photoshop header document (you’ll need the ‘Pokemon’ font to edit text).
It was clear sailing from here. The headers made along with all the graphics I intended to include, I wrote the page in XHTML and CSS, added the firstname.lastname@example.org forwarder (to forward to my real account and prevent spammers from getting it like they did Timmy’s last year), added another cute email graphic, and finally, a copyright to make things even more amusing. Pikachu’s Archives was complete, and had supplanted Kongming’s Archives. I went to sleep looking forward to the reaction.
I wake up the next day—April Fools’—and have a look. The first thing I discover is that more than half of the fifty or so emails I had already received were explaining to me though anything varying between genuine thoughtfulness, curiosity, or outright disgust in my naïve Poke-knowledge, that ‘Picachu’ was actually spelled ‘Pikachu’. Visiting SimRTK and SoSZ further elaborated on this reality. I promptly went through the site and all the graphics to change this.
The reactions in the various forums were truly entertaining. Rob, of SimRTK, had decided to make the joke even worse on his own initiative by using the official announcements thread of SimRTK to tell the members that they would soon be closing down because of my change-of-mind, and it looked like many people were truly alarmed or caught off guard. It was going to be a wonderful day. Some of the online threads follow:
It didn’t end there though. As soon as I saw a few suggestions from some people who got the joke, along with some fears over what might happen to the forums, I decided to spread some of the joy into the SimRTK and SoSZ forums themselves. I made myself a Pikachu avatar, and remade all the title graphics into Pika-related names in a proper Pika-font. Later, it got worse, as a Pikachu smiley was even constructed at the coaxing of the illustrious Lady Wu of SoSZ (all shown below).
Profiles used by James, Rob, and other SimRTK Admins
(Administrator, Game Master/Moderator,
Roleplay Master, Kingdom Ruler)
The Pikachu Avatar
Pikachu Forum Smiley
After all this had been done, I was joking around with about the possibility that I should have assembled a biography to include in the project. He then took it upon himself to assemble a Pikachu biography which he promptly sent to me. I couldn’t resist, I dubbed it a ‘Pokéography’ and put the biography online in its own page, announcing the new update on the ‘Pikachu’s Archives home page’ and, of course, promising more in the upcoming future.
All said and done, this turned out to be wonderfully entertaining, and it seems to have amused (or scared) hundreds of people alone into contacting me. I can only imagine the fun that some of the others among you might have had with it before you realized it was a joke (if you did).
I was very happy to see that many people, even though they found the idea to be revolting and in many cases foolish, were still wishing me well on my endeavors in Pikachu’s Archives, and by the number of people who actually wrote in to express their feedback or plead the case of Kongming’s Archives. Even more entertaining were those of you who didn’t notice right away—I’ve got an inbox full of emails which will receive ‘April Fools!’ in response, along with some encouraging people to settle down and reminding a few others that, just as Timmy failed to usurp Kongming’s Archives last year, the site is a little more stable than a fleck of dust in a tornado. I hope everyone enjoyed the joke, you are all welcome to post your thoughts on it in Pikachu’s Archives Thread at SoSZ (which doesn’t require an account for posting).
– The KMA Team
Pikachu’s Archives (KMA 2004 April Fool’s Prank) Copyright © 2004 James (Webmaster)
You are free to use the contents of this page/project/prank in any venture as long as it is non-profit without advance permission.
Go ahead and give us a credit if you feel like being nice, but I’m not going to make a requirement of it.