April Fools' Day
This article deals with April Fools' Day as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
Starting in 2004, it has been a tradition each April 1st (April Fools Day) for the NationStates moderators to change the code of the game and play a prank or two on players. Though the pranks have no lasting effects, they do manage to fool many players. Even those who are aware that the changes are temporary and meant as a joke will often play along and test the new features, resulting in many good natured posts on the NS forums.
Moderators played two tricks on players in 2004.
First was when the displayed populations of all nations was set via a real bug to 5 million (this is the starting population). The populations were not really changed, as players who looked at the XML code for their nations discovered that their population was the same. The hoax was the fact that the moderators had fixed the populations to read 5 million due to a claim that the populations of different nations were increasing at different rates. This claim was false, but still managed to fool many players. Bug or hoax the displayed population is important to many players, especially those with large populations, and thus there were many requests for the game moderators to fix this.
The forum titles were also changed (See: Forum 7). This change was possible (and intentional) because one game moderators, Reploid Productions, was also a forum administrator on the old NationStates forum. This change happened before the NationStates forums moved to Jolt.
Thu, 01 Apr 2004
National populations reset
- by Max Barry
Good news! A long-running bug that allowed some nations to grow much faster than they deserved has now been fixed. This means nations can no longer benefit from abusing the so-called "population bug."
Because it's impossible to tell who exploited the population bug and who didn't, all nation's populations have been reset to 5 million. This way we can ensure a level playing field.
- by Max Barry
And, of course, that was an April Fools joke. Nobody's population has been changed. You can stop writing me e-mails now!
In 2005, the game moderators changed the front page of NationStates to make it appear as though the entire game had been shut down by a Department of Homeworld Security. The Department was a parody of the real life US Department of Homeland Security. In addition to the Homeland Security redirect page, the daily UN rankings were changed to include a new ranking, Most Likely to Be Deleted. The ranking was not based on anything, though there was considerable discussion on the Jolt discussion forums about what formula was used to rate which nations were most likely to be deleted.
Sat, 02 Apr 2005
Nothing to see here
- by Max Barry
There was no April Fool's joke. You did not see anything. Move along.
Sat, 01 Apr 2006
In an effort to keep from going broke and needing to take down the game, we've decided to change the game to NationDates. It's the same game that you know and love, except now we're moving into social networking and hoping to help you meet someone that you know and love.
The data that we've collected from your issues and play style place us in a unique position to accurately match you up with a fellow player and not need to worry about political incompatibility. We are working on effective ways to monetize NationDates in the near future.
We hope that you like this new direction.
- NationDates, Chief Minister of Hookups
In 2007, the game moderators a new release (NationStates v1.10) that supported new Regional Moderators. The moderators announced that these new regional moderators would help them by reporting players using a special menu, called the Regional Moderation Centre, that would supposedly send warnings to the players and official moderators. Players were selected at random in their regions to be a Regional Moderator. A new icon was added in the header of their nation field, adjacent to their UN member or UN delegate icons. The new menu was viewable only to the regional moderators.
Like most of the pranks, the change was advertised as a new feature and numerous players actually tested the feature. A number of players actually expressed the opinion that they liked the idea of having a regional moderator and hoped that the new feature was in fact not an April Fools prank. Though the new regional moderators were able to use the new regional moderator interface, the warnings they sent had no impact on the game (other than to stimulate hours of discussions on the forums).
Sun, 01 Apr 2007
NationStates 1.10: Regional Mods!
NationStates has hit version 1.10! We've introduced some new features to the game which should hopefully improve the quality of everyone's playing experience. What are these features? Well:
- 1. Specially selected region members will have the power to personally tag and warn problem nations without the need for moderator intervention. This means that the general management of the game is more under the control of the players. Not only that but it will ease the workload for the mods. These region members will be called Regional Moderators and will get a special badge on their nations.
- 2. Well, there is no '2', really, but all regional mods will be invited to join the secret IRC channel where we discuss moderation. No-one else can join though, so if you have anything you want us to hear about you should ask your local reg mod.
The intention of this change is to bring moderation closer to the players and to experiment with grass-roots moderation. With over 90,000 accounts, this should help to keep the game managable.
- Nationstates Ver. 1.10 - NEW FEATURES Jolt forum thread
- Do you think NS 1.10 is an elaborate prank? Jolt forum poll
In an official announcement on April 1, 2008, administrators claimed the United Nations had been formally replaced by the World Assembly, owing to a supposed "cease and desist" order from the RL U.N. The blue "UN Member" and "UN Delegate" buttons on each UN nation were replaced by a forest green symbol denoting "WA membership," and a green banner bearing a new insignia for the WA replaced the traditional United Nations flag on the UN page. Visitors to the page also noticed that the elusive nation of Maxtopia had returned to introduce a resolution formally adopting the World Assembly and archiving all past resolutions. In addition, the United Nations Jolt forum was renamed "The World Assembly," and the historic threads for silly proposals and the Strangers' Bar had been archived and replaced by new WA-themed topics. The new Strangers' Bar thread reported the supposed destruction of the UN Headquarters by unidentified arsonists, as a roleplayed explanation for the organization's demise.
The "prank" was revealed to be real the next day, though many players continued to question the validity of the cease and desist notice Max Barry supposedly received. Others, mainly prolific UN resolution authors, objected to their work being shelved, and cast protest votes against the Maxtopian resolution. It passed easily on April 6, however, and the World Assembly endures to this day.
Sun, 01 Apr 2008
United Nations orders closure of United Nations
- by Max Barry
The (real) United Nations has demanded NationStates "immediately cease and desist from using the United Nations name and emblem," as it "is unauthorized and in violation of of the provisions of international and U.S. laws."
Reaction inside the NationStates world was swift and brutal: faced with this extra-dimensional incursion, the NS United Nations collapsed. Stunned member nations stared on in disbelief; Gatesville regional residents wandered about in a daze, unsure how to feel and wondering what to do with their lives.
But bureaucracy abhors a vacuum, so almost immediately the proposals rang out for a new organization, one that would serve the same, admirable function as the United Nations, but without the lawsuits. Thus, behold! The World Assembly!
Sun, 02 Apr 2008
April Fools No-Prank
- by Max Barry
So it's April 2. And we still have a World Assembly. What this means is if you were thinking this year's April Fool's prank wasn't very believable and didn't fool you for a second... you've been no-pranked.
No joke: the United Nations really has demanded we cease & desist from using their name. That's a real cease and desist letter.
When the letter arrived, the whole thing sounded so much like an April Fool's gag, we decided to use it as one. It was perfect: experienced NationStates players, hardened to our April 1 shenanigans, could no longer be fooled by anything... except the truth.
- World Assembly (Non-resolution discussion) Official Jolt discussion
- The World Assembly Strangers' Bar UN diplomats react to their beloved organization's destruction
- The World Assembly Floor debate for Maxtopia's resolution
- Oh my GOD! AO offsite discussion (includes input from Game Moderators)
- You've been in the NSUN too long when... Gravedig to celebrate the WA's first anniversary
- You know you've been in the WA too long when... - Second anniversary thread
In 2009, the NationStates page was decorated with a banner announcing a Nintendo DS version of NS to be released soon. Clicking the banner took users to a special Web page detailing how the new DS version would work. The page included graphics showing how the game would look on the DS' LCD double-screen, photographs purportedly showing the game being played on a DS console, and promotional quotes from notable NSers who had tried out "NationStates DS," including Scolopendra ("It's like Mario Land, if Mario was a petty despot with delusions of world conquest and the title of 'Il Duce'"), Kandarin ("Raiding is SO much easier now! My friends and I just pass around the controller!"), even the United Nations ("It's almost too much like the real thing!").
Tue, 31 Mar 2009
NationStates on Nintendo DS!
- by Max Barry
I'm pleased to announce the latest NationStates expansion: NationStates DS!
We looked at a variety of mobile platforms--the Apple iPhone, Google Android, PlayStation PS--before settling on the Nintendo DS. It's a terrific, cutting-edge device that's just beginning to attract some attention... just like us!
For more information about this exciting development, see http://nintendo.nationstates.net!
- April Fool's Day Jolt forum discussion
In 2010, Max Barry announced that he had "fixed" the biased government category system after recently reforming his political views. In that vein, the standard NationStates banner was upgraded with a new graphic heralding the all-new "Liberal NationStates: The Fair Nation Simulator" -- or "Conservative NationStates: The Trustworthy Nation Simulator," if players happened to log in a few minutes later. The two versions alternated throughout the day. Depending on which mode was in effect, government categories were crossed out and replaced by descriptions from a distinctly liberal or conservative point of view; for instance, Inoffensive Centrist Democracies were classified as "Fascists" by Liberal NationStates and as "Communists" by Conservative NationStates. A full list can be seen here. The changes proved very popular with players, and there were several suggestions to make them permanent.  
In addition, the General Forum was "closed for being redundant" after the establishment of two new subforums, the Liberal Discussion Zone, described as "A place for fair and reasonable discussion of important issues. Like what to do about those heartless fascists!" and the Conservative Discussion Zone, described as "A place for trustworthy discussion of important topics. Like what to do about those pinko commie hippies!"
Wed, 31 Mar 2010
I fixed NationStates
- by Max Barry
I look back at the guy I was when I wrote this site and think, "WOW! What an IDIOT!" Because clearly I didn't know anything about politics. I was a typical mindless drone, opening my mouth wide for whatever manufactured "truth" the LAMESTREAM media wanted to shovel in there and swallowing it down whole.
Well! I've read a lot of very EYE-OPENING books since then, which set me straight about how the world REALLY works. So now I'm FIXING NATIONSTATES: correcting all those INCREDIBLY BIASED government categories to be more ACCURATE!
This will probably upset some people, who are SLAVES OF A CORRUPT IDEOLOGY, but the sooner those sheeple confront the truth, the better.
I hope you enjoy the new, ideologically correct NationStates!
- April Fools Day 2010 - Gameplay forum discussion
- This is an april folls day prank, right.... - Moderation forum discussion
- Closing NS General - Global announcement thread
In 2011, all nations were simultaneously "hacked into," with alerts on each log-in page informing players of the hacking attempts, as well as a notice that they had exceeded their RMB post limit. Users who visited the RMB were treated to trollish messages their nation had supposedly lodged minutes ago. Attempts to self-delete these posts produced a message reading "April Fools!" The phantom hackers had also apparently changed all nation mottos to "-~==HAXX0RED==~- Choose a better password next time! ha ha". Of course, all these effects were fake and were only visible to the nation logged in. While some players applauded the prank as a convincing fakeout, others who were sensitive about Internet privacy were outraged, some calling upon the admins to apologize, others even threatening legal action against NationStates. Some players considered these complaints funnier than the prank itself.
|"I hereby dissolve the World Assembly to a nominally ceremonial organization of mindless babble and pointless edicts to reinforce my regime...Wait, that's what they already did before. Scratch that. The World Assembly shall remain as-is!" --Terraius, on his "promotion" to moderator|
Other effects included a WA General Assembly vote on the legendary "Weasel Stomping Day" proposal, and the temporary "promotion" of all players to moderator status (though the bold red names on all forum accounts were later replaced with the bold navy titles reserved for senior moderators and admins).
Fri, 1 April 2011
- by Max Barry
It's not easy, being well-known for April Fool's Day pranks. In the hours and days beforehand, many players were speculating what we might do. Is it even possible to prank people when they're prepared for a pranking?
Generally yes, I think we found. Although I am sorry to those of you who suffered minor heart attacks during the course of the "haxxing." It sounded funny in theory, but when you saw it on the screen, man, that really was terrifying. I know this because I forgot for a minute and scared myself.
April Fools aside, it's probably a good time to think about the passwords you use in your online life. Because many people do use easy-to-guess passwords, and do lose their accounts. If it's your NationStates nation, that's probably not the end of the world, but you'd hate it to happen to your email or Facebook.
P.S. For the record, this is what happened:
- When you logged on, you were notified of 337 bad login attempts.
- There was also a line saying you'd posted too many times on your Regional Message Board.
- Your nation's motto seemed to have been changed to "HAXX0RED!" (To everyone else, it looked the same as usual.)
- The last post on the RMB seemed to be from you, saying something inane. (No-one else could see this.)
- When you clicked the "Delete" button beside the fake post, it said, "April Fools."