The Truth Behind the April Fools’ Clubs
April Fools’ is a fun time on Neopets with pranks both small to elaborate being pulled throughout the day. This year was no different with the main prank being the "Neopian Net Worth Calculator", a way to determine our "value" we can then potentially flaunt and, most importantly, join a club with. It’s the clubs who caught my attention, not only was it a nice detail (giving a "reason" to calculate our worth) but also showed awareness on what the Neopian public wanted (true they used it in a prank to tease us, but the Gnorbu came about due to an April Fool’s prank so anything’s possible). I wanted to find out more about how they came up with the clubs so once the joke was over I asked the organizers about it. To my surprise they themselves didn’t know! As part of tradition they sent out a message through secret channels, as not to attract the public’s attention, and five groups anonymously suggested the idea of the clubs with each giving a suggestion for one.
Who were these groups? How and why did they come up with this part of the prank? And why do they want to keep themselves anonymous? I decided that for such a well crafted prank it deserved an investigation, so I set out to find: The Truth Behind the April Fool’s Clubs!
Club: Inner Circle
"Perk": Access to exclusive features such as having additional, rare Neopets and able to use certain items like the Stamp Retriever (redeemable for a missing stamp in your album) and Avvie Pro (redeemable for an Avatar you don’t have).
Probably the most well known of the clubs due to the Daily Puzzle saying its "the best place in Neopia", it sounds to be a club created by a bunch of posh snobs. I know of a few associations that would fit the bill, but considering the great influence the group claims to have I went to the one group I knew who also has the same claim: The Sway.
I made my way to the Battlegrounds and, unsurprisingly, I was met by a few figures in black cloaks. This wasn’t arranged; The Sway always seemed to know when someone wanted to meet them. Usually I would be taken to their leader, The Duchess, but this time I was simply handed an envelope and told it would explain all before being "guided" to the transport station. Inside I found a ticket to the Virtupets Space Station and directions to be in a specific room at a specific time.
One shuttle ride later, I entered a large room on the Virtupets Space Station. It was a meeting room with a large window looking out into space, Neopia and Kreludor in clear view with the sun’s light revealing one side and the other hidden in shadow. It’s a sight to behold, though much of my thoughts were on the investigation asking such questions like the meaning of "Inner Circle".
"I would say you’re thinking too much inside the box, or rather the circle" a voice not my own said in my head. "Instead of the definition, why not try a synonym"? I looked around the room until I heard a knock on the window; I turned around and came face to face with my answer.
The voice in my head and the tapping on the window from space could only come from one being: The Space Faerie, Mira.
"I deeply apologize for intruding on your thoughts, but I couldn’t help but notice you were thinking about an aspect of this year’s April Fools which I had involvement in. Yes, I, or rather the entire Premium Service, had a hand in this year’s April Fools by creating one of the clubs. The idea for the ‘Inner Circle’ was a sort of ‘Super Premium’; a combination of Premium features and jokes that have been made about the service. Well, more of a jab actually; to those who think Premium gives its members an unfair advantage over other Neopians. The idea for the items wasn’t ours. Someone else made the items and we thought it would help the main prank if some were made exclusive to our club. Going along with that idea we also got the Daily Puzzle to go along with the joke.
After all this was done we thought this made Premium look like a group of snobs and so, still wanting to do the joke, decided to keep anonymous. Just for the record, Premium members are Neopians just like you and anyone is welcomed to join; no Net Worth Calculator needed!"
Now having my answer I thanked the Space Faerie and she went on her way, speeding off into space like a shooting star. I had four more clubs to investigate and I no time to wonder how The Sway would know I’d encounter the Space Faerie at this exact time and place.
Club: Chic UCs
"Perk": Provides clothing for Unconverted Neopets.
Being Chic UCs’ perk was about having exclusive clothes for Unconverted Neopets I went to the first place I thought of when I hear "exclusive clothes": the NC Mall. I went to the NC Mall and asked one of the shopkeepers there if they knew anything about Chic UCs. I was told to go over to the NC Mall Elite Boutique and speak with the Red Kacheek Shopkeeper.
At the Elite Boutique I met with the Red Kacheek Shopkeeper and he explained it all to me.
"Well there’s really not much to talk about. The NC Mall wanted to contribute our part into this year’s April Fools’ and I suggested the idea of making a club about clothing Unconverted Neopets. It’s a common request from my customers who are veteran Neopians, many whom have Unconverted Neopets. I must explain at least once a week why that’s just not possible or feasible to make clothes for Unconverted Neopets. To have made customisation possible we needed to use some shapeshifting magic, it’s why non-species specific clothes fit all species. But it’s a definite magic, it only understands one body shape per species. While we can sometimes alter it to understand a different body shape per species, like we do for Mutant and Baby Neopets, that’s still one body shape per species. Unconverted Neopets aren’t a Colour, they’re a collection of various Coloured Neopets where you can have two members of the same species but they may have different body shapes.
I was afraid my customers might get angry for such a teasing so I decided to remain anonymous. It was only meant as a joke. If I could provide clothes for Unconverted I would in a heartbeat, but there are rules to follow. But Unconverted Neopets can still have Backgrounds, Foregrounds, and non-holding trinkets!"
When we were done I turned around to see a group of customers behind me, all giving me an impatient glare. I took that as my cue to wrap up thing up so I thanked the Elite Boutique Shopkeeper, finished up my notes, and went on my way with a round of disdainful applause.
Club: Paintbrushes Aplenty
"Perk": Can purchase exclusive Paint Brush Colours such as Valentine, Birthday, Stained Glass, and more.
I had trouble figuring out where to start with this club. One might think the Rainbow Pool where you use Paint Brushes, but that’s community maintained and no one in the general public knew about this year’s April Fools’ prank. So instead I went to a similar location in Faerieland: the Rainbow Fountain.
The Rainbow Fountain may not use Paint Brushes but it still paints Neopets so there has to be some kind of connection. Once there I asked the Rainbow Fountain’s Water Faerie caretaker, Naia, if she knew anything. She didn’t, but she recommended I try the Hidden Tower since it does sell Paint Brushes. She told me the Paint Brushes sold there aren’t created by the Faerie Queen, Fyora, though she didn’t know where they came from. It could be the supplier that was the creator of the club.
Upon entering the Hidden Tower (I generally know where it is, and I especially know once I walk face first into it) I was able to ask Fyora if is she knew anything. Fyora said Faerieland had nothing to do with this year’s April Fools. I figured as much, so I asked Fyora where she gets her supply of Paint Brushes. Fyora wasn’t willing to give me the name of her supplier, though she could send a message to them to see if they knew. I politely asked if she would and thanked her. Before I left she told me that while I wait I might want to visit the Rainbow Pool. Far be it from me to question the Faerie Queen, so I planned a trip to Neopia Central.
I looked for possible clues around the Rainbow Pool but got nothing, there were some volunteer workers but they knew nothing. Feeling tired, I sat down on the edge of the pool. Should have known I would get splashed, but when I looked for who splashed me all I saw was a trail of water leading into the woods. Having a hunch, I followed the puddles.
The puddles lead me deep enough into the woods where I came across a big puddle of Rainbow Pool water; very strange considering we’re a bit away from the Rainbow Pool. But then the puddle of rainbow streaked water started to move, floating up into the air! It formed into a shape of a cloaked figure as the colors mixed together into a deep brown. A pair of dark, glowing eyes appeared under the scowl. An echoing voice then came from the specter.
"Do not fear, I’m with the suppliers of the Hidden Tower’s Paint Brushes. I’m Jacko, the Phantom Painter. (I’ve heard of Jacko before, though this is my first time meeting him). You want to know about the Paintbrush Aplenty club, yes? While not the name of our group, it is something we thought up. We are the makers of Paint Brushes and new Colours. While we normally keep to ourselves, we also couldn’t pass up a chance to pull a prank on all those who been moaning for a new Colour... and maybe even get some feedback. You may have noticed we included three new Colour ideas in our joke. When we create a new Colour we do so in the upmost secrecy, we don’t want anyone knowing how to create new Colours. It involves powerful magic, and misuse could be disastrous. But back on point, this secrecy does mean we don’t know what the reaction to the Colour will be until it’s done and too late to make changes. So at the same time of teasing everyone, we’re also seeing what Neopians thoughts are on these Colours. The feedback we’ve collected has been most helpful.
So to those who complain about wanting new Colours, enjoy that little glimpse of some we’re working on. We were going to be releasing them soon, but since we got all this feedback we may have to push them back to re-evaluate some of our decisions. Hmhmhm."
After his last word (or rather laugh) he turned back into water and fell to the ground, the water being absorbed into the soil. When I got home I did some research on Jacko. While I didn’t get much on "the Phantom Painter", I did learn of a Jacko of "Jacko and Sons Painting Ltd.". A company that used to be on the Neopian Stockmarket, in Year 6 Jacko was arrested for inside trading and the company went bankrupt. But that’s when something strange happened, after his arrest Jacko just vanished, all that was left in his cell was a few used Paint Brushes of unknown Colour. Could these two Jacko be the same? Could this secret group be another Jacko and Sons Painting Ltd.? Questions for another investigation, but as for this one I got the answer I was looking for.
Club: Club Lutari
"Perk": Access to Lutari Island.
I figured whoever made this club would have an interest in either Lutari Island, exploration, or both. Of course these are all things which are shared among adventurers so I needed to get more specific. I thought a good place to start would be with a Lutari adventurer, Roxton A. Colchester III. Being an adventurer Roxton could be anywhere in Neopia, but luckily Roxton is also a member of The Seekers so they may know where he went. Thus another trip to the Battlegrounds (I probably should plan these investigations at the same time to avoid backtracking like this, oh well).
As it turns out I had the right idea, but wrong Lutari adventurer. I went to The Seeker’s campsite on the Battlegrounds where I told the first Seeker I saw why I was there. The Seeker chuckled and led me to a Blue Lutari wearing a pair of mechanical wings. Those who participated in the War of the Obelisk or Battlegrounds skirmishes against The Seekers would know him as the "Stalwart Explorer", though his colleagues know him as Tom Cotterpin. The Seeker I spoke to talked with Tom for a few seconds before he too laughed and walked over to me.
"So are you the reporter looking into Club Lutari? Jolly good! But you thought it was Roxton who may have conceived that idea? Perish the thought, Roxton may be an exceptional explorer but he is no thinker; schemer sure but he only got into The Seekers by the skin of his teeth on his adventuring skills alone. But enough of that aloof braggart, who you really want to talk with is I.
Yes, I, Tom Cotterpin, am the one you thought up, organized, and implemented the ‘Lutari Club’ for this year’s April Fools’. Of course I hope one day the Lutari Club could be a thing, or at the very least what I said it would set out to do. Don’t let my preference in engineering mislead you; I have a soft spot in my heart for my species homeland. True, I’ve never been to it myself, but both my parents are from Lutari Island and when I was a child they’d tell me tales and legends of the island within the storm. The reason I became an adventurer was the hope to one day go there, becoming an engineering genius so I could build a machine that could show that storm what for! Course, so far I haven’t felt I made a machine capable of withstanding those turbulent winds and now we’ve got involved in this Battleground absurdity. It’s the reason I kept anonymous, I’ve had no time to work on my craft and am not yet ready to brave the storm. I just wanted to get the idea back out there."
As he finished an alarm went off behind him. It was then that we noticed whatever Tom was working on had started to smoke. Tom ran back to his workbench to try putting out the smoke. I figured I’d probably get in the way more than help so I packed my things and got on my way. I tried to thank Tom for his time though I think he was too busy dealing with his now on fire workbench to hear me.
Club: The Connoisseur
"Perk": Offers discounts on rare and exclusive items.
Taking note of my past mistake, before I left the Battlegrounds I took a look over on the last club, The Connoisseur. The club offers rare and exclusive items at discounted prices. At first I didn’t think any of the Battleground factions matched this description, but after thinking what group would get rare items and then sell them on the cheap I realized that sounded like something a thief would do.
After a walk across the Tyrannian plains (which was rather pleasant if you can overlook the rough terrain, heat, and hissing Reptilliors) I arrived to the Thieves Guild campsite where I was immediately ambushed. I told the thieves why I was there and they whispered to one another, one sneaking off and returning with a piece of paper. The cloaked Kougra thief gave me the letter and told me to go to the Trading Post on Mystery Island. And with that I was allowed to leave, thinking it would be best for my health to get going.
At the Trading Post I followed the instructions on the letter. I was to wait around with the letter visible in my hand. There was other things written on the letter but it looked like an encrypted message. To pass the time I browsed the lots; I didn’t really need anything but I liked to see all the kind of items there were. It was when I was looking at a Quiguki Doll collection that I felt the letter slip out of my hand. When I looked down I saw a Meerca in black clothes and a beanie running away with the letter!
I chased after the Meerca down hallways I didn’t even know existed in the Trading Post. Just as I was about to catch up, another Brown Meerca in black clothes but wearing goggles appeared from out of a room and was passed the letter. They split down two opposite hallways so I chased the one that had the letter. However I lost sight of him and soon came to a dead end.
All I could remember was a pain in the back of my head before I blacked out. I was sitting at a table with a large figure in black sitting on the other side. The room was dark except for a hanging lamp that illuminated only the table. Seeing me awake, the figure leaned forward to reveal himself to be an ugly Green Skeith in a black hat and coat: the criminal mastermind, Malkus Vile.
"You’re awake, very good. I’m sorry the Meerca Brothers were a bit rough with you, but we had to make sure you were alone. So, let me be the first to welcome you to The Connoisseur club! He he he! Yup, it’s everyone’s favorite criminal genius who came up with The Connoisseur club. Bet you weren’t expecting that. Of course, to you it was just an April Fools’ prank, but for my actual customers they could read between the lines.
Normally I need to take precautions when sending out a message to make sure only the right eyes see it, but this April Fools’ prank gave me an opportunity to send an open message without any questions from the unaware. Plus I get to frustrate everyday Neopians, that’s always good for a laugh. He he. And don’t think telling anyone would do you any good, the purpose of the message had already fulfilled its purpose. All my customers saw my message, bought their lot, and now I’m sitting pretty. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start packing; a criminal genius knows not to stay in one place for too long or leave a trail to follow."
And then another black out. When I awoke I was in a sitting area in the Trading Post. I felt a second bump on my head but otherwise was okay (though when I bought a ticket back home I noticed my wallet was a bit lighter). I also still had my notes with what Malkus Vile said so I guess in the end I accomplished what I set out to do, though I wish I did so without a headache.
So there you have it, the truth behind each of the clubs for this year’s April Fools’. While I didn’t know what to expect going in I was surprised at some of the answers I got. On top of being all jokes, the Inner Circle was a subtle ad from the Premium service, Chic UCs was to bring attention to why Unconverted clothing isn’t possible, Paintbrush Aplenty to get feedback for Jacko and his Paint Brush makers, Club Lutari to bring attention back to Lutari Island, and The Connoisseur was a secret message from Malkus Vile to his "customers". I guess it goes to show you that with some April Fools’ pranks they’re additional layers hidden behind. I hope you had a happy April Fools, see you next time!