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The IF_community has a tradition of pranks and hoaxes, including the over-hyped release of fake and intentionally bad games, authoring systems, and business plans.

Prominent examples include the pseudonymous release of collections of falsely advertised or farcically bad games such as the Textfire 12-Pack (April Fool's Day, 1998) and the Advanced Authoring System (April Fool's Day 2003).

Not all pranks turn out to be fake or parodies of bad writing. For example, Emily Short's Savoir-Faire on April Fool's Day 2002 to give the false impression that it was a hoax. The game went on to win Best Puzzles, Best Individual PC, Best Story and Best Game in the XYZZY Awards 2002. Other pranks have occurred when joke announcements were taken seriously, as in the ninth Speed-IF comp SpeedApocalypse.

Pranking and hoaxes are a celebrated part of IF culture. The ifMUD FAQ ifMUD For Beginners warns newcomers to avoid the MUD on April Fool's Day and come back "when the sanity has returned." MUD pranks have been wide ranging, including programs that parsed conversation text into pig latin and a rain of falling food objects based on the joke game You are a Chef!. The practice is related to other methods of joke programming, including humorous games about IF, games which are intentionally bad, and the use of easter eggs and red herring within individual works.

Several subsequent games have used the Textfire label as a transparently fake commercial-IF identity, notably Textfire Golf (Adam Cadre; 2001; Z-code). Legitimate IF publisher Textfyre Inc. also took its name partly in homage to the Textfire hoax.

Prank Announcements