As a dedicated prankster in my youth, I made sure to plan my April Fools’ pranks weeks in advance. Setting my siblings’ alarms for 3:30 AM? Totally. Flour in the hairdryer? Old hat. Wearing…clothing backwards? Yep, I was that kid.
Eventually, I grew out of the dime-store pranks and settled into online trickery for my April 1st tomfoolery. No, no, I wasn’t web bullying or posing as someone else. Instead, I feasted on watching sites preying on their consumers through seasonal subterfuge. (Google shutting down YouTube? Classic).
I think it’s fair to say I know my way around pranks and tricks, so imagine my glee when, one evening while glued to Netflix, I came across a series entirely dedicated to unraveling life’s inherent riddles. I don’t usually veer too far from my trusted 90’s sitcoms, but I knew I’d made the right decision only seconds into watching Brain Games, the Emmy-nominated series from the National Geographic Channel.
The episode began with a simple optical illusion. I was always the one who lied about being able to ‘look beyond the image’ in those Magic Eye Posters (I don’t see a pygmy hippo wearing a top hat, and neither do you), and have held an aversion to optical illusions ever since. The promise of a scientific explanation, however, hooked me almost immediately…and the fascination continued. I ended up watching the entirety of the episode without checking Facebook once.
Now, like most of you, I don’t have a lot of time to myself in the evening, and committing to almost a full hour of uninterrupted screen time is asking a lot. However, the website for the show is just as spectacular as the episodes, and it’s manageable in bite-size chunks. The site plays host to a wealth of interactive games, tests, and articles to enhance your understanding, and you get to pick and choose from the episodes which interest you. And oh, did I mention that it’s kid friendly?
Because it’s the season for jokesters and riddles, I’d recommend starting out with their “Logic” page. You’ll be able to sift through fact or fiction, test your sorting skills, play with syllogistic logic, and maybe do just a touch of math. And who knows? You may just develop the skills to see a pygmy hippo wearing a top hat.