April Fool’s is probably the most irritating day for those who enjoy browsing the internet. It’s hard enough trusting anything you read out on the Wild Wild Web, er, I mean the World Wide Web, on an average day; let alone a day dedicated to the spread of misinformation. Still, it’s almost worth it for the few really great jokes, pranks, and silly shenanigans that our favorite companies put out in service to their loyal fans.
Remember when the entire world was convinced that Sonic and Tails were in Super Smash Bros. Melee? Or how about those ridiculous speed runs and difficult challenges you went through for the uncertain promise of an elusive nude code for Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball? Be be honest, we all thought Sheng Long was legitimately an unlockable fight in Street Fighter 2. And who could forget IGN’s amazing fake trailer for a Legend of Zelda film? Yes, these jokes may have broken your heart, which in turn may have led you to break your controller, but they were so perfectly executed that we all bought into them hook, line, and sinker. In the spirit of quality pranks, I’ve decided to collect the best game-related jokes, separated by category, to come out of yesterday’s news cycle. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.
Home Console Reveals: Ah, yes, consoles. Everyone always goes crazy at the thought of new systems being released. I remember back before the Nintendo DS was officially announced, the prototype was shown off back in an April edition of Electronic Gaming Monthly. I was convinced that, for the first time, I had finally figured out the year’s joke before they revealed it the next month. But, as it turned out, the DS was for real. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), for these next consoles, they will likely never see the light of day.
Apple iPlay: IGN always has a fake video to kick off their April Fool’s day. I mentioned the great Legend of Zelda movie trailer they made back in 2008. This year, they decided to go with something many folks have been thinking about, Apple’s first foray into the home console market:
While it may not have been as groundbreaking and believable as Zelda, IGN still it the mark by creating an authentic trailer that really does a great job of parodying console reveals. From the phony employee names, to the “impressive” launch lineup, Apple’s iPlay console may just be an April Fool’s joke, but I like it better this way.
Toshiba Shibasphere: “No Controllers. No Wires. No Limits.” That’s the concept behind Toshiba’s revolutionary (and totally bogus) new home console. Dubbed the “Shibasphere” for its spherical shape, this console featured “groundbreaking” new hardware specs such as 12 core 3.5 Ghz Processors, 4 GB GDDR5 RAM Graphics Card, 809.3b Infrared Motion Detection, 1080p Full HD, and 7.1 Channel Surround Sound. Here’s the trailer:
From the incredible narrator dishing out “so bad it’s good” one-liners such as “It’s not just a game. It’s a game changer” and “So real. It’s unreal”, to the ridiculous pantomiming; all topped off by the incredibly lame games such as Pet the Dog, Patriarch 2013, and my personal favorite, Let’s Travel, which boasts the definitive airport security check experience, Toshiba really went all out to create a hysterical April Fool’s joke that honestly came out of nowhere. Bravo gang, this trailer was worth the 1:40 of my time I spent laughing hysterically.
Retro-Era Shenanigans: Apparently, all of the developers from around the world got together and decided the theme of this year’s April Fool’s jokes would be 8 or 16-bit retro gaming. Take a look at some of the outrageous, and amazing, games that got the retro treatment.
Deus Ex: Human Defiance: Capitalizing on the media buzz surrounding the trademarking of the Human Defiance title, which we now know has to do with the film adaptation and is not for a new game, Square Enix and Eidos Montreal decided to have a bit of fun. Paying a visit to the Human Defiance website that went live yesterday treated fans to a silly trailer that showed off Deus Ex: Human Revolution recreated for the 8-bit era. Take a look:
The concept of “To look to the future, we must look to the past” is on perfect display here, to wonderful results. Deus Ex: Human Defiance manages to capture the essence of the franchise as Adam Jensen’s glorious sprite is seen kicking all kinds of 8-bit butt, complete with heavy, emotionally-charged choices (such as whether or not to destroy an entire city) and an assortment of augmentations to choose from and upgrade. The team on-screen really cemented the seriousness of the announcement by discussing the co-op component, a core staple of the Deus Ex franchise (not really) and the assortment of “distinct” locations the player can travel too. Any fan of the franchise will get a real kick out of this trailer. Good work, Eidos, your April Fool’s day prank this year gets my seal of approval.
Guild Wars 2: ArenaNet really went balls-to-the-wall this year with their April Fool’s “prank”, the 16-bit Super Adventure Box. Players woke up to discover that Guild Wars 2 had become a retro-themed dreamporium of amusement, which can be accessed from any point in the main game. The best part? ArenaNet is maintaining the Super Adventure Box throughout the entire month of April, so even if you missed it yesterday you have plenty of time to join in on the fun. Take a look at some gameplay footage in action:
Everything from the text boxes and character sprites, to the lives counter, and even the world itself are absolutely beautiful. The level of detail and authenticity in creating this world is especially worthy of praise, so a special shout out to the Guild Wars team for pulling off such an impressive feat. My favorite part is how the boss glitches into the wall. Now that’s retro!
Riot Games: Anyone who knows the development team Riot Games knows their most impressive accolade to date: League of Legends. Whether or not you play or enjoy LoL, if you’re a gamer, you’ve heard of it. So, for the legions of fans who love the game and its characters, Riot Games released not one, but two retro-themed games for your perusal. Take a look at the actually-playable browser games made just for April Fool’s day:
The first is CHEW- Cho;gath Eats the World. In a very Rampage-esque gameplay style, CHEW tasked players with smashing as many buildings as possible. The official website can be found here. The second game is Astro Teemo, and it’s basically an endless runner in the same vein as Jetpack Joyride. The website is, as of this writing, is no longer available; but I will include the link just in case they decide to bring it back up.
Unfortunately, both games were only available for play yesterday, so all I have for you is a live-stream of the games in action:
Riot Games really did a nice job creating some free-to-play retro games that were a lot of fun. Rampage was one of my favorite games to play in the Arcade when I was younger, and I currently play Jetpack Joyride from time to time when I’m looking to kill a few minutes, so both these games were right up my alley. Good work making April Fool’s day fun, Riot!
Miscellaneous Sillyness: In the final category of the day, I present to you the wonderful pranks that came courtesy of Capcom and Sports Interactive. Both of them released information about “new” games that should delight any fans of their respective titles.
Super Duper Street Fighter IV: A new and exciting update to SSFIV, Super Duper Street Fighter IV introduces the “Duper” meter, which adds another level of strategy and depth to combo execution and gameplay balance. According to an official blog post by ComboFiend on the Capcom Unity site, the team plans on, “Introducing the Duper Meter. This will sit below the Super Meter and be easily identifiable with it’s Yellow color. With the Duper meter, Super moves can now take on the properties of EX Moves after their activation or be used to strengthen EX moves in general. The Duper Meter also builds 1.5 times faster than the normal Super Meter. Now players will get even more options to select from as we know Street Fighter 4 players love option selecting.” Since a gameplay trailer was not provided, take a look at some screens of the bogus content update:
Some pretty funny stuff, Capcom. Of course, the real joke here is that with all the rereleases and “upgraded” editions of all of their various fighting games, no one would really be surprised if they did something as ridiculous as this. Still, it was a fun way to both poke fun at themselves and make the community smile.
Football Manager 1888: Sports Interactive, the development studio known for making the Football Manager series of sim games, delivered a hilarious prank yesterday in the form of Football Manager 1888. This blast from the past announced it would allow players to take part in the very first football (soccer for us American folks) season, complete with just 12 teams and very few rules. Take a look at some of the “features” the game would include:
19th Century match engine: Everything on and around the pitch will look as it did when the league was first formed; from the muddy recreation grounds and the crowds of gentlemen spectators through to the players’ movements and the way the old leather ball moved (or, indeed, didn’t move) through the air.
All clubs and players from the 1888/89 season: Manage any of the original 12 football league clubs across one league and go deeper than ever into Victorian football with a comprehensive database of more than 150 players and staff from across the United Kingdom.
User interface: Football Manager 1888 boasts a brand new ‘late 19th century’ style interface and skin reflecting the game’s era.
Play by the original football rules: Overcome all the hurdles that managers don’t need to worry about in the present game. Have an injury? Well you can’t make a substitution. Think he was off-side? Think again, there’s no such thing. And was that really a bad tackle? It doesn’t really matter, as yellow and red cards haven’t been introduced to the game yet. Overcome the challenges of Victorian football.
Pretty funny stuff, although I have to admit, just a small part of me wishes this was for real. No gameplay trailer was provided so you’ll have to make due with just visiting the “official” page, which I recommend reading all the way through, as it’s good for a few laughs.
Well, that’s my list for the greatest pranks from around the net for this April Fool’s. What do you guys think? Which prank was your favorite? Did you come across something yesterday that I missed? If you’ve got a particular April Fool’s story worth telling, whether it’s game related or not, be sure to share it with us in the comments below