Our Top 10 Gaming-Related April Fool’s Day Stunts of 2012
Written Sunday, April 01, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
April Fool’s Day for us – and most news sites – can be a complete nightmare... that is unless it falls on a Sunday, because a.) we don’t work on a weekend for the most part, neither does anyone else; and b.) it’s easy to differentiate what are actually April Fool’s Day “pranks,” no matter how bad and forced they are.
It does mean one bad thing though, I’ve had to peel myself off the couch to write up the best of the day’s gaming-related April Fool’s gags. It was a good year for them though, so it’s no biggie.
Without further ado, here’s our favourite April Fool’s Day stunts of 2012.
Google Maps 8-Bit for NES
Google never ceases to amaze us with the efforts that the huge corporation puts into April Fool’s Day. 2012 is no different and today they showed off their newest invention: Google Maps 8-Bit for NES.
They not only created an amusing video, but if you head over to Google Maps and click on the “Quest” button in the top right of the map screen, you’ll even get to see an 8-bit version of the world. Heck, even street view is all 8-bit as well. It’s an incredible amount of effort from the huge web company. Kudos! Kudos, indeed!
Watch the video and then head on over to Google Maps, it’s definitely worth your time. If the video doesn’t load, just blow the cartridge!
Mass Effect Cartoon
IGN seemingly have an incredible budget for their yearly April Fool’s Day pranks, because this year – like every year, in fact – it’s pretty damn exceptional. Ladies and gents, let us introduce the debut trailer for the Mass Effect Cartoon.
The 80s style cartoon trailer shows Shepard and co. in a light you’ve never seen before. With Barla Von on hand to crack terrible jokes, Wrex to play the keyboard and a cheesy Shepard song to sing along to, it’s everything you’d expect and more from a Mass Effect Cartoon, should we get teleported back to the 80s. If it was real, we’d definitely watch it... just sayin’.
Destructoid Turns into a Dating Website
Gaming-blog, Destructoid, is one of few gaming sites on the internet to put a considerable amount of effort into April Fool’s Day stunts. Today, their site turns into a gaming dating website, okdtoid.com, which pokes fun at many slang catchphrases that gaming communities have cottoned on to over the years. There’s a cool little login page but we fear going any further in case it swallows up what’s left of our soul.
It’s nowhere near as good as their effort last year that turned their site into a handwritten version of the website, but it’s still worthy of a chuckle or two... but no more than two.
With Mojang and Notch’s lawsuit with Bethesda all settled now, the Minecraft creators decided to strike again... but this time in the spirit of April Fool’s Day.
Mojang came up for the name for their latest "game" after rejecting such suggestions like "Elight", "Wind Commander", and "Steve Online." In the end, they settled on “Mars Effect,” a game that will feature “hard science fiction,” “waist high walls,” “a game ending that makes no sense” and more.
Notch on the website writes, “After several weeks of trying to come up with a good name for the game, we finally decided not to learn from previous experiences and pick a name that's already kind of in use by a huge existing franchise.”
Oh, you guys! Too soon? Hell no! Check out the site for Mars Effect here.
Metacritic for Reviewers
It’s a Meta affair this one! For April Fool’s Day 2012, PC publishers, Paradox Interactive, decided to take a topical gaming subject and make it the focus of their stunt. That subject being Metacritic, but this time, they’re reviewing the reviewers! Mind. Blown.
MetaMetacritic turns the tables on games reviewers and rather than having their scores determine Metacritic’s overall score for the game – which we all know can affect bonuses and what not - MetaMetacritic actually reviews the reviewers themselves. Take that you dirty games journalists... we can say that though, as we’re not on there as it's PC-centric. If we were, it’d be the greatest site ever... but only if we got 90%. If not, there’d be redundancies.
Check out the MetaMetacritic site here.
Assassin’s Creed for Kinect
Surprisingly, one of the best April Fool’s Day videos actually comes courtesy of a fan video, uploaded on the account HawkandGamble account on YouTube. This isn’t a video by Ubisoft, oh no, but they’ll be loving the exposure this badboy is getting. It’s great press.
The debut trailer for Assassin’s Creed for Kinect is pretty damn hilarious throughout, showing you what you’d probably have to do if the title was ever Kinect-enabled. It’s a trailer you can’t really sum up in words and we couldn’t possibly do it justice, so just watch the video... but watch out for that coffee table! Ouch!
One of the more quirkier April Fool's Day stunts comes courtesy of Mike Bithell who showed how hard mocap can be in games development... especially when it's an 8-bit style game and the lead character is a pixel - or a box, whatever you want to call it.
Who thought it'd be so hard to mocap a pixel, huh?
The Epic Skyrim Hoodie
ThinkGeek had a lot of fun this year with their April Fool’s Day stunt this year with things like a clip on Hungry, Hungry Hippo extension for the iPad, but it was their Skyrim Hoodie that won us over and won its place in our top 10.
The 100% cotton hoodie is designed to “protect you against the harsh Skyrim environment.” With its iron helmet face mask hood which includes horns, the hoodie rather epically has a powerful in-built speaker that allows you to dish out 20 dragon shouts. Rather amusingly, the site notes, “dragon souls not required to unlock shouts.” Ha! Unfortunately though, the 4 AAAA batteries are not included. Robbing bastards, especially when it costs $89.99!!
Maybe now we can do what happens in the video below though...
SEGA Bass Fishing of the Dead
What happens when SEGA combine two of their franchises on April Fool’s Day? Well, you get the bizarre “SEGA Bass Fishing of the Dead” game.
Not only do you get to see that game in action though, but you get a highly amusing trailer with a catchy as hell theme tune... We’d tell you a bit more about it, but honestly, we can’t get that damn theme tune out of our heads long enough to think of anything coherent to write.
Rock Band: The Board Game
Harmonix were pulling out all the stops this year for April Fool’s Day as they finally announced their next ingenious product: Rock Band: The Board Game.
To paraphrase the musical maestros, it’s like Rock Band but with none of the stupid plastic instruments... and with it coming with such things like Overdrive and a character creation system, for $179.99, it’s a steal.
If I’m being honest as well, this has to be my favourite, mainly for comedic value purposes. Watch it... you won’t regret it.