Did you think I would cover one of those topics I promised a while back? (Belated) APRIL FOOLS! No one makes more use of April Fools Day than the gaming industry and some pranks have proven too brilliant to leave as just a punchline. This week, 5+ presents the best fake-outs to have come to life.
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Everyone Loves Palette Swaps
People were quick to criticize Capcom over the addition of Cammy-clone Decapre to Ultra Street Fighter IV (myself included), but no one fired a larger shot than independent developer Lab Zero. This April Fools Day, they announced a new character for their fighting game Skullgirls Encore that is a blatant clone of one of the existing characters. In fact, the main difference between Fukua and the original Filia is that Fukua can create duplicates of herself. Just in case you thought it was just a coincidence, the above trailer is a perfect match for the Decapre reveal trailer. Whether Fukua becomes a permanent fixture on the roster or is left as a temporary joke will be left up to fan response.
Speaking of jokes turning into characters in fighting games, we have to discuss the Mortal Kombat series. The developers of the series, Ed Boon in particular, are some of the greatest practical jokers that the gaming industry has ever seen and they have used it to their advantage throughout their work on the series. It all began when the word ‘Ermac’ was discovered in the debug menu for the first game and many assumed that it was the name of a hidden character similar to Reptile as his name was listed just above it. The rumor was proven false, but the developers later decided to bring the rumor to life with a character named Ermac. Over time, the developers intentionally created other rumored characters, such as Rain and Skarlet, to tease the fans and build speculation. However, can this really qualify when none of these events particularly line-up with April Fools Day? Uhhhhh… APRIL FOOLS!
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8-Bit Google Maps
Why Google didn’t make this a permanent feature is beyond me. In 2012, Google Maps was turned into an 8-bit homage to Dragon Quest and it was amazing. If they had followed through on their promised NES port of Google Maps, this would easily be the best April Fools joke in history. Heck, just keeping it around as an app for Google Maps would make the world a better place. Alas, its beauty was as fleeting as a flower that wilts as quickly as it blooms. All we have are announcement video and some scattered screenshots across the web to commemorate its brief glory
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Goat Simulator is a Thing
Coffee Stain Studios developed Goat Simulator with one simple goal: create the single most gloriously dumb game in history. Well, I’m assuming that was their goal, because that is certainly what they advertised and delivered. You play as an ordinary goat and unleash havoc on a cheaply animated town with explosive headbutts and a tongue like a grappling hook. This is the game that lists programming bugs as a feature and promises to never patch any of them (unless they are game-breaking). It is so brazenly ridiculous that just releasing the game exactly as it was advertised on April 1st, 2014, qualifies as a prank in and of itself.
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Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
How many of your jokes have sold over a million copies? Ubisoft made April Fools 2013 explode with the reveal of standalone DLC for the realistic FPS Far Cry 3 that would be set in the neon-drenched cyberpocalypse in the distant year of 2007. Cyborg super-soldier Sergeant Rex Power Colt must fight his way through hordes of enemy cyber soldiers and savage blood dragons in an adventure set to the greatest 80’s throw-back soundtrack this side of Hotline Miami. On that day, many nerdy tears of pride and joy were shed.
Do you have any brilliant pranks that deserve a mention? Leave a comment below and it may be featured on a follow-up article. Our next topic: I DO WHAT I WANT.