Is it funny, really? The concept of April Fools jokes is an odd one, an age old Spanish tradition that has, like most things, been duplicated down through the ages into something rather more coarse and oddly unrefined. Videogame website April Fools in particular are rarely terribly sophisticated, and are normally met with considerable frustration by anyone taken in by them.
Unless, of course, they’re well done. And despite what you might think about the industry, there have been rare occasions where a neat little trick has been pulled out of the bag and everyone’s just had a good old laugh about it. Well, apart from those – as I said – that got suckered in.
There’s a couple of ones this year that fit the bill – Mars Effect, a new game by Minecraft creator Notch is a rather brilliant take on EA’s still controversial series and isn’t afraid to have a dig. Indeed, “a game ending that makes sense” is one of the feature bulletpoints. Oh, and if you’ve got Resistance 3 handy, try playing the section on the boat today.
But it’s normally from outside the gaming world that the brightest tricks can be found, if they can riff on our favourite hobby. This year’s Google one is wonderful, because it brings a smile without having to destroy anyone’s dreams (you hear me, Valve?) – check out Maps and switch to 8-bit mode for a cute little diversion. They even updated the Street View mode to run in all its retro glory.
Some of the better game-based gags in the past seem to have come from EGM – a ‘realistic’ version of Wind Waker, or topless cheats for Dead or Alive Volleyball – and, ironically, Sony. Remember when they announced a PSP/PS2 Jak and Daxter game just as the PS3 was in full swing, way back in 2009, on April 1st? Thankfully nobody fell for that one…
What’ll we get this year? I’m looking forward to lots of sites chucking out ‘information’ on the PS4 and next Xbox. And by looking forward I mean absolutely dreading, because both are ripe pickings at the moment and who knows what ridiculous content people will be shouting – I’m betting silly names like Orbis, and daft rumours like locking out pre-owned.
But yeah, expect the worst today, and be thankful that a lot of sites take the weekend off.