Oh, April Fools’. You come, you go. You leave us with mostly lame, forgettable jokes that elicit emoticoned eyerolls throughout various forums and comment sections. On occasion, though, you really hit the nail on the head and pry a good laugh from our guts or, in some circumstances, even make us howl with disappointment and despair. To honour the most devious and hilarious gags, here are 5 memorable gaming-related April Fools pranks.
5Guild Wars 2: Super Adventure Box
More of a treat than an actual prank, but still pretty damn cool. April Fools pranks aren’t a rarity when it comes to MMOs, but they’re usually patch notes or announcements that’ll get a chuckle out of you at the most. ArenaNet didn’t settle for a laugh, though. They decided to craft a world of nostalgic awesomeness for players to visit and interact with for the entire month of April: Super Adventure Box.
It’s more than just a pretty environment, too. You can explore, fight baddies and earn baubles (i.e., currency) in order to buy weapons and skins to use in Tyria.
Did I mention the add-on was announced with this really rad retro commercial? Well played, ArenaNet. Well played.
4IGN’s The Legend of Zelda Movie Trailer
Arguably the cruelest, most elaborate gaming prank ever devised and carried out. In 2008, IGN partnered up with Rainfall Films to release a high quality (for 2008 anyway) fake trailer for a Legend of Zelda film. Fans of the series were so enamored with the footage that they apparently forgot to look at the date, resulting in a legendary trolling that still brings back bitter memories for a large number of crestfallen Zelda fans.
But, to be fair, it’s probably a blessing that this turned out to be a hoax. I mean, c’mon, Ganadorf just looks silly.
3Duke Nukem Forever Demo
Fileplanet, long before its descent into irrelevance, was once one of the top sites to visit to download demos, mods, and other gaming-related files. On March 31st, 2010, a little over a year before the game was finally released—Fileplanet uploaded a demo for Duke Nukem Forever.
Forever had been in development hell for over 10 years by this point, so it was forgotten by most people but still anticipated by a devout following (those poor souls). Users who downloaded the thing were annoyed to discover they had received a zip file entitled “AprilsFools,” filled to the brim with Nukem soundbytes. Not particularly clever since, by that point, Duke Nukem Forever was a stale industry joke, but certainly dickish enough to warrant our attention.
2Pokemon Kart Wii
So you like Pokemon, eh? Maybe you enjoy some Mario Kart with your pals from time to time as well? The combination of these two franchises seems odd at first but grows on you until you become genuinely excited. I mean, just think about it: imagine barreling down the racetrack as Pikachu, flinging volts at any fool who tries to surge ahead of you or engulfing them in a dark cloud of Zubats. This could really have the potential to be a fun, wacky addition to the series, right?
Yeah, well, too bad. Pokemon Kart isn’t a thing, was never a thing, and will probably never be anything more than a fake trailer those unbelievable bastards over at 1UP created as an April Fools’ joke. This one cuts a little too deep.
1StarCraft 2: Supply Depot
Blizzard came out swinging at everybody with their 2012 April Fool’s joke, an announcement for StarCraft: Supply Depot: Combat Elevated, an obviously fake title for mobile devices. The features list reads like a list of zingers at a game industry comedy roast:
- “Endless hours of gaming including repeating playthroughs and Endurance mode!”
- “Multiple endings, each influenced by choices and color-coded for your convenience (Further epic endings planned for post release as downloadable content.)”
- “Tens of hundreds of thousands of unlockable hats.”
The punch line of the joke, a barbed gag that is ostensibly about how both the industry and players fail when it comes to tempering expectations, is the game itself, which can be played in its entirety by clicking on the phone.
So what’s your favourite gaming April Fools prank? Got one that isn’t listed above? Drop in the comments below and let us know!