Great Video Game April Fool’s Pranks
By Jon White, Multimedia Reporter
April Fool’s Day is the one day of the year that tests both creativity and gullibility. There have been some well-done pranks in the past, but thanks to the advancement of technology, there have been some elaborate pranks pulled that have caught people by surprise. The trick for making sure a prank is successful is to capitalize on the love for a subject that one has, and then exploit that. Even if a practical joke is obvious, it can still be social commentary about business practices within an industry. Video gamers are sometimes easier to fall for pranks due to hacks or codes that seem like they are plausible. Below are some of the most infamous practical jokes that stick with video gamers.
Play as the original Bonds in N64’s Goldeneye
Goldeneye was one of the most popular games for the N64, selling millions of copies and providing countless hours of multiplayer for gamers. Magazine giant Electronic Gaming Monthly had their April’s ‘Video Game Tip’ of the month in 1998 be a doozy. There was a photo showing that the gamer could unlock playable Bonds Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton…all one had to do was beat one of the games hardest levels in record time while completing all of the objectives. Needless to say, countless gamers tried repeatedly to hit the goal, only to leave people perplexed as to why things did not unlock if they were able to fulfill the parameters. When the word got out about this hoax, many people were disappointed.
IGN reveals a Legend of Zelda movie
The Legend of Zelda is one of the few games out there that has been around for over 25 years and is still having new entries produced for it. For the millions of Zelda fans, they were shocked in 2008, when IGN revealed a Legend of Zelda movie trailer for fans. Many fans were taken in by the trailer, as it looked professional and also looked to break the cycle of poor adaptations. Even those that knew it was a hoax enjoyed the look so much that they wished it was not a hoax. The prank went over so well that it created a wave of backlash, so the following year IGN made sure to make something so obvious that it could only be interpreted as a prank from the get-go…a Bollywood version of Halo.
You can watch the trailer here.
Find Bigfoot in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
San Andreas was one of the biggest games of all time for the PlayStation 2, both in terms of sales and scope of the game. In a game area as huge as the map offered in San Andreas, there were lots of rumors about hidden things to find. One of the more popular rumors that circulated around the game is that one could find Bigfoot. All the gamer had to do was go and wander the massive wilderness at nighttime and there was a slim chance that Bigfoot would appear. Some people even posted photos online of them seeing the mythical creature. Thousands of people went in search of the elusive beast, until Rockstar games co-founder (the developer behind the game), said in issue 187 of EGM that, “There is no Bigfoot, just like in real life.”
EGM aggravates video game retailers
When Nintendo first showed off the GameCube console, they showed a demo video showcasing what the system was capable of doing in terms of graphics. One of the standouts from the reel was seeing the gamer favorite character, Link, show up. Gamers were ecstatic, but we were shocked when the next Legend of Zelda game showed up, Wind Waker, it looked like a cartoon. The creator opted to use cel-shading for the game, a move that outraged many gamers and said it looked “too kiddy.” When the next Zelda game was announced, it was made clear to gamers that it was not going to share the cel-shaded look and so many breathed a sigh of relief. Following this announcement, the April 2005 issue of EGM had an article stating that if one were to pre-order the next Zelda game, they would receive a copy of Wind Waker without the cartoony graphics. This seemed legit, as people who pre-ordered Wind Waker received an updated copy of The Ocarina of Time, a game made for the N64. Once the issue hit newsstands, people were swept in a storm and immediately tried calling in to reserve a copy of the game. Even gaming websites printed the story without fact checking. Retailers were confused and soon people learned that they fell for a depressing prank.
Blizzard lets gamers know how they really feel about casual games
Blizzard is one of the juggernauts in the gaming industry, being the developers responsible for Diablo, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft. In 2012, they announced that they developed a StarCraft game for the mobile market to capitalize on that expanding market. However, one watch of the trailer shows that it clearly is a joke, but one that does not hide how Blizzard feels about the mobile market. Blizzard is known for making complex games that are targeted towards hardcore gamers, not for people looking for a quick fix during their daily transit. The video shows a ridiculously easy level and some funny dialogue between the character and the player. The write-up for the game included advertising various features, including: “endless hours of gaming including repeating play throughs 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), and tens of hundreds of thousands of unlockable hats.” Each of those features were jabs at other popular games and genres, so while it was painfully obvious it was a prank, it was a prank with a message.
You can watch the gameplay video here.
As time goes on, technology will continue to evolve and gaming will continue to be a dominant part of most people’s lives, so it is with this passion that quality April Fool’s Day jokes will continue to happen. Whether gamers fall for them or not remains to be seen, but it is with that love for gaming that people will always want that one rumor that is too good to be true, to actually be true. If pranks like these are timeless, then we can look forward to what batch of hoaxes the next generation of gamers can cook up.