April Fools' Day Roundup 2011
Annual day of tomfoolery brings gags from BioWare, Blizzard, Harmonix, Sega, Sony, and more.
Every year, the game news cycle is disrupted on April 1 by a variety of jokes, japes, pranks, and various other gags from a host of sources around the Web. This year is no exception, with numerous developers, publishers, and other outlets using this most foolish of days to let their humorous side show.
As always, Blizzard went all out, posting four pages with polished production values. The first introduces Crabby: The Dungeon Helper, a perky crustacean with more than a passing resemblance to Microsoft Word's infamously annoying Paper Clip helper. Then, over on the Diablo III site, there's a Horadric Cube app for smartphones, which will transform and/or combine your existing apps into all-new hybrid applications like Visagebook and Angry Imps. Thirdly, there's the full trailer for StarCraft: Motion Overdrive, the Kinect-based control scheme for StarCraft II. And let's not forget the new World of Warcraft level Tomb of Immortal Darkness, which treats players to a level so dark that it requires its own special Deep Dark® middleware to create.
Another major massively multiplayer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, also created its own prank page. The jokesters at BioWare Austin posted several snippets that showed their upcoming sci-fi MMORPG localized in the Wookie language. The result? Three mirthful clips literally filled with howlers.
Rock Band developer Harmonix poked fun at its recent upheaval, which saw the developer sold off from Viacom and undergo a small number of layoffs. The latter appeared to be the source of the Boston-based studio's April Fools' prank, which saw the studio trading in "'gently used' CEO" Alex Rigopulos into GameStop for store credit. "Alex was a visionary at Harmonix, and we could never replace him. With that said, we're replacing him," read the mock post.
Sega decided to riff on one of its staple franchises, Super Monkey Ball, to mark the day. The Japanese publisher decided to cook up Super Monkey Cube, "a real-time turn-based RPG with action elements." The game's description summarizes its gameplay thusly: "Take turns, read long story arcs, level up with confusingly intricate menus, discover a flat world unlike any other, and solve the whereabouts of the Golden Banana!"
Sony also got into the fun with a parody post about the upcoming action game Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. In it, series villain--and Galactic President--Copernicus Qwark boasts how he took down Insomniac head and "shaman warrior" Ted Price in a cage-fight match using weapons scavenged from the studio's broom closet. Qwark emerged the victor and as a prize had the new game renamed Copernicus Qwark’s Awesomely Epic 3D Adventure through Time and Space co-starring, but Not Important in Any Way, Ratchet & Clank.
Tango Gameworks, the new studio set up by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, started the fun off early on Japan time. It is offering a limited-edition action figure of…Mikami himself. The 256-jointed figure needs to be shaven and can be launched into high altitude at the touch of a button.
Last but not least, GameSpot put on its own April Fools' Day joke in the form of a "live" edition of Today On the Spot. The episode saw some searingly hot headlines, a demo of new Kinect and Spider-Man games, as well as an Earth-like special look at Azeroth.
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