Before the internet we were all happy celebrating April Fools day by covering our roommate’s entire bedroom with post-it notes, gift-wrapping everything – absolutely everything – on our co-workers desks, or jokingly burning down our neighbor’s house, then just as he returns from a hard day at work, jumping out from behind the shrubbery yelling, “OH MAN, I SO GOT YOU. YOU GOT OWNED. FUCKING OWNED.” while he begins sobbing at the loss of his cat and the rest of his worldly possessions. What? You never did that? Oh. Whatever.
In any case, nowadays the popular pranking holiday has taken widely to the world wide web, with many large companies spending a fair chunk of time, effort and money for a solid day’s worth of entertainment. Some will announce fake games, others will give new features to their maps, while others still will slightly tweak their normal layout, yielding outstanding results.
Below are just a few of my favorite jokes from the past, that actually had me believing for a while – before I double-checked the date.
Unlock Sonic and Tails in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Source: Electronic Gaming Monthly, April 2002
After the unprecedented success of the original Super Smash Bros., there were high hopes for its successor, and those hopes did not fall short. The playable characters and amount of levels each grew substantially, giving 200% more fan service. Once you had unlocked the full roster of 25, you were left with two seemingly empty spots on the selection screen. Thus it didn’t sound far-fetched at all when EGM announced those spots would be filled with the blue blur and his plucky companion. Better still, they had a screenshot ready for proof!
How do you unlock the two, you ask? Oh, nothing too crazy. Just, you know, defeat 20 opponents in Cruel Melee. No big deal. While not impossible by any means, it is definitely a feat worthy of at least 50 gamerscore to me. Still, I received no gamer points (being on the GameCube and all), and even worse, no Sonic and no Tails. The rumor carried on for months before being officially disproved by Nintendo Power. And I’m sure in part thanks to a wealth of fan reaction, Sonic was happily received as an official character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. All’s well that ends well!
Kingdom Hearts spin-off game announced: Mushroom Kingdom Hearts
Source: Electronic Gaming Monthly, April 2007
Fresh off the success of Kingdom Hearts II, back before fans of the series were jaded, in the days when nobody could have foreseen a near-decade gap between the second and third numbered titles, there was a blurb. Just a small blurb in yet another April edition of EGM. Those playful scamps just know how to hurt me.
The blurb was announcing a deviation from the Final Fantasy crossovers to send Sora through pipes to storm the castle and help the mustachioed plumber once again save his princess. The premise was so outlandish it just might work. People thought the same of the original KH idea of tossing Mickey Mouse and Cloud Strife together, and that proved more than fruitful. So why not let Bowser and Ansem team up for a title?
The article was boasting 41 characters from the Mario universe to appear in the title, which in itself was announcing the farce. April 1st can also be read as 4-1, which is a number frequently used in the magazine’s foolish entries. It was also said to be a Wii exclusive, which would have been great for those, like myself, yearning for a quality RPG on the severely lacking console.
As an avid Kingdom Hearts follower and supporter of most things Nintendo, this was a dream-come-true-then-crushed-into-the-ground for me. Thanks for nothing, EGM. Dicks.
Live action Legend of Zelda movie trailer released
Perhaps the most gut-wrenching and cruel joke to play on millions of gamers is to showcase a brilliant, realistic, live-action movie trailer for a beloved franchise – and then announce it’s all a big, elaborate joke.
This is exactly what IGN did on April 1, 2008. The respected gaming website began filming the teaser nearly a year prior for a mere 3-minutes of nerdgasm that would surely result in a successful Kickstarter fund for a full movie, would they have posted the need for funds.
Simple words cannot do it justice, so I will leave you with the wonderful, awe-inspiring trailer for the film that will sadly never be.
So what are some of your favorite (or least favorite) April Fools Day pranks? Were there other games revealed or announcements made that caused you to punch a hole through the wall then they were dismissed as hoax? Sound off in the comments!