April Fools' 2010 Roundup
It's that time of the year again - the one day of the year where finding legitimate news on the internet is harder than finding a Mac user at a LAN party.
The professional newsie part of me hates April Fools'. It's the one day of the year when I have to actually pay attention to things, you know? The rest of the year, news is news is news (and the odd hoax out is easy to spot), but this is the one day where I have to, like, use professional judgment. Is Epic really releasing Gears of War 3 for the PS3? I have to make decisions, and that's hard!
Anyway, we've used our top-notch noggins to pick out some announcements that we're reasonably sure are April Fools' jokes, and have compiled them here for your perusal purposes. Look, laugh, and if there are any more that we've missed (and I'm sure there are) let us know!
2001 Monolith Action Figure - The Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most iconic and striking sci-fi images of our time, which is pretty strange considering it's basically just a big black slab. But now ThinkGeek is selling a mini-Monolith (proportions 1:4:9, of course) that you can have on your own desk at home! My god, it's full of stars...
BioWare Reveals The Old Republic's Sarlacc Enforcer Class - Did you think that all of the SW:TOR classes had been revealed? Think again, bucko! The Sarlacc Enforcer is perfect for all of those players who want other players to experience a new kind of pure suffering as they are digested over the next thousand years.
4ColorRebellion Is the Most 90s Web Page Ever - MIDI background music? Animated gifs? Web rings? Under Construction signs? A bizarre obsession with Dragon Ball Z? Yeah, it doesn't get more Late 90s than 4CR's new design.
Secret New Super Mario Bros. Wii "Gloomy Mode" Unlocked! - Are you tired of the overly cheerful and colorful Mushroom Kingdom? You might be happy to know that one enterprising Mario fan has uncovered a secret, previously unknown mode in NSMB Wii that makes the entire game dark, gloomy, and ominous. It's the exact opposite of Diablo III!
And speaking of Diablo III...
Everything Blizzard Does Today - Blizzard frequently goes all-out on its April Fools' jokes, and today is no exception. There's a bunch of them, and I'm still not sure I've seen every single one.
Games Become Reality With Battle.net Neural Interface - Experience World of Warcraft like never before with Blizzard's new Battle.net Neural Interface, a device that allows you to mentally synch your unique brainwave signature with the device. You will truly form a permanent and unbreakable bond with your WoW character, as removal can result in permanent brain damage or death.
Blizzard Announces Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder and Queen's Quest for iPhone - Blizzard has revealed two new mobile games in development. One is a sequel to their very, very old title Blackthorne featuring the main character's return to earth to stop an alien menace, boasting "magical, revolutionary gameplay" and "[some] sort of arbitrary Twitter and Facebook integration. Your friends will thank you."
The other is Queen's Quest, an old-school adventure game starring Kerrigan, Queen of Blades. Save the Zerg Swarm using just your words! Queen's Quest will utilize a "revolutionary Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme in 5 easy steps" including code wheels, pass-phrases hidden in the manuals, and verbal authentication.
Get the Diablo III Snuggie and Body Pillow - Are you cold when raiding in WoW, but find that traditional blankets hamper your ability to press "2" over and over again? Blizzard has revealed its X-Treme Gamer Blanket (which is a Snuggie), to help you out in just that occasion. Buy two X-Treme Gamer Blankets (in Magi Blue or Blunderbore Brown) and get a Diablo III body pillow free!
Drive in Style With the Deckard Cain GPS Voice Pack - Is your regular GPS boring? Do you wish that instead of just telling you to "turn right on Hayes Street," your GPS told you that - and then related a story about a bard it used to know named Hayes? Well, Blizzard has you covered. Buckle up, stay a while, and listen! (I'm not going to lie, guys, I really want this).
WoW Officially Measures Your Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number (EPEEN) - Previously, determining your worth as a player in WoW was a difficult and arduous task involving counting out how many epics you had and linking your Achievements in the trade channel. Now, Blizzard is doing away with that with the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number, a handy little metric by which you can determine how much better you are than everyone else. Thanks, guys!
Ecco the Dolphin Returns, and This Time He's Angry - Gamers may fondly remember Ecco the Dolphin, an adventurous little sea creature who had to save his sea-animal friends from something or other. I don't know, I never got past the first screen or two on the Game Gear version. Sega has announced that Ecco will be returning in Ecco: Water Wars 2, in which he must rally his ocean-dwelling friends in a war against humanity - including the elderly. This time, he's not leading you to safety.
Google Renames Itself Topeka - Last month, the city of Topeka, Kansas unofficially renamed itself Google, Kansas. Now, Google is returning the favor.
Google Japan Creates Best Keyboard Ever - Everyone knows the Japanese are all about efficiency, right? Well, Google Japan realized that the standard QWERTY keyboard wasn't cutting it anymore, and so has devised a brilliant new keyboard for its employees to use. Now drummers may actually have a place in the workforce!
Starbucks Unveils "Plenta" and "Micra" Drink Sizes - Is a Venti not big enough for you? Is a Tall too big for you? Well, Starbucks has you covered with its new 128 fl oz "Plenta" drink size and its new 2 fl oz "Micra," thanks to consumer feedback. Never drink more (or less) coffee than you need to again!
Battle.net Matchmaking Finds Dates, Not Games - We've heard quite a bit about Blizzard's vaunted new matchmaking system for Battle.net, but what we didn't know was that it also was meant to help you find more than just a game. Battle.net's matchmaking will help lonely Orc Warriors find a hardy ally to take on Utgarde Pinnacle with, and then to cuddle by the candlelight. Find your match today!
Razer Venom Keeps You Gaming All Night - Ever want to stay up at a crazy LAN party, but find that your weak mortal body just can't cope with the pressures? Razer's new Venom substance, taken intravenously, will help keep you alert and gaming as long as you're drip-fed the stuff!
IGN Debuts Halo Movie Trailer a la Bollywood - IGN has continued its tradition of breaking the hearts of gamers who want to see faithful film adaptations of their favorite games this year. Only "faithful" isn't exactly the word for this Halo movie, given how it transforms the fight for survival against the Covenant into a dancing musical number straight out of Bollywood.
YouTube Unveils TEXTp Resolution - Streaming high-resolution video can be pretty expensive, which is why YouTube has announced TEXTp, a brilliant new viewing option that will render all of your videos in ASCII art. Not only does it look cool, but you're saving them $1 in bandwidth every second!
Secret Mass Effect 2 Sex Scene - What happens when female Commander Shepard and one of the notoriously emotionless Elcor fall for each other?
Something like this.
Halo: Reach Multiplayer Goes Turn-Based - When Bungie's Halo: Reach team looked back through time to return to the old classic styles of multiplayer, that didn't mean classic Slayer - it meant something much different.
(Have we missed one? Of course we have - post a link in the comments thread!)