When I was a kid, I adored April Fools’ Day. I was the jerk putting cling film on the toilet, pretending there was a spider on your back and dipping all the pen nibs in clear nail polish. Once I realised said jerkitude and how unfunny everyone but me found my “jokes”, I upgraded to eagerly scouring papers for fake news stories and hilarious headlines. That became a favourite hobby of mine each April 1st until the fateful year we got our first Windows PC, complete with modem and Internet Explorer 4.
There’s an old saying in my family that’s been passed down through the generations and that is “Never trust the Internet”. Once that insidious mess of tubes and magic became part of our house, April Fools’ Day lost all meaning for me. False news and disinformation became a 24/7 thing and I could no longer confidently pick the fake stuff from the real stuff. Gone were the heady days of rolling my eyes at ads for scratch’n’sniff credit cards and giggling over news stories about the conversion to metric time: now April Fools was nothing but a day of suspicion and distrust.
However, the problem also turned out to be the solution. Come April 2nd (or 3rd, to give the rest of the world time to catch up), a quick Google search could reveal to me the best japes and shenanigans of the previous day, packaged nicely into a single article to be enjoyed without fear of embarrassing others or being made into the titular fool myself. It is in this spirit I share with you some of my favourite video games-related April Fools gags from this year.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Blizzard released the patch notes for the latest version (18.104.22.1685) of their digital card game Hearthstone on April 1st and there’s some pretty good zingers in there. Here’s a few that got me chuckling:
- We’ve implemented a new card type, Ninjas, which ALWAYS beat Pirate cards!
- Cogmaster no longer spits because, let’s be honest, that’s pretty gross.
- Leper Gnome now feels better, and will be known simply as Gnome. He would, however, still like to receive big hugs please.
- Call Pet card now reads, “Hello this is dog.”
- Pirates will now always beat the new Ninja sub-type, because Pirates are obviously better!
I would just like to point out that despite the fact it is 2015, I found the Ninja-Pirate things funny. Mainly because they were at opposite ends of the patch notes. You can check them out yourself here.
For 24 hours only, players of Techland’s open world zombie game found themselves with the unusual but extremely satisfying ability to punch zombies into a shower of bloody giblets or kick them a good football field’s worth of distance away.
The in-game explanation is that a tainted batch of Antizin, the treatment for the zombie-creating Harran virus, has been found to cause strange side effects such as “excessive strength and aggression” (cue the previously mentioned giblets) and “obsessive-compulsive need to kick stuff” (it’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, it’s another zombie who copped a boot to the bum).
While this episode of madness is sadly over now, there are more than a few gifs and videos of the chaos getting around – you would certainly be doing yourself a favour to check out a couple of them.
War for the Overworld
It’s a cheap and easy shot, but I still liked it. On April 1st, Subterranean Games announced a special Australian edition of their dungeon management game, where the Underworld becomes the Down Underworld. Full of dinky-di colloquialisms and swearing up a true blue streak, the accompanying trailer is one of the funnier jokes at our nation’s expense, Tony Abbott withstanding.
I especially like that while it does make the obvious jokes (the graphics are upside down GEDDIT!?) it also riffs on the likely Aussie reaction to those jokes (“Welcome to Australia – where upside down jokes have not made any f***** one of us ever laugh.”). Check out both the blog post and the trailer here.
World of Tanks
For years, humankind has longed to break the surly bonds of earth and soar majestically into the sky. Come this weekend, owners of an Xbox will be able to – and in a tank! Wargaming has announced that this weekend only (specifically, from 10am this Friday to 11:59pm Sunday, Pacific Daylight Time) World of Tank players will find a special M24 Lunar tank in their garage and a new lunar map available to break it in.
This tank is “specially designed” for moon battles, coming equipped with futuristic lasers, and includes everything needed for lunar traversal, which apparently takes place at 1/6 Earth gravity. I can only cross my fingers that it leads to even more videos involving unwieldy motion set to the Blue Danube Waltz, like the trailer which originally caught my attention.
I’ve saved the best for last. With romance options becoming both more common in games and a bit of a punchline, it seems apt that Harmonix would recreate their Dance Central franchise into a dating sim. Through a series of questions and answers, you have the chance to court your favourite character and go on dates with them. Romance Central helpfully offers you tips and suggestions throughout the dating process to help you better woo your potential love match.
With a range of both dates and dating venues to choose from, you’re all but guaranteed to find the disco diva or rhythm Romeo of your dreams. I’ve heard tell that, unlike real life, your choices will always end in romance but having failed twice to find a love connection I’m starting to wonder if that’s another bit of dreaded misinformation – or perhaps there’s some Inception-style April Fools stuff going on at my expense…
“It has been said that a good writer can use two words to communicate ten. This bio is already twenty words long and Stevie hasn’t even told you anything about herself yet. She likes video games, especially the pointy-clicky, adventurey kinds, and also likes writing, so this video games writer gig suits her nicely.”