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Obligatory April Fools' Day Round-Up 2014


Jack Gardner

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April Fool's Day is a wonderful time for the video game industry. A time for tech companies, developers, and publishers to come together, let their hair down, and show a bit of their hilarious humanity. This year you can see Optimus Prime in Titanfall, a new fighting game from Blizzard, and Big Head Mode in Guild Wars 2.

 

First up, a new mobile game from  S2 Games is looking to do something never seen before in the mobile gaming space. Their next game aims to be something totally unique and wonderful, like a digital snowflake. Prepare to take to the skies with Bastion and Xander!

 

 

You can download their incredibly original game here.

 

Next, and possibly most disappointingly, Google announced the Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge. Essentially, players use Google Maps to catch Pokémon that can be seen in the real-world using mobile phone cameras. Why can't this be a real thing? Nintendo, get on that.

 

 

IGN has become somewhat infamous for its April Fools' Day pranks. This year they rose to meet expectations with an exclusive trailer detailing the first piece of Titanfall DLC which features Optimus Prime.

 

 

Developer Image & Form has announced a major update to the game SteamWorld Dig. Forget all the fantastical elements of mining that you might have picked up from games like Minecraft, Terraria, or even their own game; SteamWorld Dig is going realistic. CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson detailed what this will mean for the game:

This new update means that we’ll totally revamp the acclaimed gameplay and graphics in SteamWorld Dig. Rather than focusing on steam-driven robots in a steampunk Western setting, we have decided to follow recent gaming trends. In particular, Goat Simulator from our friends at Coffee Stain looks like it’s going to be huge. Therefore we’ve changed SteamWorld Dig into a real-world mining universe, with real people, real grit and all. It’s taken a while, but here it is: Real-World Mining Simulator!

 

For a long time, we had this silly, romantic notion about mining. Swinging that pickaxe was easy, almost effortless, even exciting! The new version will tell it like it is. Every dull chore in the mines will be questioned, every descent preceded by a negotiation, and quite often Malcolm will rather call in sick, which will lead to a standstill and a delightful pause. It’ll be very realistic. It’ll be great!

Real-World Mining Simulator has numerous interesting features like trying to avoid contracting the Black Lung and procrastinating. You can read more about it here.

 

Sega took the opportunity today to reveal their new peripheral, the MEGAne DRIVE. Worn over the eyes, it translates languages, shows your dreams, and works with hundreds of other peripherals. Here are some of the highlights of the gear as translated from Twitter:

 

"Speed shock! Visual shock! Sound shock! ... More light and more to the emotional."

 

"Tonight is Samurai war, tomorrow is to bike hero when it comes transform."

 

"Your delusional power master MEGAne if?"

 

Needless to say, with marketing phrases like that the MEGAne DRIVE looks to be on track to dominate the VR market.

 

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Square Enix decided to make a little goof of their own with a crossover between old-school Final Fantasy and Thief. It is entirely in Japanese and there doesn't seem to be much to interact with or accomplish, but is still pretty amusing.

 

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OverClocked Remix has decided to launch their new in-house band with the name Rough McGruff. They also require all band members to have beards. This probably definitely maybe in no way relates to YouTuber Smooth McGroove.

 

 

The new game mode added to League of Legends today, Ultra Rapid Fire, has the goal of providing maximum fun by eliminating mana and energy, giving all champions 80% cooldown reduction, and doubling the attack speed of ranged champions. Playing the game mode will net players an exclusive icon.

 

 

BioWare has decided that their online store was incomplete without a Garrus Vakarian Body Pillow. Retailing for $40, the pillow is guaranteed to calibrate to your body and provide support, both on the battlefield and in bed.

 

For those of you who have been on the internet for a while, remember Homestar Runner? The site has been dormant for the past four years, but today marks the end of that humorless dry spell. New content has appeared on the site and reassures everyone that the things they found funny in the early 2000s is still pretty dang funny. Just sit on the intro screen for about 10 seconds to see what's been added.

 

CERN, the European organization that operates the world's largest particle accelerator and is on the cutting edge of science, today decided that its website would better suit the dignity of its institution better if all text on the website was in Comic Sans. To quote CERN's head of communications, James Gillies: 

This is an important year for CERN and we wanted to make a bold visual statement. We thought the most effective way to communicate our research into the fundamental structure of matter at the very boundaries of technology was by changing the font. And it makes the letters look all round and squishy

Blizzard Entertainment had a number of astounding press releases today. To begin, they announced that they would be changing the name of the upcoming expansion to StarCraft II from from Legacy of the Void to Herald of the Stars. Details on the renamed expansion are tantalizing. Blizzard promises new units, weapons, armor, hairstyles, and a dance editor. It also appears that the name change is at least partially due to the desire to keep the same acronym that derived from the current expansion, Heart of the Swarm.

 

Blizzard also announced a new fighting game titled Blizzard Outcasts: Vengeance of the Vanquished. Outcasts features many of Blizzard's second-tier heroes and villains duking it out in glorious 8-bit graphics. Where else can you see Deckard Cain beating down Arcturus Mengsk with an old magic tome?

 

 

Guild Wars 2 has rolled out the Big Head update in its latest patch, doubling the size of all in-game heads. The reason for this change can be traced back to a study revealed in this photo. It turns out that science has determined that larger heads lead to larger amounts of fun.

 

 

Finally, former indie developer Phil Fish, who famously stormed out of the industry due to harassment, surfaced briefly on Twitter to announce his return to game development and Fez II. Fish, you clever minx.

 

Happy April Fools' Day everyone!

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