half life 3

The last couple of Wednesdays around here have been a little serious. So instead of getting angry about something this week, I’m going to keep things lighthearted and share my ten favourite gaming-related April Fool’s pranks from this year.

Some of them were heart-breaking, some of them were silly, some believable and some were just downright hilarious. These are my favourites, in loosely arranged order of awesomeness. Enjoy.

10. Pokemon Universities

The internet buckled under the weight of a monumental nerdgasm when the Pokemon Facebook page announced that they would be offering accredited Pokemon courses in major American Universities. This included courses such as Pokemon Habitats by Region and Theory and Ethics of Pokemon Evolution.

One student lamented that despite graduating this year, he would have changed his major had this been real. I think a lot of people may not grasp the purpose of University.

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9. Football Manager 1888

This one was hilarious. Football Manager 1888 promised to take football “back to its roots”, to the first season in 1888/1889. Players would have to face new challenges such as no off-side rules, no substitutions, an extremely lax attitude towards “rough play” and fresh challenges such as having half the team drafted to the Army.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being subjected to the mind-numbing bore that is a real Football Manager game, you’d know that this offers nothing but improvements. I think they could take this one all the way.

football manager 1888

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8. Starcraft 2 Warhound

If you haven’t played much competitive Starcraft 2, you should know it revolves primarily around whining about the races that aren’t yours being overpowered. During the Heart of the Swarm beta, a unit called the Warhound was deemed overpowered by pretty much everyone, and eventually removed from the game.

Blizzard announced that it would be coming back – but to keep things fair, all races would have access to it. They really committed with this one by actually making it somewhat true – on the day, all race’s workers were replaced by miniature Warhounds.

starcraft 2 warhound is back

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7. Google NOSE

Not exactly gaming related, but pretty funny nonetheless, Google introduced new “technology” to their search engine for April Fool’s Day, Google NOSE. This would put a scent description alongside your search, to “go beyond type, talk and touch”.

This took an impressive amount of effort, including a ton of smells such as Wet Dog which Google NOSE identifies as “Aggressive and foxy with notes of musk, wet towel”. It’s almost believable. Almost.

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6. War Thunder includes My Little Pony DLC

War Thunder is a World War 2-based combat flight game, with ponies and rainbows and stuff. At least it was for a day, when they literally allowed players to control winged purple ponies with cannons strapped to them. Taste the rainbow.

5. Deux Ex: Human Defiance

There’ve been rumours circulating about a new Deus Ex for quite some time – was it all a very elaborate April Fool’s setup? Square Enix “announced” Deus Ex: Human Defiance on Monday, which takes protagonist Adam Jensen back into the second dimension.

The 8-bit game is touted as “the natural evolution” of the Deus Ex franchise, and includes a few screenshots as well as a trailer imploring gamers to like the Facebook page. If you watch the video, you’ll even see some gameplay. All in all, it’s pretty well done. Hell, I’d play it.

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4. Minecraft announces a sequel

The announcement of Minecraft 2 was pretty well done in that Mojang went for a completely deadpan approach, not letting on in any way that it was a joke, promising a “2-years-in-development” game that “completely overhauls major parts of the game”. Even after watching the video, a lot of people were still reeled in, and the YouTube comments would suggest that the community is very passionate (and angry) about their virtual lego.

3.  Good Old Games can give your new games that classic feel

One of my favourite places on the internet, Good Old Games, is the best resource for oldies-but-goodies spruced up and compatible for your PC  today.

On April 1st they announced the “Retromator 4000”, which promised to turn your over-developed modern game into a classic ‘90s point-and-click adventure or old-school FPS. I really wish this thing could be real.

witcher 2 retro

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2. Dishonoured’s “special” developer commentary

This has my vote for the actual funniest one on this list. In this obviously fictional narration, the developers play through the game while offering some interesting facts regarding its development.

I don’t want to spoil any of the jokes because some of them are genuinely hilarious, so just go watch the thing. I’ll make it easy for you and embed it right here.

1.  Half-Life: Episode 3

I’m glad I was without internet access on Monday, because this one would have really made me sad if I’d been suckered in for even a moment. Half-Life: Episode 3 appeared on what appeared to be Steam, with a release date of October 10th.

It was however just a dummy website from Cheapshark.com, and the suckers who had been reeled in once again howled in frustration. The best part of people being caught by this is that Valve announced Half-Life 3 as an April Fool’s prank last year. Can it be a hat-trick for 2014?

I’m not putting a picture because it still hurts from when I did the header. Just… just go to the link. Or don’t.

[Link removed, because it’s dodgy.]

What’s your favourite prank from this year? Did I miss any good ones? Tell us about it in the comments.