Monday, 2 April 2012

Live the Ship Droid Experience!

Yesterday was April Fools' Day and most of the Internet went crazy with various kinds of pranks, fake news, silly updates, etc. BioWare too got in on the act by posting an announcement for a new feature in Game Update 1.2: the chance to play the life of your ship's droid. Here's an excerpt:

Jedi Knights, Smugglers, Bounty Hunters and the other class characters may be the heroes in the wider galaxy, but on board the starship, the Ship Droids are the heroes. That’s why, as part of Game Update 1.2, you will soon be able to assume direct control over your Droid’s actions with Ship Droid™, a brand new mini-game coming to The Old Republic!

Features of this mini-game include cleaning the cockpit windows, calibrating the ship’s food processors, and several other exciting maintenance duties:

It's a nice April Fools' joke and got a few chuckles out of me. Though I also think it's a bit of a missed opportunity to make fun of some of the controversy around TOR. Maybe poke a bit of fun at the PvP problems the game has/had, or have a laugh at the same-sex controversy some elements raised. It almost gets there and I quite liked the scene with SCORPIO, but it would've been even better had it been with T7-O1.

Nice, but definitely not the best April Fools' joke yesterday. Read on after the break as I highlight a few of the (non-TOR-related) April Fools' jokes.

Let's start with Paradox Interactive, who launched a website called The site looks just like metacritic, but instead of aggregating scores for games, it aggregates scores for game reviewers. Supposedly the intention is to see which reviewer gives the most accurate reviews. Though the site doesn't seem to be dynamic, it comes pre-loaded with a bunch of existing reviewers from across the Internet. Quite funny.

One of the first jokes I saw yesterday was the one by Mojang who announced their new game: Mars Effect:

The page has a number of little jokes. Such as some of the other names they considered ("Elight", "Wind Commander", and "Steve Online") making fun of the recent trouble they had with Bethesda over the name "Scrolls". Or some of the features (including "A game ending that makes sense" and "Waist high walls"). Though I am kind of hoping that Notch earlier talk of wanting to make an Elite game wasn't just a put-on for this joke and is something that he's actually planning to do. Because that could be quite good. It might even steal some ideas from Mars Effect (I kind of like the idea of limiting what systems you can run at the same time based on the strength of your ship's energy generator).

(And here I was planning to include IGN's Mass Effect cartoon, but really didn't think it all that funny. Besides, Commander Shepard was a woman.)

Last year the Kinect-jokes were a bit done to death already, but even so I thought that the trailer for "Assassin's Creed for Kinect" was pretty funny (particularly after about a minute in):

I'm not sure if that was by the developers or just some talented fans or what, but I thought it was pretty nice regardless. I can totally see myself jump around my tiny living room like that.

Google's various branches often come with some good April Fools' jokes and this year the best ones I saw came from that corner. First there's a new feature for Android and iOS devices: Gmail Tap.

Google's Chrome browser was also set to get a new feature; multitask mode.

Better yet though was the working, Dragon Quest-style Google map. Including this promotional video for NES:

But the best one, which for me wins best April Fools' joke of 2012, was YouTube's "The YouTube collection":

The sheer absurdity of the very idea just gets me. Also, that's a lot of Minecraft videos on DVD there.

(Google also had a really advanced search, which was amusing, but I didn't find all that funny.)

Still, despite all that funniness the finniest joke I saw yesterday turned out to not be an April Fools' Day joke at all (at least not this year as the video was uploaded in June 2011; it might've been one from last year). Namely this (German) video for a new mobile phone: the xPhone (turn on cc for subtitles):

It's been a while since I laughed as hard as I did. Talk about absurd.

And that's it for one funny day. I know that some people don't like April Fools' day, but I always enjoy seeing the creativity people come up with. I think that it's alright to have one day a year when nothing is taken seriously.

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