Gaming’s Top Five April Fools’ Pranks of 2014

If you’re like us at GameKoop, situated in the bipolar-but-mostly-freezing tristate area, you might find this hard to believe, but regardless of cruel climate the day has arrived for gaming developers, publishers, and reporters, to have some fun with their audiences in the form of heartbreaking and hilarious April Fools’ Day press releases.Whether it’s cracking up at Capcom’s announcement of “Super Duper Street Fighter IV” or finding yourself strangely disappointed when it turns out that a rocket deathmatch mode is, in fact, not making its way to Journey, April 1 usually provides a bundle of giggles for the gaming community.

We’ve put together our five favorite gaming gags we’ve seen thus far (the day is not done!) We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

1) Nester Confirmed for Smash Bros.

If you’re not familiar with the character Nester, you’re probably not alone. Nester served as the Nintendo Power Magazine mascot for several of the publication’s earlier years, appearing in gaming-related comics. Although he was phased out over time, he would still make an occasional appearance in various issues before the magazine ceased publication. Nester made his video game debut in Nester’s Funky Bowling, a title for the already notoriously atrocious Virtual Boy console. Needless to say, it was not the biggest success and Nester did not transition into a well-known Nintendo character.

 nester smash bros april fools

The announcement of Nester’s inclusion in SSB4 was released by a group of dedicated community members, who shared the news on a site that mimics the official Smash Bros. webpage. The pranksters even went so far as to create a simple model for Nester and implement him into various screenshots, including several which take place on a crimson stage inspired from Nester’s Funky Bowling.

Alas, the reveal was quickly spotted out as a fake by those who stumbled across it. Perhaps due to his lack of any distinguishing characteristics other than the ability to bowl, Nester will most likely not be a playable character in the upcoming Smash Bros. But, hey, if Wii Fit Trainer can make the cut, there might still be hope yet.

2) Optimus Prime Coming to Titanfall

Fine, admittedly this one could have been pretty awesome. IGN released a trailer earlier today showcasing the newest addition to the well-received mech shooter: Transformer protagonist Optimus Prime. The trailer showcases the iconic robot coming to earth to kick ass and take names alongside his human comrades. While there have been some interesting character-license based additions to games in the past, such as the inclusion of Freddy Kreuger in Mortal Kombat, this one will unfortunately not become a reality.

Autobots, roll out! There’s nothing to see here.

3) Horrifying (and Fake) Persona 5 Trailer

While they might not win the comedy award this year, hats go off to Atlus for scaring the crap out of us with the fake trailer they posted today for Persona 5, the much awaited game heading to PS3 in 2015. The trailer, which looks like a demented excerpt from the life-claiming videotape in The Ring, is in black and white and features ominous dialogue spoken by an unknown demonic figure. There are also several quick scenes of grotesque anime gore showing limbs being severed and blood gushing from characters. Give it a glance if you want to feel slightly less human.

Needless to say, I am glad this one is simply a joke. I hope.

4) Goblin Techies Teased in DOTA 2

Cyborgmatt, a well-known and mysterious DOTA blogger who always seems to know what’s coming next in DOTA 2, did not have the most original April Fools’ prank. However, due to the obsessive nature of the DOTA 2 community, he turned out to have one of the funniest.

Cyborgmatt tweeted a picture of Goblin Techies yesterday; a playable hero from DOTA 1 that DOTA 2 players have been demanding since around the game’s debut. Like other franchises of Valve’s, *cough HALF-LIFE 3 cough* the community has resorted to crafting elaborate conspiracy theories due to the prolonged release of the hero, and will hop on any trace of evidence and bleed it drier than a raisin in the sun.

The result? A group of dedicated theorists who began to believe that since the picture was so obviously a hoax, the April Fools’ joke might be that Techies is in fact going to be released today. Cyborgmatt added to the hilarity by later uploading a short video of Techie’s model running around in the game.

Sorry, DOTA 2 fans. April or not, you’re still running on Valve time.

5) Become a Pokemon Master With Google Maps

There’s always that one joke that you tell your friends you spotted from the beginning, but secretly wept like a child when you found out it was all a sham. This year was no different. Welcome to Pokemon Challenge by Google.

The prank was a trailer showcasing every pre-pubescent boy’s dream; a job offer from Google addressed to potential Pokemon masters. By pairing with Google Maps, the technology led a man in the video to encounter a wild Charizard, and capture it to progress his Pokedex. The video goes on to say that those interested will need to “explore all kinds of terrain to find each and every one of the wild Pokemon.”

I refuse to give up hope that an app that pairs with your device’s GPS in order to find AR Pokemon in the wild and catch them through your phone will not make its way to the world in the future. Until then, I stare angrily at Google for both realizing and demolishing my lifelong dream within a matter of minutes.

What were your favorite April Fools’ snickers and sorrows this year?  Let us know in the comments below.

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