April 1, 2013 at 12:33 PM ET
The tech industry is no stranger to elaborate April Fools’ Day jokes. Game developers are no exception here—using their rabid fanbases and online forums to toy with many gamers’ emotions. Blizzard poked fun at “StarCraft 2” players this morning with a promise that it would return the once beloved Terran unit the Warhound. The video game site Destructoid turned its entire landing page into a Reddit parody. And “Half Life” fans have probably already steeled themselves for another year of cruel jokes about “Half Life 3.” But rather than tease their most passionate players with a fake, “Guild Wars 2” developer ArenaNet apparently had another idea for April Fools’ Day: make an actual product.
That’s the idea behind “Super Adventure Box,” a low-bit, chunkily pixelated homage to old-fashioned gaming embedded within the “Guild Wars 2” world for the month of April. Think “Minecraft” meets “World of “Warcraft.”
ArenaNet has a list of handy tools for “Guild Wars 2” to help survive “Super Adventure Box,” including how to find the colorful 8-bit wonderland in the normal “Guild Wars 2” world map.
Fitting the new levels into overarching “Guild Wars 2” lore, ArenaNet explains that “Super Adventure Box” was created by an Asuran inventor by the name of Moto—a reference to legendary Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamoto, whose iconic “Mario” and “Legend of Zelda” games inspired “Super Adventure Box’s” colorful and cartoonish aesthetic. The new gameplay comes with two difficulty modes—“Infantile” and “Normal”—as well as several rewards for completing challenges and defeating bosses.
Write ups in several gaming websites such as Joystiq’s Massively and Kotaku say that the new “Guild Wars 2” content is surprisingly nuanced and detailed for an April Fools’ Day joke, which will no doubt make MMO fans happy for the rest of the month. ArenaNet itself even warned players that King Toad, “Super Adventure Box’s” final boss, might be too much of a challenge at first for casual players.
“’Super Adventure Box’ bosses are only difficult until you learn to read their ‘tells,’” the game’s new Q&A reads. “Don’t forget to use the whole arena. Remember: knowing is half your battle!”
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at email@example.com.