March 31, 2012 at 2:28 PM ET
Before April Fools' Day insanity overtakes the Internet, Google got a jump -- and a winner -- with its "new" 8-bit version of Google Maps for the Nintendo of old, with "beautiful low-res graphics, simple and intuitive controls, and a timeless soundtrack," the latter being the one that annoyed almost everyone, especially our parents.
With such hints in the video, below, as "blow on the cartridge to remove bugs," watch a demonstration of how 8-bit works on the 1980s NES, and pay careful attention to the mode -- and sound -- of connecting to the Internet:
We doublechecked with Google and, yup, this is from them, and is in the spirit of the holiday (no Nintendos were harmed during the making of this video).
The Web giant even pokes fun at itself on its Lat Long Blog: "In our pursuit of new digital frontiers, we realized that we may have left behind a large number of users who couldn't access Google Maps on their classic hardware. Surprisingly, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was unsupported, despite its tremendous popularity with over 60 million units sold worldwide," writes Tatsuo Nomura, Google Maps software engineer.
"Our engineering team in Japan understood the importance of maps on retro game systems. With the power of Google’s immense data centers, and support from Nintendo and Square Enix, we were able to overcome the technical and design hurdles of developing 8-bit maps."
You can get the 8-bit effect on the real Google Maps, too, seriously: "We’ve made a limited trial available on desktop," Nomura wrote.
All you have to do is click on the "Quest" box in the top right corner of Google Maps to start.
Final words of advice from Nomura: "Please be mindful of dragons while playing. We wish you a safe and happy quest."