Monday, April 1, 2024

You Might Think This Is Funny...

As I was saying to my mother on the phone this morning, I loved April Fools Day when I was a child but I'd about had enough of it before I was fourteen. There's not really much of an excuse to carry on the tradition into adulthood unless it's to entertain and amuse your kids (Or grandkids.) by letting them believe they've put one over on you.

That said, whether I appreciate efforts to celebrate the First of April in the games I play depends on how well-integrated the jokes are within the milieu and if I get anything worth having. There have been a few good ones in various games over the years, although time blurs the details. 

I think the killer bunnies in EverQuest might have been an April Fool gag. I still have the bunny hat from that on someone. The most celebrated April 1st in MMORPGs, though, has to be the time Guild Wars 2 gave us Super Adventure Box. I consider that a mixed blessing although it gave me some good viewing figures for the blog back in 2013.

I'm not playing any MMORPGs in a meaningful way right now so I can't say what's being done to mark the day in any of them. I do know EverQuest II always runs Bristlebane Day across the end of March/beginning of April and a quick look at the website tells me this year is no different. Today is the Lord of Misrule's highest holy day so there will be a few one-day-only quests but it looks like the main event is old Bristly's avatar turning up for the ongoing anniversary celebrations.

I really ought to look into doing something for those. The year is slipping away and I've barely participated. I haven't even been collecting my monthly cash-shop giveaway. This month it's yet another baby dragon. I may have as many of those as I need, although this one is cute.

As for all the other MMORPGs on my theoretical playlist, I don't have a clue. Time was when I would have logged in to see what all of them were giving away but I'm not feeling the need to add extra virtual clutter right now. If anything, I could do with getting rid of some.

One game I will not be revisiting just at the moment is Palworld. I dropped it like a hot brick the second Nightingale launched and I haven't missed it for a moment. Back then, I was beginning to have existential doubts about the underpinning philosophy of Pocketpair's Pokemon-inspired survival shooter and passing time hasn't ameloriated my concerns. 

I had some serious questions then about where the game might be going. The video they've come up with as an April Fool certainly isn't offering any easy answers.

In a way, I kind of admire the way that video leans into so many of the things that feel wrong about Palworld. It's hard to deny the consistency of their vision. They've made it quite clear that "darker themes" are part of the Pocketpair brief.

So far that already includes exploitation, slavery, animal cruelty and cannibalistic murder so I guess we ought not to be surprised they're adding questionable sexual politics to the list. The video is borderline acceptable by video game standards but the gloss Pocketpair have given it in the description tips things over the edge. 

As if high school dating sims weren't already difficult territory to navigate, imagine an "adult" version with nudity, where some of the students are human and others are talking animals, and the dating options available include "kill and eat". That's not going to be problematic at all

It's also basically Beastars, so there's another of those "Whose idea was this anyway?" debates to be had, too. And yet, who wants to bet against a real game coming out of all this?

NME, where I read the news, also ran a report about an infinitely more wholesome April Fool offered by the makers of Palworld's widely recognized, if officially unacknowledged, inspiration, Pokémon. In a genuinely funny, clever and entertaining four-minute video, complete with all the production values you'd expect of a megacorp, Nintendo give us the ultimate in cozy competition - the Pokémon Sleep World Champions Tournament!

I realize Pokémon isn't exactly free of moral tarpits but I know which of those two videos I feel more comfortable watching. Or indeed comfortable at all.

No doubt there are lots more goofy, guffaw-filled, gimmicky gags going around the gaming landscape today but that's enough for me for one year. More than enough, actually.

Until they make us do it again next time, here's wishing everyone a Happy April Fools. 

(Is that a thing yet? If not, it will be.)


  1. Love that Palworld video :-) I hadn't seen that...

    1. I'm guessing it's funnier if you've ever actually played a dating sim...


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