Leave it to Google to have fun with April Fool's Day pranks. The company comes up with such creative ways to amuse us with their doodles, but this weekend they took to Google Maps instead for their prank to give us a look at the world through 8-bit map technology.
To be honest, I can't really explain what an 8-bit map exactly means, but basically it's old school technology, and they've created a program dubbed Quest based on it through the old-school gaming system Nintendo. Not Nintendo's Wii, but the old cartridge version many of us had as kids.
Google engineer Tatsuo Nomura explained the "need" for such an application on the company's blog:
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. Today, we're excited to announce the result: a version of Google Maps for NES, with beautiful low-res graphics, simple and intuitive controls, and a timeless soundtrack.
They even put together an elaborate video explaining this new product.
They are thorough in their pranking if nothing else. I love the part of the demonstration in which he suggests blowing into the cartridge to fix any bugs, which was a major flashback to earlier gaming days.
It's amazing how far things have evolved, but I also think this prank is probably funnier if you never played games that look like this or if you're a super technology geek who thrives on this stuff. The images just don't seem that odd to me, which dates me, I'm sure.
If nothing else, however, the map is fun to play with and show your kids as they gasp about what we had to put up with in the "old days." Reddit has a fun list of a bunch of locations around the world from the White House to Area 51 that are fun to look at it in all of their technology-light glory.
What do you think of Google's April Fool's Day prank? Have you pulled any pranks of your own today?
Image via YouTube