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Posted at 03:13 PM ET, 04/01/2012

8-bit Google Maps: Google’s most fun April Fools’ Day prank ever?

You can, of course, use Google on your tablet device and your phone — but sadly, you’ve never been able to use it on your Nintendo. No longer! On April 1, Google debuted its newest product, Quest, which uses Google Maps to take you on an 8-bit video game ad­ven­ture.

Of course, the date is a dead giveaway that this is one of Google’s famous April Fools’ Day pranks — and it may prove to be their most popular one yet. The prank plays right into a certain generation’s nostalgia for the days when graphics weren’t quite so slick and you had to blow into a cartridge to get a game to function properly.
(Quest map of Washington, via Google Maps)

A person could easily waste an hour in Quest, which is full of Easter eggs. Google created an orientation video to help you get started, but if you go to Google Maps and click on the “Quest” button in the upper right-hand corner, you can begin your low-res graphic ad­ven­ture.

Two recommended activities: Visit the entire list of world landmarks rendered in 8-bit, including the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal, and zoom all the way down to street view to look at your home or workplace in Quest mode.

Quest isn’t Google’s only April Fools’ Day prank this year. Here are a few of the other ways the company is pulling your leg:

“The YouTube Collection”: A DVD set of YouTube videos, grouped according to topics like “Kittens and Puppies” or “ ‘Stuff’ People Say.” When you order the latter, a form tells you that you’ve selected thousands of discs and asks whether you’d like them delivered via shipping trucks or freight vessel. You can also get them in Betamax. Be sure to click all the way through on the order form.

Chrome Multitask Mode: Browse Google Chrome with more than one cursor at a time to get extra work done. Actually, you’ll get dozens of cursors, and perhaps a few GIANT cursors. They will be buzzing around your monitor like flies. “Welcome to the ambinavigation revolution.”

Google Really Advanced Search, which language nerds will love: The expanded search fields allow you to find “Rhyming slang for,” and “Embarrassing grammatical faux pas,” among other highly specific criteria. Don’t forget to select Comic Sans as your font.

The Next Web has a roundup of a few other small Google pranks. Were you fooled? Did you find anything cool in your Google Quest? Tell us in the comments.

More on April Fools’ Day:

April Fools’ prank on Forbes.com runs afoul, claiming Mitt Romney ceded to Rick Santorum

Warby Barker: April Fools’ eyewear for dogs

April Fool’s Day: The history of pranks (Video)

By  |  03:13 PM ET, 04/01/2012

 
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