Another April Fool’s Day has come and just about gone, and I’ve neither played a prank nor received one. However, my April Fool’s wasn’t a total bust–thanks to a certain box of fun.
ArenaNet, the creators of Guild Wars and its sequel, have always liked to participate in elaborate April Fool’s schemes (such as the stick-person antics of 2008, or the fake announcement of the Minstrel as a playable class).
This year, they didn’t exactly do a prank, but what they did do was a heck of a lot cooler, in my opinion.
May I introduce the Super Adventure Box.
Directly inspired by and modelled after the 8-bit platformer games of the past, this special “dungeon” of sorts was opened today and is going to last the entire month of April. It has pixelly graphics, speech-bubble dialogue, and some awesome retro-style soundtracks, and I couldn’t stop laughing pretty much the entire time I was playing.
My favourite part so far has to be the shopkeepers. As you went around smashing jars, tables, and even their beds, they would say stuff like, “I couldn’t find a good place for that, thanks for destroying it!” or, “I see now that my hoarding has only brought me sadness,” instead of getting angry at you. How great is that?
All in all, the entire thing feels like a joke, just something silly to pass the time, but as I’ve been playing through, I’ve realized that I’m just as serious (if not more) while playing it as I am trying to fight dragons and undead. Sure, there are spiders wearing sunglasses and turtles wearing top hats, but it’s still a very important mission to rescue the princess and I still want to win (even though the death is admittedly awesome).
The thing is, games were like that in the past. They were light-hearted, kind of goofy, and not as focussed around sobering seriousness as some of today’s games are. They focus a lot more on fun–just having a good time while you do something very important. It’s a joyful adventure, one where you don’t have to deal with the crushing weight of failure, the aching pain of loss and death, or the suffocating burden of responsibility. It’s just meant for fun.
I think that the failure, loss, and burden are part of what makes an adventure fun, because those things are present in our daily lives. We know what it’s like to feel sadness, and so we understand it in the context of an adventure. At the same time, though, there comes a point where we’ve had so much sadness piled on our shoulders, we can’t take anymore. That’s why these adventures are great. They aren’t designed to be realistic, they’re just designed to be fun.
This is something I’d like to work on when it comes to my own adventures–whether it be the ones I live, the ones I imagine, or the ones I write. I’d like to remember that, as beautiful as emotions like sorrow and sympathy can be, we still need those moments of pure, unrestrained fun. We all need a buck-toothed cloud from time to time.
I think a lot of people find April Fool’s a waste of a day, just a nuisance where people play stupid jokes and otherwise cause trouble, but I believe that it should be a day when we embrace fun. Good old fun, so often made elaborate when it’s really quite easy to achieve. Today should be a day of silliness so that we can let go of some burdens for a while. Today, our adventures should venture on the whimsical side.
Then again, why just today?
What April Fool’s capers did you experience? Did you play any pranks?
May you always have a sense of whimsy so that there is fun in all your adventures.