Yeah. That’s great. Leave it to those cyber world leviathans to make the world widest pranks of all time. I was just an innocent mortal trying to find my way to the Big Apple to meet a sister I hadn’t met in a long time. But I suddenly found myself in a world of solid colors and straight edges filled with Easter eggs and children in weird propellers. As I realized a little later, it was Google Maps’ 8-bit April Fool’s Day prank.
See, it was my first time driving to Manhattan from Trenton by myself and I was hoping to find the best way to get there like I always had whenever I went somewhere I’m not very familiar with. So I hurriedly checked Google Maps on my iPad and must have accidentally hit a wrong button because POOF! The world suddenly turned into an 8-bit version of reality—complete with low-res trees and streets and grass and waters.
I sat there baffled for over a full minute, until I cracked up, almost forgetting I had to breathe. I almost forgot I was in a hurry, too. After a quick search, I found this video of Google’s Ken Tokusei announcing the impending release of the first NES cartridge in almost 18 years: the “Google Maps 8-bit Cartridge.” Those good old days when Pac-Man, Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda on cartridges were the most awesome games on screen suddenly came back to me. I wonder if the younger generations even know what an NES cartridge is.
A friend also told me to search for Google HQ and just as he said, I found a dinosaur and a giant Android robot along with pink flamingos. The quest still allowed me to find landmarks and places, and even gave driving directions to where I was to meet my sister! It was just a little too hard to follow with the absence of normal Google Maps’ pixelated buildings and more recognizable streets, but it was fun all the same. I drove New York’s streets wary that I’d suddenly bump into Blinky, Pinky, Inky or Clyde and get reduced to nothing like that legendary yellow disc that did nothing but eat chips and fruits all day. I may not be the usual geek but, seriously, I think that all sorts of people from graphics design, to gamers, to kids would definitely appreciate what Google had done. Check out Google Map 8-bit video too.
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