April Fool's Day is almost upon us and that means some tech companies are getting ready with their digital pranks.
Google rarely disappoints in this department, especially when the search conglomerate joins forces with the world of video games.
This year, Google Maps lets you play Pac-Man anywhere in the world. Just choose a city or area with plenty of streets and click the Pac-Man icon in the lower left corner to start playing. Depending on the area of your choice, you're granted a nice and easy level with plenty of right angles and easy-to-make turns or you're thrown into a senseless maze of frustration.
Take New York City for example. With its grid-like design it's a very easy place to navigate in real life, tourists asking where the Statue of Liberty is all the time notwithstanding. Unfortunately, Google Maps slants New York City for some sort of geographical reason (perhaps), so controlling Pac-Man is more of a hassle than it should be. Don't misunderstand though, New York City's level design is pretty much perfect as far as cities go - so long as you stay above Houston Street. Then it sort of becomes a jumbled mess down there. But don't hold that against it.
If you want an easier map Kansas City is a good place to try. In fact, it's straight up Easy Mode, which would make New York City Hard or Normal Mode. For "Dante Must Die" Mode try out Tokyo, where all reality and logic ends.
In the past, Google has collaborated with other companies for video game-based April Fool's stunts, like when it partnered with The Pokemon Company, Game Freak and Nintendo to turn Google Maps into a Pokemon playground where users could capture Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle and more recognizable monsters across real-world locations.
Or when Google and Square-Enix created an 8-bit version of Google Maps using tile-based graphics and sprites pulled from the Dragon Quest series.
One of Google's best non-game-related April Fool's pranks includes Google Nose Beta, an arm of its search engine that could scrounge the Internet for smells. If you ever wondered what an Egyptian tomb smelled like, well, you can't find out, but Google wanted you to think it was possible with Nose Beta.
When you're done chasing ghosts through the confusing streets of Tokyo or the West Village, you can watch the very well produced video for Google Nose Beta below to find out how Google's mobile aroma indexing program created a 15 million scentibyte database of smells from all over the world: