Did you fall for a April Fools' Day video game joke?

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The Independent Tech

From fan sites to some of the world's biggest publishers, there were plenty of hoaxes doing the rounds on April 1 - some more believable than others. World of Warcraft, Pokémon, Star Wars and Metal Gear Solid were all included in some of the wild stories causing a chuckle or two.

Thanks to the wonders of international time zones, Japan's early start meant that Sega's Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown fake trailer was one of the first to do the rounds. The Virtua Fighters were replaced mock-ups from Capcom's rival Street Fighter series, pulling off special moves, all the while narrated by a cartoon bear whose confirmation of copyright protected names were sensibly censored out.

Again from Japan, Hideo Kojima (who enjoys international fame thanks to the success of the Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid series) teamed up with Patrice Desilets of Ubisoft France (Assassin's Creed) to present a crossover trailer for the forthcoming PSP title Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker , complete with Creed's hallmark slow-motion swan dives and some bales of hay for Solid Snake to hide under.

Across the waters in the USA, Sega once again popped up with two more jokes. First, the 1990s' peaceful video game series Ecco The Dolphin was to return as Ecco: Water Wars 2 and spark the creation of a new genre, the First Porpoise Shooter.

The company also changed the color scheme of their official user forums to eye-watering palettes of varying intensity, saying "we'll probably keep this for the next year or two, and then switch back".

Several other notable developers also brought a smile to video gamers' faces with their satirical product plugs.

As expected, it was Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the phenomenally successful World of Warcraft online role playing game and upcoming Diablo III, who seemed to pull out all the stops.

Not only did they promote a new in game feature called the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number for WoW players to show off their in-game effectiveness, but also an X-Treme Gamer Blanket (read: shawl) and Diablo III body pillow ("Choice of pillow is made at time of ordering. Pillow may be cursed"), a Neural Interface helmet that accesses users' brain waves directly, and a themed voice pack for in-car GPS map devices among other farces.

One of top-ranked European World of Warcraft player groups, Paragon, announced a controversial imminent merger with a US group in a deal sponsored by UniLever's AXE and Lynx deodorant line - something that would have sent shock waves through the serious WoW community on any other day of the year.

One of Blizzard's pranks left some fans feeling morose, as two potential iPhone games were subjected to the April Fools treatment - presumably meaning that a sequel to 1994 game Blackthorne is as good as dead, regardless of how ridiculous and exciting the parody page was.

TimeGate Studios, whose futuristic Xbox 360 action multiplayer Section 8 is now coming out on PlayStation 3, trolled their own fanbase and that of industry giant BioWare in one fell swoop, having a pop at the super successful Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect games as well as their own back catalogue.

They claimed that the next TimeGate game, Section 7: Into Arms Way , offered fully customizable characters right down to ear and nose hair, room for 3,000 items in each character's inventory, and almost infinite user-generated quests.

BioWare themselves didn't spare the treasured title Star Wars: The Old Republic from proceedings, using April 1 to trail an unworkable new playable character for the Spring 2011 game: the Sarlacc Enforcer, a giant, dagger-mouthed beast living in a sandy pit into which Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca are nearly thrown at the start of 'Return of the Jedi'.

Remedy Games, whose Alan Wake project due this May has been in development for five years, put out a trailer for Alan Wake Wars which recasts the game as pure strategy instead of postmodern psychological thriller, all the while using Alan's signature torch beam as a mouse pointer.

Turn-based tactics-fest Civilization V went in the other direction, proclaiming that the game will be implementing an action packed Extreme Diplomacy fighting feature to help it go mainstream.

One April Fools gag that stands half a chance of seeing the light of day is Rage Against Charlie Sheen , as the one-man studio Mommy's Best Games is already responsible for the underground hits Shoot 1UP and Weapon Of Choice on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

RACS portrays itself as a fighting game in the style of Mortal Kombat, but with 69 increasingly energized versions of Charlie Sheen as opponent. Other games in the Rage series would star comedian Seth Green and Charlie's dad, Martin Sheen.

Video game news sources weren't shy on joining in the annual antics. The French edition of the Official PlayStation Magazine caused a stir when a clipping from the latest issue started circulating, with details of a new multiplayer element for hit PlayStation 3 game God Of War III.

It soon emerged that the story was part of a double-page spread which also broke unlikely exclusives on Piano Hero ( Guitar Hero with a plastic piano accessory), Lego Street Fighter II, Lego Modern Warfare 2, and Assassin's Creed III.

British industry magazine MCVUK ran an item about the GAME retail chain placing fruit and vegetables in their stores to hit back at competition from supermarkets, while Edge Magazine pretended that the director of intricately detailed driving sim Gran Turismo 5 was keen to return to his roots with a brash arcade-style kart racer.

Pocket Gamer teased with news that trainee Australian air traffic controllers were to use top App Store game Flight Control to learn their trade, and with a nudge and a wink Eurogamer's regular Wii release summary included Venga Boys Go Wii starring the 90's fad Eurodance band.

1UP laid on the laughs with a slick trailer for Pokémon Kart Wii , which if true would cause a problem for brand owners Nintendo, as they already have Mario Kart Wii on the market. Then again, perhaps they're so bored with being king of the console manufacturers that they'd consider competing with themselves.

One of the biggest gaming news sites, Kotaku, had the audacity to suggest that they had been bought out by none other than the industry's own pantomime bad guy, Activision chief Bobby Kotick, and were to change their name to Koticku.

Tech toy website ThinkGeek last year hoaxed their users with a new product, but the fictional Tauntaun sleeping bag inspired by a scene from Star Wars movie 'The Empire Strikes Back' proved so popular that the company struck a manufacturing deal with LucasFilm.

This year, they broke techie hearts as Apple acolytes realised that the ThinkGeek iCade, a miniature arcade cabinet housing for the iPad, was an elaborate wind-up.

Given the Tauntaun sleeping bag situation, consider keeping those hopes up for a moment longer - the iCade con may, in retrospect, turn out to be an elaborate advertisment. Perhaps the joke is that the iCade's for real.

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