April Fools: Google Maps Goes 8-Bit

Confession time sans any shame: When I was a wee boy, I would run around in my backyard, sword-stick in hand, playing in imaginary worlds that were mostly inspired by the 8-bit NES maps in Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda. These worlds, grand for a little awesome kid, offered the perfect bird’s-eye view of spatial possibilities, offsetting where you could and could not go–that is, until a major weapon, accessory, magic, or tip was found that would be duly employed to blast through any and all obstacles. Needless to say, life was good. But now that I am old and boring and my penchant for whimsically running around in my backyard returns to me only when I am drunk or deranged, such fancies have passed from my everyday existence–until now. Clearly on a similar wavelength, the gamers behind Google Maps dropped an 8-bit April Fools masterpiece on the world. Take a bird’s-eye view after the jump.

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Thank you, Google, for normalizing my childhood perspective for one fantastic day. To me, this isn’t an April Fools joke; this is a call to re-embrace my hobby of yore with relish, and I invite everyone to navigate their own local terrains–be they waterways, vistas, forests, deserts, and mountain ranges–with a similar level of vigor and curiosity that made these maps so damn wondrous in our youth. All I ask is that you be careful because, no matter where you reside, the area is obviously infested with monsters, thieves, and evil wizards.

And if you are one of the always-boring who stumbles upon this Google map, stares askance at the 8-bit glory, and proceeds to MapQuest, it’s clear that the joke is really on you: in no way are you questing. At the very least, give the NES map a chance after watching this helpful tutorial: