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Google kicks off April Fool's with working 'NES' Google Maps

updated 12:45 pm EDT, Sat March 31, 2012

Google Maps gets pseudo 8-bit mode for April Fools

While Electronista and MacNN intend to keep April Fools' reporting to a minimum, Google has offered a rarity by making one of the first gags for the year and also making it truly interactive and accessible. A one-off Quest mode in Google Maps turns the navigation tool into its "NES" version. Most features continue to work, but it now has a Legend of Zelda-style overhead map and renders Street View in an 8-bit color palette like the now 27-year-old Nintendo console.

An accompanying prank video touts Google Maps coming to the NES that plugs the cartridge into a dial-up modem to get on the Internet. Users have to blow on the cartridge to "fix bugs," Google says.

The 8-bit joke began as Asia rolled over into April 1 and is likely to keep running until the last time zones pass into April 2. Google often archives its April Fools' gags for later.

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By Electronista Staff
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  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    8-bit color?

    Yes, maybe an 8-bit console game but for colors it looks more like 4-bit (16-colors). 8-bit colors is 256 colors and might have a grainy photo look with more colors than this.

  1. facebook_Aryu

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2012


    Jack, your age is showing.

    Jack, you must be under 30 yrs old. The size of the data path on a computer (8-bit, 16-bit, etc.) does not correspond to the graphics processor's abilities. For example, the Commodore 64 is a 8-bit computer with 16 available colors. This was huge in a time when most computers were used on monochrome monitors using 1 bit pixels. For more info and examples, see...

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    comment title

    What I'm replying to is this quote from the article that states, "...renders Street View in an 8-bit color palette...". I'm not the one making the mistake. I'm pointing out that I think the article is making the mistake.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: comment title

    Jack, it's MacNN. It's far easier to just point out the times they DON'T make a mistake!

  1. UmarOMC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001




    And yes, since the most obvious reference made is to Nintendo's super popular NES/Super Famicom game system which I owned as a kid and also had the "golden" Legend of Zelda cartridge, I'd say 'JackWebb' is on point with his assertion.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Dragon Warrior!

    This is the third place I've seen that referenced The Legend of Zelda, but it's immediately obvious if you're familiar with the icons used that it's actually very much a Dragon Warrior homage, not Zelda.

    I like the assorted amusing things hidden about. Capital cities (Tokyo, London, etc) show up as DW1 castles, towns use the town icon, and there are monsters scattered about. I found a Goldman out in the forest near where I live, and ran across a Demon Knight somewhere in the wilds of Eastern Europe.

    There are also some custom icons; Mt Fuji has its own image, several landmarks on the National Mall in DC are represented, and there's a big Android, a dinosaur, and some guys in beanies if you zoom way in on the Googleplex.

    Oh, and there's a yeti near Mt. Everest.

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