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The Cruelest Video Game Pranks of All Time

Updated March 6, 2020 215.7k views8 items

Nobody goes more over-the-top than the gaming industry when it comes to April Fools jokes. They really love to screw with their paying customers. So, in light of the day of the year where you can't trust anything on the internet, here are the cruelest jokes ever played on gamers

What are the nastiest video game pranks ever pulled? While there have been some bad ones done, these take the cake. 

Check out Ranker's other lists: The Best Arcade Games of All Time, Greatest Baseball Video Games and the Best Manic Shooter Games.

Photo:
  • Photo: Tecmo

    'Dead or Alive Xtreme 2' Code By EGM

    When EGM announced that there was a code that would allow players to see characters in Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 sans clothing, plenty of people went looking. However, the supposed code required players to complete the entire game in just under the amount than is physically possible.

  • 'Duke Nukem Forever' Demo By File Planet

    Video: YouTube

    Arguably one of the most highly anticipated games of all time, Duke Nukem Forever is the follow-up to a game that took people's favorite movie one-liners, a lead that makes the main guy from Doom look like a wimp, and monsters and made them into one of the first great first-person shooters.

    Ironically, the announcement of the sequel came in April of 1997, which really makes the release of this game (or the non-release) the most cruel joke in video game history. After many stops and starts in the game's development cycle, between 1997 and 2008, news about the games "impending release" came out on a near-yearly basis. Each time disappointing gamers with the news that it, sadly, was not coming out.

    It was supposed to come out sometime in 2009, but didn't because one of the companies in development went through massive downsizing, then the case went to court. After that it was announced it would be officially released in May of 2011 - only to be delayed until mid-June of 2011.

    Needless to say, it's a frustrating fight, which is what makes this prank played by FilePlanet (a video game downloading site) that much more devious.

    The prank? A link to the demo with a promotional screenshot of the game. It's free! It even has a "Download" button!... but it doesn't work. The whole thing was probably one of the most disappointing experiences in a lot of internet browsers' lives.

  • Pandaren Express By Blizzard

    The perfect solution for the lazy gamer, and again, an ingenious way to solve the problem of having to lift a finger during countless hours of doing nothing but lifting fingers.

    Pandaren Express was the best April Fools joke ever executed by the creators of World of Warcraft.

    Pandaren Express was a parody of competing MMORPG game Everquest's real life partnership with Pizza Hut, where you could order pizzas through the game itself.

    Pandaren Express would let you order Chinese Food via the World of Warcraft servers and have it delivered without ever having to face a real-life human being ever again. Cause who the hell wants that kind of stress and pressure?

    Needless to say, they never delivered on this "promise" because it was really just a great joke and a jab at their competitors, but really, again, it's only a matter of time. This is a brilliant idea.

  • The Scream Shock Maze By Parents And Jerks Everywhere

    Video: YouTube

    One of the early viral staples of the internet was the series of prank-games where you would be sent to a site that was either a "find the __" or a magic eye, or sometimes it was a game that required a certain level of calm.

    This was the cruelest kind of scream shock, by far. The player of the game (in this case a maze game) is forced into a sense of calm concentration, just to be shamefully startled like when a child runs across the foreground of the camera in a crappy horror movie remake.

    This particular game is a puzzle that "tests your steady hand." You lose whenever you touch the borders and the point is to get to the end. And the payoff at the end is really the worst part. Even if you know it's coming, it scares you with a Linda Blair exorcist face.

    Have fun sleeping.