April 2nd, 2008
10:04 AM CST -
Every year or so at TRMK we try to come up with a good April Fools joke, no matter how cool or strange. As previous years, the idea for this year didn't really come the day or two before. This time my idea came to me in the early morning of March 31st, giving me one day to put it together. And I had a lot of work ahead of me...

The idea was to stage a leaked video of a prototype Mortal Kombat game for the iPhone and iPod Touch platform. I figured it's name could be Mortal Kombat: Touch.

But I wanted this to be kind of believable, so I contacted Mortal Kombat series co-creator, Ed Boon, to see if he wanted in on the gag. I asked him if he'd like to play along by adding something to do with 'touch' to his website noob.com for April Fools Day. He was in for the joke, so I went to work the night of March 31st putting together our scheme.

We could have just created a video and timed the tilt movements, but decided to go with something with more realism. Luckily I currently work as iPhone/iPod Touch software developer, so it making something realistic was doable. After burning the midnight oil on the 31st, I developed a prototype using ripped sprite animations found online. The game actually functions on the device as you see in the video. You can move the character forward and back with simple turning of the device. Contrary to what many thought, it was NOT a video playing back on the phone.

Actually, the extent of the game's functionality is featured in the video. If I were to walk off too far to one side, the characters would walk off the stage. I also had a big bug with cloning the character, that I didn't have time to fix. So I had to do the video over a few times if the bug appeared. Here's a few direct screenshot examples:

Nasty Clone Image Bug

WAY too far right

I finished the project just before midnight on April 1st. By then Ed had updated noob.com and added the numbers which decode to the word TOUCH.

Ed's Clue (Still There Today??!)

It was perfect for our setup. The idea would be to record it at a quality that looks like someone did a quick video capture of the game, nothing high quality to make it appear staged.

He also added the joke about him leaving Midway, which gave us even more meat to develop the whole "leaked" story. So we let that news fester for a bit first, then at noon we put out the story and the video clips, and the rest is history.

It seemed some people either really loved the idea, were indifferent or completely hated it. Some even called us gullible!

The main goal of this event was to have fun. We used to do one almost every year. Back then we would delete the story after the week was over to make sure that no one would think the story was true if they were reading it in the News Archive. Now we just tag the story with "April Fools" and leave the stories in the archive.

If you are interested, I will be posting more screenshots and videos of the MK Touch "game" later this week over in our "temporary" Mortal Kombat Touch GameRealm.

Reader Komments from the TRMK Forums:

April 2nd, 2008 11:04 AM CST - Glamador
Well, I like that you actually made a working tech demo of it. I find that makes your hoax much deserving of praise. And getting Boon to make an update for it? Brilliant!
April 2nd, 2008 11:20 AM CST - The_MKFreak
Originally Posted by : Glamador
Well, I like that you actually made a working tech demo of it. I find that makes your hoax much deserving of praise. And getting Boon to make an update for it? Brilliant!
Darn,..you got me on the iphone gag. It really looked cool though. Well done guys Made me think back about MK Nitro (anybody remembers that gag on noob.com)
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