Guild Wars 2: Super Adventure Box FTW!

sabI know some people are really soured on the whole April Fools Day concept, particularly when it comes to the internet and gaming, but I love it.  Love.  It.  The way I see it, it’s not about truly being fooled (although that’s sometimes a bonus); it’s about people and studios and organizations letting their hair down to be goofy, creative, and create a joke that will amuse — if not entertain — others.  Finding all of these is like running around opening presents, never quite knowing what you will get.

This year, I think Guild Wars 2 delivered the best present of all, and it’s not even April 1st yet.  It wasn’t even that secret, as some players discovered files beforehand that leaked all of this.  But still, it’s heckafun.

It’s Super Adventure Box.

I think what makes this stellar is that it goes way beyond a joke mockup and delivers true content to players.  Saying that Guild Wars 2 had a 16-bit/64-bit era platformer available is one thing, but to actually create one?  With multiple levels?  And lots of rewards?  That pushes this into an actual holiday event.

The fun begins at the login screen, with an 8-bit version of the Guild Wars 2 theme song, but the meat of it is at Rata Sum, where an Asura created a portal allowing players to jump into a blocky, Minecrafty world where they must save the princess from a big baddie.  It’s all about old school gaming homages here along with the jumping puzzle fetish that someone over at ArenaNet clearly has.

All of your skills have been replaced with basic attacks (you begin with a stick, three hearts, and five lives), and your goal is to progress through the stages, beat the bosses, get as many baubles as possible, and find little out-of-the-way secrets.  And these levels (jumping aside) are just genius.  It’s so easy to forget that you’re in Guild Wars 2 because other than your character, everything you experience is pure retro.  I love the little touches, like how the speech bubbles (which are in gibberish) are actually 3D objects that float over heads and can be walked around.

It’s pretty challenging too.  My first try I made it through a full level and a half of a second one.  I didn’t purchase any upgrades, although I hear the whip is awesome.  Going to have to try that next time.

The commercial is pure win too:

Anyway, major props to ArenaNet for going all-out with this.  It might just be the most fun I’ve had with their holiday content yet, and it really raised the bar for what MMO studios can do on April Fools.  I mean, even Blizzard’s past efforts didn’t touch this level of commitment to the joke.

And this?  Is my new favorite picture.


But I’m sure many of you have played SAB already.  How far have you gotten and what tips do you want to pass on?

7 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2: Super Adventure Box FTW!

  1. Moxie March 31, 2013 / 10:21 pm

    Uhm, silly question: Are there any level limits or other requirements for this? Because I haven’t played GW2 in forever but DANG I want to play this!

  2. Syp March 31, 2013 / 10:25 pm

    Level 5, I think. It’s in Rata Sum.

  3. wally April 1, 2013 / 12:09 am

    not even sure you need level 5, you just enter through a portal (retro graphics portal can’t miss it) in rata sum, so an asuran or any character you can get to rata sum can enter. Portal from Lions Arch if you have never been to rata sum. Its group doable and some bosses are a lot easier with help =) don’t forget to go in any doors you find inside the box cause they are shopkeepers and some sell extra lives and keys to chests. I got to the boss on world 3 solo my first try, its just pure win.

  4. Fidjit April 1, 2013 / 12:46 am

    No level requirement, and your level doesn’t affect anything once you’re inside. You could go right in at level 1 and be the same as a level 80

  5. Aurthorious April 1, 2013 / 4:59 am

    The text bubble writing is in Tyrian. c:

  6. bhagpuss April 1, 2013 / 6:13 am

    I didn’t expect to like this at all. I have no interest in nor nostalgia for the kind of gaming it references, plus I don’t like jumping puzzles even in the main game. Nevertheless, curiosity led me to try it out.

    It was better than I expected. I wouldn’t go much farther than that. I played on Infantile Mode and it was still considerably too hard for my tastes. I did manage to get to the end of the second area but I couldn’t loot either of the chests, dying before I could open them.

    I might give it another go in the month it’ll be here but I don’t actually like any of the skins on offer, and if I did ANet have very kindly put other means of getting those into the game. So good luck to everyone enjoying the SAB. I’ll stick to looting the big dragon pinatas.

  7. Nicolas Yi Shu April 9, 2013 / 10:21 am

    I haven’t played it yet and probably won’t. Well, maybe if the rewards are awesome. What rewards are there to get btw? 🙂

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