I’m a regular user of Google Maps, I love browsing around looking for new places to hike and cycle and love all the photos people have added, I think it’s a great way to check out terrain and get a good overview of any tours I plan. So imagine my surprise when I just clicked onto the map a few moments ago, whilst scouting out a few routes for a bike ride with a friend tomorrow morning, to find that there is an 8-bit NES overlay called ‘Quest’ that tranforms the world into a retro world of castles and gravel roads.
It turns out that the overlay is a promotional piece about a Google Maps port that can be accessed on the 1983 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It requires a special cartridge that connects to the internet and the map is generated on Google’s servers in real time, see the vid for a demonstration:
For those amongst us that are not geeks or are too young to have experienced the joys of playing on a NES, the reason the guy is blows the game cartridge, such as at the end of the clip, is to remove dust and to improve the conductivity of the contacts by adding moisture from his breath; games would often fail to load properly if the contacts were dirty or worn and the moisture from your breath temporarily helped them to load up correctly.
Here’s what the 8-bit Quest overlay looks like at normal view and street level:
I know, this is such a geeky post, but Quest view on Google Maps will be a temporary thing and I think it’s pretty fun so this post is mostly for posterity, and to explain to other people what’s going on in case they were as confused as I was!
Update: It turns out that this was all just an April fools joke, and alas, I have been fooled. But on the other hand I would have loved to see new material coming out for the NES and just hearing that distinctive 8-bit music made me want to hook my old gaming consoles up to my monitors and have a day of retro gaming action with Mario and Zelda, how nostalgic.