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Thanks to its ubiquity in pop culture, the Pony Express looms large over the landscape of the American West. And yet, the mail delivery service was only in operation for a scant 18 months.
Never one to let a meaningful anniversary pass by, today’s Google Doodle celebrates the company’s first successful delivery, which occurred 155 years ago today. Best of all, the Pony Express Doodle is a playable side-scrolling game that tasks riders with delivering 100 pieces of mail along a three-town route. But be on the lookout for cacti, avalanches, and bandits as you complete your rounds:
The notion of triumph through adversity is so inspirational. So when William H.Russell, Alexander Majors & William B Waddell founded the Pony Express on April 3rd, 1860, they set in motion a wonderful yet daunting method of communication. What a concept–riders with letters on horseback racing from California to Missouri and vice versa to deliver mail on time! True to their word, the first mail arrived on April 14th. The Pony Express felt like a great game concept to us at Google. We’ve made time-based games in the past so our new idea was simple. Collect letters, avoid obstacles and aim for the ultimate 100 letter delivery! We know everyone is busy these days but the Pony Express needs YOU. And ultimately, whatever happens in life, what’s more important than earning trust and respect from a horse?
It’s a pretty great timewaster and I know I’m going to spend all day trying to top my high score of 59.
Google loves April Fool’s Day. But I think today’s early April Fool’s prank even tops the time Google Maps added a Dragon Warrior-inspired Quest Filter.
Going to Google Maps today (and for “a little while” longer) will give users the option to load up a playable Pac-Man Street View. Not every street can be transformed into a Pac-Man playground, but once you find one that does, you can duck down boulevards and avenues to collect dots while avoiding the ghosts on real streets. Here’s Times Square, that’s a good one to start with. Other locales recommended by Google include the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Niagara Falls, the Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur, and a few others.
The streets around the Bandai Namco offices in the the Shinagawa neighborhood of Tokyo, better known as the birthplace of Pac-Man, also work quite well.
Google has added another game to their growing collection of interactive Doodles… and it’s totally radical.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 40th birthday of one of the most famous puzzles of all time. Initially known as the Magic Cube, the ingenious little contraption didn’t catch on with the rest of the world until it was rechristened as the Rubik’s Cube in 1980. From there, it grew from fad to phenomenon to an enduring symbol of the 1980s. With more than 350 million cubes sold (as of 2009), it’s considered the best-selling toy ever. And for many people, the ability to quickly solve a Rubik’s Cube is seen as a sign of a genius-level intellect. I’m not sure I’ve ever solved a Rubik’s Cube, but Wikipedia has an amazing list of speed records including:
- 5.55 Seconds: Fastest Solve (set by Mats Valk)
- 9.03 Seconds: Fastest Solve Using Only One Hand (set by Feliks Zemdegs)
- 23.8 Seconds: Fastest Solve While Blindfolded (set by Marcin Zalewski)
- 27.93 Seconds: Fastest Solve Using Only Feet (set by Fakhri Raihaan)
- 3.25 Seconds: Fastest Solve… by a Robot
If you don’t have a Rubik’s Cube lying around your house, be sure to give today’s Google Doodle a whirl. Even after it leaves the Google homepage, you’ll be able to find it in the Google Doodles Archive.
We’re just a few minutes away from the worldwide debut of “The Day of the Doctor,” the 50th Anniversary special celebrating Doctor Who, everyone’s favorite two-hearted alien with the delightful British accent. The Doctor’s longevity has also earned him a place in an interactive Google Doodle that is now available on Google’s homepage. The Doodle takes the form of an isometric platform game that allows players to choose their Doctor (choices include David Tennant and ten other guys) and reclaim the letters in “Google” from the Daleks.
After today, the Doodle will be added to the Google Doodle archive soon and “The Day of the Doctor” begins in… checks watch… 18 minutes!
66 years ago, an alien spacecraft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico and gave extraterrestrials everywhere the biggest boost since a radioman named Orson Welles filed a live report we still haven’t forgotten. During a check of his fields, rancher Mac Brazel found the remains of a “flying saucer” and quickly contacted the government. After the initial hysteria died down, the public came to realize that there were no captured aliens and the “flying saucer” was actually a weather balloon used to spy on the Soviets.
But what if a UFO really did crash in the desert on that warm New Mexico night? That’s what Google wants us to believe with their latest Doodle (which is now on the Google homepage and will be available on the 2013 Doodles page soon). The grey alien just wants to phone home, but to do that, he needs your help. Guiding the alien like in the point-and-click adventure games of old, players will reassemble his spaceship through and discover that the truth (and a can of alien mutagen) is out there.
A hearty “Live long and prosper” to the Googler responsible, this is definitely a close encounter of the awesome kind. When you’re done, be sure and do a Google Search on the “Roswell UFO incident.” The vintage pictures and newspaper clippings are great.
Today’s Google Doodle is another playable one, promising to waste time for everyone. In the game, people go out on the ice and mark it all up, after which it’s your job to go out with your Zamboni and make the ice all smooth again. There are pickups and obstacles, of course, just like any good old-school game. And it’s also completely adorable.
The Doodle is in honor of Frank Zamboni, creator of – what else? – the Zamboni machine, which cleans up the ice after each period in a hockey game. This is also fortuitous seeing as the hockey lockout just ended and hockey will return this very weekend. Needless to say, I’m sure hockey fans are psyched to play this game.
Once the Doodle has smoothed its way off the Google homepage, you’ll still be able to play it here: google.com/doodles/zamboni
Happy 112th birthday, Frank!
First, they added the Konami Code to Google Reader. Then, they created a Google Doodle to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man and the thing turned out to be playable, which ended up costing the worldwide economy over $120 million in lost productivity. After that, they induced us all to “do a barrel roll,” even though most of the world had no idea what that meant (some thought it was a dig at Apple’s iOS, a competitor to Google’s Android platform). And just a few weeks ago they added a “Quest” filter to Google Maps that was clearly modeled after Dragon Warrior. But their latest trick tops all of these.
Go to the Google homepage, and search for “zerg rush.” And then watch as your search results are destroyed by an overwhelming swarm of red and yellow Os. Hovering over an O will bring up a targetting reticule to take the little buggers down, but the swarm will always win (and taunt you with a “GG” after it’s over).
Good show Google. Do something Mario-related next!
Now we can find out because Google has added an 8-bit “Quest” filter to Google Maps. Using the world map tiles from the four Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest games on the NES, the filter remaps streets, rivers, parks, mountains, and more in glorious 8-bit. And don’t forget to check out the Street View too!
This isn’t the first time Google has mined NES and Super NES nostalgia for a fun time. Previously, the search giant transformed their logo into a playable version of Pac-Man, added the Konami Code to Google Reader, and did a barrel roll with their search results.
UPDATE: The “Quest” filter is no longer accessible through Google Maps. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. The video walkthrough is all that’s left: