If there is a kingdom of April Fool’s Jokes, Google is it.
Following the annual tradition, Google lets users play the classic game Pac-man through their Google Maps. The said feature is accessible through both desktop and mobile. Once the user searches for a location, a button appears allowing the user to transform the street view into a Pac-man maze, together with Blinky, Pinky, Inky, (and Clyde!). The set is complete with sound effects to complete the arcade experience.
In addition to the said feature, Google also released a guide for the game that include clues for good game locations, game rules, and instructions on how to activate the game board. The location clues are generally for mobile users since the maze is only accessible in specified places, but desktop users can also use it, too. The clues are in riddle-like statements, but for people who prefer to get in the game right away, they can simply click the “Play now” link. Desktop users can still have the liberty of playing anywhere on the globe, or do a lucky search for more adventure.
This is not the first time Google maps incorporated the game in its interface. Back in 2009, developers already experimented with Pac-man with lower quality. Fast forward to 2015, Google resurrected the game for the special day, improving the locations and other features.
This isn’t the first time Google Maps dabbled with games for its April Fools’ joke, either. Back in 2013, the developers created a 2Dtreasure map version of the application for some pirate expedition. Last year, users were able to live out their dreams of becoming Pokemon masters by capturing Pokemons around the globe through Google Maps. Google even let the one-time Pokemon masters get the feel of having their own Pokedex while the game runs. Unlike these two games, though, users can still access Pacmaps a few days after April Fools’.
Pacmaps is just one of Google’s April Fools’ gimmicks. With a seemingly “throwback” theme, Google also threw in “Smartbox by Inbox” for its Gmail and Dial-Up mode for Google Fiber. Smartbox enables consumers to enjoy the old snail mail style with new electronic features like sorting, and sending electric shocks to those attempting to send junk mail. On the other hand, the Dial-Up mode seeks to give back to its users the liberty to do other things while waiting for their search to load. They mentioned that the faster connection took away this right from multi-tasking consumers.
Other gags include an actual cloud platform that uses thunderstorms to function, a flipped homepage through com.google, a repeating Darude- Sandstorm in YouTube, #ChromeSelfie for mobile chrome, and Chromebooks’ self-browsing extension. Google Japan also participated with the launching of a cuddly Google Panda and keyless keyboard0