Whether you’re without an internet connection or you’re just bored, there are some Google hidden games that have the potential to keep you entertained. Some of them don’t even require an internet connection! Most of these hidden games are fun easter-eggs that Google has built into Google Search and Google Chrome and are endlessly entertaining and very easy to play. Beware, you may lose hours of your lives to these Google hidden games.
What are easter eggs, you ask? Well, easter eggs are typically small undocumented or secret features hidden into media or software. Lots of movies have easter eggs, but so do a lot of software products and games! Google, in particular, seems to enjoy creating easter eggs involving hidden games into their products. Let’s get right into them!
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Google Hidden Games
1. T-Rex Endless Runner
This is possibly the most well-known easter-egg and is one of Google’s hidden games built right into Google Chrome. You must be quite familiar with this screen with a T-Rex that shows up when you’re not connected to the internet or when there’s some kind of network issue. Bonus point, this game is also available in the mobile version of Google Chrome, so you can play it on your phone or tablet as well by simply tapping the screen.
How to Play: All you have to do is press spacebar and the game begins. It’s an extremely simple endless runner game where you press the spacebar to jump over obstacles and you’re scored on the distance you run without colliding with any obstacles. The simple dynamics make this game so entertaining that you might find yourself disconnecting from the internet just to play it!
Review: 5/5 stars for the best way to wait for the internet connection to come back online!
Trivia: While Temple Run might be the most popular endless runner game, did you know B.C.’s Quest for Tires is credited as the first game to include elements of endless runners, all the way back in 1983!
2. Atari Breakout
Atari Breakout is a retro-style game with a dynamic that everyone knows. You have some blocks and a ball, and you bounce the ball off a board to get rid of the boxes. So where is this hidden game actually hidden? Well, just type in “Atari Breakout” into Google Image Search, and the image results transform into an Atari Breakout gameboard that you can play on. (Of course, if you’re really looking for images, you can always return to a normal image search, but honestly, why would you want to?) What’s really cool is that the blocks are made of actual image results for the search.
Cool, right? Another way to quite easily lose hours of your life trying to get a higher score.
How to Play: This hidden game is only in the desktop version of Image search. Once the game starts, simply use your mouse to move the panel left and right and keep the ball bouncing! If you go to the desktop version of image search on your mobile, you can swipe left and right to control the panel to keep the ball bouncing.
Review: 4/5 stars for playability and nostalgia!
Trivia: Did you know that the original Breakout game by Atari was designed and built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who we now know as the founders of Apple Computers?
3. Smarty Pins
This is a geography-based game that’s sure to test your knowledge of the world and possibly give you a few grey hairs! It’s a game built on top of Google Maps which asks you some questions that require you to drop a pin on the right location on the map. Points are kilometers, and you can gain or lose kilometers based on how you do!
Just go over to smartypins.withgoogle.com to start playing!
How to Play: At the onset, you get the choice to either pick a category or to directly start playing. When you start playing, the map auto-zooms to the general area around the answer for each question. Sometimes it’s the whole country and sometimes just a few city blocks. The goal is to drag the pin to the location on the map that answers the question. The points system is based on miles or kilometers depending on your physical location. You start with 1000 miles (or 1609 kilometers) and get bonuses for quick answers. If your answers are inaccurate, you lose miles/ kilometers depending on how far off you are. You also get special pins for reaching a certain number of questions (bronze for 5 right answers, gold for 15, you know). The game ends when your score becomes zero.
Review: 5/5 stars! This game takes you all around the world and it’s a lot of fun trying to guess answers that you don’t know. Some answers are city-level and some expect you to zoom in and drop it at the exact address (like the White House). It’s also equally frustrating sometimes, but that’s a part of the charm!
Trivia: This game is full of fun trivia about places all over the world!
4. Flight Simulator
This game is hidden in the Google Earth application menu. It allows you to zoom around the world on Google Earth using a flight simulator!
How to play: Download the Google Earth application for Mac, Windows, or Linux and go to Tools > Enter Flight Simulator. Simply pick your plane and your starting location and start your flight! There is also an official set of detailed instructions from Google about the game here. The game can be controlled using a joystick or your mouse.
Review: 3/5 stars. It would have been really nice to be able to play this hidden game without downloading the application! It may also take some time to get used to the complicated controls.
Trivia: Successfully landing the plane without crashing might very well be the hardest part of this game! Have you tried it?
Google Search Games
There’s a whole host of Google hidden games and easter eggs in Google search. Some of these are better known than others, but here’s a list of different things you can type into Google Search to play a not-so-quick game and waste a whole lot of time.
1. Zerg Rush
This is a hidden game named after an attack strategy in the 1998 game StarCraft. In order to play, type “Zerg rush” into Google Search and a swarm of O’s will start attacking your results. Destroy the O’s by clicking on them to save your results! Entertaining and frustrating in equal parts, this Google hidden game is sure to kill your time.
How to Play: As soon as you hit enter on this search, a swarm of O’s starts attacking. You then have to click each O three times to destroy it. The aim is to try to destroy all of them, and you can easily end up wasting hours trying to get a higher score. Of course, if you want to see the actual results for the game, you can always press the “clear” button on the side.
Review: 4/5 stars! It’s quite fun, but not as engaging as some of the other hidden games.
Trivia: This game is based on a real-world war tactic to surprise and overwhelm enemies to defeat them before they can strike back.
I don’t believe there’s a single human alive today who doesn’t know Pacman. It’s a simple game where you eat dots and avoid ghosts, nothing to it (except the classic horrendous frustration when you lose and you have to start over from the very beginning). This game was a Google Doodle on 21 May 2010 and is available in the Google Doodle archive for posterity. Where’s the easter-egg, you ask? All you have to do is type in “Pacman” into a Google search and the game is right there. Just click to play!
How to Play: Type ‘Pacman’ in Google. Click the box to start playing, and the game loads up. It follows the same mechanics as the classic PacMan. You can control PacMan using the arrow keys. Eat the dots and avoid the ghosts!
Review: 5/5 stars for gameplay and sticking to the classic style!
Trivia: A “perfect game” of PacMan is when a player completes all 256 levels without losing a single life. The game glitches at level 256 and the maximum possible score is 3,333,360. This was first achieved by Billy Mitchell in 1999!
Like Pacman, Snake is a classic game that basically everyone has played on a basic feature phone. This game is simultaneously extremely simple and annoyingly complex. You have to move a snake around a virtual board to eat the dots and the goal is to go as long as you can without touching the edges of the board or any other part of the snake’s body. The body grows with each little dot you eat making it increasingly harder to not collide with anything. The Google version of this game is one with fancy graphics on top of the same retro game logic.
How to play: Just type “snake” into Google Search, and the game is right there at the top of the results for you to play. Click to box to load up the game and you get a screen showing you the controls. Press any of the arrow keys to start playing!
Review: 5/5 stars! All the controls are still the same, and the advanced graphics make for a modernized nostalgia trip that’s hard to let go of.
Trivia: The idea that inspired this game dates all the way back to 1976. The first mobile phone version was introduced in 1998 and now there are hundreds of versions of this game! There’s also a Massively Multiplayer version of this game called slither.io!
Other Google Easter Eggs
While these don’t quite make the cut as hidden games, they’re still quite fun to explore.
- Google Sky is basically Google Maps for the universe. You can explore the entire known universe through your computer! It’s really something.
- Google Doodles: Leave the Google search bar empty and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky” (or just go to this link) to check out all the Google Doodles of the past. Quite a few of them have fun hidden features or games that you can explore. Leave it in the comments if you find something particularly cool!
- Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon postulates that you can link anyone in Hollywood to Kevin Bacon with six or fewer degrees of separation. Granted it’s quite a niche easter egg, but you can find the “Bacon Number” of any celebrity by typing in “Bacon Number [celebrity name]”.
- “Do a Barrel Roll”: If you type this phrase into Google search, your results do a full rotation around your window. There’s not really any purpose to it, but it’s quite cool!
- “Google in 1998”: Type this into Google search and watch your page transform into what Google looked like way back in 1998!
Whether you’re just looking for something to kill some time or you’re feeling nostalgic for games from years gone by, Google seems to have you covered. Have fun with these games, and don’t forget to comment your favorite!