Brace yourself, the April Fools' Day gags are coming. Some have even gotten a head start on the annual day of pranks. Remember that sneaky photo of NVIDIA's
mysterious Project RON
that popped up over the weekend? That turned out to be a humorous hoax. For some, this day is all fun and games. For Google, that is literally the case. How so? Google has transformed Google Maps into a special version of the classic Snake game.
This nifty Easter Egg allows you to kill some time at work by firing up Snake on your desktop PC or on the Google Maps app for your smartphone. It gives you the option of playing in a bunch of locales, including Cairo, London, San Francisco, São Paulo, Sydney, Tokyo, or on a flat World map (proving Kyrie Irving's theory
that the Earth is flat).
Gameplay is rather simple—instead of an actual snake, you direct a surprisingly nimble and flexible train using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Unlike trains in real life, your goal is to barrel into commuters, which I suppose is a quicker way of picking them up than actually stopping next to them and opening the side doors.
While seemingly simple, bumping into passengers makes the train grow longer. Therein lies the challenge, because if you bump into yourself, the game ends. The same is true if you find yourself choo-chooing right off the map.
Each passenger is worth 1 point, though various landmarks appear that award up to 10 bonus points. On the World map, for example, you are likely to see the Sky Tower, 30 St. Marie Axe, and São Paulo Cathedral, each of which buffs your score.
It's a fun diversion, especially for a Monday. To check it out on your desktop, follow this link
. On mobile, fire up the Google Maps app, tap the menu icon in the top-left corner, and select "Play Snake" to get started. Google says it will be available for "about a week."