Category Archives: Google.com

A Google off-guard moment…again. (April 1)

Of all the April Fool’s Day jokes I eagerly await for, it’s Google’s that makes or breaks it for me.

Google Motion (Beta) Apr 1, 2011

Google Motion (Beta) Apr 1, 2011

Ever since its first April Fools Day joke pulled off to very unsuspecting users like myself in 2000, of its “Mental Plex” page (back then, the term “‘netizen” was still so much in vogue, preceded by the clichéd “information superhighway”, and “broadband speed” at home was a dream state we all wished to have), Google’s April Fool’s Day pages were the ones that’d get women like myself, inclined to a little bit of geeky-ness, happily face-palming and getting like-minded discussants into hours-long analyses, Google easter egg lists and such, in forums and chat rooms (it was even more fun when newer members joined in).

Eleven years into this tradition with a few hits and misses — TISP‘s description was so obvious it was corny even before I clicked on the link — Google’s April 1st jokes rank among those diversions that make hours of soaking up information online delightful.

Thinking that 2011’s Google’s Motion (Beta) could be a Mac-specific feature similar to LiquidMac, a fun, novelty app that mimics the movement of liquid in a computer by its orientation (using Apple laptops’ built-in sudden motion sensor technology), I thought , falling into the Apple-user snob mode I realized I hadn’t completely shed off yet (and feeling a little sorry for it), “So, is this cross-platform?,” yet something ticked the instant curiosity pushed the button.

This time, Google caught me off-guard. And a smack on the cheek to go with it. Fun!

My favorite April Fools Day Google joke so far are:

  • Scratch and Sniff (2008) and its reference to books vis-a-vis print getting more digitized;
  • Jobs at Copernicus Center (2004) with its nice illustrations and great geek-y copy;
  • Gmail Paper (2007) and how it resounds so much with life around email;
  • Gmail Custom Time (2008), in relation to above entry;
  • the CADIE (2009) project;
  • last, but certainly not the least, Google’s life-changing Gmail announcement (in relation to (2007) and (2008); see image grab above again for details).

Finally, a shoutout to Google and YouTube’s April Fools Day continuing collaboration. In celebration of Jackie Chan’s recently wrapped up film 1911 (ironically, Jackie Chan was just the subject of a Twitter hoax two days ago), YouTube’s wayback window and logo are too good to miss, I can’t let this pass.

 

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Filed under Apple, April Fools Day, Google, Google.com, internet, internet activity, laptops, Mac, Mac Apps, online tool apps, Sudden Motion Sensor, Video, YouTube

addiction II: Yes, Pac-man is 30 (with the goodies)

It’s the original Pac-man I’m writing about (not a boxer’s monicker) which Google merited an anniversary GoogleDoodle in animated .png format. What a nice morning surprise!

Next to Tetris, I still have a couple of Pac-man versions installed in my computer which I call upon every now and then to officially divert me from ‘work’, a carry-over from the PC days. I hope I’m not alone in this, what with the vast selection of available games for today’s hardware.

Pac-Man 30 Years logo

Particularly interesting is the story about how its creator, Toru Iwatani, targeted females for this game after establishing the main character’s “look” inspired by an order of pizza minus one slice:

Now that he had the look, he needed that special something to attract his target audience. After listening to girls talk to one another, Iwatani determined that food and eating would be the way to get the fairer sex interested in arcade games. (REF: Top 100 Game Creators)

Google never ceases to surprise its visitors, and with today’s animated, PLAYABLE doodle, it sure does know how to make each user go back to when computing and computer use was basic and fun. The doodle goes live for 48 hours, after which I hope they archive it like they do their easter eggs and all other commemorative doodles.

An insanely fun Friday!

Early marketing flyer with original name "Puck-man", later changed to "Pac-man" in 1980

Toru Iwatani, creator

Wired.com has a Q&A article on Toru Iwatani, Pac-man’s creator, in which, besides confirming the game’s intended target, also gives an insight into Japanese culture:

…Japanese youngsters really wanted “ghost” type characters — not necessarily modeled on creatures, but things that don’t really exist in this world. Even within animation, they want characters that are the products of the writer’s imaginations. In North America at the time, the games were about car races or warfare. They wanted games that simulated the real world, whereas Japan wanted otogibanashi (fairy tales).

Also, when you look at Japanese games, the characters may be deformed in such a way that their heads are half of their total height. This was not popular in the U.S., as you know, they wanted real proportional humans. In Japan, dolls like Hello Kitty are deformed into a different shape, into an animal that doesn’t really exist. The dolls in the U.S. would be a real cat… (REF: Q&A: Pac-Man Creator Reflects on 30 Years of Dot-Eating, Wired.com)

Toru Iwatani

Toru Iwatani, Pac-man creator (image from Wired.com)

And if Google’s commemorative, playable doodle isn’t enough of a gift, Pac-man’s Japanese site offers a lot of Pac-man goodies, too. My favorites are :

[1] The Pac-man Hallmark birthday card
Product Name: Birthday Card Publisher: HALLMARK CARD, INC (U.S.)
Release Date: July Price 2008: US $ 4.99 (U.S.)
Location: USA, Canada only Size: W15.5, H14 (cm)

Birthday card featuring a full-screen Pac-Man game. Melody flows and open Pac-Man game. In honor of Pac-Man in

[2] The Pac-man Wine Glass set with Cork coaster (Made in France)

Product details: Two wine glasses / cork coaster 2 Publisher: Namco Bandai Price: 5,250 yen Glass Specifications: Diameter 52 mm × 180 mm vertical / horizontal 72 mm / 250ml Made in France Coaster specification: diameter 80 mm × thickness 05 mm Origin: Portugal / Processing: Japanese production methods time-to-order book your reservation: April 27, 2010 (Tue) ~ 30 May 2010 (Sun) Expected Delivery: Shipping will begin in late July 2010

[3] The Pac-Man Limited Collection Leather Wallet (I like the red one)

Color: 4 kinds (black, blue, or sky) Price: 14,800 yen Specifications: Leather Wallet (Wallet) Production Method: Book orders in limited quantities Booking period: 30 March 2010 (Tue) ~ Expected Delivery: Shipping will begin in late May 2010

[4] The Pac-Man T Glass Beads and Prism by Kohei Nawa

Glued glass beads, prism sheet, polyurethane foam material Publisher: UNIQLO Co. Price: 1500 yen Release Years: 2009/5/18 URL: Http://Store.uniqlo.com/Jp/Store/Feature/Ut/Pacman/ Contact: Your contact Uniqlo hours TEL :0120-090-296-17 9:00: 00 (7 days a week) cKOHEI NAWA PAC-MAN: cNBGI (As of May 2009) ※ Some products are sold may have been discontinued. Please note.

[5] The Pac-Man T by Kentaro Kobuke

Publisher: UNIQLO Co. Price: 1500 yen Release Years: 2009/5/18 URL: Http://Store.uniqlo.com/Jp/Store/Feature/Ut/Pacman/

See the commemorative collection here. And this is just the 30th year.

And lastly, about the animated, interactive Google Pac-man doodle

The doodle was designed by Marcin Wichary, Google’s senior UX designer and developer, and Ryan Germick, full time Google Doodler. Over at the Google blogs, Marcin wrote:

“…Today, on PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday, you can rediscover some of your 8-bit memories—or meet PAC-MAN for the first time—through our first-ever playable Google doodle. To play the game, go to google.com during the next 48 hours (because it’s too cool to keep for just one day) and either press the “Insert Coin” button or just wait for a few seconds.

Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include PAC-MAN’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece…”

(Source: Googleblog|Celebrating Pac-man’s 30th Birthday)

He adds (emphasis mine):

“We also added a little easter egg: if you throw in another coin, Ms. PAC-MAN joins the party and you can play together with someone else (PAC-MAN is controlled with arrow keys or by clicking on the maze, Ms. PAC-MAN using the WASD keys).”

The doodle is a couple of layers of a .png file (see below) powered by javascript, HTML and CSS. Not only is it cool, it’s a lot of work to perfect it.

Great job!

The interactive Pac-Man game deconstructed

Now if they only did the same when Google commemorated Tetris.


More Pac-man:

Play Pac-man online

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