May 14, 2013

Google’s Got a Surprise for Breakout Fans

Google (News Alert) has been well known for its occasional surprises, and one of those surprises emerged just recently, especially for those who enjoy video gaming a little on the retro side. Today, going out to Google Images and typing in "Atari Breakout," then performing a search as normal won’t yield images of the classic Atari 2600 title. Today it will yield a version of the classic title, fully playable, with Google images turned into the blocks that users must destroy.

The game is thoroughly playable–completing the first level of blocks will generate a new set of images to break and so on–but for those needing actual images of Atari Breakout that don’t involve bouncing balls off of them, the whole thing can be brought back to normal via clicking "return to image search." Users can then, if so inclined, share scores on Google+ and go for Breakout bragging rights within individual circles.

Why Breakout? As it turns out, the game was introduced back in 1976–though reports suggest it was actually released in April of that year–and with the recent anniversary still fresh, Google decided to commemorate the release with a special Easter egg. Some reports suggest that Google may have heard that the release was in April by working with a Wikipedia entry for Breakout that has been recently modified, and others dispute the launch date of Breakout altogether with some suggesting April and others indicating May.

Still, for those who are looking for a little shot of retro gaming–and aren’t too concerned about the likely drop in productivity that this is almost certainly going to cause–a quick image search out at Google will result in a taste of sweet retro gaming that should prove fun for all.

This is actually a fun little project, of the kind which Google should be doing a bit more, really. Sure, Google’s Doodles are fun little sidebars, but these are often hidden away up near the top of the page, well past the search results, so who even sees them? These, however, may require a bit more digging to find, but they’re also sufficiently fully-featured so that the users get a lot more out of them. Giving the user more bang for the buck–or in this case for the advertising view in the search result–means more reason to come back and search again later.

Sure, Google doing more of this would be a great thing, but for right now, most will be able to simply relax, take a quick break–or several–from work and enjoy the fun of bouncing a ball back and forth and trying to knock pictures out of a row.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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