The concept of a Google Doodle — the little widget that sometimes replaces the Google logo on the company’s main search page — has gotten a lot more complex over the years. The first one (from 1998!) was just a simple static image of the Google logo with a Burning Man logo behind it, meant to indicate that everyone behind the scenes was off in the desert. Nowadays the doodles can be richly animated interactive experiences built by an entire team of engineers, animators and UX designers.
Take today’s July 4th-themed doodle, for example. Though it’ll probably only live on Google’s homepage for a day or two, it’s a full-fledged (and, well, pretty addictive) baseball game, complete with sound, cutesie animated characters and more. Nearly a dozen people worked on it!
Want to give it a spin? You should be able to find it on Google’s homepage — though, as far as I can tell, it’ll only appear there for U.S. visitors. If you’re outside the U.S. (or if you’re reading this after July 4th), you should be able to find it in Google’s Doodle archive here. Just tap the play button on the doodle to get started.
The idea is simple: wait for the pitch, time your swing, get points as your ketchups and burgers and whatnot (all the characters are July 4th BBQ staples) round the bases. Rinse and repeat until you’ve struck out three times.
While it starts out pretty easy, things get tough quickly as the pitcher changes up their strategy. At first, throws will come straight at you; within a few tosses, though, they’ll be curving, spinning wildly and disappearing mid-flight.
Is it earth-shattering? Nah. But it’s fun! And for anyone who has already mentally checked out knowing that tomorrow is a U.S. federal holiday, it’s a good way to burn some time — especially given that Facebook, Instagram and a bunch of the other time-suck sites are all kinds of broken right now.