Google had a big surprise yesterday: A fully playable Pac-Man 30th anniversary game built into its homepage. Here at the Monitor, we joked that this clever birthday present to a true arcade classic would result in hundreds of thousands of lost man-hours as office productivity ground to a halt. Reading through the 50-plus comments left below our Friday story, seems we were right.
"Reporting from South Africa," writes Monitor reader Thuto. "Office productivity down by 60%, bandwidth usage down by 80%, only page visited, www.google.com."
Thuto is probably fudging those numbers a little, but his point is clear. A decent percentage of commenters share similar anecdotes. (And have you tried playing two-player?) But there is another sizable bloc of readers that wish Pac-Man would hurry off-screen and never come back.
"How do I stop it?" asks commenter Hiba. "The noise in the background follows me through every website! I don't wanna play it anymore!!"
Several users report the same problem.
"Grrr - my 84 year old husband screwed up his computer trying to get rid of this mess," writes Yamahamama4.
Monitor reader Lisa enjoys the creativity of incorporating Pac-Man into Google's logo, just not the noise. "Love the idea," she writes. "It just sucks that the sound from the game stays on even when you leave the Google page. I can't do anything else with sound because the game sound rides overtop of everything on every site that I go to. Please do stuff like this again, just incorporate a mute button :)"
Don't expect to see many future Google Doodles quite like this one. The company loves to mix things up. (Have you seen all of the "Easter eggs" littered across Google's many websites?) Nonetheless, Pac-Man got reader Lea Kim thinking: "Hmm... Tetris anniversary, anyone?"
Well played, Lea Kim. Well played.
Now it's your turn. Share your praise or pans in the comments below – and check out the Monitor's list of five games that would make better Google doodles than Pac-Man.