Google has held its April Fools' Day tradition with firm diligence, so much so that when the day arrives, its parodies and spins on proprietary products enter viral territory. Some, to an extent, even seem real to many, fooling the commonfolk into believing Google is actually going to release said oft-ridiculous and dubious products.
This year, that tradition hasn't been broken, and the search company has even come up with a few. One of them, the most engaging one, happens to be residing inside Google Maps, in which a terrain can be converted to a Ms. Pac-Man course, letting the user bask in the nostalgic back and forth of the titular character. This way, the game offers amusing "levels," so to speak, that offer slanted, circular, and obscure paths — atypical of traditional Ms. Pac-Man levels.
How To Play 'Ms. Pac-Man' Inside Google Maps
To play the game, simply go to Google Maps like you would on any regular day. On the bottom part of the interface should be a "Insert Coin" toggle. Turn it on, and whatever geographical terrain is shown onscreen will be converted into a Ms. Pac-Man course. If Google finds that a certain portion of the map the user is looking at provides insufficient roads or paths for conversion, Google can redirect the user to a different part of the map in just one click.
For those who've taken a chunk off their time back in the day playing Ms. Pac-Man, the gameplay should feel very similar, although your keyboard's up, down, left, and right buttons will stand in for controls. The cool thing about the game is Ms. Pac-Man can move in diagonal or circular paths, which is an odd, if a little amusing sight. As Mic reports, it's best to scour for an area where there's some kind of grid, since rural areas might offer no place to hide from enemies. New York's urban planning, for instance, offers grids aplenty, so it might be best to try one's Pac-Man wits on that city.
Google's April Fools' Day Pranks
Of course, Ms. Pac-Man taking over Google Maps mirrors what Google did in 2015, only this time it's the female titular character that's swerving around roads and paths. While at first the idea sounds like a decent time-waster at best, Google might have something promising going on here. Remember, the hyper-hit Pokémon GO originally started out as an April Fools' Day prank from Google — the idea of using Google Maps to catch pocket monsters, at least. Look at where it is now, up there collecting revenue for Niantic's coffers. While the allure of Pac-Man is decidedly less potent than that of Pokémon, Google's tradition of putting classic games on its traditional services looks and feels awesome.
Thoughts about Ms. Pac-Man on Google Maps? Have you found any areas in the world that are great courses to play in? Feel free to share them or sound off in the comments section below!