The Google doodle for Dec. 17 features a clever little animation celebrating the 254th year of the classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven. As with many of Google’s doodles celebrating famous people, the Beethoven doodle is more complicated than first meets the eye.
Once users click on the doodle, it becomes a little game about helping Beethoven make it to the symphony hall with all of his compositions in order. The simple game tasks players with preventing a horse from eating them, gathering loose pages from a tree and more. The actual game part of this is trying to put the pieces into the correct order for the corresponding music, such as making sure “Ode to Joy” actually sounds like, well, itself.
“Today provided us a rare opportunity to construct a game in step with beautiful music,” reads the company’s post about the doodle, “whose evocative moods, drama, lightness, and depth made conjuring visuals to match it rollickingly fun.” Google also notes that, while the various obstacles in the doodle are obviously silly, Beethoven himself had more than his fair share of troubles to overcome in his life. Most notably, his hearing deteriorated later in life, eventually leaving him almost completely deaf.
Design lead Leon Hong worked on the doodle with engineers Jordan Thompson, Jonathan Shneier, Kris Hom and Charlie Gordon. Nate Swinehart provided the animatics and art, while Tim Shneier did the piano recordings. The doodle is available on Google.com as of right now, but will be in the doodle archive once the day is over.