Google Chrome Dino Game and How to Play It

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Will Young

Several years ago, Google decided it was time to add a little fun to their Chrome spyw-ahem, err, browser. So, whenever a user experienced Internet problems when trying to access a page, a message would pop up on the page saying “No internet” or “Unable to connect to the Internet”. The text would be accompanied by a little dinosaur-like icon.

Most users thought it was just something to keep them company as they waited for Internet connectivity to resume. But with time, they learned that the icon was actually a game that was controlled using specific keys.

Google had launched what is now commonly known as Chrome’s dinosaur game or just dino game. The game consists of an infinite runner dodging various obstacles and jumping over cacti.

Playing the game involves very simple and basic controls. You can opt to play the game while offline or online. To start the game when offline, just go to any webpage. When the No Internet notification appears, accompanied by the dinosaur, press the Space button to get it going. When you need to jump, press the Page Up button or the Page Down button when you need to duck.

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To play the game without turning off your Internet connection, just go to chrome://dino. When you open the link, you will be directed to an “arcade mode” enabling you to practice in full window mode.

Initially, the dinosaur character was codenamed Bolan. This is in reference to the late Marc Bolan, who was the lead singer in the 1970s rock band T.Rex and a pioneer of the glam rock movement. T. Rex is a short name for Tyrannosaurus rex, a species of a likely carnivorous dinosaur that is thought to have ruled the world more than 60 million years ago. They also had tiny little arms.

Alan Bettes, Visual Designer at Google, explains that the team working on the project debated whether to make the dinosaur kick like a certain hedgehog, paying homage to the 90s cartoon, and 2010s SNAFU known as Sonic the Hedgehog. Others were of the opinion that they could make it roar to signal that it was alive. In the end, they settled on making it a good runner.

The Chrome Dino game was released in September 2014. Initially, it could not run on some platforms such as older versions of Android devices, necessitating a rewrite that was completed by December of the same year.

For something mostly hidden from view except when you are experiencing Internet problems, the Dino game has some impressive statistics. Chrome’s UX engineer, Edward Jung says that there are more than 270 million games played monthly across mobile devices and PCs. Regular players mostly come from Mexico, Brazil, and India as these regions experience more internet downtimes compared to other areas.

Now, next time you need something to distract your mind for a while or your Internet connection goes down, how about playing the Chrome dino game?

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