With the Google Doodle turning 25 this past week, we've been looking back at the best Google Doodle games to mark the occasion. While Google Doodles typically only remain on display on the search engine's homepage for a day, there is a Google Doodle archive where they're all recorded for posterity – and the Google Doodle games are still playable.
Have a few minutes to fill? Need a quick break from work? Then a quick Google Doodle game could be just the thing. Below we recap the seven best Google Doodle games from the past 25 years. Also see our guide to the best Google Doodles in general.
The best Google Doodle games of the past 25 years
01. The Pac-Man Google Doodle game
Top of our list of the best Google Doodle games is the one that started them all. Back in 2010, Google surprised us by adding a new interactive element to its doodles to mark the 30th anniversary of the classic arcade game. It worked well to introduce games to the Doodle since the game is so familiar, and the controls are just what you would expect: use the arrow keys to guide Pac-Man around the maze avoiding the ghosts.
02. The Gerald “Jerry” Lawson Google Doodle game
This Google Doodle is not one but five games. In fact, it's even more than that because it also allows you to modify the games using its edit mode. That makes it the perfect tribute to mark what would have been the 82nd birthday of the late Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, developer of the first home video game system with interchangeable game cartridges and an 8-way digital joystick (see the video above to learn more about the history).
03. Coding for Carrots Google Doodle game
This one is a Google Doodle game with an educational focus. It was created for Computer Science Education Week and to mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of kids’ programming languages. You have to build a code that leads the rabbit to hop to each space with a carrot. There are blocks for moving forward one space, turning right and left and for repeating a section of code.
04. Pangolin Love Google Doodle game
This Google Doodle game was notable for coming in three instalments released on successive days around Valentine's Day in 2017. And it had an important message, aiming to raise awareness of three different endangered pangolin species. You have to help the scaly anteaters complete various tasks, from collecting ingredients to bake a cake, to writing a song, learning to dance or building a bouquet.
05. The Google Doodle Crossword
Google Doodle games haven't all been arcade or platform-inspired. This gem from December 2013 pays tribute to a much older pastime, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. Warning: the video above contains the answers, so make sure you have a go yourself first!
06. Doctor Who 50th anniversary Google Doodle game
To mark the 50th anniversary of one of the world's longest-running TV series in 2013 Google brought the timelord to its doodle. You have to use the arrow keys our your mouse to guide the Doctor through time and space to collect letters that spell Google.
07. Google Doodle cricket cricket
Cricket is a game that's only understood in a few countries, so what better way to introduce the sport to a wider audience than via a better-known type of cricket. Here you have to help a plucky orthopteran defend his wicket from incoming balls. There are lots of unsportsmanlike videos out there showing how to cheat in the game, which is just not cricket.
08. Doodle Champion Island Games
Last but by no means least in our pick of the best Google Doodle games is this elaborate masterpiece created for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which were held in 2021. This series of seven games was created in partnership with Japanese animation studio, Studio 4°C. It features table tennis, skateboarding, archery, climbing, rugby, artistic swimming and marathon. Players can choose to join teams represented by different animal mascots, such as Kappa the yokai or Ushi the cow, and can even record their scores on a global leaderboard.