Back in the day it seemed like there were a lot of little hidden gems and Easter eggs tucked away in games, even games built on ridiculously stringent deadlines. It was usually a way for the programmer to poke a little fun at the project during any minuscule amounts of downtime, and give those eager to find something beyond the software itself things to uncover. Well, it turns out that some of the programmers at Google seem fond of the idea of tucking classic Easter eggs into the software, which included a hidden, old-school, text-typing adventure game that was found inside of the Google Chrome browser when you navigate to the main Google web page.
Eurogamer is reporting that the Easter egg was discovered by a Reddit user over on the r/Google sub-reddit. The user informs those on the discussion page that if they want to play the “crazy” Easter egg, they simply have to open up the developer console and search “text adventure”. The description seems to leave out some key details on how to actually get to the text adventure or some of the caveats involved, but the general gist seems to have made it through to the Reddit audience, which promptly gave the suggestion a hardy test and reported back that it does indeed work.
Essentially, if you go to the main Google web page, and then press CTRL + Shift + I to open up the developer console, you’ll then need to click on the “Console” tab, which is next to “Elements” at the top of the console. You’ll automatically enter on the “Elements” tab, and you can search for “text game” and then click on the “Console” and it will give you a “Warning!” message and tell you not to copy and paste anything into the console. It then asks you if you would like to play a game, at which point you can type “Yes” or “No”.
If you type “Yes” you’ll get a scrolling text adventure within the confines of the console, outlining your character’s disposition and that they’re in search of their friends. The text adventure is pretty simple, and uses the old ASCII setup from the classic days when Zork and MUDs were popular.
The control scheme is pretty limited, and you can only use the commands issued to you within the console. Navigation is done by typing in the directions outlined within the text, usually featuring north, south, west, and east. You can access items in your inventory by typing the name of the item, and you can make choices when presented to you by the text.
Given that this is all textually descriptive, it means that you can’t rely on the kind of visuals present in Sierra Interactive’s point-and-click games that were popular during the late 1980s and 1990s. It may require multiple read-overs to finally get the point, especially when taking a look at the rather crude map you’re given.
For fans who long for a return to classic gaming, you’ll probably appreciate Google’s throwback to the old text-and-type adventure game genre. Unlike other retro genres such as the 8-bit and 16-bit resurgence we’ve seen in the indie sector, text games never really made their comeback, unless of course you count the niche visual novel sector.
Even still, if you want to give it a go you can do so right now. However, there’s no telling if Google will keep the text adventure around for long.