On June 10, 2018, Google celebrated Garden Day in Germany with an adorable interactive Google Doodle game featuring garden gnomes. The game, called Garden Gnomes, allows players to enter a colorful animated world and playfully launch gnome figurines using a catapult.
The History Behind the Doodle
The Google Doodle team chose to honor garden gnomes because of their long history and association with German culture. While gnome-like figures originated in ancient times, the recognizable pointy-hat gnomes emerged in 19th century Germany.
In particular, the mining town of Gräfenroda, Thuringia became known for artisans hand-crafting whimsical gnome statues for gardens. Germans cherished these figurines, believing they brought good luck and protected gardens.
When the pastime of gardening grew popular in England and France, gnome designs spread across Europe. Germans who immigrated to America continued the tradition there. Garden gnomes enjoyed immense popularity through the 1960s.
So for the 2018 Garden Day Doodle, Google wanted to highlight Germany’s legacy of garden gnome craftsmanship in a fun, interactive way.
How the Doodle Was Designed
The Google Doodle team went through extensive design exploration to achieve the right charming, storybook-like aesthetic for the gnome world.
Lead artist Gerben Steenks drew inspiration from forest landscapes found in German folktales. Vibrant mushrooms, flowers, and animals fill the scenes. The adorable gnome characters are modeled after traditional designs with pointed red caps and white beards.
The game animations bring fluid, smooth movement to the natural elements like fluttering butterflies. Cheerful music completes the fantasy gnome atmosphere.
Playing the Garden Gnomes Game
The object of the Garden Gnomes game is to catapult gnome statues as far across the garden as possible. This is accomplished through an easy-to-learn, one-button control scheme.
To launch a gnome, click or tap when the catapult is stretched back to wind it up. Then click/tap again when the catapult reaches optimal launch height. Time it right to send the gnome soaring through the air.
Once launched, press again to make the gnome bounce along the ground. Aim for logs and mushrooms to keep your gnome bouncing even farther.
The farther your gnome goes before stopping, the more flowers you’ll plant, and the more points you’ll rack up. It takes practice to achieve the perfect launch.
As you progress, you’ll unlock new gnome designs with different shapes, weights and bounce physics to experiment with. See which gnome can achieve the greatest distance in your garden!
Elements of the Game World
The world of the Garden Gnomes Doodle contains charming hand-painted scenery and characters that really bring it to life:
- Gnomes - The core figures of the game, inspired by German garden gnome styles. Players can unlock at least 6 unique gnome designs.
- Catapult - The wooden, hand-crafted catapult mechanism used to launch the gnomes. Its movements are beautifully animated.
- Trees - Looming evergreens and colorful trees dot the landscape, typical of a German forest.
- Flowers - Bright patches of flowers blossom where gnomes land, adding to your garden.
- Mushrooms - Large mushrooms help propel the gnomes farther by bouncing them upwards.
- Logs - Fallen logs act as springboards, shooting gnomes rapidly along if bounced off them.
- Butterflies - Fluttering blue butterflies add soothing motion and also push gnomes slightly mid-flight.
- Birds - Cheerful birds like chickadees fly and land occasionally, bringing the scene to life.
- Gnome House - A colorful mushroom-shaped house where the gnomes live.
The Success of the Doodle
The adorable Garden Gnomes Doodle was a big hit among Google users. Fans praised the Doodle for its charming design, smooth animations, and fun, easy gameplay.
Many found the gnome-flinging game surprisingly addictive. The Doodle created a relaxing, whimsical escape from the stresses of work and everyday life for many. It inspired nostalgia for simpler outdoor childhood activities like playing with garden gnomes.
The Garden Gnome Doodle brought wide attention to the long cultural history of these figures in Germany. It revitalized appreciation for gnomes' significance spanning centuries of craftmanship and folklore.
Most importantly, the Doodle radiated pure fun. It showcased Google's talent for using technology and interactivity to create joyful experiences centered around modest themes like gnomes.
Playing Garden Gnomes Today
Originally only on the Google homepage for 48 hours, the Garden Gnomes Doodle can still be played today on the Google Doodles archive page.
Gnome launching masters can keep improving their skills and newcomers can discover the magic for the first time. The game loads directly within the browser without needing to install anything.
The Doodle has retained its charm and playability since its original launch. Looking at the Doodle comments, fans still thank Google for the creation 5 years later. It stands as one of the most endearing Google Doodle games.
So if you want a pleasant break from your day, why not stop by the garden and send some gnomes soaring? Your inner child and the gnomes will be happy to see you again!
About Google Doodles
The Garden Gnome Doodle represents the creativity and spirit of fun so often displayed in Google Doodles. Here are some insights into these illustrated interactive experiences:
- History - Google Doodles first started in 1998 as simple artistic alterations to the logo.
- Purpose - Doodles aim to educate, celebrate culture/events, and make using Google more delightful.
- Interactivity - Modern Doodles like Garden Gnomes utilize technology to create playable experiences.
- Pop Culture - Doodles often reference or parody trends, memes, icons of the moment.
- Artistry - Visually stunning media like animation, claymation, and hand-drawn art appear in Doodles.
- Variety - Doodle topics range from obscure holidays, artists, pioneers of STEM and civil rights, and even simple foods or objects.
Google Doodles continue evolving as a medium of entertainment, education, and artistic innovation.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Garden Gnomes Doodle
How can I access and play the Garden Gnomes Doodle today?
You can find the Garden Gnomes Doodle in the Google Doodles archives at www.google.com/doodles. It loads directly in your web browser without any installation.
Does the gnome launching game have an end or finish?
No, there is no specific end point or finale in the Garden Gnomes game. It is an infinite arcade-style experience meant for beating your own high scores and enjoying continual improvement.
What do the points earned in the Doodle game represent?
Points are earned by launching gnomes farther distances before they come to a stop. The number of flowers planted in the garden also represents your points score. So the farther the gnomes travel, the more points you gain.
Why are there German words on the Doodle logo and game elements?
The German words tie into the Doodle honoring German culture and history. They include German names for gnomes, plants, and other garden components.
How many different gnome designs appear in the Google Doodle game?
Players can unlock at least six differently shaped gnome designs in the Garden Gnomes game. Each has slightly different physics properties affecting their launch and bounce ability.
Do I need a Google or Gmail account to play the Doodle game?
No, you can play Garden Gnomes and any Google Doodle completely for free without needing an account or sign-in. Just access it from the Doodle archive.
So come on in, the gnomes are waiting for you!