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Google Maps Snake Game - A Nostalgic Revival

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The Snake game is a classic video game that originated in the late 1970s and rose to iconic status when it was preloaded on Nokia mobile phones in the late 90s. In 2019, Google cleverly incorporated Snake gameplay into Google Maps as a novel Easter egg, blending nostalgic gaming and modern mapping technology. This brought the iconic Snake game back into the spotlight in a fresh, innovative way.

What is Google Maps Snake?

Google Maps Snake is an interactive version of the traditional Snake game embedded directly into the Google Maps app. It was launched on April Fools' Day 2019 as a surprise feature.

In the game, players guide a snake avatar along the roads on an actual Google Map. The snake collects landmarks and grows longer while avoiding obstacles and crashes.

The snake's movement is controlled using the arrow keys on desktop or by swiping on mobile. The default gameplay lasts 90 seconds per map with the goal to collect as many landmarks as possible before time runs out.

Google Maps Snake injects new life into the Snake formula by using real world maps and cities. Landmarks specific to each city appear on the roads to collect. For example, in London the snake picks up Big Ben and London Eye, while in Tokyo it grabs shrines and temples.

This creative mashup blends the fun and challenge of Snake with educational geographic exploration. Google Maps Snake became an instant hit, introducing the snake game to a new generation.

History of the Snake Game

Snake first emerged in the late 1970s as a primitive arcade game called Blockade. It was then ported to home PCs in the late 70s and early 80s under names like Worm or Nibbles.

Snake grew hugely popular in 1997 when Nokia pre-installed the game on its mobile phones under the name Snake. It became a classic time-waster game for countless Nokia users in the 90s.

Various versions and ports of Snake have existed over the years, but Nokia's mobile edition cemented its legendary status. The game has appeared on feature phones, smartphones, and computers.

By embedding Snake directly into Google Maps, a modern mapping service used by over 1 billion people, Google found a smart way to revive interest in the iconic Snake game for 21st century users.

How to Play Google Maps Snake

Playing Snake in Google Maps is simple. Just open the Google Maps app and look for the Snake game option in the main menu. Tap "Play Snake" to begin.

First, you'll choose a city on a map view of the world. Google provides a selection of major international cities like London, Cairo, Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco and more. Tap your preferred city to start.

You'll then pick a snake avatar vehicle related to the city, like a London double-decker bus or Tokyo bullet train. Use the arrow keys on desktop or swipe gestures on mobile to steer the snake around the roads.

The goal is to navigate your snake around the map and collect as many city landmarks as possible. Each landmark you pick up makes your snake longer, which makes controlling it steadily harder. Avoid crashing your snake into streets without exits.

If you collide into yourself, road barriers, or go off the map, your snake avatar will explode and the run ends. You'll earn coins based on how many landmarks collected before crashing.

The default settings provide 90 seconds to collect as many landmarks as you can on each map. Coins can unlock powerups like extra time and double points.

Google frequently adds seasonal themes too like Santa Snake during Christmas or a heart snake for Valentine's Day. The game provides short-burst Snake fun with geographic education built in.

Google Maps Snake Tips & Strategies

Mastering Google Maps Snake requires sharp maneuvering and mapping out paths in your head. Here are some top tips for high scores:

  • Pick wide roads - Stick to the major arterial roads and highways with lots of lanes at first for easier movement.

  • Avoid dead ends - Don't box yourself into narrow streets or cul-de-sacs until your snake is very long.

  • Plan ahead - Look at upcoming intersections and landmarks to decide your path, don't just react turn-by-turn.

  • Double back - Briefly backtracking creates safe space to redirect your snake and avoid crashes.

  • Grab boosts - Collect the time boost and coin boost powerups to extend playtime and score more landmarks.

  • Retry maps - Play maps multiple times to optimize routes and aim for your personal high landmark count.

With practice, you'll be able maneuver even lengthy snakes through the most tangled downtown maps. Analyze the roads carefully and don't be afraid to briefly double back as needed to line up safe turns.

Google Maps Snake City Maps

Google Maps Snake can be played in a selection of major cities from around the world:

  • London - Maneuver double decker buses around London's intricate roads. Landmarks include Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace and more.

  • Cairo - Expertly pilot felucca boats down the Nile and collect Egyptian landmarks. Beware dead ends!

  • Tokyo - Navigate bullet trains through Tokyo streets and grab shrines, temples and towers.

  • Sydney - Dodge plenty of road barriers guiding surf vans through Sydney. Grab the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

  • San Francisco - Carefully curve cable cars through hilly San Francisco. Collect landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • São Paulo - Swing soccer balls through Brazil's largest city and massive roads.

  • Santa's Village - Special Christmas theme with Santa's sleigh snaking around a snowy village collecting presents and trees.

  • Rainbow Road - Vibrant rainbow snake speeding along on a fantasy candy map for Pride Month.

Google adds new cities and seasonal themes regularly to keep the experience fresh. You'll enjoy learning the maps and optimizing high score routes in each unique location.

Educational Value

In addition to reviving a classic video game in a new format, Google Maps Snake cleverly integrates geographic education:

  • Explore Cities - Playing maps of famous cities helps develop spatial knowledge and awareness of that city's roads, layout, and landmarks.

  • Geographic Context - Seeing landmarks situated in context of the city around them provides greater geographic understanding.

  • World Knowledge - Choosing and learning maps from cities around the world fosters global awareness and cultural appreciation.

  • Critical Thinking - Navigating difficult scenarios develops critical thinking as you map safe routes in your head.

Educators could easily incorporate Google Maps Snake into lessons about geography, map reading skills, and cultural landmarks. Students can research cities and identify the landmarks they collected while playing. The blend of retro gaming and modern mapping provides a gateway to learning.

Development and Launch

Google Maps Snake was developed as a secret project by Google Maps' Sydney team. They conceived it as a fun April Fools' Day "prank" feature to surprise users with on April 1st, 2019.

The Google Maps app had not previously included Easter eggs or embedded games. By building Snake gameplay directly into their maps interface, the Sydney team created something novel and engaging.

Google Maps product director Simon Rogers noted: "We try to be unconventional with all of our April Fool’s Day pranks, and even though we’ve moved away from hoaxes in recent years, this was a playful way to pay homage to some of our favorite gadgets and games."

The Google Maps Snake game launched worldwide on April 1st 2019 on all platforms. It quickly went viral as nostalgic users shared their high scores. Major media coverage helped spread awareness.

Originally intended as just an April Fools' Day gag, the hugely positive response led Google to make it an ongoing feature. Maps Snake is still playable today as one of Google Maps' most creative additions.

Popularity and Reception

Google Maps Snake became massively popular immediately upon launch in April 2019.

Within just the first 3 days, over 1 million users had already tried the Snake game integrated into Maps. snake parked viral excitement by combining the nostalgic appeal of Snake with the ubiquity of Google Maps.

Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with users calling it “genius”, “innovative”, and “addictively fun”. Much praise centered on the smart incorporation of real city maps.

The initial April Fools' version only included 5 cities but Google soon expanded it based on demand. Over 50 cities have now been added to keep Maps Snake feeling fresh.

Users regularly request even more city additions on social media. The game's popularity endures thanks to Google's updates and seasonal themes. It's cemented status as one of Google Maps' most beloved Easter eggs.

Competitive Snake Events

Given Maps Snake's competitive high score chasing gameplay, it didn't take long for organizers to tap into the game for esports tournaments. These events add a competitive social element beyond just beating your own personal bests.

In May 2019, YouTube Gaming hosted the first ever Google Maps Snake Cup tournament livestreamed to tens of thousands of viewers. It featured notable YouTubers battling in 1v1 Snake matches across cities to achieve the highest combined landmark scores.

In March 2022, Red Bull held the Google Maps Snake World Cup with qualifiers leading to a final bracket between top Snake gamers at Red Bull HQ. More mainstream esports attention like this has helped prolong the appeal and extended the longevity of the Google Maps Snake game.

Future Outlook

Three years after first launching Google Maps Snake as an April Fools' experiment, the game remains a popular staple of the Google Maps experience due to regular updates and content expansions.

Looking ahead, here are some potential future developments that could keep Google Maps Snake thriving:

  • More Cities - Additional international cities added regularly to keep maps roster fresh.

  • Landmark Variety - Having unique landmarks for each city provides geographic educational value.

  • Community Maps - Possible support for user created maps and locations beyond just major cities.

  • Snake Skins - Cosmetic skins for the snake avatars like different colored trains, buses, etc.

  • Daily Challenges - Daily random city assignments and high score leaderboards.

  • Multiplayer - Head to head online battles racing to get highest landmark scores.

  • Single Player Modes - Time trial or other single player challenges beyond the standard endless mode.

Given the runaway success of Google Maps Snake, it is likely here to stay for the long haul with more content and features continuing to evolve the game over time.


When Google unexpectedly launched Snake directly inside Google Maps, it revitalized the iconic video game in a brilliantly novel way that appealed to nostalgic adults and kids alike.

Blending the old school Snake formula with modern city maps proved to be a genius combo. Google Maps Snake's educational geographic charm earned it instant virality and longevity.

With players continually challenged to beat their high scores across an expanding roster of global cities and seasonal themes, Google Maps Snake has cemented itself as one of the most beloved Easter eggs and microgame experiences in recent memory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about the Google Maps Snake game:

How do I find Snake in Google Maps?

Open the Google Maps app and look for "Play Snake" in the main side menu. Tap that to start the game.

What are the controls?

Use your keyboard arrow keys on desktop. On mobile, swipe your finger in the direction you want the snake to turn.

How long does a game last?

You have 90 seconds by default to score as high as possible each run. Collect time bonuses to extend your game.

Can I pick any city or map?

No, you have to choose from the selection of major cities that Google provides. London, Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco and more are available.

Does Google Maps Snake require internet?

Yes, it will only work with an active internet connection since the maps are loaded in real-time.

Is it a competitive multiplayer game?

The main mode is single player focused on beating your own high scores. But there are fan-run multiplayer tournaments.

When was Google Maps Snake first launched?

It was launched by surprise on April 1st 2019 as a fun April Fool's Day prank. It was so popular it became permanent.

What are landmarks in the game?

Each city's map has local landmarks like Big Ben in London or Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that your snake collects.

Can I play Google Maps Snake on iPhone/iPad?

Yes it is available on iOS devices through the Google Maps app for Apple. Just look for "Play Snake" in the menu.

Does Google update the game anymore?

Yes, they continue adding seasonal themes and new cities every few months to keep it feeling fresh.

Google Maps Snake


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