London 2012 hurdles game: Go for gold, just don't tell your boss (+video)(Read article summary)
The London 2012 hurdles got an interactive tribute from Google. The search engine tapped into retro gaming with a productivity-killing key masher.
Tuesday's Google doodle, part of a daily series celebrating the Olympics, is the first interactive entry since the Games began last month.
The rules are simple. Players must guide the digital racer over the hurdles and across the finish line as fast as possible. Our animated athlete responds only to one kind of motivation: the constant clacking of keys.
But you can't just mash the keyboard. The game wants you to hit the left and right arrow keys in rapid succession. Imagine yourself as a drill sergeant – the faster you holler "left, right, left," the faster he hustles.
Once you reach a hurdle, hit the space bar to leap over it. Nailing the timing takes a little practice, but as you pick up speed, each jump becomes a little easier – and louder. By the time you've hit full stride, everyone around you will know. (Maybe pass it off as a moment for office bonding. Challenge coworkers to beat your best run.)
The London 2012 hurdles game follows a time-honored formula, one pioneered by retro video games. The controls closely match Konami's 1983 classic Track & Field. Its 100 Meter Dash mode also asked players to alternate between two "run" buttons. May the fastest fingers win.
Earlier this year, Google created a mock Turing machine game. The series of puzzles required players to enter commands to solve binary brainteasers.
Google has more up its sleeve. Expect more Olympic doodle games later this week. And if you're looking for a beginner's guide to watching today's London 2012 hurdles, Monitor writer Laura Edwins says the women's 100-meter is the race to watch.
For more on how technology intersects daily life, follow Chris on Twitter @venturenaut.