If you’re wondering why office productivity nosedived this week, you can probably blame Google and its ingenious Katamari Damacy Easter egg game.
Katamari is a two-decade-old puzzle-action Namco gaming franchise that launched on PlayStation 2 in 2004 (but was unveiled in 2003 at the Tokyo Game Show). The initial game tells the tale of a prince seeking to restore the cosmos that his father, the King, destroyed in a drunken rage.
What made it so popular though was the whimsical gameplay which features a giant magical ball that’s rolled around and collects all kinds of objects. The game ultimately spawned at least 14 more variations over the span of 20 years.
Perhaps in honor of the anniversary, Google has added a little something special to the “Katamari” Google search result.
If you search for that term on the desktop and look at the Google knowledge box on the left, you’ll notice the magical Katamari ball. Click on it and a rendered 3D Katamari ball will appear in the middle of the screen, along with visual guidance on how to control the ball with your keyboard’s arrow keys.
As soon as you tap or hold one of the arrow keys, the ball will roll in that direction. It also has built-in momentum which means that the longer you hold the key, the faster the ball rolls and the longer it takes to stop. You can also use your mouse to click and push the ball in any direction you want.
As the ball rolls, it acts like a magnet and collects up all the images and thumbnails on the search results page until the ball is covered and only the rolling thumbnail graphics are visible. Collected graphics also get the same treatment as the 3D ball and even throw shadows on the page.
This is also an Easter game of skill as the ball becomes somewhat harder to control the more stuff you roll onto its endlessly sticky body.
We can almost guarantee you will spend too much time rolling the ball around to grab every single graphic. Okay, maybe it was just us.
Unlike Google Doodles that appear on the anniversary day and then often disappear, the best Google Easter Eggs like this can last for as long as people search the term. We suggest you try it out, play for a bit, and then get back to work. We can’t all afford to get permanently distracted, can we?