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The five best Google Doodle games to play instead of working today

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Nineteen years ago, two Stanford grad students focused their mathematical curiosity on the World Wide Web, and, eventually, created Google.

Today, the $650-billion company is celebrating its birthday by bringing back 19 of its Google Doodle games. The games are set on a spinner to give the day a little more wheel-of-fortune fun. You can spin the wheel to play a random game. (For the impatient, simply Google the game you want to play.)

Favorites, like the cricket doodle (crickets playing cricket), tic-tac-toe, and the history-wonk hip-hop doodle are part of the blasts from the past.

Only have a couple hours to kill in your day? Here are the best games to take for a spin:

  1. Pac-Man: Google originally produced this doodle to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic game. The result? A company that monitors employee productivity said the game cost a whopping $120 million in lost earnings and 4.82 million hours in lost productivity because workers were, well, playing this game.
  1. Animated Beethoven: In honor of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 245th birthday, Google put together a musical adventure: Get Beethoven to the symphony hall on a day that was not one of his best. (Even savants can step in gunk.) Doesn’t sound all that enthralling? You have to put bits from within the composer’s iconic pieces, like his Fifth Symphony, in the proper order before time runs out.
  2. Snake: Google is bringing back ancient ways of procrastinating today. In a snazzed-up version of the game popular in the pre-smartphone age, you can try to get a snake—now in color! (blue)—to eat red apples.
  3. Magic Halloween: Honestly, it’s got wands, and magic, and black cats, and well, is reminiscent of Harry Potter. To celebrate the dress-up holiday last year, Google put together a catventure where a spunky, cute feline (Momo) defeats ghosts in a room that feels like an animated version of the Hogwarts library.
  4. Galapagos Islands: This is less of a game and more of a visually stunning immersive experience, but if you’re jonesing for some intellectual fun and incredible 360°  views, then this “game” is worth spinning for.

Our best wishes for a productive day.