(Google)

IT WAS two decades ago that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met on the Stanford campus and soon, from a humble Bay Area garage, began what would become one of the world’s towering tech titans.

Among its many early milestones, Google was incorporated in September 1998, and so chooses to mark its birthday from that month. Which explains why today, Google’s home page offers a “birthday surprise spinner” that leads to 19 animated party games — from a host of familiar favorites to its new “snake game.”

So which of these is the greatest Google Doodle game ever?

Well, of Google’s “big 19,” the Play Solitaire Doodle and Tic Tac Toe are the most standard of diverting fare. And at the other end of the depth spectrum, the Galápagos Islands project is an immersive deep dive that rates as an entirely separate experience.

Among the games that can be especially addictive or informative — or both — here are our top five:

5. This year’s “ICC Champions Trophy” Cricket Doodle is great fun except for one glaring flaw: Because the scoreboard only goes to three digits, the game stops tallying your total at “999.” (Dear Google designers: Please fix next year. Thank you.)


Frustratingly, this year’s Cricket Doodle tops out at a score of “999.” (Google)

4. The Pony Express Doodle video game, first offered in 2015, blends an engagingly artful aesthetic (love that palette) with a joyfully brisk pace. Long may it run!

(Courtesy of GOOGLE 2015)

3. As fun as the Clara Rockmore’s Theremin Doodle is, it cannot quite hold a candelabra to the animated Beethoven Doodle that lent whimsical visuals to an interactive symphonic story.


(Google 2015)

2. The beautiful Oskar Fischinger Doodle lets you play with visual sound. But for engagement in a similar vein, our favorite is this year’s hip-hop Doodle — a brilliantly executed animation that mixes historical storytelling and tuneful, knob-turning interactivity.


(Google)

1. For both classic simplicity and cultural impact, though, Comic Riffs’ all-time favorite is the Play Pac-Man Doodle that first proved to be an epic office time-suck in 2010 (to the tune of nearly 5 million hours, according to RescueTime).

Google’s Pac-Man Doodle debuted in 2010. (Google)