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Lime beats coconut: Google's Doodle Fruit Games make it okay to play with your food

Even a 74-mile traffic jam and overspilling sewage won’t push back the Friday kickoff of the 2016 Olympics, it seems, nor its promotional efforts. Google is one company that’s gotten into the spirit this past week, slowly but surely updating its properties in preparation for the upcoming games.

It’s introduced informational “cards” in search results, for one, plus live replays from live television broadcasts on YouTube, highlights of landmarks in Rio De Janiero in Street View, and indoor diagrams Olympic facilities in Google Maps. But the Mountain View company’s latest rollout skews decidedly more playful — a suite of competitive games starring fruit.

Google’s calling it the “Doodle Fruit Games,” and the premise is as colorful as the title implies: foodstuff from a fruit stand in Brazil have been pitted against one anther for the title of “freshest fruit.” The competition takes the form of minigame spins to real-life Olympic games. There’s a mock decathlon of strawberries, a BMX event starring coconuts, a pineapple pro tennis game, a hurdle event of jumping spiders, and apparently wackier entries to come. You’ll be able to partake in a new game every day, Google said, and compete against the best of them. High scores are recorded and available to share after each play session.

Related: Immerse yourself in Rio (minus the Zika) with Google’s new Olympics features

To coincide with the launch of each new game, Google will post cheeky daily recaps of the fictional Fruit Games “as they progress.”

Getting started is simple enough, assuming you have an Android or iOS device handy. Navigate to g.co/fruit, install the Google Search app, launch it, and tap on the prominent “Google” logo. You’ll be able to partake in a new game every day, Google said, and compete against the best of them: high scores are recorded and available to share after each play session.

It’s not the first time Google has experimented with games in Search. In celebration of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, it published a series of interactive doodles that included sports like basketball, rowing, track, and soccer. But Doodle Fruit Games marks the first time Google’s made downloading its eponymous Search app a requirement to play — a stipulation that’ll likely rankle the feathers of those who aren’t comfortable doing so. 

Related: Google lets you explore Rio Olympic venues with ‘enhanced’ maps

Still, compared to the widely reported trials and tribulations attendees of the actual Olympics will face in the coming weeks, downloading an app is a comparatively mild prescription — pun not intended.