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7 games you can play with Google Maps

pac-map

For April Fools Day this year, Google created a version of Pac-Man that you could play inside Google Maps, to the delight of everyone who wanted eat power-pellets on the roundabouts of their hometown. Although this Pac-Man experience is now sadly defunct, people have been building games around Google Maps for years: trivia games, hidden object games, shooting games, building games, driving games, and even survival games. We've picked out seven interactive cartography experiences that you can try out for free in your browser, on the streets of nearly any city in the world.

Google Sheep View


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Think of it as a version of "I Spy" that spans the entire world, and focuses exclusively on sheep. Created by Ding Ren and Mike Karabinos, the Google Sheep View tumblr encourages viewers (or players) to digitally wander the streets of Google Maps and try to spot the wooly little faces of sheep.

Geoguessr


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This popular geography guessing game displays Google Street View pictures from locations around the world—roads, houses, trees, stores—and challenges you to identify the towns and cities by dropping a pin on a map. After you've made your guess, it reveals the real location, and awards points based on how close you get.

MapsTD


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If you enjoy tower defense games like Bloons, chances are you'll enjoy MapsTD, where you build battle towers by dropping and upgrading colored pins, which defend against the enemies marching down the streets of your chosen city. If you're not into the satellite view, you can always shift into watercolor for a more abstract experience.

Geo Guns


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Like many shooting games, Geo Guns views the world as a rich and varied series of backdrops for blowing things up. It promises to let you "turn any place on Earth into a virtual battlefield thanks to Google Maps’ awesome new 45 degree angle view." Select a location, and it immediately becomes the wallpaper for a tank battle between you and a computer opponent.

Build with Chrome


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A teamup between Google and LEGO, Build with Chrome lets you turn the world into your very own LEGO version of Minecraft, picking out a plot of land on Google Maps, building your very own city of plastic bricks, and then sharing your creation with your friends. As the name suggests, only works in the Chrome browser.

Streetview Zombie Apocalypse


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A survival game of sorts, Streetview Zombie Apocalypse promises to let you "run from the living dead in your own neighborhood" by dropping you into the street view location of choice, with a small mini map the displays the undead lurking around you with red pins. It's your job to run away from them through Street View, and stay alive for as long as you can.

2D Driving Simulator


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This browser experience doesn't allow you to drive down the streets of your favorite city so much as it allows you to glide over them in a tiny vehicle that never encounters any obstacles. Think of it as 2D Hovercar Simulator, maybe?

Any more Google Maps games to suggest? Drop them in the comments.

Animal abuse allegations included swearing at sheep—but plenty worse, too

sheep

A farmer, criticized for allowing sheep-shearers to swear at his animals, joked that the animals have never complained about salty language.

Ken Turner, of New South Wales in Australia, was reported to animal welfare group RSPCA after workers reported that the behavior distressed the herd, reports the Newcastle Herald. A complaint was lodged by PETA, to whom workers had sent undercover footage of abuse they say was physical as well as verbal, "including stomping and punching of the sheep."

"If foul language were the worst that sheep in Australian shearing sheds had to endure, then no complaint would have been filed," a spokeswoman told the newspaper.

But the case was dropped, leaving Turner to tour the press making light of the allegations: "they didn’t even look offended to me after they were shorn," he told a radio host last week.

The Australian Associated Press (widely syndicated to outlets such as The Telegraph and The Daily Mail) left the physical abuse details to the very end of its report. London's Metro tabloid completely removes them, describing the allegations exclusively as "bizarre" complaint about language. The Times wrote that the report had "provoked a debate about whether verbal abuse of animals constitutes an act of violence"—but also managed to avoid detailing the fact that violence was also alleged. The footage was deemed inadmissible in court, according to the AAP.

Sheep killers jailed

A couple from County Durham, England, will do jail time after decapitating a sheep and terrifying local children with the severed head.

Robert Carr, 28, was sentenced to 20 months for the bizarre attack, described by authorities as "beyond comprehension". Miranda Clark, 39, will spend up to eight months in jail. Carr and Clark pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty, child cruelty, destroying property and owning an illegal knife.

“Their initial attack on a defenseless animal seems to have served no purpose beyond providing some sort of twisted entertainment for the pair," prosecutor Gerry Sydenham said. "Not content with killing and mutilating the rare sheep, they then went on to traumatise a group of local children with the animal's severed head, before discarding it as an afterthought in a neighbour's yard.