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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.