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Wiki Races: Chrome Fastball

Do not question the way my mind works.

Is it advert, is it game, is it video, is it brainteaser? Chrome Fastball is all those things. It’s a promotional web-toy created by a little company known as Google, intended to convince us all to use the Chrome browser. Why, whoever would want to do that? We’re all so happy with Microsoft Internet Explorer whatever-the-hell-number-that-carcrash-is-on-now.

Yeah, it’s an advert. But it’s also a test of how well you know the internet: both its mechanics and its concept.

As a cute CGI animation of an impossible machine plays out over YouTube, you’re demanded every few seconds to master a challenge. Tweet a fact, search for three things of diminishing Google hits, rapido-type band names into Last.fm, map a route…

Do it as quickly as possible and willy-wave about your high score, but don’t expect too much variation on further plays.

Yeah, it’s an advert. But… well, I said that already, didn’t I? I was struck, though, by how many internet systems I recognise and understand, by how quickly I knew what to do.

This is why so many people can stare at us techno-folk and feel this modern internet business is totally, hopelessly beyond them. The amount we understand about interfaces and information retrieval, the speed we operate at… I may lack any practical skills whatsoever (though I can turn my eyelids inside out), but my brain has been stealth-programmed as thoroughly an internet organ. Yours too.

(I do realise Wikipedia doesn’t, in fact, feature amongst the challenges. Couldn’t pass up that headline, though.)

Thanks to DeliriumWartner for the tip.

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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