Garden gnomes take flight in addicting new Google Doodle game

How far will your figurines fly?

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read

Do chubby, pint-size humanlike creatures with red pointy hats inhabit your garden?

If so, you're part of one of the longest running folklore traditions. These ornaments originated in the German mining town of Thuringia during the 19th century.  Usually made of wood or porcelain, the figurines were associated with folk tales and superstitions about dwarfs believed to help around the mine or protect buried treasure.

Their popularity spread to other parts of Europe but eventually declined until a resurgence in the 1930s after the release of the Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They made another comeback in the 1990s thanks to news stories about traveling gnomes and pranks in which the figurines were stolen from an owner's property and thieves would send the owner photos of their globetrotting gnome in far-flung locations.

An estimated 100 million garden gnomes protect yards worldwide.

To celebrate our obsession with the figurines, Google on Sunday dedicated an interactive game doodle to teaching us how they're made -- and how far they'll fly by applying the optimum trajectory. Using the keyboard's space bar to start the doodle's catapult swing, players tap a second time to launch their clay figure as far into their garden as they can. The further your gnome goes, the more flowers (and points) you get.

You can experiment with different shapes, weights and bounciness to make your gnome travel further. (Pro tip: Tap the down-arrow button in the lower right corner of the game before your gnome hits the ground to get extra bounce and distance.)

There's a bit of Angry Birds in this, but without the destruction on the other side. Have a little fun with yet another of Google's addicting game doodles.

Doodling our world: Check out Google's previous celebrations of people, events and holidays that impact our lives.

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