Hobbits, trolls, and elves invade Google Chrome

Indulge your inner Hobbit with the "Journey through Middle-earth" interactive experience from Google. But beware of Hill-trolls!

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read
Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Turn your Chrome browser into a fantasy portal complete with dwarves worthy of Bilbo Baggins. Journey through Middle-earth is an interactive Chrome browser experience inspired by the new movie "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and developed by North Kingdom.

Explore Hobbit locales such as Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell, and Dol Guldur. Other locations, such as Thranduil's Hall, Lake-Town, and Erebor, will be unlocked as the movie's December premiere gets closer.

In the wild upland woods of Trollshaw, the hunting place of Hill-trolls who terrorize unsuspecting travelers, we learn about its dangerous inhabitants and Bilbo's encounter with them. Run through a maze surrounded by Hill-trolls and hopefully escape without being snatched.

Rivendell, the Elven Enclave in the Misty Mountains, is a bit more hospitable and, of course, essential in Bilbo's quest. Listen to Elvish while reading all about Lord Elrond, Master of Rivendell; Galadriel; and Saruman the White. The game in this realm mixes a swooning music score with delightful graphics that make you feel like a forest sprite whipping through flowers.

The once-great fortress of Dol Guldur is infamous for the wicked presence that dwells inside and transformed the thriving forest into Mirkwood with giant spiders nesting in the darkness. It is in this section of the interactive map that we learn more about Gandalf the Grey and fellow wizard Radagast the Brown. Explore further for a game that could cut a trip to Dol Guldur violently short.

"The immersive 3D graphics in 'Journey through Middle-earth' were built with CSS3 and WebGL, which you might recognize from previous Chrome Experiments," Product Marketing Manager Christos Apartoglou wrote on the Google Chrome Blog. "But 'Journey through Middle-earth' is the first Chrome Experiment designed to bring this beautiful, 3D experience to mobile, thanks to support for WebGL in Chrome for Android on devices with high-end graphics cards. Although WebGL isn't supported on iOS, Chrome users can still experience most of 'Journey through Middle-earth' on their iPhones and iPads. We can't wait to see what sort of rich experiences developers will build as modern Web technologies become available on more types of devices."

Be sure to explore previous Chrome Experiments here.