'Playing' Crave with nifty Chrome World Wide Maze

A cool new experiment uses HTML5 to turn any Web site into a 3D labyrinth and any smartphone running Chrome into a game controller.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects. CNET's "Living off the Grid" series. https://www.cnet.com/feature/home/energy-and-utilities/living-off-the-grid/ Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
Rolling all over Crave in 3D... Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Finally, Chrome has given me a way to turn work into a game.

Chrome World Wide Maze is a nifty experiment from the Google Japan crew that syncs the mobile Chrome browser to a tab on the desktop, turning your smartphone into a controller that navigates a digital pinball on the desktop screen around a 3D rendering of any site on the Web.

Sounds like an odd concept at first, but once your device and desktop are synced up via HTML5 WebSockets (it took me a few tries, as I got a couple of "null" responses on the connect codes) and you've picked your site, the gameplay is exceedingly smooth.

The game takes advantage of Javascript, WebGL-powered 3D graphics, HTML5 accelerometer support, and other modern Web wonders. The potential for a new form of console-less gaming is pretty clear, but some of Google's coolest experiments are also known to be quickly shelved or forgotten (R.I.P. Google PowerMeter).

Watch the full demo below in Japanese, or enter the URL for this post and interact with my writing in whole new ways.