Google celebrates Roswell UFO anniversary with Doodle game

The Web giant turns the popular alien conspiracy theory into an animated interactive game.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Google Doodle to celebrate 66th anniversary of Roswell UFO sighting. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Was it an aircraft, weather balloon, or flying saucer piloted by aliens that was spotted crashed near Roswell, N.M., exactly 66 years ago?

It appears Google may be placing its bets on the flying saucer. In a tongue-in-cheek Doodle commemorating the anniversary of Roswell's UFO incident, the Web giant has created a game that involves an alien spaceship wreck.

In 1947, a local claimed to have found the remains of a crashed UFO in field near Roswell. Subsequently, a handful of people also said they witnessed a flying disc hurtling through the night sky in the same area. The event made headlines around the world, but the U.S. military clamped down and denied it was anything other than a downed weather balloon.

The Google Doodle game loosely follows this same storyline. The game starts with an alien crash-landing its spacecraft in a Roswell-like landscape. The goal is for the alien to find the correct puzzle pieces to be able to get back on its saucer and fly home. To play the game, users click their mouse to walk around and solve certain riddles.

Once the game is done, an animation shows the alien flying home, along with a fake "Google Daily Record" news story on a "Flying Saucer Spotted in the Roswell Region." If users click on the bogus news story, they'll be taken to a legitimate Google search about the Roswell UFO incident.

Google Doodle's have become increasingly more sophisticated over the years -- and this game is definitely one of the more complex Doodles. These types of drawings and animations are an integral part of the company's Web design. It has created artistic commemorations for everything from Pac-Man's anniversary to the World Cup to the birthday of German author Franz Kafka.