A Dinosaur Story


If you’re subscribed to a lot of tech channels
here on YouTube, then you’re probably accustomed to product reviews, gadget unboxings, hardware
teardowns, and stuff you sometimes might even struggle to understand. And while we do make those kinds of videos
from time to time here on CHM Tech, occasionally we also like to go a step further, and dig
into the more ‘’important’’ topics like the maximum number of unlock patterns
you could create on an Android phone, the distance your mouse cursor travels in a year
or forgotten stories about buttons like the Scroll lock. You know, the things you might really have
use of! So in order not to disappoint, today I have
a brand new useful topic for you guys. And, in the day and age we live in, what can
be more useful than something you can do when you’re out of internet. Like reading a good book, going outside and enjoying a day in nature or actually exercising for a change. Or, you could just play a game! One that is specifically designed to pop up
in the case of an internet shortage. In 2013 Google updated its web browser with
a brand new error screen. Whenever Google Chrome users would experience
an internet shortage, they would be presented with this. Besides the message that there is no internet
connection, and a few suggestions for diagnostics, the screen also displayed an image of a T-rex
standing still on a desert plain. The next year, users would find out that they
could actually activate a game with this dinosaur simply by pressing the spacebar on their keyboard
or tapping on the screen if they were using a smartphone. And the goal of the game really couldn’t
be more straightforward! Literally! You constantly move forward and avoid obstacles in the form of cactuses and later on pterodactyl for as long as you can. But we’ll get back to that a bit later. Before it became interactive, the T-rex character
from the offline game was just an icon! It was designed by Sebastien Gabriel, a visual
designer who is also known for designing other Chrome icons, one of them being the ‘’Chrome
repair bot’’. Now, at first glance, you might think that
there’s really not much to creating these sorts of simple icons. But, you’d actually be surprised at how
much thought is put into designing something you hope people won’t ever have to see,
or at least, not that often! In a 2014 interview published on OMGChrome,
Gabriel compared the process to designing a 404: ‘’You hope the user will never
see it’’, he said, ‘’but if they do, you try to make it as light as possible so
you don’t add up to the frustration.’’ The cute T-rex soon became the protagonist
of the now well known easter egg game that was, according to Gabriel, also designed by
Alan Bettes and Manuel Clement, and entirely coded by Google developer Edward Jung. When the game first came out, it only included
obstacles in the form of cactuses. Additionally pterodactyls were added as well. Besides pressing the spacebar, on desktop
PCs, the game can also be activated by pressing the arrow up key. Control-wise, both of those keys make the
T-rex leap, while pressing the arrow down key makes it crouch. There are two types of leaps that can be executed
– a normal one, which is activated by pressing the mentioned keys in a convincing fashion,
and a light one, which is executed with a soft or quick press. The game can also be paused by pressing alt,
which basically highlights the customize and control button. Resuming the game, requires you to click somewhere
on the game screen. As the game progresses, it increases its speed,
and periodically shifts between day and night backgrounds. The game is an infinite runner that has no
time limitations or scripted epilog. You basically go for as long as you can, and
while doing so, hopefully forget about the frustrations of dealing with one of the biggest
first world problems. Or, you forget you’re in class and completely
ignore everything your teacher is saying. Now, this might sound like a half-baked and
out of place joke, but according to the discussions on chromium.org, this was an actual issue! It was brought up in a post in which someone
explained how students would intentionally disconnect school Chromebooks from the Internet,
allowing the dinosaur game to load within the Chrome web browser, without any restrictions. The developers at Google actually took the
described issue very seriously, and developed policies for disabling the game on enrolled
Chromebooks, and later on a similar thing was done for other platforms as well. But, why a dinosaur, and does this easter
egg have any particular meaning? Well, some people think that this little guy
may be a reference to Stan. Stan is the nickname given to a Tyrannosaurus
fossil that was found in Hell Creek Formation, South Dakota, back in 1987. The fossil was discovered by amateur paleontologist
Stan Sacrison, hence how it got its nickname. About 30 casts of the original fossil have
been sold worldwide, and one of them just so happens to be located at the Googleplex in California. Now, in it’s time, the Tyrannosaurus rex
was a fearsome predator, but for such a large creature, it had rather short forearms. Because of this anatomical feature, in the
day and age of the Internet, the T-rex has often been a subject for memes, which is something
that you just might see if you give a deeper thought to the Google Chrome easter egg game. Because of it’s short forearms, the T-rex can be imagined as a creature that has trouble reaching things. And, in the case of Chrome,
well… you get the picture! Whether this is something that Google designers
and developers actually had in mind while creating the character and the game, or if
it’s just a suitable explanation that people came up with afterwards, you have to admit
it is rather clever! The underlying message is – when you lose
your connection to the Internet, it’s like you’re thrown back to the dinosaur age. But really, you might say, it’s just a game! And it is! But remember the beginning of the video and my little goof about the important things in technology. Well in a world in which we’re constantly
on the lookout for cutting edge hardware, intelligent software and gadgets that are
supposed to think for us, know how we feel and anticipate our actions, little things
like the dinosaur game are so beautifully unexpected, they really feel like a breath
of fresh air. It’s about being creative And if you ask me, that’s very important! Hope you enjoyed the video! Thanks for watching! And as always – stay strong!

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