You can spin the virtual globe with your mouse and have a lot of globetrotting fun from the comfort of your armchair. With air travel not being so much fun anymore, it’s quite a good idea to do some ticketless treks now and again.
Google Earth gives us a bird’s eye view on lots of things which we wouldn’t have seen in our entire lifetimes. Like the Nevada crop circles or the fantastic news of the mythic sighting.
Google Earth is the virtual face of a very real world. So, it’s not surprising that it has become a playing arena for lots of fun and games. Most of the free Google Earth games are based on the geographic power that Google Earth brings to our browsers and desktops.
Google Earth games are hardly launched with the kind of fanfare and media blitz that typify the genre. So, where do you go hunting for free Google Earth games?
The Google Lat Long Blog is kind of the official voice for Google Geo products, but there’s hardly any Google Earth games related information there. But there’s the unofficial Google Earth Blog which is a treasure trove of tidbits on the subject. My first steps into the Earth’s gaming zone were through the links laid down here. Take a look. Multi-player games like GEMMO or GE Football are always worth a round.
If you are a fan of the fun side of Google Earth, park yourself at the Google Earth Community. You might want to check out the discussion threads on Fun and Games.
Then there are others that you might not have played yet. Here are six of them -
Earth Contest is a free travel game you can play with your friends. The site itself calls it an armchair travel game. You play against The GameMaster in this virtual world. You can choose to play the mystery game (Who Killed Gary Egerson?) or click on the trivia game (Entertainment & Gossip Trivia).
In the first, you start off with a fixed amount of Earth Contest dollars. The game gets played inside the Google Earth application. The idea is to go from one location to another with the help of clues. Along the way, you can help others with clues or even mislead them. And you get an airplane to hop from one location to the next.
The Trivia game is also about solving the quiz on celebrities and travelling from location to the next depending on the answer.
Tina also mentioned it in her post on Google Earth: Cool Resources and Plugins.
PlanetInAction has two games ““ one takes you to the heights of space and the other brings you to the sea level. Both can be played inside the browser with the Google Earth plug-in installed.
Moon Lander lets you experience the adrenalin rush of Apollo 11′s moon landing. You get to take manual control and land the Eagle spacecraft just as Neil Armstrong had done all those years back. He had limited fuel, you have unlimited supply. Are you a better pilot?
Ships puts you on the helm of your own cruise liner or tanker, or even a river barge. You get to be the captain and navigate the ship across many of the scenic seaboard locations around the world.
Sea-seek.com has a submarine simulator (among other choices) which gives you the choice between doing some coastline surveillance off the coasts of California, Gibraltar, or Greece. Or you can take the sub and dive deep into the Mariana Trench, Milwaukee Deep, or Romanche Trench.
You get to monitor a control panel and set things like speed and piloting controls. You can opt for a Cessna or a helicopter to do some simulated fly-bys over the oceans.
GEWAR is a massive multi-player online game that you can play in your browser with the Google Earth plug-in installed. The game comes with lots of rules and laws that need to be followed. GEWAR is about building your own armies with the resources you have. The objective ““ to capture cities around the world. Each city has a value and the total value with each player decides his position on the leaderboard.
The currency for this online world is called Geos and there are a lot of activities you can do to earn them and fund your armies. You can even purchase a nuke and obliterate a city in one blast. Armies are pitted against each other and it can be literally, a scrap.
Where On Google Earth is an online geography game. Pictures taken from locations around the world are posted and you can leave your guesses in the comments section.
Each contest lasts one week and you can refer any source to get to the answer. Get them right and place yourself on the leaderboard.
Google Earthing is a similar Google Earth based “˜guess the right answer from the photo’ game.
Google Earth games might not put you into the same kind of Avatar style immersive experience that many high end games give. But if you want to combine education with fun, then Google Earth remains a great tool. All net chatter on Google Earth signals the fact that these are very early days for the mashup of Google Earth and games apps. These games are also about the potential that remains to be tapped.
That’s for later, right now let’s fire up the blue globe and go around the world and try them all out at least once.
Which is your favorite Google Earth game?