Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary is being marked in all sorts of ways this weekend, but now the clever folks at Google have tipped their hat in the Time Lord’s direction. Today’s so-called “Google Doodle” not only represents all 11 of the Doctor’s incarnations in visual form, it’s also a rather snazzy playable 8-bit game! You can currently see the game live on the U.K. Google homepage, and it’ll go up on the U.S. version at midnight E.T., when it officially rolls over into November 23 — 50 years to the day since Doctor Who first premiered back in 1963.
The game is simple but still fun. You get to chose your character from any of the 11 Doctors (sorry, no playable War Doctor). Then you set out to rescue the letters “G-O-O-G-L-E” from those nefarious Daleks, who have stolen them for some reason. The game’s pretty basic: throw a few switches, avoid the wandering Daleks, take the letters back to the TARDIS, then on to the next level. It’s not going to totally eat your afternoon, but it is a nice way to while away a few minutes, and once you beat it you can always try to beat your best time.
Google head creative artist Matt Cruikshank told EW:
We tried to aim for the base-level as well as the hardcore fans for this.Initially, we were contacted about four months ago internally by a Doctor Who fan who mentioned that [the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who] would make a great subject for a Doodle. [It’s] a big cultural institution back in England and it really deserves something quite special. So we set about trying to create a game and we have a fully-interactive, multi-level game. One of the exciting things about Doctor Who is he’s a Time Lord, so he can travel in different dimensions to the past and to the future and also to the present. So we’ve tried to have as much fun with that as possible.
Today in Television
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Marathon, Part Two (BBC America, 10 a.m. / 9 a.m. Central)
The Doctor Who goodness doesn’t stop with today’s Google Doodle. BBC America has tons of fun stuff, including this marathon through the second half of Matt Smith’s adventures as the Doctor. Geronimo!
Doctor Who Explained (BBC America, 8/7c)
Behind-the-scenes look at Doctor Who includes comments from members of the cast and crew. Appearing: Matt Smith; David Tennant; Peter Davison; Tom Baker; Jenna Coleman; Karen Gillan; and Freema Agyeman.
An Adventure in Space and Time (BBC America, 9/8c)
What do you get when you mix C.S. Lewis with H.G. Wells, and sprinkle in a bit of Father Christmas? An alien Time Lord exploring space and time in a Police Box spaceship called the “TARDIS” (Time And Relative Dimension in Space). On November 23, 1963, a television legend began when the very first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on BBC One. Fifty years later, the genesis story is retold in a new BBC AMERICA co-production film celebrating the 50th anniversary of the franchise.