If you head to the Google homepage today, Thursday 3 May, you will see a new Google Doodle. However, today’s is the first to compatible with VR headsets, or can be watched in a 360-degree interactive video if viewing on a regular web browser.
The Doodle, called Back to the Moon, celebrates French illusionist and film director George Méliès, as his silent film À la conquête du pôle (The Conquest of the Pole), was released on this day 106 years ago in 1912. The VR Doodle has been made in collaboration with Google Spotlight Stories (Google’s VR arm), Google Arts & Culture and Cinémathèque Française.
The main story of the Doodle sees a protagonist chasing the Queen of Hearts through various scenes, including the ocean and space although an evil green man enters the fray to try and kidnap the Queen.
Hélène Leroux, project art lead of the Doodle said: “In addition to being a magician, Méliès was an expert storyteller, so it was important for the Doodle to have a clear story. We approached it as if it were a ballet or play you watch at the theatre, where you get to choose where to look. In these situations, the spectator becomes the camera, editing their own film”.
The Doodle makes full use of the 360-degree space, so you will likely want to watch the two minute movie through a few times to catch everything that’s going on. It’s a lot easier to track it all wearing a VR headset, and the Doodle is compatible with Google Cardboard and Daydream via the Google Spotlight Stories app. It can also be viewed on the HTC Vive via Steam and Viveport. If you don’t have a headset you can still watch the video on YouTube and click and drag to see all the action.