Catapult these gnomes to glory!

Google Doodle educates and entertains with its celebration of garden gnomes. — Google Doodle

Google Doodle educates and entertains with its celebration of garden gnomes. — Google Doodle

Ever felt like tossing a garden gnome? With Google Doodle, you even get a catapult to do it with. 

On Google's home screen, users can press the image to get a short animation on the origin of these red-hat creatures, followed by the game itself.

Imagine Angry Birds, using a catapult (Google clarifies it's technically a trebuchet) to launch clay gnomes into the farthest reaches of your garden. 

Press the space bar button to start the catapult swing, the tap it a second time to launch gnome as far as you can. Users can also press the down-arrow button in the lower right corner screen to get extra bounce and distance out of their gnomes. 

The further the gnome goes, the more flowers and points you get.

There are six different gnomes with different shapes, aerodynamics and bounciness. A quick test suggest the stocky pink gnome has really good bounce, scoring 711 points. 

“The farther your gnome travels, the more flowers you plant – and the more points you earn! Once you learn the basics, you can choose from six colourful gnomes with different shapes, weights, and bounciness. Try each one to see which gnome goes the greatest distance towards making your garden the most beautiful of all,” explains Google Doodle's Archives. 

For the visual design, lead artist Gerben Steenks found inspiration in Germany’s rich traditions in wood carving, village architecture, and folk history. 

“He was also able to draw from a wide variety of flowers, trees, and other plant life that are unique or commonly found in German gardens,” according to the Archives.

The Gnome toss isn't just mindless fun though, it's to celebrate these tiny statues – called gartenzwerg in German – and honour their role in the country, in conjunction with Garden Day there. 

It's explained that Gnome figures first appeared in 13th-century Anatolia, then again in 16th-century Italy, finally becoming a common fixture of German gardens in  the 19th-century, in the mining area of Thuringia.

“Here, local craftsmen are given credit for hand-crafting the gnomes as we know them – with shaggy beards and pointy hats. Propelled by local myths and increased leisure time, the gnomes began to find homes in gardens throughout the country. Legend has it they protect these gardens and bring good luck,” it said.

Google Doodle , garden gnomes , game , gartenzwerg