Google has outdone itself once again. On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the search engine introduced its newest Google doodle. In honor of Frank Zamboni, Jr.’s birthday, fans of the resurfacing machine can pretend they’re on the ice with this playable, multi-level game.
The game features 8-bit style animation and cheesy video-game music that play as you, the heroic Zamboni driver, work to clear the ice after skaters make a mess. Each level adds complications. You have to clear an increasing number of skate marks from more and more skaters. You need to refuel that Zamboni before you’re left marooned center-ice. There are even banana peels (not a normal ice hazard, but whatever) to avoid — one slip and you’ll go spinning off in the wrong direction!
The result is a pretty spectacular ode to the invention that makes clear ice between hockey periods and open skates possible.
Frank Zamboni, Jr. was born on Jan. 16, 1901 in Eureka, Utah. Originally the operator of an electrical supply business and ice-making plant, Zamboni and his brother opened an ice rink in California in 1940. He invented the first Zamboni machine in 1949 for use on his own rink and later patented the vehicle in 1953. Since then, more than 10,000 of the machines have been sold to rinks around the world.
Before the invention of the Zamboni, the only way to resurface ice was with hand-spread water from buckets or hoses. This cold and slow task is still common at smaller rinks, while any major ice-skating venue has invested in the expensive but always-awesome Zamboni.