The one question that's likely been on your mind your entire life finally has an answer: Just where is Waldo anyway? Well, the mystery is solved because Google Maps’ Where’s Waldo? Easter egg will bring your ‘90s baby heart joy all next week. The game is being released in honor of April Fools' Day, but the twist of this April Fools' gag is that it's not a prank at all. You can actually play the Where's Waldo? game on your Google Maps app on Android, iPhone, and your desktop. Just make sure not to do it when you're driving, and it's also probably not a wise idea to follow Waldo's directions to your destination.
While Google has a long history of epic April Fools' day pranks, the gift of Waldo comes from Max Greenwald and Shreena Thakore, two 23-year-old Google Maps product managers, according to Fast Company. Long-time fans of Google's annual April Fools' Day shenanigans, the pair began hatching their Where's Waldo? plan in January. "Greenwald and Thakore’s concept involved sending Waldo and his cohorts on a world tour plotted out in Google Maps, giving players the ability to earn badges as they found characters," Harry McCracken reported for Fast Company. Additionally, because Easter falls on April Fools' Day this year, rewards for excelling at Where's Waldo? include Easter eggs hidden throughout the game.
In a news release from Google, Waldo himself explains what he's doing in your Google Maps app. "I’m always on the lookout for fantastic new places to explore. My last adventure started in sun-sational Mountain View, [Calif.], where I visited the terrific team at Google, including Google Maps product managers Max Greenwald and Shreena Thakore," Waldo said. "By the way, I’m not traveling on my own. Wherever I go, my trusty friends Wenda, Woof, Wizard Whitebeard, and even that pesky Odlaw go as well. You can come, too — all you have to do is find me!"
If you have some time to kill after your family's Easter celebration this April Fools' Day, Waldo has your back. To play the game, start by updating your app to welcome Waldo into your world. Once you press play you'll see Waldo waving at you from the side of your screen. "The fun doesn’t stop there. Once you spot me, you’ll be transported to places all around the world, where you can search for me over and over again," Waldo added. "You can win wonderful and wacky badges throughout your journey by finding me and my friends. Remember, there’s Woof (but all you can see his is tail), Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, and Odlaw."
While Waldo's journey was began in the U.K. in the late '80s as Where's Wally?, he came across the pond to the U.S. in the late '90s as your beloved Where's Waldo? While he's a little late to the digital party, it was only a matter of time until he turned up inside of your phone. But, if you want to go on Waldo's epic Easter egg hunt, don't wait. Waldo has a pretty busy schedule, what with globetrotting all over the world in the longest-running game of hide and seek in history an all, and he'll be leaving Google maps on April 4 just before midnight.
Think of this precious time as Waldo's spring break that's he's choosing to spend with his beloved global search party. And, like a lot of spring breaks, things can get a little less clear as the week goes on. TIME magazine reported that the level of difficulty increases the further you get on the Google Maps Where's Waldo? game. If you're skilled enough to follow Waldo to the higher levels, you'll have to search for him without knowing his location. Kind of like trying to figure out where you're going before maps apps were a thing. If you get really into hunting for Waldo, and you want to find your people, share your progress with @GoogleMaps on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #WaldoMaps.