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Google’s annual Halloween Doodle gets a multiplayer upgrade for 2018

The ghosts are back, and they’ve brought friends!

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Your friendly neighborhood Google ghosts are back once again for Halloween — and this time, they want you to bring all your friends to the party.

Google’s 2018 Halloween Doodle is a first for the company: a multiplayer game hosted on Google’s Cloud platform that lets you share an invite link with friends to join in and play. The game is something of a Snake clone in which players’ ghostly avatars eat things — er, sorry, collect “wandering spirit flames,” according to Google’s official description — to make their ghostly tails get longer. The goal is to grow as big as you can without running into any of the ghosts around you.

You can play with up to seven friends and choose whether you want to be on the ghoulishly green team or the paranormally purple team.

Google’s 2018 Halloween Google Doodle is a literal leveling-up of an established tradition

Ghosts are a recurring part of Google’s Halloween Doodle tradition, so it’s nice to see the return of the little critters. As part of the celebration, Google shared GIFs of the ghostly team avatars, as well as early illustrations from before their designs were finalized:

Too ghoul for school.

Special Halloween games are also a favorite part of Google’s annual celebration; 2015 saw the Doodle’s first worldwide game, with millions of players choosing to join color-coded teams and attempting to collect the most Halloween candy. (The yellow team won.) In 2016, participants played an adorable black cat named Momo, a holdover from one of the previous year’s avatars, as she attempted to do battle with a haunted house full of ghosts.

The 2017 Doodle wasn’t a game, but it did represent a continuation of the previous year’s storyline — as Momo befriended a sweet, shy ghost named Jinx. This year’s game represents a departure from the (very loose) storyline that has linked past Halloween Google Doodles, but what it loses in plot connections, it makes up for in the novelty of getting to share the moment, and play the game, with your friends.

Plus, there’s no reason that Momo and Jinx can’t return in the years to come. In the meantime, we have a whole new squadron of ghouls to meet and do battle with. Play on!