The Santa Tracker from Google is back up and running, and we’re hard at work tracking where he is around the globe – but we can confirm that he’s now managed to throw 247 million presents from his sleigh, after he started in Russia at 10AM GMT / 5AM ET / 2AM PT.
If ever there was a year where we needed to have some festive cheer, it’s right now – and it turns out that the Santa Tracker is possible because Father Christmas has actually had the vaccine already, according to Dr Fauci in the US.
Santa’s village is also now open for business, with a whole host of mini-games, videos and activities to play – bookmark this page as we’ll be running through the key ones for you to get involved with, whether you’re entertaining little ones or not.
The key thing to do – as he’s on the way, flicking around the Pacific Islands right now – is to jump to Santatracker.google.com to see where he’s at (currently, the sleigh is being prepared for final checks with all those presents).
It works on both desktop and mobile pretty well, and a tap of the menu in the top left-hand corner will give you access to all the lovely things you can do this year… just don’t have your sound up too loud as it rather blares out of the Santa Tracker.
We’re hard at work testing the games that are being offered in the Santa Tracker – don’t say we’re not a properly researching site.
Our top Santa Tracker games
How to play the Santa games on mobile
(Image credit: Google)
Every year, when we publish this guide, we have people wondering how to play the games on mobile. Well, just go to the Santa Tracker site on a mobile browser, click the three lines in the top left-hand corner and see all the games to play. (Note – the ‘install’ option, which tells you to ‘Add to Home Screen’ doesn’t work on iPhones).
Guide your elf as they soar through the air collecting presents and candy – the more you collect, the more time you have to play and beat your high score. You control your elf using your computer’s arrow keys, and while it may seem easy at first, it quickly gets more and more challenging. Watch out for those pesky lumps of coal – they’ll knock a few points off your score, while flying over falling pocket watches will give you more precious time to play.
“It is amazing! You get so much fun because they say what you have to draw and then you have to try and draw it. “
This is from the child’s review – the premise is a robot is using machine learning to work out what’s being drawn in pen. It’s actually rather fun, although getting it to recognise things like ‘Candy’ is a little tricky. Stupid robot.
Hang on, is this us helping Google’s machine learning get smarter? This is the description:
“Tensor is Santa’s Machine Learning robot that helps him quickly decipher the letters he receives from children all over the world. To help Tensor practice, draw a picture of each holiday word on the screen and it will tell you what it sees. The more you draw, the smarter Tensor will get, so let’s help Santa be more efficient than ever this holiday season!”
“The game is fun, but you just have to make sure that the springs work properly. That’s basically it.”
The little person’s review above doesn’t really do the situation justice – trying to play it on a tablet wasn’t a pleasant experience, as you need to move springs and conveyor belts around the board to get the gumball to drop in where you need it to.
It’s so much easier on a laptop with a mouse and keyboard – as most of these games are. But it’s a fun, diverting way to get the little ones to think logically / waste time when you’re supposed to be working on Christmas Eve.
This Battle Royale-style game sees you slinging your way around a forest, dodging behind trees and grabbing power-ups in the shape of presents. It’s infuriating and slightly addictive – you need to master the tap (or click) to really make your way through it.
A basic matching of symbols behind Christmas doors, it starts easy then the timer starts to tick down… we went from scorn to annoyance at how hard it became before figuring out there was a pattern.
This is Where’s Waldo (or Where’s Wally, to the UK dwellers) on an interactive scale – an annoyingly diverting title.
Bounce the presents into the right hole by putting the building blocks in the right place – another one where our ‘research’ took us down a rabbit hole we didn’t expect…
The site has been live throughout December for parents and teachers alike to help their children be entertained while learning at the same time – this allows children to learn how to speak other languages with simple Christmas phrases, or to code by making elves dance or
- Didn’t get what you want? Then don’t worry, you can still nab yourself one of the best Boxing Day Sales bargains