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When Dinosaurs Roam in Chrome

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Q. My network router often flakes out and I get the “There is no internet connection” error screen in Google Chrome. I was staring at the error screen the other day, and it looked like the little dinosaur winked at me. Is that for real or a bug?

A. The error page you see when Google Chrome cannot get to the internet does indeed feature a small graphic of a Tyrannosaurus rex that occasionally blinks. However, with a little help from you, the little dinosaur can do much more in your browser window.

For the past several years, the dinosaur has been part of a game hidden inside Google Chrome, perhaps as a gift from a programmer sympathizing with the lack of internet access. To activate the game when you get the connection-error message, press the space bar. The dinosaur then takes off across the screen in the style of one of those old-fashioned eight-bit “endless runner” games.

As the T. rex gallops along, press the Up arrow key to jump over cactuses and other obstacles. A special blip sounds as you pile up each set of 100 points. After 500 points, pterodactyls enter the game, and you must press the Down arrow key to avoid them. If the dinosaur wipes out, click the replay button on the Game Over screen to make another run.

Photo

When you get Google Chrome’s connection-error screen, tap the space bar to set the dinosaur running through the game and press the Up arrow key (or space bar) to make it jump.

Credit
The New York Times

If you like runner games, you do not have to wait for Google Chrome to go offline to play. Variations of the T. rex runner game can be found online or as an app. You can also manually switch to the game, even if your internet connection is working perfectly fine. Just enter “chrome://network-error/-106” in the address bar (without the quotation marks), press the Enter key and tap the space bar to get those little dino legs moving.

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