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Lessons from the Chrome Dinosaur Game

I’m at the end of my college career when I finally learn what ‘the Dinosaur game’ is. As an avid Firefox user, I’d never experienced the ‘browser’ loading game on Google Chrome until one day, balanced on a dorm issued desk chair, my roommate and I found ourselves commiserating over the poor WiFi.

“The Dinosaur Game” is a simple runner game where your dinosaur runs across the screen, jumping over cacti and dodging under low flying birds. It appears when you are disconnected from the WiFi on a Google Chrome browser. If you want to try now, open chrome://dino in a Google Chrome web browser and you’ll be taken to the game.

I haven’t thought about the Dinosaur game in years, but last week, I found myself with spotty internet, a Chrome browser, and a memory. My dinosaur started running.

My headphones were still in and as I jumped, I smiled at the cartoonish noise my dinosaur made when he hopped through the digital air. A few seconds in, though, I was the one jumping as my headphones rattled a noise as jarring as the television commercials after a touching scene in a movie.

Despite my headphones being perpetually on the lowest volume, it seemed SO. LOUD. A few seconds later, it did the loud beep again. And again. But now I was focused. My dinosaur was running really fast and because I’m not perfectly tapped into the placement of the volume buttons on my new computer, I knew I’d have to just wait it out.

More beeps.

I could not, for the life of me, figure out what I was doing to quiet the Wreck-it-Ralph type sound that reminded me of the time a I spent all my Barcade quarters on that game at someone’s 21st birthday in New York City and then took the subway home and Googled how much it would cost to get an arcade game installed in my living room.

So there I am, running my Dinosaur and jumping over cacti and ducking under birds and wondering how I can get this beeping noise to stop without taking my eyes off the screen and it’s only after I run into a cactus, thus ending my game, that I realize, all I had to do was take out my headphones.

I may not have been able to find the mute button on my new computer, but surely I could find my ears with my free hand.

I’m laughing about this until I’m not. And when I’m not, I’m realizing why.

How many times have I been in more serious situations where the pain is tangible and real and not just a congratulatory beep from a computer game? And how many times has the solution felt so far away? And how many times was it perhaps, right in front of me.

Control what you can.

As long as the volume is on, the Dinosaur game is going to make noise. I can’t change that. But I can change my half of the bargain. I can walk away. I can shut it out. I can take out my headphones.

It seems a little silly, I know, to ruminate this much over a Dinosaur computer game. It may even seem a little dramatic, to compare a little background noise to serious matters of life.

But hey, the WiFi is out, what else can I do?

In all seriousness, if there is something in your life that is hurting you, you might not be able to make it stop. But you just might be able to walk away, to give yourself some distance from it. And that may be exactly what you need.

Love always,


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