Google's Interactive Game Celebrates the First Parachute Jump

PHOTO: Googles "doodle" for the 216th anniversary of the first parachute jump includes a playable minigame.

It's hard to associate parachutes with anything but people skydiving from airplanes. But the first modern parachute was actually invented over a century before the Wright brothers conducted their first successful flight.

Today's Google Doodle pays tribute to the 216th anniversary of André-Jacques Garnerin's (and history's) first parachute jump, though calling it a jump may be a bit of a stretch.

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Garnerin actually had the parachute fully opened when he floated upwards in a hot air balloon. It wasn't attached to his chest, but instead attached to the balloon's basket. Garnerin only needed to detach the hot air balloon to let the parachute ferry him back down to the ground, as seen in an illustration depicting the event.

Today's Google Doodle lets users take on the role of Garnerin himself. The parachute pilot angles his basket to catch the wind and ride it down. Google created a minimalist version of turn-of-the-19th century France, complete with men in top hats and women in large dresses that dwarf their legs.

While the Google Doodle won't let you crash Garnerin, he can land in a variety of different spots. He can rejoin his crowd of adoring fans from his original launch site, play with tropical birds by landing on a treetop, or hang out with penguins and whales in the Arctic ocean. No matter where he lands, he'll still tip his hat to celebrate the occasion.

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