Whack A Pod

Google Next 2017

The Whack-a-Pod activation is a retrofitted Whack o- Moles game with Kubernetes cluster. By hitting the pods Kubernetes servers known as "pods" are taken up or down. The attendees try to knock them all down to test and witness the resilience of a Kubernetes cluster. I was tasked with designing an interactive game that correctly tells the narrative of how Kubernetes functions within Google Cloud Platform.

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The metaphor of symbolizing each Kubernetes pods as moles in the retro game allowed the attendees to step up to the experience with a low barrier of entry. The intuitive interaction of hitting moles allowed the attendees to understand the concept of Kubernetes pods easily. As the attendee hits the moles away, different scenarios which affect the Kubernetes pods are presented. The game is based on real Kubernetes server model and reacts in real time to how the server is responding to the moles being hit. 

The challenge of the activation was to get the system of Kubernetes pods correctly translated within the context of Whack O Mole. It was important for us to understand how the infrastructure works so that the interaction can best mimic how things actually are on the server side. A bunch of iterations was created for the UI to fit the branding of Google Next 2017 and Google Cloud Platform. The UI also had to be edited constantly to fit the accurate behavior of the Kubernetes pods. Diagrams were implemented to show the state of the pods corresponding with the screen UI.


The attendees were very excited to play around with the Whack A Pod machine due to its fun nature. The activation was very successful in creating a fluid and seamless networking opportunities and diving deep with the Google Cloud Team to learn more about Kubernetes service within the cloud platform. The activation was utilized once again at Google I/O 2017 with minor tweaks.