You can play 'Pong' with emojis in this secret Instagram game

The hidden game inside the Instagram app on the Pixel Fold.
(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Users have spotted a hidden game inside Instagram that you can play right now. 
  • It starts by sending an emoji in an Instagram DM or receiving an emoji from another Instagram user. 
  • Then, tapping the emoji will open up a secret Instagram game that turns the emoji into a round of "Pong."

Meta has added a bunch of new features to the Instagram app lately, but there's one that you probably didn't know about. It's hidden inside your Instagram DMs, and lets you play a neat and fun mini-game. You can try it right now, and you might be able to kill some time waiting for your Instagram friends to reply while playing it. 

To get started, open up a conversation in your Instagram DMs. It can be with anyone, or even with Meta's artificial intelligence assistant. Whoever or whatever you choose, you'll need to send an emoji next. Pick which one you send wisely, because that emoji will become the center of the secret Instagram mini-game. 

The emoji you choose will become a bouncing ball around the screen, and you'll move a slider to keep the emoji from passing you. Each time you hit your emoji, you gain a point. If you let the emoji get past your slider, the game will end. It's unclear if there's a way to "win" the game, but the emoji will move progressively faster as it continues. 

If you don't want to send a message yourself, you can tap an emoji sent by someone else in your DMs to start the game instead. Here's a screenshot of what it looks like while playing the hidden mini-game. 

The secret Instagram emoji game.

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

"We are always working on ways to make Instagram feel more fun while connecting with friends, and have rolled out a hidden game that can be found in your DMs," a spokesperson for Meta told The Sun.

The game is clearly based off of Pong, the table-tennis-style game made by Atari 1972. It's one of the first computer games ever created, and it has inspired countless other iterations in the decades since it first debuted. Now, that list of games includes a mini-game hidden in your Instagram DMs. 

We don't know exactly when Instagram added this secret game, but we confirmed it to be working on version 321. of the Android app. Most users should be able to play it immediately.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.