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Retro Recap: Snake

by on November 5, 2013  

A slight twist to Retro Recap today. A game that we can all agree is the grandfather of mobile gaming. A game that everyone borrowed your phone for, rather than using it to find those naughty pictures, or to make some inappropriate comments on your Facebook profile.

Snake, in it’s primitive manner, looks boring on the surface, yet once you have that first go, the need to achieve an increasingly higher score beckons you, like the new release of a Final Fantasy game (at least with me anyway). In the older Nokia 3210 era of Snake, you were restricted by the bounds of the screen. Move one pixel over and it was game over, and the high score that your friend got is still just out of reach. But “newer” versions bypass this restriction and confuse the heck out of you by suddenly appearing on the opposite side of the screen. People like me who sometimes suffered from a slow reaction time had many troubles with this as your snake would jump to the other end of the screen, only for you to press another 2 buttons and it would jump back, inevitably leading to a game over. It may seem petty, but it made my toilet breaks a damn sight more aggravating that it should have been.

Do you want to discuss the gameplay? Well to be quite honest, there wasn’t any. You moved the Snake around the screen and collected the dots, or food. Each dot was worth the level setting you were on (who played on any setting but 9) and your Snake got longer, giving you less room to work with. How could something so simple become a cult classic? Well it certainly did and one can argue that nothing really did top this gem until the introduction of Angry Birds. Something which was most popularity between youths and adults alike.

Fun, fun, fun facts about Snake:

  • Snake originated in the 1970’s, but reached cult fame when it was ported to Nokia handheld devices.
  • Snake was originally called Worm.
  • Snake can be played on YouTube videos. If the video is buffering, using the key pads will start a Snake minigame in which the buffering symbol becomes the Snake.
  • The Museum of Modern Art in New York City announced that the Nokia port of Snake was one of 40 games that the curators wished to add to the museum’s collection in the future.

I sucked at Snake. I’m pretty sure my highest score is about 2,000, a meager score in comparison to the numerous higher scores my friends got on the leaderboard. Yet there was a tiny feeling, a feeling of determination with Snake. You have a clear goal in mind in annihilation of your friends score. Do you remember that amazing sense of accomplishment when you finally did it? Only for your friend to exclaim:
“Give it here”
Then they destroy your new score and the whole sordid circle continues. Ah the strife of playing Snake. Those were the days…weren’t they?

I tried my best to play Snake when I got the chance. On the toilet, when I went to bed, when I woke up, at school, and inevitably in detention because I was playing on my phone. I made sure that I was the only person on my high score list. These kind of gaming addictions come early and is probably the main cause of my obsessive gaming habit that I have right now. Would I change it for the world? Not a chance, Lance.

Did you play Snake as a kid? Do you still even own a phone that has this on by default? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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