bill-swift - September 4, 2013
Hold on to your balls, gentlemen. This is going to be a bumpy ride into the very heart of ancient, pixellated hell. Because when the monochrome slice of shite above actually qualifies as a ‘screenshot,' you know it doesn't get any... retro-er than this.
The more decrepit souls among us probably wistfully remember Snake. It had a great vogue in the late Nineties, as the face --that is to say, as the nondescript dick-like body-- of Nokia's cell phones (beginning in 1997 with the Nokia 6190 model); though it had been lurking around in arcades for a couple decades before that.
Yep, there was a time when Snake in actual portable form was quite a thrill; it was presumably like handing a Neanderthal an Easy-Bake Oven. "Balls to fire," he'd say, "I can now cook bison steak with a goddamn light bulb! I think I just shat a little." That's the sense of wonderment we all felt in the Nineties. It beat the 'music' of MC Hammer and Will Smith dicking around in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, anyway.
But to business. Snake is one of the most simple yet compelling video games ever made. You control the titular reptile, as it navigates a tiny arena/general ‘space.' Little black somethings (revealed several years later to be fruit. Who the hell knew?) appear on the screen, and eating each one increases your score and spawns another. The caveat is that it will also extend your body another notch.
As we know, our snake is the kind of mad bastard vigorous go-getter who cannot be stopped. Ever. You can only direct his constant movement, so some deft maneuvering is needed to stop him touching himself (wank joke unintended), which will immediately end the game.
This simple idea has lasted several decades, with various visual updates and crazy-ass additions to gameplay. Color, 3D, level objectives, an actual snake-resembling snake and all kinds of other shenanigans have been grafted on over the years. Still, for many this is the original casual time-waster; a nostalgic relic of a ridiculous, tracksuit-loving time. That's reason enough to love it.
As a testament to it, here's how to 'win' a game of Snake, in two ridiculous minutes:
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