What if Every Game Was ‘Snake’ on an Old Nokia?

'Shadow of the Colossus,' 'Super Mario Bros.,' and 'Papers Please' get the absurd Snake demake they never deserved.
December 18, 2017, 1:00pm
Image: Pippin Barr

With 2017 shaping up to be the year of the collect-a-thon in gaming, Snake was due for a comeback. The Nokia version of the timeless game turned 20 this year, and I spent way too much time winding my speedy, little snake’s head around its long, lumbering tail back on my brick Nokia 3310. Thus, these brilliant reimaginings of the iconic time waster are just what I needed.

Developer Pippin Barr's Sibilant Snakelikes, playable here, takes the concept of the demake to the extreme, reducing seven classic games to the barebones mechanics of Snake.

“Each game attempts to represent the experience of the source game in the target system of Snake,” wrote Barr on his blog. “Naturally this leads to plenty of absurdity and bizarre compromises.”

In the past we’ve seen games such as Portal ported to the Atari 2600, and a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild prototype done in 8-bits, but turning a game into Snake, which can be written in under 100 lines of code, is really stretching it.

Yet no game is safe from Barr’s sibilating s-s-s-satire. Mario from Super Mario Bros. is now a snake. Papers, Please, that prestigious indie game about immigration policies, is now Snake. The sad and cinematic action game Shadow of the Colossus is now Snake. Ms. Pac-Man? Yep, Snake.

None of these games have any business being Snake, but to Snake’s credit, most of them are exceedingly playable. While snaking a rectangle through a dot-riddled maze may seem like a cruel joke, I would have jumped at the challenge during the height of my Snake addiction in the early 2000s. And Minesweeper_- _Snake is secretly outstanding, if hilariously hard.

Had these games existed back in the day, I would have never gotten rid of my Nokia.