Mobile Game of the Week: Snake '97

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By Edward Smith | November 24, 2012 3:26 AM EST

Key Features

  • Developer - WMIT
  • Publisher - WMIT 
  • Format - iOS, Android
  • Device tested - iPhone 4
  • Price - Free

Snake '97

The 1990s were a remarkable time, heralding the rise of third-wave feminism, the World Wide Web and, most importantly of all, Cher's "Do You Believe (In Life After Love?)"

It also marked the beginning of mobile gaming, when a computer game called Snake appeared on a mobile phone for the first time in 1997. Back then, mobiles weighed as much as dark matter and had all the sleekness and good looks of a landfill. Now, obviously, they're pristine white touch-sensitive things with better graphics and sound quality than ever.

But Snake hasn't changed a bit, and is now available in all its original glory for free on the App Store.

And it's not that Snake II rubbish, where if you hit the wall you go through and come out the other side - Snake '97 is the same unforgivingly difficult finger-twister that you remember from your 3210, lovingly preserved for your iPhone.

The neatest touch is the control scheme, which uses a super-imposed, old-school Nokia keypad. 2 is up, 4 is left, 6 is right, 8 is down; it's very responsive, too, so if you ever found the 3210's buttons fiddly, beating your high-score is now a lot easier.

And rather than just brag about it to your mates, you can share those high-scores on Twitter by tapping "Share" when you die. It's a shame there isn't a leaderboard for Snake '97 - it'd be interesting to see how quickly people pass the notorious 1000 mark.

Adverts

The other problem is adverts, which pop up throughout every game of Snake '97 and can get mega distracting. The way they cover the bottom bit of the screen makes it look like the might interfere with the '8' button, meaning you tend to get cautious when it comes to moving around in case you accidentally hit the ad bar.

In a game like Snake, which demands lightning quick reactions that kind of put off gets annoying and Snake '97 really suffers as a result.

Other than that it's...well, it's Snake; if you were alive in the nineties it's already programmed into your brain like respiration.

Exactly how interested you are in Snake '97 will depend on your partiality for nostalgia. A lot of us would rather forget the nineties, 'Barbie Girl', Tamagotchis, Blind Date - the lot. And for people who weren't alive back then, Snake '97 will look more out of date than Victorian hoop rolling.

But for everyone else, the people who miss the days before Angry Birds and Temple Run, Snake '97 is a welcome little timewarp, lovingly restored for the iOs and Android.  

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