Saturday, July 01, 2006

Snake (The Video Game from 1980)

When I was a security guard I used to play a video game called Snake on my cell phone. Snake was originally a game from 1980: here is the Wikipedia article on it, and here is a place you can play it online.

While I have recently attempted to avoid self-indulgent over-interpretations, especially on this blog, I am going to give in here. Without overdoing a connection between the snake, the apple and the fall of man from the Garden of Eden -- between the four walls of the game and the fallen, closed physical universe -- I think the game shows a great sense of Gnostic fatalism. The snake is constantly in motion, unable to stop or even slow down. There are only three options: the snake can crash into the walls or itself (Game Over); it can perpetually avoid the apple (playing while avoiding racking up any points); or it can grab the apple only to have another and another instantly appear (the game proper). The first is choosing death. The second Lacan would call the drive avoiding the lure of the object-cause of desire: basically asceticism. The third is what Lacan would identify as the metonymic structure of desire, basically the fact that we never want something, but always something else. Every apple yields another and the point of the game is to keep grabbing apples. Every time the snake grabs an apple it is enlarged but becomes more of a danger to itself; as the snake gets bigger it gets harder to avoid the snake crashing into itself. In the game we are not only our own worst enemy, we are our only enemy; the strategy of the game is to follow the apples while avoiding encountering ourselves or the walls of our prison, which becomes harder with every encounter with desire which is never the last (the apples never stop coming). There is no way to win Snake: the best we can look forward to is getting the maximum score that results when wmaneuverre in such as way as to fill up the entire playing field -- our desire leads us to our death as the last apple crashes us into our tail as there is no where else to go.

4 comments:

mitch said...

Brilliant. I knew there was reason I liked this game so much...

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Geoff Klock said...

spam

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