We’ve all played tons of Snake—you know, catch the apple, don’t hit the tail. This is in part due to its straightforward but tense design and in part due to its simplicity, making it an easy addition to graphing calculators, flip phones, and probably smart refrigerators or whatever. But even an old snake can learn new tracks. The game designer Pippin Barr recently released 22 versions of the game, called Snakisms, each based on a different philosophical concept. They’re all free, funny, and playable here.
In anthropomorphism, for example, the apple moves around at the same clip that the snake does. Pessimism is inherently unwinnable; optimism features an ever-increasing surplus of apples, and the snake never grows. Some require you to break the game, and spoiling too many more of them would defeat the fun of slowly figuring out how Barr has subverted the game’s simple rules to express complex ideas like holism, monism, narcissism, and utilitarianism.
Barr has created similar works before, particularly Pongs and Breaksout, both of which remade their classic namesakes in 36 different game styles. Like those works, Snakisms is intellectually playful, but it is also immensely fun. If time has proven anything, it is that Snake is always playable. Waste some time and expand your mind with it here.