There's a game of Snake – yes that old Basic game from decades ago – running in a little Tweet by the science editor at the Nerdist, Kyle Hill. The tweet of the game of Snake is very mesmerizing as it goes from start to finish and then rinses and repeats.
You can check out the tweet below that Kyle Hill posted up on Twitter.
The thing starts off pretty tame and with the line (representing a snake) grabs the first dot and then proceeds to get a little longer. The snake grabs a few more dots and gets longer yet. Things start getting interesting when the snake starts getting longer and longer and eventually takes up more than half the screen.
There's a lot of strategy involved after the snake gets big enough that it begins to swallow more and more of the screen. Eventually we see some neat tactics put into play where the snake tries to avoid running into itself. If the snake manages to touch itself, then the game will end.
As the game progresses things begin to get increasingly difficult and we see that the strategy to avoid losing nearly becomes nerve wrecking. It's an intense battle to keep the snake from eating itself during the process of constantly growing larger, all while collecting the dots on screen.
The challenge in Snake – like many of the older classics made in Basic and Qbasic, like Gorilla, which eventually evolved into Scorched Earth – is that despite the games being extremely simple, they offer players very complex challenges. It used to be like that back in the day, where before we had pads with nearly 20 buttons on them and graphics being rendered in the Unreal Engine or the Unity 3D engine, there were simple pixel sprites moved around on screen where tasks like avoiding getting hit by a crude enemy representation on screen or preventing a pixel ball from getting into the goal, were the basic objectives.
For games like Space Invaders or Sopwith on older Atari and PC units it was all about using skill and reflexes to stay in the game. In the case of Snake, it was all about collecting the little dots while thinking ahead about how you were going to get to them without crashing into the snake's own body. It's a much harder game than it might look like in the Tweet above... then again, judging by the responses in the thread, most people seem to realize just how hard the game is.
You can get your hands on Snake along with a bunch of other Basic, QBasic and other Atari, Intellivision and Amiga games right now either for free from various Java-based online websites, or as part of a collection of old games for the iPhone and Android. If you're not into playing browser-based games or mobile titles, they are also available via emulation.