The snake game has become an iconic part of web browsing thanks to its inclusion in Google Chrome. What started as a hidden easter egg has turned into a nostalgic pastime for procrastinators and a powerful meme in internet culture. In this article, we’ll dive into the history of the snake game on Chrome, see how it has evolved over time, and look at its lasting impact.
History of the Chrome Dinosaur Game
Before exploring the snake game specifically, it helps to understand the context of simple browser games in Chrome. Google introduced the Chrome dinosaur game in 2014 as an error page for when users lost internet connectivity. The simple runner game featuring a pixelated T-rex hopping over cacti became an instant hit.
This inspired Google to add more hidden browser games that could be launched by typing specific urls. In 2016, Google created a version of the classic Snake game that could be activated this way in Chrome.
How to Access Snake on Google Chrome
Unlike the dinosaur game, Snake isn’t readily surfaced to users. To play Snake on desktop and laptop versions of Chrome, users can type in the url chrome://snake or click the menu button in the top right > Games > Snake.
On Android, Snake can be launched from the Chrome dino game by tapping the dino’s feet 32 times consecutively. Chrome on iOS does not support Snake.
The Chrome version of Snake retains the classic mechanics that have defined the game for decades. The player guides a snake around the screen using the arrow keys or swiping. The goal is to collect food which makes the snake grow longer over time. If the snake runs into the screen edges or its own tail, the game ends.
Google added its own flair including emoji-style foods for the snake to eat. The snake leaves a rainbow trail behind for a colorful touch. Speed and length increase with high scores as well.
Popularity and Fandom
Snake slithered its way into the hearts of Chrome users and internet culture at large. The hashtag #chromesnake yields thousands of social media posts, art, and memes from fans. Comics like XKCD and meme accounts like @intenetofshit have featured the Chrome snake game. Subreddits exist for sharing high scores and tips.
This fondness stems from Chrome Snake’s nostalgic appeal and whimsical presence. The game elicits childhood memories of phones from the 90s for millennials. Unlike the hidden dino game, Snake feels like an inside joke that not every Chrome user is privy to. Discovering it becomes an amusing revelation.
Evolution of Snake on Chrome
Google continues to experiment with improvements and seasonal themes for Chrome Snake. Some changes over the years include:
- Snake is added hidden in Chrome
- Santa hat added to snake for Christmas
- Snake gets heart eyes for Valentine’s Day
- World Cup soccer ball skins
- Slither.io-inspired skins for multiplayer
- Corgi snake skin for second anniversary
- Party hat for New Year’s
- Retro monochrome skin option
- Spooky haunted house background
- Lunar New Year theme and skins
These regular updates give devoted players reasons to return for high score challenges and embed Snake deeper into Chrome’s identity.
Multiplayer Snake Experiments
Chrome has experimented with adding multiplayer Snake variants as well. In 2018, Google launched Snake Arena that enabled competitive 4-player Snake battles with powerups. However, this was shut down after only a few months.
In 2022, an experimental 2-player Snake mode appeared to highlight Chrome’s new shared WebRTC feature. This allowed a friend to join in by sharing a generated link. Duo Snake put cooperation and quick reflexes to the test. But this version remained temporary too.
Despite interest, technical hurdles around syncing gameplay in real-time may prevent multiplayer Snake from becoming permanent. But these tests demonstrate Chrome Snake remains a platform for innovation.
Impact Beyond Google Chrome
The popularity of Snake on Chrome has extended beyond the browser itself. It has become a cultural icon immortalized through internet art, memes, and even merchandise.
The game’s sprites have been repurposed into stickers, t-shirt designs, phone cases, and more. Comic artists like Randall Munroe have depicted the Chrome snake in famous webcomics. Devoted players have even gotten Chrome Snake tattoos.
These extensions into material culture speak to the game’s meaningfulness. Snake on Chrome clearly occupies a special place in the hearts of many.
Snake’s Continued Relevance Today
While graphics and gameplay may seem minimal by today’s standards, Snake’s brilliance remains timeless. The strategic struggles of balancing growing longer while avoiding obstacles represents a design ethos of “easy to learn, difficult to master” that makes enduring games special.
Snake’s home on Chrome gives it permanence and accessibility few games can match. No app download or dedicated gaming device is required – just open a browser tab and enjoy. This simplicity means Snake will forever find new players whenever they get bored online.
Even with limitless digital entertainment options, the nostalgia and light challenge of Snake offer an appeal that can’t be replicated. The game is likely to persist as a popular pastime among Chrome users for years to come.
Through clever use of browser technology, Google brought the retro Snake game into the modern era. Its inclusion in Chrome delighted users, created a viral fan culture, and transformed Snake into an iconic piece of internet history. While Snake originated in the 90s, it feels right at home in the browser. The game’s perpetual ability to absorb players into its hypnotic, slithering loop demonstrates why no viral game sensation can ever truly go extinct.