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Updating Snake '97

About the challenges of developing a wildly popular game

Feb. 21, 2018
This month I bit the bullet big time: I redesigned the game engine of the wildly popular Snake '97 game. Read about the design challenges in this blog post.

Few years ago my brother threw a beer on my iPhone in an Amsterdam bar. The poor thing didn't like the Dutch brew as much as I do: it died. While waiting for a new phone to arrive, I used an old one that couldn't do anything but texting, calling and... Snake! The idea for Snake '97 was born and this month it was time to update the wildly popular game.

Repairing a Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP

Chip surgery to play classic Zelda

Mar. 26, 2017
Reparing an old Nintendo Gameboy Advance to play classic Zelda again.

This month Nintendo released the Switch with Zelda "Breath of the Wild". The new console received positive reviews. The new Zelda game is amazing and can be played on-the-go, thanks to the portability of the Nintendo Switch. But it its hardly the first Nintendo device that features the mythical kingdom of Hyrule with Link and princess Zelda. I found an old Gameboy Advance, perfect for playing classic Zelda games... but it was in need for repair!

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iPhone 4 - ahhh sweet developer memories when one (small) size did fit all...
iPhone 4 - ahhh sweet developer memories when one (small) size did fit all...
Snake '97 running as macOS desktop app made possible by the new scalable graphics
Snake '97 running as macOS desktop app made possible by the new scalable graphics
The new Zelda game
The new Zelda game "Breath of the Wild" sets the new benchmark for open world games according to the popular blog The Verge. It looks amazing!
On the left: an original screenshot from
On the left: an original screenshot from "Link's Awakening" (1993). On to the right: how fans perceive the magic. (Fan art created by "einen" from http://einen.deviantart.com)
Analysing gameplay speed differences using slow motion video
Analysing gameplay speed differences using slow motion video
Spot the differences: the original faulty logic board above and the replacement on the bottom
Spot the differences: the original faulty logic board above and the replacement on the bottom
This old Gameboy was broken: it stops working if you
This old Gameboy was broken: it stops working if you "squeeze" it... an indication of some electrical failure.
This is what the cloud looks like, dear boys and girls.
This is what the cloud looks like, dear boys and girls.
Thank you Ebay: an original replacement logic board for about €15
Thank you Ebay: an original replacement logic board for about €15
Snake '97 rocking the carts with Angry Birds and WhatsApp
Snake '97 rocking the carts with Angry Birds and WhatsApp
Wide screen gameplay is now possible thanks to the new responsive graphics
Wide screen gameplay is now possible thanks to the new responsive graphics
Programming the new game engine and testing it on an HMD Nokia 2 running Android
Programming the new game engine and testing it on an HMD Nokia 2 running Android
The buttons can be removed easily to be cleaned
The buttons can be removed easily to be cleaned
World champion of Snake '97 - but not for long...
World champion of Snake '97 - but not for long...
Clever hardware design: each button fits exactly on one position and orientation only!
Clever hardware design: each button fits exactly on one position and orientation only!
Zelda
Zelda "Link's awakening" from 1993 on the repaired Gameboy Advance SP
Same 3310? Look closely and spot the differences between iPhone SE and iPhone X
Same 3310? Look closely and spot the differences between iPhone SE and iPhone X
Snake '97 available as free download for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and ChromeOS
Snake '97 available as free download for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and ChromeOS

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