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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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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!
Snake '97 rocking the carts with Angry Birds and WhatsApp
Snake '97 rocking the carts with Angry Birds and WhatsApp
Prototype of Snake '97 running on various devices
Prototype of Snake '97 running on various devices
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)
Snake '97 running on iPhone X - looking and feeling like the retro mobile phone game from the 90s
Snake '97 running on iPhone X - looking and feeling like the retro mobile phone game from the 90s
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
Using the right tools: a Tri-wing triangular screwdriver
Using the right tools: a Tri-wing triangular screwdriver
The actual code from Snake '97 handling distance calculation using the Pythagoras Theorem
The actual code from Snake '97 handling distance calculation using the Pythagoras Theorem
Zelda
Zelda "Link's awakening" from 1993 on the repaired Gameboy Advance SP
Arrange the screws around something easy to recognise (the battery) to easily keep track of where the (different) screws should
Arrange the screws around something easy to recognise (the battery) to easily keep track of where the (different) screws should
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
UX-design for an international audience. Designing interfaces without words is difficult!
UX-design for an international audience. Designing interfaces without words is difficult!
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
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
World champion of Snake '97 - but not for long...
World champion of Snake '97 - but not for long...
Wide screen gameplay is now possible thanks to the new responsive graphics
Wide screen gameplay is now possible thanks to the new responsive graphics
Café 't Pakhuis in Amsterdam - where Snake '97 was
Café 't Pakhuis in Amsterdam - where Snake '97 was "invented"

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