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Reviving the video gaming era of the 80's


Snafu was introduced to the Intellivision game list in 1981, and is based on an older board game called Blockade.  During the mid 70's, Blockade would be released into the arcade scene as a video game, but had little success.  With no sound, and a dull black and white graphic screen, the game struggled in finding any following.  Snafu was the same game, but completely charged up with new life.  Obstacles, colour, and dazzling sound effects would  give the game a whole new dynamic.

Red snake opens the game by keeping it self in free space, while giving it self an escape alley, incase of getting blocked in.

Game play is quick and develops rapidly, as the red snake looses track of fast moving action.  Gold snake sneaks into red's escape alley as within seconds, red becomes completely trapped in.  Red uses remaining space wisely, attempting to fill in every square inch and runds out, as gold breathes easy with wide open space, toward the upper left.

Blocking Games:

Each component would have to block each other off, whilst controlling their growing snake.  Your strategy is to keep yourself in open space, whilst trying to close in your opponent.  While moving around, you could think ahead and plan escape roots.  Leave side alleys open, but be alert as these could become a trap, should your opponent take advantage of it, before you do.  Be quick as you're sharing the space with three other snakes.  Any slip ups can be costly.    The game cartridge containes 12 variations of this game.

Bighting Games:

They are also four variations of a tail bite game.  Each player has a snake, that is 10 points long.  The aim of this game is to bite your opponents tail off, until they have no points left.  You're hungry and it's time to eat your opponent alive, bight bight bight, it's vicious, nasty, and fantastically quick.  Avoid your opponent from bighting your tail long enough, and that eating frenzy will make your snake larger.  You get extra points, up to a maximum of 20.

Through the years of Intellivision's popularity, people discovered bugs in much of the systems game catalog.  Bugs were found in Tron's Deadly discs, Lock 'n' Chase, Space Armada and to my discovery, Snafu.   Some of the programmers would place messages and credit notes, amongst the games programming language.  Pressing different key combinations, and playing games in certain ways, would cause the Intellivision to behave strangely, allowing the players to gain extra lives, points, and other odd things. 

Programmers coined the term "Easter Eggs", when referring to hidden surprises found in various games.  These bugs often caused the system to behave differently, without the programmers knowledge.  Checking over a games functionality was brief, as many of the programmers had to meet tight deadlines.

Not really an egg but more of a bug, that the games accompanying music can be screwed up, by doing some quick turns.  Most of the games in Snafu are played by controlling your snake, by making 90 degree turns.  Some games allow you to move diagonally as well as in right angles.  During game play you are given an impact warning, when you hear a brief siren.  This occurs when you are about to crash into either a wall or an object.  Through experimentation, I found that the warning was given two squares before impact. 

Finding this games bug is easiest in game 7 where you have just two snakes and no obstacles.  (upper left) (blue snake)  Move your snake and make it draw a line exactly two rows or two columns off the side.  Do a quick turn around into that narrow alley, you have just created. Then as you are heading back to the right, rapidly control your disc, by pressing the two disc positions of 1:30 and 4:30.  When the music starts screwing up, quickly press disc position 3:00.

This is something that needs a bit of practice, but just found it a lot of fun at the time.  This only works in the fastest mode.

Diagonally controlled games are selections 5,6,7,13,14, and 15.  You can listen to what this sounds like:

Just Click Here!
Windows media file.  388 kb. (may buffer on download)

There is also a bug in game 16. (lower left)  This is one of the snake bight games that allows you to move diagonally between obstacles.  Sometimes the screen will set up with two obstacles, right beside each other, but only one row or column from the wall.  Should you try to go diagonally through this spot (pink ring), the game freezes up, and you'll have to start fresh, by pressing reset.  This also happens when a snake attempts to go into a dead end, whilst moving diagonally.  (lower right).  (pink ring)

     Introduction to computers and the start of computer games.
     History of Mattel Electronics and the Intellivision Video Game System.
     Games Review Page One  -  Space Armada.
     Games Review Page Two  -  Pinball.
     Games Review Page Three  -  Snafu and some game bugs.
     Pretty Patterns in Snafu.

     The all time top five games.
     Games Review Page One.
     Games Review Page Two.
     Games to avoid.
     The worlds best MAME Links.

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