Slither.io — an old idea made new
It’s official: Slither.io is taking the video game industry by storm. As of June 14, 2016 it has been downloaded more than 10 million times in the Google Play Store since it was first released in late March. The game was developed by independent developer Steve Howse who has released a couple of other games which experienced more moderate success (not much is known about him).
The premises of the game are simple: you control a snake-like character, which eats multicolored dots to grow in size; the objective is to grow the longest snake within the interface (you compete against many other snakes in a vast multiplayer environment).
I’ll be honest: I am far from an avid gamer these days, yet find slither.io fascinating, especially from a Marketing perspective. Here are my observations below:
The nostalgia factor
I am personally convinced that part of the appeal of Slither can be attributed to nostalgia. Remember the snake game on your old Nokia phone? Well, I sure do. Maneuvering the pixelated snake on your tiny screen was oh quite addictive.
Slither’s gameplay is similar to some degree. In the old snake game as your reptile gets bigger eating dots, it becomes more difficult to move without touching your own mass (which, as you might remember, leads to “game over”). In Slither gaining mass makes you more vulnerable to the attack of other snakes (who can kill you by touching your head and then proceed to consume your mass). In both cases, size is an important part of the gameplay. As they say: no idea is original. In my opinion, the developer has successfully re-adapted a concept that is universal to millions of consumers.
An old dog with new tricks
As one might expect, Slither comes equipped with a number of modern features:
Multiplayer and cross-platform: users play against each other in an interface with hundreds of other snakes. The server is cross-platform and allows players to use Android, Apple devices and even their browser.
Customization: snakes can be customized with a number of “different” skins which gives a unique look to your reptile. You can also give him/her a specific name (for some reason, I have witnessed many “Donald Trumps”).
The gameplay is very addictive and aesthetics are quite colorful and pleasing to the eye (as illustrated by the demo below).
Slither.io is an interesting take on an older product. It combines nostalgic feel and imagery which older consumers can relate to with modern multiplayer, highly customizable options younger players tend to favor. This is quite clever Marketing in my book; time will tell if Slither achieves the notoriety of Candy Crush and other classic games.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.