Stupid Snakers

July 2nd, 2006  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

O.k. So the question was raised …

“If MarioKart lets you snake, then what’s the problem with snakers?”

I don’t think it’s so much that they snake … it’s that their snaking is indicative of a deeper moral rot that smells up the place. Consider two scenarios from the last 24 hours of MarioKart play:

Scenario One: I sit around waiting to get into a game. I get three other players. One has a bad record (3 wins, 23 losses), but he’s new, so o.k. Another has a mediocre record numbering in the hundreds of wins and losses. So he’s probably a pretty honest (read: non-snaking) player. He’ll probably be around until the last race, even if he’s getting stomped. The last has around 1,200 wins and 10 losses. Hm.

So the first race starts. Newbie gets stomped, but stays in the game. Mediocre guy is competing with me. Snaker takes off and cleans all our clocks. Second race, about the same. Third race, I get lucky and drop a few blue bombs on the snaker in the home stretch … I’m about to win and deepledeep the snaker cuts off his machine to avoid taking the loss.

So our snaker, in this case, is a moral retard who just can’t stand the thought of losing, even when he’s cheated as best he can.

Scenario Two: I sit around waiting for a game. I get three other players. The records of the contestants are revealed. I can’t give an accurate tally, except to note that one of them has over 800 wins and no losses, one’s clearly a newb, and one looks about average. Can’t tell you his record exactly, because the second he realizes he’s stuck in a match with a snaking, quitting low-life, he drops out.

You can tell who’s picking which courses, too: The newb goes random because a track pops up instantly in the vote and it’s a lame one with lots of curves. Snakers hate curvy courses. The snaker picks Figure 8 because it has a lot of straightaways, so he can snake himself blind. I pick Wario Stadium, which is curvy, bumpy and hard to snake, but it’s a challenge. I win the vote. We start racing. The newb blows up at the starting line and our snaker instantly starts his wriggling around, except he’s no good at snaking curvy courses, flops into the mud, bounces off a wall, and suddenly he’s way far behind. Ten seconds into the race, he quits, perfect record preserved, because why risk losing with most of three laps to go? I stomp the newbie, who sees he’s going to be looking at three more head-to-head races against someone more experienced, and he quits.

See … the issue isn’t so much snaking as it is the kind of personality that needs to snake. It can’t stand losing, so it snakes, and if it looks like its snaking isn’t going to pay off, it just drops out to maintain its record.

Nintendo, of course, plays the whole thing down by saying snaking is a design element it intended to add to the game. I don’t buy that because it clearly messes things up: Some people won’t even race against snakers, and snakers seem to be the type who’ll drop out of races as soon as the writing’s on the wall. I think Nintendo’s saying “Snaking’s fine,” because the alternative would be saying “Yeah … our online games are overrun with lamers who’ll use funny little tricks to win every time, then quit after you’ve waited around to get a race together.”

Snakers suck.

At least Nintendo did something about the quitters, who are just as morally retarded if not quite as obnoxious about it.

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