INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [Mattel Electronics #3758]

Release #24 October 15, 1981

Working titles: Blockade+Snakes, Ssssnakes!

Program, Graphics and Sound: Mike Minkoff

Package Illustration: Jerrol Richardson

Instructions Posted Here


You each start off with little lines that start to grow.

They grow fast, tangling, weaving, writhing like magic beanstalks. And you're at the controls, trying to completely enclose the other guy so he can't grow any more.

This is a game of lightning quick strategic decisions. Hesitate...or slip...and you'll find yourself surrounded.


Developed under the working title Blockade+Snakes to reflect the two basic versions of the game. In the first, inspired by the board game Blockade, opponents try to surround and trap each other. In the second, inspired by a handheld LED game in development at Mattel but never released, opponents bite at each other's tails until one is reduced to nothing.

Mike likes the name Ssssnakes! and started using it on the title screen; he fought for it to be the final name. Marketing instead chose Snafu, from the military acronym "Situation Normal -- All Fouled Up" (acutally most veterans use a different word than "Fouled"). Mike hated the name since it had nothing to do with the gameplay.

Snafu was the only game released to use the Intellivision video chip's colored squares mode.

An Aquarius version of Snafu was alo released.

PLAYING TIPS: From Intellivision Game Club News, Issue 2, Winter 1982 (credited to "Mike, another Intellivision programming specialist"):

  • Practice steering -- Get a good feel for the action of the direction disk.
  • Anticipate -- Concentrate on the movement of the opposing snakes as well as your own.
  • Plan ahead -- Press the direction disk JUST SLIGHTLY ahead of when you want to turn. If you wait too long, you won't be able to turn until the next avenue.
  • For the "trap" games -- try getting in front of the opposing snakes forcing them to the outside If you're clever, you can create channels around the perimeter from which the opposing snakes cannot escape. Allow a snake back into the middle and you make it easier for it to double back to trap you.
  • For the "bite" games -- learn to read the rebounds. Be careful not to bite off your own tail by doubling back on yourself. Alternate between the horizontal, vertical and diagonal modes to cross up your opponent. Go on the defensive when you have only a few links left. This will give your snake time to grow new links. For a twist in strategy, go on the defensive right from the start. Grow extra links before you attack.