Snake your way across your Linux terminal

Python isn't the only snake you'll find at the Linux command line with this classic 1970s game remake.
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Linux toy: snake

Jason Baker

Welcome back to the Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what a command-line toy even is. It's hard to say exactly, but my definition is anything that helps you have fun at the terminal.

We've been on a roll with games over the weekend, and it was fun, so let's look at one more game today, Snake!

Snake is an oldie but goodie; versions of it have been around seemingly forever. The first version I remember playing was one called Nibbles that came packaged with QBasic in the 1990s, and was probably pretty important to my understanding of what a programming language even was. Here I had the source code to a game that I could modify and just see what happens, and maybe learn something about what all of those funny little words that made up a programming language were all about.

Today's Snake is written in Go, and while it's simple, it's just as much fun as the original. Like most simple old games, there are a ton of versions to choose from. In Snake's case, there's even a version in the classic bsdgames package that's almost certainly packaged for your distribution.

But what I like about this version of Snake is that it's packaged for Docker so I can easily run it in one line from my terminal without worrying about anything disto-specific. That, and it makes use of 15 randomized food emojis for the snake to eat. I'm a sucker for food emojis. Anyway, give it a try using:

$ docker run -ti dyego/snake-game

This Snake is licensed as open source under an MIT license, and you can check out the source code on GitHub.

Animated snake game

Do you have a favorite command-line toy that you think I ought to profile? The calendar for this series is mostly filled out but I've got a few spots left. Let me know in the comments below, and I'll check it out. If there's space, I'll try to include it. If not, but I get some good submissions, I'll do a round-up of honorable mentions at the end.

Check out yesterday's toy, Powers of two, powers of Linux: 2048 at the command line, and check back tomorrow for another!

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Jason was an staff member and Red Hatter from 2013 to 2022. This profile contains his work-related articles from that time. Other contributions can be found on his personal account.

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