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Slitherio Extends the Agar.io YouTube Madness

I recently took a closer look at the way that Agar.io, a free-to-play indie game, had taken the YouTube lets play scene by storm, and how it was ushering in a new trend. Well, it seems like I might have been right, as now someone has created a clone of it which has been promoted almost entirely through YouTube videos of people screwing around on it. 

Slitherio differs from Agar.io in that it actually more closely follows the rudiments of the classic Snake mobile game. If you hit a boundary, you die. The difference is that you can cross your own body, just not anyone else's. You grow by collecting glowing orbs, and upon death, you split into them, so your remains can be consumed by anyone, not just your killer. Orbs can also be spent to grant a speed boost, either to get out of a stick situation or to corral someone. 

Weirdly, it kind of reminds me of 'The Giant Blob', a team-building game I played a school - one person is 'The Blob' and anyone they touch has to link arms with them until everyone is absorbed, but the original remains in charge of movement. By capitalising on the success of Agar.io, firstly in the functional and aesthetic similarities, but also in the way it's spread through YouTube videos and Google searching.

It seems like it was almost built from the ground up to bait let's players into seeking it out. The difference is that most people who started making Agar.io videos were already au fait with it before they even considered videoing themselves on it. With this, it seems like most of them are actually recording themselves experiencing it for the first time, which carries its own appeal.

Things like this really work to capture the joy of a synchronised communal playing experience. Similarly, but on a far grander scale, Dark Souls III was released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Like every other Souls game, it blends an extremely challenging single-player campaign with a communal multiplayer aspect which enables players to leave messages for each other, drop in to other people's game to help out or see where other people died to avoid succumbing to the same fate. 

Beyond that though, the game only explains the bare minimum of story, strategy and geography, leaving the rest entirely up to us, which has meant that a huge online community has blossomed, one which is currently experiencing the latest volume almost perfectly in sync, up to and including all the let's players. Games have more 'communal watercooler' appeal than any other form of media, and it's easy to see how things like Slitherio take advantage of that.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Slitherio Extends the Agar.io YouTube Madness Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, April 17, 2016 Rating: 5

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