This innovation was important because it added a whole new layer of complexity for top players worldwide. While many people consider snaking to be a form of cheating, Nintendo has confirmed that it was put in the game intentionally. It’s also worth noting that snaking cannot be done effectively without a craft of highly-specific stats, hours of practice, or insane amounts of skill and physical dexterity.
Compare that to ↑strafe-jumping [from Wikipedia]:
Strafe-jumping requires a very specific combination of mouse and keyboard input. The exact technique involved depends on the game itself; however, most games follow a certain pattern of user actions.
The movements are usually as follows:
1. The player presses the forward key, preparing to make the first jump.
2. Still keeping the forward key pressed, the player jumps, adding either the strafe left or the strafe right key.
3. To gain maximum speed, the player must now move the mouse smoothly (i.e., turn) in the direction of the strafe, while still holding down the two aforementioned keys. This part is called airstrafing, which is responsible for increase in speed during the jump.
4. For successive strafejumps, the player immediately jumps again on landing, swapping the direction of strafe as well as mouse motion.
Done correctly, this will dramatically increase the player’s velocity with successive jumps. The only way to learn this technique is by practice. Sequential strafejumping is mainly a matter of muscle memory, as the maximum angle of mouse motion increases slightly with consecutive jumps.
To understand strafe-jumping in better detail, watch demos of pro strafe-jumpers at low timescales (<.5).
In respect to the ethnography of gaming culture there are some interesting points contained in this issues. As I stated earlier, I take game-related accounts at Wikipedia, or now at the GIDb, to be emic voices from within gaming culture. The quoted entries on snaking and strafe-jumping clearly are attempts of verbalizing embodied knowledge. But obviously even the specialists reach the limits of the possibilities of description by language, hence the hint to “watch demos of pro strafe-jumpers at low timescales”. Here the qualities the medium computergame is able to offer [specifically ↵demos and slow motion] are used at large to communicate cultural knowledge.
And I insist that ↵trickjumping and ↵speedruns are instances of the cultural appropriation of gamespace. This practice even cumulates to exploration of and research into gamespace from the gamers’ side. Take e.g. the article ↑Zigzagging through a strange universe by Anthony Bailey, which has a twofold goal:
The second, broader theme is a more general look at anomalies like this one; things that started as bugs, or at least were unexpected by id Software, but which have turned into well-loved features over the course of time.
To my knowledge the possibility of strafe-jumping has been discovered in ↑Quake II (1997) by gamers. Seemingly it was a glitch in the engine’s code, which allowed a ‘physics anomaly’ to appear which could be exploited by gamers. And in the beginning it indeed was seen as an ‘exploit’ or even a ‘cheat’ to prey on those ‘anomalies’. But things changed and a whole subculture arose, condensating around said bundles of practices called trickjumping and speedrunning. And the gamedevelopers reacted: The ‘glitches’ were left in the engine, appeared in other games based on the same engine, and now are deemed to be ‘features’. With ‘snaking’ Nintendo obviously took the same path. Computergames indeed are co-creative media. To back that up, here is a quote from ↑A brief DOOM demo history: