'Snake' (L) stars in "Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker". Photo: AFP
Sunday, February 10, 2013 marks the Chinese New Year -- the year of the snake -- so why not choose something to play from our serpentile selection.
By embedding the twisting, turning, perpetually elongating game of Snake into its handsets, Nokia's implementation of a well-worn sub-genre burrowed its way into the mind of many a mobile phone user in the late 1990s, ensuring near-ubiquity today. Also available on iOS, and in mindbending form on the Xbox 360 and PC as "qrth-phyl".
Sleeping Dogs: Cult of the Snake
Undercover officer Wei Shen surely must be due a (psychotic) break by now after playing good cop / very bad cop since the release of "Sleeping Dogs" in August 2012 -- but not before stopping the apocalyptic Cult of the Snake in a new expansion pack due out soon enough.
Metal Gear Solid franchise
Not just one game but a dozen or so to pick from here, with the recent Metal Gear Solid HD collection containing a selection of series high points on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PSP. What's the reptilian connection? Its stealthy main character is none other than covert operative Solid Snake, whose supporting cast includes the slithery agents codenamed Naked Snake, Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake.
Villain of no less than seven games in the "Golden Axe" series, Death Adder is the masked, towering antagonist that just doesn't know when to stop wielding the titular magical weapon. A Sega Genesis favorite back in the early 1990s, "Golden Axe" lives on through downloadable versions fo Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii.
One of four playable characters sent after the treasures of the vault on a semi-colonized alien planet of Pandora in "Borderlands," and a pivotal character in its 2012 sequel, Lilith's link to the serpent world comes via her name, as some apocryphal tales associate her primordial forebear with the form of a snake.
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and Lego Indiana Iones 2
Which snake-centric games list would be complete without mention of cinema's famous ophidiophobic, Indiana Jones, the action-archaeologist whose perennial cry is "I haaaate snaaaakes!" The first game snaps up episodes from "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "The Temple of Doom", and "The Last Crusade", while its sequel selects moments from the cherished trilogy and even manages to find the fun in "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
Super Mario series
The "Mario" games might be more well-known for their adventures with power-up mushrooms and fire flowers, but humble snakes have a time-honored role to play, from the Nyololins of "Super Mario Land" to the Cobrats of "Super Mario Bros 2", "SMB3" and "Mario Kart 7."
Indiana Jones learnt to fear snakes, and so will players of the challenging treasure hunting game Spelunky, in which players make their way through a series of randomized caves populated by bats, spiders, spikes, the occasional yeti, and deadly snakes, all of which can end adventures in an instant. A free, retro-styled version is available on PC, with a more commercial HD remake downloadable for both PC and 360.
WWE All Stars
Jake "The Snake" Roberts was one of 15 wrestlers immortalized as WWE Legends in 2011's 360, PS3 and Wii game "WWE All Stars", alongside names such as Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior. Does that make you feel old? For a bonus round, check out the remake of 1991 arcade game "WWE WrestleFest" on Android and iOS.
One of the first games for home computer was given a new lease of life on Android and iOS platforms, and it's just the thing for folk that have been bitten by the "Temple Run" bug -- just make sure to avoid those pesky snakes.