John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Or just use it to chase children around—your choice.
Fans of classic video games and public art have scored a double-win in London, where a fountain has been transformed into a playable version of the 1970s-era maze-runner, "Snake."
To play the game—originally released as "Blockade" before "Snake" became the informal title for knockoffs—people first download an app called Squirt. They then connect to the Wi-Fi in King's Cross Granary Square to take control of 1,000 individually programmed water jets. By twisting the phone back and forth, players steer one of eight battling serpents around obstacles and each other's tails—or just chase toddlers around like a big meanie, to believe this video.
A reporter from Time Out London took the fountain for a recent test ride, and declared it "harder than normal 'Snake,' as I recall—I don't remember being this crap at it.'" But good news awaits those who pine for different classics. The organizers of this intervention say "new games will be released throughout the year," providing that Atari-style action on public property will always be in vogue.