Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).
The browser game is a great format for experimental comedy. Because the work lives in your browser window, there’s already an expectation of short-form expression, so it’s hard to feel cheated when a game reveals itself to be little more than a two-minute, one-note gag. In the last year, more of these gag games have popped up, and a handful of artists, like Major Bueno, are specializing in the form. Now, Ben Esposito and Yuliy Vigdorchik—who had a hand in the psychedelic skating game Zineth—have crafted a prime example of the gag game form with Room Of 1000 Snakes.
If the idea of a two-minute-long interactive joke interests you, you should probably just go ahead and play it lest any of the gags get spoiled for you here. There’s a thin layer of story. You, some sort of explorer, enter into an Egyptian tomb despite warnings that it spells your doom. “I will find out the mystery of snakes,” you tell yourself. Ahead of you is a red button. Surely, you must push it. You do and…uh oh. Maybe the doomsayers were right.
The humor plays with your expectations. Room introduces typical video game elements that seem to offer a way out of your slithery mess, but those saviors are red herrings that make the futility of your struggle even more amusing. What really got me laughing, though, was the soundtrack. The game’s arc is comically timed to the song’s swells, with snakes bursting from around you like confetti as violins climb to a soar. It’s the classic setup/punchline structure mapped to a game—two minutes well spent.