If you haven’t played slither.io already, you might want to go do that. Be forewarned: you might want to set aside some time for that one.

If you don’t have time right now, I’ll break it down for you: it’s the classic game “Snake“, done for multiplayer, where running into your own tail does nothing, and running into another player’s tail kills you. When you die, you leave behind pellets that other snakes can eat to grow longer. Pellets also appear randomly, as in the traditional game. Pretty simple setup, phenomenal execution.

It’s also a stunning indictment of humanity itself, but you really should play a few rounds before I bore you with that one.

You back? Okay.

Here’s my basic problem with it: the game mechanics make it possible to zip in front of another snake, cutting them off, making them crash into you, and creating those nummy, snake-lengthening pellets. I can’t swear that death-pellets make you longer than their non-cannibalized counterparts, but I kinda get that sense. And as I recently indicated, I’m not a fan of bad traffic behavior. Knocking someone else out of the game just doesn’t make it more fun for me.

“But that’s the whole point, right? If you don’t eat, you die, so you have to knock others out just to stay in!”

Well, no, Strawman, it isn’t. As I mentioned above, pellets appear randomly around the board even if nobody runs into each other. So you can eat without cutting anyone off, and create a longer snake to your heart’s content.

But even that is besides the point, because the “if you don’t eat, you die” bit isn’t true. In the game, if you don’t eat, you don’t grow, but you never actually starve to death. Seriously- try playing for as long as you can, never bothering anyone else, but just not eating, and see what happens.

“Okay, but there’s only so much space on the board, right? Eventually, you’re going to run into a competition for scarce resources, and have to change into kill-or-be-killed mode.”

The key word there is “eventually”. I’ve never seen a full board. I’ve never seen a board that was even 10% occupied by actual snake matter. My point is that the game never reaches that “eventually” because the players start looking for ways to knock each other out of the game almost immediately after they start. If every time you logged on, you were in an overcrowded dystopia being chased by Charlton Heston, I might feel differently. As it is, it’s just people cutting each other off for fun.

“Ah-ha! You said it yourself: they do it for fun! And it doesn’t actually hurt anyone, so who cares?”

I care, because it hurts me. Not very much- I’m not going to lose any sleep over it or anything- but there is just a tiny little sting every time I get knocked out of the game because someone deliberately maneuvered around me for that end. And I know you get a little thrill when you do knock someone else out of the game, but does that really increase the overall joy in the world? For me, it doesn’t- I actively avoid collisions with other snake, because I’m not trying to compete. I’m just trying to build something here, without someone coming along and knocking it down.