Snaking- Good Strategy, or Just Plain Low?

With Mario Kart DS and the NWC having been launched nearly two months ago, head to head multiplayer gaming has never been so intense. Mario Kart provides an amazing experience, online and off. Yet, I’m sure all of you who have play online have experience or used one of the most controversial techniques multiplayer gaming has seen in a long time: snaking.

For those of you who don’t know what snaking is, SHADOWLINK19 of Nintendo’s NSider Forums explains:

“Snaking makes use of the power slide technique in Mario Kart DS. Power sliding, or drifting (another word for it) is when you make your kart slide in a certain direction, and after rotating the control pad a few times, get a small speed boost. Snaking is when you power slide from one side of the track to the other side of the track. If performed successfully, you’ll get the speed boost each time you’re done power sliding to the opposite side of the track.

Now, you’re probably wondering how this technique got its name. When snakes slither, they usually move their bodies from left to right. When you’re snaking in the game, you’ll be moving your kart from left to right. If this is pulled off right, you’ll be able to get ahead of your opponents easily with the speed boosts that you would be getting each time you drifted. “

A full explanation and directions can be found in his post. As a result of this technique, races often end up being won by a minute or sometimes more. This has caused a major clash of opinions in the Mario Kart community. Though snaking is not a glitch, it’s in the game on purpose, many feel it’s a low way to win races. Others claim its simply part of the game, including Nintendo of America’s own Andy Hartpence.

So Infendo readers, let the debating begin: What are your opinions on snaking?


  1. Seriously this technique has been around since Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It is not cheating to use this and it is very easy to master. I have played this way for years, it is now second nature to me I can’t play any other way.

  2. It angers me too. You can pretty much tell who is going to be a snaker and who is going to drop out when you see their records when everyone joins.
    The guy who has 300 wins and 50 losses is the snaker, the guy whos either dead even between the two or has way more losses will probably drop out.

    I stay in no matter what even if I get lapped by mister snake. What I do to combat it is try not to let him get figure 8 track but its hard when everyone but me and him drop out because we’re losing and its between mine and his choices.

    Either way, I’d rather play against people who dont snake and I think snakers would rather play against snakers. Its just more fun. I suppose thats what the Rivals option does for you but you find opponents faster using worldwide.

  3. I originally learned to snake to deal with snakers, but now I use it when I’m falling behind, just as a way to catch up. I do find it a little cheap when my opponents can’t do it, but I like to play to win, or at least not lose. Sometimes though I snake accidentally, and I try my BEST not to do that when I’m playing wih friends (I can beat most of them without it anyway). Also, I admire people who can snake all the time; their finger joints must be godly! Do you KNOW just how much pain snaking puts you your left thumb? It’s that repeditive motion, it HURTS! I’m pretty sure it’s called Carpel Tunnel Syndrome… and that’s NO Good!

  4. I’m no good at it, but snaking counts as legitimate in my book. These people are better than me at a game, why whine about it?

  5. A person with a good record such as 300W nad 50L doesn’t necessarily mean they are a snaker. I’ve played against people with ridiculous records that don’t even snake and players with crappy records that are pure snakers.

    It’s most likely the majority of people with great records are snakers, but don’t assume EVERY single person is. There are a lot of people that are really skillful without the need to snake.

  6. Heck, that’s how I win.

  7. Like Bitor, I learned to snake as a defensive measure against other snakers. I think it’s legit, but only in certain cases. If it’s used defensively against someone who is snaking against you, that’s fine. If someone has 300 wins and not that many losses, then it’s ok because that person should be an advanced enough player by that point to know how to snake. And of course in a match against someone with whom it was previously agreed that snaking is ok.
    Every now and then, I snake just to catch up when I’ve fallen way behind, but to use snaking to completely destroy a newbie is cheap, and not fun for me and especially the newbie.

  8. i think it’s ugly and distracting. it changes it from mariokart to some other dumb game where all you need to know how to do to even compete is a simple quick-finger maneuver. i personally abhor it. actually, it’s the reason i don’t play multiplayer anymore. it’s unfair, and it’s a bore.

  9. I hate it. I think snaking is a technique developed by people with too much time on their hands. GET A LIFE! It ruins the game, the fun factor and wastes my time. I went to start a game with a person who had a record of 290 wins and 0 losses (I shit u not!). Now, I admit, I dropped out before we started because I knew he was a snaker and didn’t want to waste the next 10 minutes of my life. There are always people who find ways to ruin great multiplayer games they seem to live for this. An example is the constantly jumping idiots in deathmatch FPSs, it’s ok for Quake 2 but when they do it in a game like BF2 they ruin the immersion factor, the realism.

    I have no time for these people. Play with your own kind or stay offline and play with yourselves.

  10. First off, let me start by saying this. You DON’T power slide by rotating the controller. Only idiots think that. It’s actually from ALTERNATING left and right (only left and right, rotating is HIGHLY unnecessary) on the control pad while holding the “R” Button.

    Second, while I don’t like to call the term “snaking” (not because of term ownership, but simply because on F-Zero, the process is more smoother whereas Mario Kart is more complex by comparison. It’s sequential on F-Zero much more natural like a snake and on Mario Kart it’s repetition of a technique that requires a few steps that isn’t as smooth as constantly alternating simple drifts. The only thing in common is the association with speed boosts and the trajectory) I do feel that snakers take the fun out of races. Not saying I can’t learn to snake but I will say that it’s better to power slide in moderation in a competitive race than to have some intimidating overzealous-gotta-win-all-the-time-egotistical-tactless-pro ruin the fun for us all, making “snaking” the standard for people to play online.

    All techniques are valid, but I think the real heart of competition lies in a close match.

    If winning was so easy, it must get so boring to compete wouldn’t it?

  11. Snaking is a perfectlly legit aspect of MKDS. I would really wonder how ANYONE is able to obtain a triple star ranking (like I did) without resorting to snaking. Once you learn to snake you’ll realise how useful it is, especially with karts like the dry bomber and egg 1.

  12. My Brother does not snake and has a triple star rating. The powerslide is a tool to get trough corners and should be used to that. I dislike people that have to win so bad they have to do it all the time. There is nothing better than beating the lowlife that use this way of racing. I have a statistc of about half losses an half wins but my brother have managed a 288win 59 losses without snaking and he would have a hell of a lot more if not for those lowlife disconnectors.

  13. I believe snaking is absolutely legit, and it is even encouraged by the design of the game mechanics.
    I’m really bad at it, but competing online with players who have mastered it makes me want to practice it more.
    The cool thing about video games is that, unless you hacked the game, you can’t really cheat: all the moves are available to use and combine because the game designer put them in there, and they know what you can or can’t do.
    In any case, the nice thing about the design of Mario Kart is that you can win against a snaker without using that technique by mastering other techniques in the game, like the weapons.

  14. Sure, it’s legit in that it’s not necessarily against the rules, nor is it exactly a hack.

    But lord, is it CHEAP.

    Every time I’m in a game with a snaker, me and the other two guys aren’t snakers ourselves, and it sucks any chance of the three non-snakers winning right out the door.

    I can see it as being useful when you’re playing against the computer. Or, perhaps, when you’ve fallen too far behind. But people who snake successfully make it near impossible for anybody else to win–which, by its nature and whether or not it’s against the rules, is unfair and frustrating.

    The only time I snake is if I’m with another snaker. I hate seeing them win by a minute on every track when the other three are playing like normal people and having fun using items and everything. It’s just not fair.

  15. Rotate? You only need to flick the pad left/right a few times.

    Really boring way to play though. :/

  16. Whatever happened to the good ‘ol days of Mushroom shortcuts and jumping off of the track on Rainbow Road in 64?

    I’ve tried snaking – it’s hard. But it’s stupid, really. Cheap.

    Also, what’s with losing when everyone’s neck and neck and it clearly says you’re in first?

  17. I say snaking is fair. Why? I don’t even have MK:DS, but in my experience with FPS games, it sounds an awful lot like strafe-jumping. Strafe-jumping is a trick to go much quicker than normal, and unlike this, actually was caused by a glitch, but has remained in FPS games ever since. It requires skill, and you can go 2-3 times faster than normal, and it helps _a lot_ in CTF. Some say it’s unfair, simply because they can’t do it right. It took me several hours to nail it down nice enough. It’s a skill, so I have no problem with “snaking”/”drifting” or anything of the sort.
    Please feel free to flame me now. As for me, I’m going to get MK:DS soon just so I can try this out. Sounds like fun to me. :O It just sounds like something you have to work on. Now, on the other hand, in FPS games, the tactic of camping…. _THAT_ is beyond cheap. Especially those who camp on a flag base. Usually, you can strafe-jump quick enough to grab the flag and run, but good campers might hit you. That ruins the fun. Snaking doesn’t sound anything like that. So again, feel free to flame me, if you must… :/

  18. Way to contradict yourself…

  19. (tells above guy to shutup :P)

    On wi-fi events during races aren’t very accurate. For example I’m sure some people would have noticed others running into items when they clearly missed on your DS :). They were probably leading a little on theirs.

  20. Oh yeah and @Anonymous,
    Your brother must be pretty damn good to have such a Wi-Fi score and a triple star ranking, seriously :). I have triple stars, and a 270 win to 14 loss ratio, but perhaps it is because I snake :D. I recomend playing Rivals room though, most opponets are your level and there’s less disconnections.

    Btw my friend code is 133203 986406 if anyone wants a match XD.

  21. Ha. Is this the first time many of you have played a video game competetively?

    It’s like certain tactics in Street FIghter. THERE IS NO CHEAP. If it can be used against you, LEARN IT AND USE IT BACK. Many of you sound lazy and pathetic, but I’m sure you’ll get over it eventually.

    Just because the 13-year old you are playing against happens to be more dextrous, don’t try to feel better by calling it cheap, ugly, or boring. Figure it out, or get left behind.

    If you can’t deal with it, lose the wifi and go back to playing the computer.

  22. Tactics are tactics. Camping is a tactic. Snaking is a tactic. A 8 year old playing street fighter and just randomly mashing buttons and kicking your ass while doing it is tactics. Learning ways or…tactics to beat people who use …tactics, well its a tactic.

    Basically if you can play a game with a preferred style, usually it’s a skill you master. Camping is an amazing skill in FPS’s if you do it well and just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it any different than some noob saying snaking, blasting off from the finish line or even power sliding is

    As for dropping out of games on race four after I cross the finish line and beat you… that’s just pathetic and someone should take away your DS and posibbly beat you you spinless loser. NoA should write about that.


  23. you know, that’s why they have “rivals” mode. Back when I couldn’t defend myself against snakers, I’d find many less there.

  24. I obviously didn’t write out my thoughts very well. You see, in the game Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, we had a mod for it called Instagib. It made it so that the only weapon you had was a disruptor (laser) rifle, and one hit killed you. Camping was semi-ok, as you could kill the person if you saw them. No big deal. That is, until someone discovered how to jump above the normal map, and end up in a place that was the “perfect” camping spot: You couldn’t die. At all. Combine that with some decent shooting skills, and the game became unfair. That is what I meant by camping, the cheap kind, not the standing-behind-a-crate-and-shoot type of camping.

  25. @ Frisby

    So by your theory using hacks to shoot through walls is a “tactic” because it can be done. Give me a break, you are all losers who snake and get your sadistic thrills from ruining everybody elses fun. Your kind will ALWAYS find a way to ruin a game.

    I shit on you.

    Have a nice day.

  26. No, blue. Obviously, there are exceptions. Never did he say, “hacks=tactics”. If putting words in other people’s mouths and using silly internet phrases like “I shit on you. Have a nice day.” helps you justify your laziness for learning an advanced tactic that was_meant_to_be_in_the_game, then stop trying to be a tough guy online, and STICK TO PLAYING COMPUTER OPPONENTS.

    His “kind” are the ones that encounter things in life and deal with it. Your kind are the ones that cry on message boards about it.

  27. Break it up ladies! ^_^

  28. HAHAHAAA… no, Rollins. Not so much. Come back when you have something to contribute.

    The point is, maybe he’ll gather the energy to learn snaking if pushed. That’s all some people need even if it’s just anonymous person on the internet pushing his buttons.

  29. Now, if it was some sort of glich or exploit, then it’s understandable, but since Nintendo put it in on purpose then you have no excuse.

    Your blaming the people who have the skill to pull it off for your problems when it was Nintendo who put it in the game, Nintendo who thought it would be acceptable, and Nintendo who though it would make the game deeper. If you have a problem with snaking, then you really have a problem with Nintendo.

    Complaining about snaking is like saying that someone who can follow the line in GT3 is playing unfair, or that someone with better aim then you is making your FPS experience bad. If you are not as good as someone then deal with it, snaking is a skill that can be picked up by everyone and doesn’t require anything some special exploit available to a few.

    The fact is, bashing people for being better than you only makes you look like what you really are, a sore loser.

  30. The fact that you can snake in MKDS is a programming oversight. If this were Diablo 2, Blizzard would have nerfed it in it’s next patch.

  31. Nintendo EMPLOYEES have stated that it was intentionally programmed into the game. What are your sources? This isn’t the first Mario Kart game to have it, so they could have easily removed it if they thought it would cause problems. Judging by the number of people that utilize Nintendo’s wifi, it doesn’t even appear to be a worthwhile issue. Try again.

    Anyway, I’ve been snaking since Double Dash. I was the first of my friends to learn it, but instead of whining like little girls (they were all past the tender age of 13), they learned it themselves. Except for poor Matt… he moved back to single player rpgs =(

  32. I’ve never been shit on before.

    I just want to say, you can tell someone is a noob when they do not power slide and cant even shoot off from the start. Usually I don’t do it if I am the only one who can. I like to play fair and make it interesting even if I could own someone at a race.

    There is a such thing as a sore winner too. I wrote, but then deleted something about “as long as you don’t break the code I think it’s fair” but I guess I left it out because I thought it was too obvious. We where discussing if the acquired skill of snaking was a cheat, not if hacks and codes are cheating.

    Also i don’t know if your where referring to me as a snaker, but I was the first person to comment on this thread and I stated tactics (I used the word again) on how to evade snakers…so how does that make me a Snaker?

    Saint…have you ever thrown a frag over a stack of crates with the possibility of a camper being behind there? That’s another counter tactic.

    Blue, next time you want to initiate a flame, try not to say stuff like “I shit on you.” because I think it automatically makes you not only the loser, but also a douche bag.

    Thanks for calling me out chud.


  33. BTW…thanks Anonymous for geting my back.

  34. Frisby:
    Did you read my second comment? I was talking about Instagib mode. It doesn’t have frag grenades. Only laser rifles. Otherwise, I would be grenading them 🙂

  35. Yeah I read it, I was just relating what my first comment was all about.

  36. ” Anonymous said…

    HAHAHAAA… no, Rollins. Not so much. Come back when you have something to contribute”

    Come back when u get a name.

  37. Snaking ruins MK:DS because it completely changes the dynamic of the game. All original Kart games were accessible to everyone (even my completely video game-illiterate fiance), and even the most experienced Karters could still lose to novices because of the unpredictability of the gameplay.
    Snaking takes that away. Unless you take the time to learn how to snake and are already very good at MK:DS, you will ALWAYS lose to snakers on most of the online courses.
    When you snake, you’re taking away what MK was always about and turning it into another lame racing sim. Oh, and FYI: If you meet me on wifi and you snake, I WILL take you 4 races, and I WILL disconnect before you finish. You ruin it for me, I ruin it for you. If my loss count gets too high, I’ll just erase my data.
    Hey, the game lets you do it, so it’s fair, right?

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