Did you ever hear the tale of Sneak King? I thought not – it’s not one the fast food chains would have told you. In 2006, Burger King released a trilogy of games for Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles – PocketBike Racer, Big Bumpin’, and Sneak King. The fact I’m even explaining this is a testament to their faded legacy – fun games, sure, but no big whopper.
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Well, perhaps one person would disagree. That person is Leroy Patterson, a professional wrestler, stuntman, and video editor. However, his illustrious CV – which includes appearances on America’s Got Talent and quality testing for games studios like Activision and EA – is missing one crucial detail.
He happens to own nearly 3000 copies of Sneak King.
In November, Patterson went viral for posting a picture of himself, modelled resplendently before thousands of Sneak King copies. Like many others, I had questions. So many questions. Luckily, Patterson was more than happy to answer them from his home in California. A self-described “lifetime gamer”, he’s sat before a floor-to-ceiling collection of gaming and film goodies when tells me that – no surprise – I’m not the first person to be enthralled by his original photo.
Chuckling, Patterson explains how one girl messaged his YouTube channel after he went viral, saying “my boyfriend showed me the photo and he’s like, isn’t that funny? I don’t know how he can move on, I [need] more information”.
You and me both, internet stranger. Upon seeing Patterson, Smaug-like before his lime green treasure, I – like many others – had to know what compelled a man to buy thousands of any game, let alone Sneak King.
“When the games first came out through Burger King, I bought one of each because I was super into gaming. You’d hear about games like Pepsiman, there was the Pepsi version of Space Invaders, that were worth something someday. I’m like, this is a unique way for them to come out – so I got one of each of the games, tossed it in my collection, and didn’t really think about it for a couple of years,” explained Patterson rather innocently.
“And then I was at the Dollar Store and I saw 50 of them sitting on the shelf. I was just like, oh my god – that would be so funny, to just have a huge collection of Sneak King. It was a fun game, I enjoyed it – it’s neat. And so I was like, I’ll give them out as Christmas presents one year, everyone gets a Sneak King! Then I got them and I put them on the shelf and [I thought] those things actually look kinda cool there, I’m gonna stick with that.”
From there, Patterson’s Sneak King collection became a “running joke” where he’d buy any copies – almost always priced at a dollar – from game stores. If he’d spot his prize, he’d ask confused employees if they had any more in the back, thus making a habit out of freeing the odd GameStop from its backroom copies of Sneak King.
This went on for four to five years, until Patterson had around 200 copies – perhaps a rather humble collection, in the small world of Sneak King connoisseurs. Then COVID-19 hit, and his all-consuming hunt for Sneak King ran headfirst into a wall.
“I didn’t go to game stores for over a year. I love collecting games, so those were one of the things I was really missing out on. I missed that ‘collecting’ nature – I got some stuff off eBay, but it’s not the same. To satiate that need, I found a lot of really cool gaming channels that were people who either collect games or resell games.”
Specifically mentioning Phoenix Resale and Metal Jesus Rocks, Patterson was inspired by creators who searched through thrift store for games. That’s when he realised that his hobby for Sneak King, which still sat at a humble 200 copies, had the potential to mutate into something much greater.
“I really like those channels, but I feel like they’re missing a narrative, and a lot of them are just basic editing. There’s so much more in this world! It’s a niche world, but there could be a lot more to it – I think the concept is great, and you can just build on it.”
Approaching his “frequent collaborator and best friend” Bobby Ramos, Patterson asked if he wanted “to make a channel where we go and hunt for Sneak King“. Ramos was sold: “I’m in. Let’s do this”.
With that, the fate of Sneak King discs across the world were sealed. Patterson’s wife, who he describes as “super supportive” and “the best” – played a huge part in building the fabled collection that we can admire today. Not long after Patterson decided to turn his collection into a much bigger undertaking, she approached him with game-changing news. Someone was selling 1000 copies of Sneak King. Talking the seller down to $800 (£606), Patterson made the three-hour road trip to pick them up, and returned with a mountainous addition to his collection. As big as the haul is, it actually led into a new problem, which DJ Khaled would diagnose as suffering from success. Patterson remembered thinking that as good as the find was, he was worried that it “kind of kneecapped our show”.
“Where do you go from there?”
From an outside perspective, finding anyone with more than 1000 copies of Sneak King seems absurdly impossible. Nicole – Patterson’s wife – wasn’t going to be stopped by anything as small as impossibility, and found the gang’s next step.
“I found another guy on Facebook marketplace…he’s selling 2900 copies of all three Burger King games…for 100 bucks,” Nicole told Patterson. He was didn’t waste a moment, and asked the seller if he’d be willing to just sell the Sneak King copies. Expecting resistance, Patterson found quite the opposite – the seller begged Patterson to take them for $40 (£30), saying that he wanted them out of his house “so bad”.
Patterson – always happy to oblige – liberated the stacked games, and victoriously brought them back to his garage – which, filled with bins of an obscure Burger King games, stands as testament to the sprawling nature of Patterson’s search.
“It started off as ‘hey this will be a fun prank, this is a fun story’ to ‘alright, this is a business and we’ve got a dedicated show now’. I wouldn’t say it’s getting out of hand, but it’s definitely bigger than I ever expected it to be.”
Since sharing his Sneak King collection with the internet, Patterson’s met with a mixed response. One wholesome highlight included someone addressing Patterson as “Mr Sneak King” and begging for his permission to go forth and hunt for copies on his behalf, which Patterson was more than happy to permit. “It was the best – they sent a huge box, it probably had 20-30 copies in it, and a Burger King crown that said all hail the Sneak King,” laughs Patterson.
Unfortunately, not every reaction was as friendly, and Patterson estimates that “60 to 70 per cent” were negative. He imitates angry messages in his inbox, which range from “very angry WHY’s” to “you’re an idiot, fuck you!”
The cruel nature of the internet hasn’t phased Patterson. Even through a camera halfway across the world, Patterson’s positivity is contagious. Instead, he’s more than happy to entertain the other 30 percent of people who find his hobby “awesome”. Patterson has set up a P.O. box to accommodate fans who are eager to further his goal, though laughs nervously at someone going “fuck you weirdo! Here’s poop”. While he doesn’t really take the hostile reception to heart, he notes that since going viral, he’s noticed people make plenty of assumptions about him.
“People see one image, and they create this whole story about it. People are asking about my diabetes medication – yeah I’m fat, but come on! People are assuming that I’m just a basement-dwelling chud because I smiled with a lot of copies of a video game.”
“That’s the thing – there was a lot of talk about me hoarding them, or ‘oh this guy must be pathetic’, and it’s not true. I’m incredibly happy with life – I just think it’s funny!”
For anyone who does happen to be bizarrely irritated by Patterson’s hobby, bad news – he’s more than happy to “keep the joke going for as long as it is financially viable”. On the wrestling side of things, he has big things in the works that he’s not allowed to share just yet – though rest assured, you’ll be seeing more of him in the ring (see if you can spot him below).
“I wanted something fun and exciting,” explains Patterson, “and the only way to do that is to just try things and find what you like. That was one thing I determined early on in life – I want life to be interesting.”
“Even the Sneak King thing – if I never sell them, and they just sit in my garage forever, and they’re donated to Goodwill after I die. If I were to die today, then who cares? It’s a funny story,” explains Patterson – before clarifying that he may never die.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I didn’t do these goofy things, if I didn’t try new things, if I didn’t see where the joke goes. You need to plant these seeds in life, you can’t be afraid of looking stupid, you can’t be afraid of “oh, what are strangers on the internet going to think?” They have no basic on your life whatsoever! You’re going to find someone who thinks that’s great, and you’re gonna make their day.”
If you’re curious to see where Patterson’s quest takes him, visit Sneak Kingz on YouTube. To stay up-to-date with Patterson’s wider exploits, check him out on Twitter.