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Developed by David Dobson and released many times over since 1996,
with this Deluxe edition being distributed by Tri Synergy in 2008.
Snood is one of those titles that was oddly unavoidable for a certain time, especially
around the turn of the millennium.
And the box certainly goes out of its way to let you know how popular it was, boasting
about having “over 50 million players.”
Note that it doesn’t say 50 million *sold* since it’s making this claim based on the
estimated number of downloads up to that point.
That’s because Snood began its life as a freely-distributed Macintosh
shareware game back in 1996.
The man behind it, Mr. David Dobson, programmed computer games as a hobby throughout the 80s
and 90s, with the first one he released being “Bombs Away!”
This was a VGA Minesweeper clone for MS-DOS that was available completely for free on
Usenet, although he asked $10 for access to the complete source code.
His next game, Centaurian for the Macintosh, was a shareware release meant as a tribute
to the Midway arcade game Bosconian.
And it became his first success in the realm of selling software, earning positive reviews
from various Macintosh shareware reviewers in 1996.
Well, it was a success by obscure 90s shareware game standards,
selling between 3 and 5 copies a week.
Still, it made money, and it was encouragement for his next game, which would become Snood.
Dobson programmed the first version of Snood for the Mac while he was a grad student at
the University of Michigan.
It all started when he was teaching himself a new programming language and decided to
take the opportunity to make a game as a gift for his wife, Christina.
She was a fan of puzzle games so he used aspects of various ones he’d seen in the arcades,
most notably Taito’s Puzzle Bubble from 1994, known as Bust-a-Move in North America.
Just like in Puzzle Bobble, the gameplay here revolves around shooting things from a cannon
at the bottom of the screen and connecting three or more to make them disappear.
Except that instead of bubbles, Snood has snoods: seven little pixelated monstrosities
that smile and grimace and stick out their tongue as you play.
The order of snoods you can shoot out is randomized, as is the layout of the play area for each
game, so there’s always a fresh challenge to be had.
There’s also no strict timer involved in Snood’s normal gameplay mode, so you’re
free to take as long as you want with each shot.
But you’re still pressured to make decent moves because the ceiling will start moving
downwards after the meter on the right side of the screen fills up with each move.
Snood is also a little more forgiving with the collisions than Puzzle Bobble, in the
sense that each ball isn’t as “sticky” and you can
actually shoot them through narrow passages.
And finally, bouncing them off walls is a key part of the experience.
Not just for show, but sometimes it’s the only way to make a certain connection happen
to clear a group of snoods before the ceiling crushes you
or they go beyond the bottom of the screen.
And man does this aesthetic scream “mid-90s Macintosh shareware!”
The bright primary colors, the MacDraw fill gradients, the odd patterns, the busy backgrounds,
the bizarre character designs.
It’s almost like Osamu Sato meets Kid Pix, I can’t help but appreciate it.
As for where the title of Snood came from, Dobson took the name from a friends' fantasy
football team called “The Snood Trunions.”
It wasn’t until later that he learned a snood is also a type of hair accessory, as
well as an erectile appendage attached to the beak of male turkeys.
Still, the name was absurd enough to work, so he released it as shareware on the Michigan
University servers along with a message saying
if anyone wanted more features they could register for $10.
Suffice to say, people wanted more.
At first it was a local viral hit, spreading through word of mouth among the students and
faculty since it was already on the school computers.
But it didn’t take long before it started reaching the rest of the country.
The registration envelopes started showing up, each with $10.
First one or two a day, then ten, then thirty a day!
And on and on it went, each envelope filled with $10 bills or checks or even foreign currency,
often with a letter from the purchaser saying how addicted they were to it.
Snood, LLC was then founded to manage the game’s sales, by 2001 there were 1.5 million
unique users playing at any given moment making it one of the top 10 most-played games of
the year, and by 2002 Snood had been installed over 5 million times.
“Forget life, play Snood” wasn’t simply a marketing blurb chosen at random, that’s
just what folks were doing.
It seemed like everyone was playing it, from kids, to parents, to office workers, to people
like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and writer Nora Ephron admitting to Snood obsession.
Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton said that his addiction to SNood was so intense
that it was likely responsible for him not finishing a novel.
Heck, even The Sopranos couldn’t resist the call of Snood back then!
Of course, the success didn’t end with the 1.0 Macintosh version, not by a long shot.
Snood went onto be ported and patched and remade many times over, with frequent updates
over the course of the next two decades.
After reaching 2.0 on the Mac, next up was the MS-DOS release from 1999, a rather unusually
late year to put out a new shareware DOS game.
Nonetheless, here it is, in all its command line-accessible glory.
It plays a little faster than the Macintosh version, but other than that it’s still
the same basic Snood.
But it did feature the 2.0 gameplay additions, including Journey and Puzzle modes.
Journey mode is like the normal single player mode, but instead of ending after one board
and earning you a high score, you continue onwards to play until you lose.
Each time you clear a board it increases the difficulty to the next highest setting, starting
at Child and moving you on up through Easy, Medium, Hard, and Evil.
And Puzzle mode presents you with a selection of pre-made puzzles to solve, bringing it
even more in-line with what games like Puzzle Bobble offered.
I quite enjoy these puzzles, even though the more randomized gameplay mode has more lasting
It’s highly engaging to test the mastery of your Snooding skills, with satisfying strategic
wall-bouncing and making precise shots to squeeze things into place.
Especially since these often make use of Numbskull snoods, which don’t show up to be launched
so you have to drop them in creative ways using the others.
Next up was Snood version 3.0, and this one for Windows XP is probably the one I’m that
most familiar with.
It’s not only a great version to play, with updated graphics and sounds, but personally
it’s the first one I played at all.
A friend of mine introduced me to it my sophomore year of high school, and I was instantly hooked,
wearing out the battery on his laptop in no time.
I went home and grabbed it through Real Network’s Real Arcade and spent entirely too much time
tossing snoods in single player, puzzle, and journey modes.
New to this version were rare Magic Snoods that would generate at random intervals alongside
the original seven.
The first is the stone snood, which will knock down others in the vicinity of where it lands.
Next is the wildcard snood, which as its name implies will take on the color you need depending
on what it touches.
And finally there’s the rowbuilder snood, and this one generates a row of snoods horizontally
from where it lands, occasionally to irksome results.
Furthermore, if you paid for the registered version you could download new own custom
puzzle packs and snood graphics sets, among other things.
Dude, you could even get Snood shirts, hats, and mugs!
I still want that mug.
While I never did register the 3.0 version, I was happy to buy Snood Deluxe showed up
at retail in 2008.
Not only did it have this nifty box with the cutout of Jake on the gatefold cover, but
it came with all the latest updates on CD-ROM and that all-important registration code to
unlock everything.
This gave you access to all of the full version stuff offered in the past, like the puzzle
and graphics packs, as well as updated artwork, a full soundtrack, and new modes of play:
Multiplayer and Armageddon.
Multiplayer goes a step beyond the hot-seat, back and forth Tournament competition mode
of older versions.
This time it’s cooperative, with one player controlling the cannon as usual, but the other
controlling a spider that navigates from snood to snood to swap them out for better matches.
Then there’s Armageddon, which piles on the difficulty by making the danger meter
fill up constantly while more rows of snoods fill in from the top.
And finally, Deluxe also added the ability to easily create your own snoods using a process
that reminds me of making Nintendo Miis, and also a place to easily make your own custom
puzzle sets using the built-in editor.
All welcome additions if you ask me, if only because in-game editors always hold a special
place in my heart.
And that’s about it for Snood, at least in this particular video!
There were of course, plenty more releases for Snood, including the Gameboy Advance version
developed by Rebellion, Snood 2: On Vacation for the DS, Snood HD for iOS and Android,
and metric crapload of updates and spinoffs like Snood Plus, Snoodoku, Snood Flight, Snood
Slide, Snood Poppers, Snood Swap, and who knows what else.
But as far as I’m concerned, I’m happy to stick to the mid 2000s versions of Snood
and call it a day.
It provides all the absurdly compulsive gameplay I need with just enough updates and extra
features to keep me interested.
And it’s worth noting that while Snood got a bad reputation for a couple years for bundling
adware like Gator eWallet, none of the downloads I found actually included this.
From what I’ve read that ill-advised partnership between Snood LLC and Claria Corporation only
lasted about a year, even though the damage was done and people accused Snood of distributing
Gator for much longer than that.
And of course, you can still grab free versions of or buy brand new copies from SnoodWorld.com,
so the concerningly addictive gameplay never has to end.
And one more fact that I find quite amusing:
Snood creator Dave Dobson is now a professor of geology
at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina,
where he moved with his wife in 1997. Which blows my mind a little because
I lived just 20 minutes away from there when I was first introduced to Snood back in the day.
But anyway I hope that you enjoyed this video and thank you very much for watching!


LGR - Snood Retrospective: Forget Life, Play SNOOD

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林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 7 日
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