Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Entertainment

Snood, the Simple Game 369

Posted by jamie
from the three-of-these-a-decade dept.
Greg Costikyan has penned a Snood screed that bears reading for anyone into game design. I gave Snood a try a couple of years ago when I read that Woz was hooked on it. Fun. I've played it on and off since then. But the ninth most popular game in 2001? That's nuts. Is Snood part of a series of tiny puzzley games, like Tetris and Bejeweled, that can still do well in a world of Counterstrikes and Unreal Tournaments? Is there still the chance for an individual or small team to strike it rich writing a game like this (maybe for cell phones)? Or is the engagingly simple game doomed to extinction? M : The Snood-equivalent for Linux is Frozen Bubble.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Snood, the Simple Game

Comments Filter:
  • Frozen bubble (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:34PM (#5082960)
    A RIP OFF of the Bust a move game.
    • Bust-a-move (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SonicBurst (546373) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:48PM (#5083073) Homepage
      otherwise known as puzzle bobble to the rest of the world. Both mame and NeoRageX play it very well, btw. :)
    • And just like Bust a Move is a rip off of Puzzle Bobble. Anybody try Puzzle Bobble 4 on MAME? It's like smoking crack and watching saturday morning cartoons!
    • Actually (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It is a variation of Asteroids, As are ALL drop from the sky games, Tetris et al. You youngsters are probably amazed by Pong!
    • Re:Frozen bubble (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DarkZero (516460)
      Thank you for making this the first post in this story. Seeing a PC rip-off of a game that has been released on the NeoGeo, Super Nintendo, PS1, Game Boy Advance, and really almost every console and handheld game system released in the last decade referred to as an original game disgusted me.

      Is there still the chance for an individual or small team to strike it rich writing a game like this (maybe for cell phones)?

      Is there still a chance for an individual or small team to strike it rich by plagiarizing an obscure cult classic and pretending that it's a new idea? I fucking hope not.
  • whatever (Score:3, Funny)

    by tps12 (105590) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:36PM (#5082971) Homepage Journal
    Say what you will about Quake 3 and its tendency to provoke violence in children, but at least people who obsess over it are communicating with other people, albeit over the Internet.

    Games like this (and Tetris, and Solitaire, and so many others) are simply antisocial and psychologically crippling. You play for hours, not because you're "enjoying" it, but because your brain is too numbed to stop.

    If our legislators had seen these in action, they'd be banning them before they worry about the comparitively healthy first person shooters.
    • You play for hours, not because you're "enjoying" it, but because your brain is too numbed to stop.

      While saying "Just one more game, then I'll stop, honest!" throughout...

    • Re:whatever (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jason1729 (561790) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:04PM (#5083186)
      I used to play multiplayer tetris on the LAN at work. There were bonus pieces that let you do good things like eliminate rows from the bottom of the screen or bad things like drop random blocks on someone's screen

      It was team based and you generally had to use your good blocks on an ally who's in trouble. We'd play it for hours at a time, and we were enjoying it and socializing, not too numbed to stop. Since we were all in the same room, it was like a LAN party. Occasionally, even the managers would play.

      Games like quake3 where all you do is go around shooting things are boring. That's what's mind-numbing and crippling. Tetris makes you concentrate and think.

      The best games are the simple ones with high playability, so to answer the question in the summary, there will always be a demand for this.

      Jason
      ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
      • Re:whatever (Score:3, Informative)

        I used to play multiplayer tetris on the LAN at work. There were bonus pieces that let you do good things like eliminate rows from the bottom of the screen or bad things like drop random blocks on someone's screen

        It was team based and you generally had to use your good blocks on an ally who's in trouble. We'd play it for hours at a time, and we were enjoying it and socializing, not too numbed to stop. Since we were all in the same room, it was like a LAN party. Occasionally, even the managers would play.


        Was it by chance called tetrinet [tetrinet.org]? That game ruled.
    • by kennon42 (147921) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:05PM (#5083190)
      although, realizing this effect, the creator of snood helpfully provided a "Just One More Game" function, and even gave it its own hotkey :)

    • Re:whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Blkdeath (530393) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5083215) Homepage

      I'm not sure if this was intended to be funny, or if it was misconstrued by the mods (wow, that'd be a first!), but I'll respond as if it were in a serious tone.

      Say what you will about Quake 3 and its tendency to provoke violence in children, but at least people who obsess over it are communicating with other people, albeit over the Internet.

      Most people I see playing online shoot-em-ups are too busy fragging their opponents to bother taking their hands from the cursor keys (or whatever they use for direction and fire) to use the keyboard; that would reduce their kill rate.

      Games like this (and Tetris, and Solitaire, and so many others) are simply antisocial and psychologically crippling. You play for hours, not because you're "enjoying" it, but because your brain is too numbed to stop.

      Are the games at fault, or the people? My grandmother used to (and probably still does) play Solitaire. Alone. She had a board she'd put on her lap and a deck of cards that's probably been dealt more times than I've worn socks. She'd play until she was bored, then quit.

      I used to read quite seriously, and would often plow through 200-300 pages in a single night. (I read the American BiCentennial Series in a single school year = 10 months; grade 6). Would that be considered 'obsessive' behaviour, or is that healthy? I couldn't do it now, because performing in public school is much less demanding than performing at work (and heaven knows what would've happened if I pulled a few all-nighters like that and tried to drive before the sun came up!).

      Anything to excess is a bad thing. Be it Quake, Snood, Solitaire, reading, chocolate, sex, anything. Rather than regulating everything that COULD cause us harm - why don't we teach our children and students moderation and self discipline?

      • I've been playing Battlefield 1942 the last few months with a group of old friends scattered around all corners of the country. We use Roger Wilco so we can all talk to eachother while playing-- it's a fantastic way to catch up with friends, and a game that forces you to work as a team to win. Even the guys playing with us who aren't on our voice server are definitely typing. To not do so would lose you the game.

        But communicating aside, I agree with you. Excess is bad, and if you're not enjoying it, why play?
      • I have to disagree, Sex can't be a bad thing, even less in excess.
        The more you do it, the better it is.

        For everything else, you were quite right
    • I am not a Gammer I dont care much to play Quake 3. I do play Warcraft 3 on occasion. But most of the time I will be playing small games like Snood, Tetris, KSpaceDuels (Space War Ripoff). And it is not antisocial because the reason I play these games is because they are easy to stop playing when you are distracted and if you are distracted you are not as fustrated, as you would be when you are playing the more involved games.
      These little games are used to fill up empty time durring the day that you are not being socal. Games like Quake and Ever Crack, etc. people actually set aside time durring the day to play these game and they get angry if they are distracted from the game.
      So these little games are actually better socialy then Quake 3 because they fill up do nothing time in your day, Compared to Planned vidio game time. Sure durring that time you are playing Snood you can probably be doing something more productive but that is also true with people playing Quake.
    • Re:whatever (Score:2, Insightful)

      by man2525 (600111)

      Games like this (and Tetris, and Solitaire, and so many others) are simply antisocial and psychologically crippling. You play for hours, not because you're "enjoying" it, but because your brain is too numbed to stop.

      I think it depends on the environment. Where I work, a student development office at a university, the student assistants got hooked on Snood. They engaged in friendly competition and shared strategies for beating the different levels. True, some did spend hours at home to get better, but they most enjoyed having the high score on the computer where their friends would be playing next.

      Say what you will about Quake 3 and its tendency to provoke violence in children, but at least people who obsess over it are communicating with other people, albeit over the Internet.

      As far as communication and fantasy violence in online games is concerned, I prefer direct communication by the very real violence of throwing a pillow at a friend during a Mario Kart 64 marathon! Take that bastard!

    • Re:whatever (Score:3, Interesting)

      by knodi (93913)
      Seriously, it's true. Sometimes when I'm talking to my girlfriend on the phone she'll start to phase out and talk more slowly. I'll say "Close snood!" and she'll sound sheepish and close it.

      Say what you will, but the fact is, Snood is mind numbing, and puzzlingly (pun intended) addictive. I won't say we should outlaw mind numbing games, but just realize what you may be getting yourself into before sharing this with a loved one.
    • Re:whatever (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr_burns (13129)
      How is blowing a representation of a real person away with a railgun NOT antisocial!?
  • by AugstWest (79042) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:36PM (#5082977)
    Gamers tend to think that games will only be classics if they're adopted by gamers. That's why they're so surprised when deer hunting games outsell Quake.

    My 64 year-old mother got hooked on Snood, and got a copy for everyone she knew. She doesn't know what kind of video card she has, she doesn't know the bus speed of her RAM, but she'd be up until 3 in the morning trying to beat her high scores.

    Oh, it is already available on cell phones and PDAs [snood.com].
    • by BethLogic (561055) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:54PM (#5083128)

      I was introduced to Snood a couple summers ago while living with a non-geek friend and got very addicted. Many unemployed hours were spent watching the pretty colors gather and then fall. When I was over at my boyfriend's apt I would take every chance I got to try to beat his high score. If he walked out of the room and was gone for a minute I'd start playing. The competition aspect made it much more gripping.

      Luckily I found a job and have been able to turn those wasted hours into time spent on /.

      Although a little Snood wouldn't be a bad way to kill time as I wait for code to build....

    • This kinda reminds me of one of my customers. I quite often talk to my game customers via email (Asking how to get past a level, needing a re-download after loosing the game, etc. Not all 'support' stuff really, but, kinda nice to talk to the people who enjoy the games, and find out what they want more of.) Anyway... one of my customers that contacted me had a serious problem. She was in her late 60's, I believe, and loved Tile Panic! [midnightryder.com], a fairly simple puzzle game that requires some quick thinking on higher levels.

      Problem is, her daughter wouldn't let her play anymore. Apparently she had heart problems, and after a while, her blood pressure would go WAY up, and she'd have to quit playing.

      Not wanting to be the death of nice little old ladies, I created a separate version for her that takes out the time-based element of the game. She's the only one I know who managed to actually play perfect games on more than one of the game difficulty levels! But the whole thought of someone refusing to give up playing the game dispite the health detrement because they like the game too much is both strange and encouraging ;-)

      (Eh - since I'm here, I'll plug one o' my other puzzle games, since that's a bit o' the discussion on this thread - go check out Tile Panic!, as mentioned above, and Boulder Panic! 2 DX [midnightryder.com]. Or don't :-)

  • by weeeee (196575) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:37PM (#5082987) Homepage
    If only this game doesn't come with every spyware software in existance! All my friends have this game, and they wonder why their computer runs like crap after installation. Thank you Ad-Aware.
  • by stevenbdjr (539653) <steven@mrchuckles.net> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:37PM (#5082989) Homepage

    Games are at heart a form a recreation and enjoyment. Some people find games like Counter Strike and UT2003 disturbing, and with good reason. Games like Tetris, Solitaire, and Snood, are simply fun, without the violence. These are the types of games that parents, grandparents, and wifes play. That's a big market.

    Heck, I'm a huge RTCW player, but one of my favorite games is still Columns on Sega Genesis.

    • Me too on the RTCW. Still, I felt Columns was better on the Sega Master System. My mom and I got into a HUGE fight when I went to college about me trying to take my Master System to school. She wanted her Columns.

      The Sega stayed at home. Remind me never to mess with mom again.

  • Puzzle Bobble (Score:2, Informative)

    by Snover (469130)
    Snood is primarily a cheap rip-off of the arcade game Puzzle Bobble (aka Bust-a-Move in the USA). Mame [mame.dk] does an excellent job of playing the ORIGINAL versions, and there are also plenty of less "hacked" alternative (by hacked, I mean that Snood has removed a lot of the original features of the game that made it really fun).
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:38PM (#5082992) Journal
    .. cause in my old age I can't play twitch games like I used to.

    In a child-like echoy voice;
    "Ready ... GO!"
  • I got bored with it after about five minutes.
  • Bust a Move Rip Off? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Flamesplash (469287) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:39PM (#5083007) Homepage Journal
    Isn't Snood just a rip off of Bust a Move [ign.com]? I heard of Bust a Move long before Snood. Or is this one of those occassions where Bust a Move is the rip off and happens to be more well known.
    • by boinger (4618) <{boinger} {at} {fuck-you.org}> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:57PM (#5083147) Homepage
      That was my immediate thought, too - some quick Googling shows that the original Bust A Move was an English conversion of a Japanese game "Puzzle Bobble" - the copyrights for Bust A Move go back to 1994.

      So, the question is, when is Snood from?

      • Erm... yes, lol! The first thing that came to mind when I downloaded and played this was: this is a rather crap ripoff of Puzzle Bobble, the arcade game I've been playing and emulating for years! For those who haven't played Puzzle Bobble, go download NeoRageX and the ROM, it's excellent! And it's a nicer game than 'Snood'.
    • Most game reviewers of Snood say that it's "a ripoff of Bust-A-Move", notably. And they generally say something like "Snood is a PC rehash of Bust-A-Move, complete with worse graphics than the original". I've never played Snood, but judging by screenshots [geocities.com], I think they're right.

      Some additional Googling turned up the Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move FAQ [neogeoforlife.com].

    • They all look like Puzzle Bobble [overclocked.org] to me, and that was for the SNES, which is even older than the platforms listed for Bust a Move. I can't find any source for a NES version having existed, though the arcade and GameGear versions listed on that page may have been of that era.

    • Snood is the rip-off of Bust-A-Move (a/k/a Puzzle Bobble [klov.com], et al.). The fact that so few people seem to recognize this kind of reinforces the original author's point about the recent obscurity of the puzzle-game genre.
    • Bust a Move [klov.com] and Puzzle Bobble [klov.com] are essentially the same game. One is Neo-Geo, the other is not. Both say copyright 1994, but the stat sheet says Bust a Move was released in 1993. For more info, check out KLOV.

      KLOV [klov.com] rocks.

    • Yes, Snood is Yet Another Bust-A-Move. Bust-A-Move has been gunning for the most-cloned-game of all time (though it still has quite a ways to go to catch up to Tetris). Bust-A-Move even has commercial game clones (Worms Blast) in addition to all the myriad of shareware/freeware clones.

      The whole premise of this article is somewhat offensive, IMO. A link to someone complaining that SNOOD gets no respect when in his 'screed' he doesn't once mention that SNOOD owes everything it has to Bust-A-Move. Give Taito some props. Bust-A-Move has been kicking ass as a simple fun game since the early 90s, and all of the Bubble Bobble/Rainbow Islands games (that some of the Bust-A-Move characters were taken from) were great fun too.

  • The windows version really blows. It's slow and thegraphics are chunky. Like most programs originally coded for Mac, it was NOT ported to windows properly.

    I enjoy playing snood on my g4 when I am not working on journalism but I have tried it on PCs a few times and it is a terrible mess. How snood became popular outside the Mac platform I will not know...
  • strike it rich (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mesach (191869)
    I think that was the problem with the .bombs

    Everyone wanted to "Strike it rich" and didn't care if what they were striking it rich on was really worthwile. I mean come on dog food delivery?!

    While I think that snood would probably be cool to play on a cell phone. Don't do it because you wanna get rich doing it, just do it cause its a thing that you think we need,

    I think the quote is
    do what you love the money will come.
  • Zen and Snood (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _Sambo (153114) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:42PM (#5083029)
    The logic of solving small puzzles quickly and in sequence is the best training i can think of for the world's future coders.

    Snood, like tetris, is a puzzle that is impossible (or at least improbable) to beat. But trying to do the improbable is one of the most endearing traits of the human species. (Think flying, scuba diving, landing on the moon, ending the cold war, etc.)

    This speed induced logic could help to sharpen the minds of young scientists, and keep the minds of bored scientists busily doing nothing for the duration of their addiction. Crap. It's a double-edged sword.

    God bless Snood.
  • by brandorf (586083) <brandorf@brandorf.com> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:43PM (#5083043) Homepage
    Snood is fun, but it's hardly original, Taito's Bust-a-Move has been around for years prior to the emergence of snood, and has seveal arcade games, and ports on the PSX, PS2, GBC, GBA, PC and probbably others as well. It's interesting that almost enveryone in college has played snood, but most have never heard of the original. I don't really think there's any sort of analogy for it.
  • I always liked (Score:3, Insightful)

    by big_groo (237634) <groovis@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:43PM (#5083044) Homepage
    Blockout [blockout.de].

    A 3D Tetris-a-like. Loads of fun.

    .
    • I'd forgotten about this awesome game (a download into my VMWare session is going as I type this). Far more enjoyable than Tetris. And far better than Welltris. Anyone remember that piece of shit, Welltris? Man, did it suck ass. I can't belive I spent real money on that game.
      • We used to have Welltris, and I played it a lot when I was about 10-12 years old. I thought it was a pretty cool game. It was a similar idea to Tetris, but making it 3D and having the option for 5-block pieces expanded the game. It was also pretty original to have a looking-down-a-well perspective.

        I don't know... it was not a huge departure from Tetris, but I thought it was decent.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The ORIGINAL game where the green monster from bust a move came from. I owned the commodore 64 version, and it was a VERY addictive platformer, which imho pushed a lot onto a small cassete.

    I never completed all 100 levels, But its still a legendary game that deserves a mention.
  • Okay, played this thing for 3 seconds, it looks well executed [especially for an Open Source game, how the hell many GOOD games do we have? zero? yep!]
    But it launches colors which arent already on the screen, adding needless clutter and taking away from the fast-paced nature of Bust-A-Move. Booo! Hissss!
    Yeah, I formed that opinion in 3 seconds.
  • blatant plug (Score:3, Informative)

    by kisrael (134664) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:49PM (#5083091) Homepage
    My contribution to the 'amazingly simple game' genre are game buttons [kisrael.com], reasonably rich games each played entirely within a single CGI form grey pushbutton, as both controller and display. I still come back to these every once in a while, especially Dashteroids and Happy Eater.
    • Re:blatant plug (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LucVdB (64664)
      Hey, those are pretty cool. Well done.

      I also like Tiny Windows Games [tinywindowsgames.com].

      This makes me think that given half a chance humans will find a game in even the simplest activity.
      • This makes me think that given half a chance humans will find a game in even the simplest activity.

        I agree with you completely.

        BTW, what's your karma? ;)
  • I've had snood on my samsung java-enabled phone for a few months...
  • by core plexus (599119) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:51PM (#5083100) Homepage
    "Is Snood part of a series of tiny puzzley games, like Tetris and Bejeweled, that can still do well in a world of Counterstrikes and Unreal Tournaments?"

    Short answer: Most Definately

    I've found older people and kids, especially, love Frozen Bubble (in Linux), as well as Tetris, Minesweeper, Tux Racer, etc. There will always be a place for these games. And don't just do it on the hope of making a mint: do it for the challenge, the thrill, the exposure, or even the vanity.

    Fight with computer brings SWAT team [xnewswire.com]

  • Little, simple card, board, and RPG games also get little respect from card, board, and RPG game developers or "hardcore" gamers. Magic: The Gathering (the card game) and Mage Knight (the miniatures game) are both available for purchase in every game store in existence, you can learn to play either in about 20 minutes, and they are fun and addictive. The rules, while not particularly rich or complicated, are elegant, and strong enough to keep people playing. But both of these games are looked down upon by "traditional" gamers.
  • by sandbenders (301132) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:54PM (#5083126) Homepage
    I remember it like it was yesterday- rank upon rank of students sitting behind Macs in the computer labs, forcing helpless drama students to go to the engineering labs and use windows machines to get their homework done. Countless hours lost, students failing left and right, the university computer store replacinging record numbers of worn-out Mac mice and keyboards.... The cause: Snood. The year: 1998.

    Good thing Slashdot stays on top of the latest trends in the Mac world.

    Among my friends, Snood has come and gone, enjoyed a brief renaissance, and finally slipped into obscurity. In fact, the year I graduated, in 1998, the term 'Bad Snood'- for a stupid move, or a stroke of bad luck- was in common usage on campus.

    • I hear that, man. I remember in '98, working at the university computer help desk, playing that game to beat the high scores of my fellow co-workers. That was pretty much the only decent way to kill time when stuck using the Mac.

      The best thing about Snood is that if you needed to help someone with their computer, you could go away and come back without worrying about your game. It'd still be there like you left it.

      PS: My mom has played over 5000 games of Snood on her unregistered DOS version of the game. She's very hesitant to have me upgrade the folks' PC, because apparently you can't get a version of Snood that'll let you play forever without registering it!
      • My mom has played over 5000 games of Snood on her unregistered DOS version of the game. She's very hesitant to have me upgrade the folks' PC, because apparently you can't get a version of Snood that'll let you play forever without registering it!

        Not true. The shareware (unregistered) version of Snood will let you play unlimited Easy and Child level games, and a limited number (100 or so) of Medium, Hard, Evil, Puzzle, etc. games. If you want to play more of the harder levels, you need to cough up money.

  • by kisrael (134664) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @04:56PM (#5083140) Homepage
    *THE* best game in the genre, at least for two players, is "Panel de Pon" aka "Tetris Attack" aka "Pokemon Puzzle League". This game has an amazing seesaw action two player, since the garbage blocks you send to your opponent can end up being used against you, allowing combos that will bring garbage blocks raining down on your own head.

    EGM mentioned some upcoming mega-puzzle-compilation for GameCube, with 4 player versions of Tetris, Tetris Attack, Dr. Mario, etc...man, I am *so* there.
  • I habitually browse the web in one window while playing snood in the other. I was playing Snood when I saw this article. I play Snood while watching TV, and when I'm chatting, and whenever I should be working. I play Snood a *LOT*.

    Further confession: I use the aimer, 'cause I prefer the puzzles to the actual dexterity skills. Or so I rationalize it to myself, anyway.
  • by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:03PM (#5083182)
    I had a friend in college that played Snood for a very long time and her leg fell asleep so when she got out of her chair she fell on her leg just right and broke it.

    Yep, Snood is responsible for at least one broken leg so, please play responsibly.
  • Tetris, Snood, Bejeweled will always fill a niche in the gaming market that you'll rarely find filled by major developers, in that these are the types of games people play when they want a quick diversion, or don't want to upgrade to the latest & greatest hardware, or just to have something more intellicully stimulating than most FPSs without the time commitment of RPGs and RTS games. They load fast, are easy to learn, require few resources, and yet can be addictive and fun to play. There's more of them being made all the time by the same type of people that specialize in shareware, PopCap being a prime example of a group working off their success. And with the easy of programming these things thanks to the simplicity of Flash and/or Java, there's a lot more people getting involved with these as well.

    Sure, not all the games are equally challenging, and not every game will be met with the same appriciation as others, but it's definite a niche that needs to be filled and it's being filled quite well.

  • Woz likes Snoodling, huh?
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:04PM (#5083187)
    I've played it on and off since then. But the ninth most popular game in 2001? That's nuts. Is Snood part of a series of tiny puzzley games, like Tetris and Bejeweled, that can still do well in a world of Counterstrikes and Unreal Tournaments?

    I like the sentiment, wanting the little indie game designer to succeed. That's great!

    But at the same time, is it really a success for all these so called inde developers to keep endlessly, endlessly, cloning the same handful of Tetris variants? Even ten years ago these things were stale, and now, in 2003, we have people hailing a design 100% borrowed from the Bust-A-Move arcade game from the mid 1990s as a "success" for the little developer? Surely there is a way to stay outside the "world of Counterstrikes and Unreal Tournaments" without resorting to writing rehashes of the same diddly batch of puzzle games.
    • Most of today's games are rehashes of earlier games. The last time a 'new' game came about was probably wolfenstein- and it made a huge impact on the industry. Snood had the same amount of gameplay innovation in it as Quake 2 and 3, Unreal tournament 1 and 2, duke Nukem, etc... had. Indie designers can continually re-implement them because they dont need state of the art graphics, and thus given enough time can be made from the ground up with one or a few people. I do not disagree with what you are saying, but I also do not think you should limit the scope of your scorn to just puzzle games.
      • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:58PM (#5083574)
        Most of today's games are rehashes of earlier games. The last time a 'new' game came about was probably wolfenstein- and it made a huge impact on the industry

        Most games are in established genres, but Snood is more than just in the puzzle genre: it's a 1-for-1 rewrite of Bust-A-Move. Period. That's perfectly fine...unless you're trying to use it as the poster childer for what a brash, independent game designer can come up with, which is what's happening here.

        There have been a lot of original games over the last ten years. To say otherwise is defeatist. Here are a few: Tony Hawk Pro-Skater 1, Theif, The Sims, PaRappa the Rapper, Super Monkey Ball, Crazy Taxi, Prop-Cycle, and Jet Grind Radio. Please note that "original" does not imply some kind of mythical lack of ties to other games, but rather a game that has some independent vision, and not just an attempt to be like another game.

        Blindly accepting the overly derivative nature of most games is like admitting that there's no good music, so you just listen to pop crap like Mariah Carey. In actuality though, there's a lot of really good music with independent vision, and lots of people seek it out. Not so with games, however.
    • But at the same time, is it really a success for all these so called inde developers to keep endlessly, endlessly, cloning the same handful of Tetris variants? Even ten years ago these things were stale, and now, in 2003, we have people hailing a design 100% borrowed from the Bust-A-Move arcade game from the mid 1990s as a "success" for the little developer?


      Can you believe that in 2003 people are still playing blackjack, poker, bridge, hearts and spades? These games were old a hundred years ago.

      There's nothing wrong with playing an old game. There's nothing wrong with updating an old game for a new platform, with a new twist on the rules, or even just a new look. Millions of people never played Bust-A-Move and can now enjoy Snood.

      There's not really very many games out there, but that's okay. I'll still sign up for the next Wolfenstein 3D (Return to Unreal Team Capture the Half-Quake IV) or the next SimCity.
  • I went to a LAN party in the summer, and the most popular tournament was Frozen Bubbles (I *think*... CS may have barely beaten it). The great thing about the game is that the learning curve isn't very steep. If everybody has little experience at it (like most people at the LAN), that's when you have a blast. You can just hop in, learn the 3 buttons necessary, and have fun. =)
  • How can you give props to snood for being inovative when its a blatant ripoff of bust a move which came out several years before snood was even conceived.
  • Bust-A-Move (Score:3, Informative)

    by matticus (93537) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5083212) Homepage
    I remember throwing quarters into Bust-a-move like 8 years ago. Then last year, someone asked me if i had heard of "Snood," supposedly the "most addictive game ever". Surprisingly enough, it's not near as good as Bust-A-Move even though it's a DIRECT RIPOFF and as far as I can tell, the little Bubble Bobble dinosaurs don't get any money from the probably $12 the Snood creators made from including spyware in the game. It's disgusting. Which would you rather play, a game with the bubbly goodness of the dinosaurs, or a crappy ripoff that pops up ads? Give me a break. Frozen Bubble stays relatively true to the original Bust-A-Move, and it's Free, so check that out, but please, for the love of everything that is good, inform EVERYONE you know who has ever heard of Snood that it is a crappy ripoff of Bust-A-Move and it should be called Bust-A-Move, if only to make people aware that Bust-A-Move exists. Please.
    • Re:Bust-A-Move (Score:3, Informative)

      by matticus (93537)
      oh, and I'm aware that puzzle bobble came before bust-a-move, but they're the same game. Bust-a-move is just the american name for it.
  • The article says, "Tetris was the game that originally sold GameBoy, the single hit game that convinced people to buy the device."

    I beg to differ - I had a GameBoy but was annoyed that it only came with stupid Tetris. I think GameBoy sold well because of the idea of being able to walk around playing games that were a bit more involving than existing handheld games (eg. those crappy flat display ones).

    Back to my main point.... two other puzzle games I loved were Sokoban [sourcecode.se] (although the version I have has 100 maps and is free) and Blots, a game that was remarkable because you controlled one guy with the left hand and another with the right hand. Unfortunately, I cannot find Blots anywhere now. It was a shareware game in pre-web days but the author seems to have slipped out of existence after posting only five free levels. Any one got info?

    Finally, I don't think it matters what the game is called... I've played this game but have never heard the names 'Snood' or 'Bust A Move', I'm sure when the survey called it the 9th most played game, they were referring to all games with this same theme.
  • For Zaurus users... (Score:3, Informative)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:14PM (#5083251) Homepage Journal
    there is Froot [unc.edu]. Definitely a must for Zaurus gamers who like Snood.
  • Because it is just a lame Puzzle Bobble ripoff. Sorry Snood, you're about 6 or 7 years too late.

    It almost makes me sick that Snood has become so popular while nobody has even heard of Puzzle Bobble.
    • Because it is just a lame Puzzle Bobble ripoff.

      I'm with you there. I just downloaded Snood to see what the fuss was about, and you're right: it's Puzzle Bobble without the hypnotic music or the great graphic design.

      Details of the arcade original here [www.mame.dk].

      Puzzle Bobble is also known as "Bust a Move" - you can play it on MAME, and there are versions for most consoles, from the Megadrive/Genesis right through to PS2.

      Seriously, if you like Snood, try the real thing, and find out what a little finesse and a few production values can do.
  • Snood, like the other puzzle games, including the ones from Popcap, has a problem with buying.

    I want to buy Snood, but if I want it for my PDA and Windows, I get to pay for it twice. Gh-ey. Why should I pay popcap twice for the same damn game?

    As for snood, there are quite a few snood products, and my gf is friggen addicted to it. She is not much of a computer person and Ive told her a dozen times she needs to register but she says "Why do that when I can find the reg code on google?!"
    • I want to buy Snood, but if I want it for my PDA and Windows, I get to pay for it twice. Gh-ey. Why should I pay popcap twice for the same damn game?

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I want new tires, but if I want 'em for both my bicycle and my car, I get to pay twice. Totally sucks.

  • Is there a linux equivalent for bejeweled?
  • There will always be a market for games you can play in a discreet window with the sound off at work. I think Windows Solitaire is probably the most played game ever.
  • Perhaps Snood's popularity is due to the type of audience it's reaching. Much like Solitaire, Freecell, Tetris, etc, I've found it's more of an "office game." It appeals to a wide audience who likes to dabble in occasional mindless monotony to escape from...well, their daily dribble. These individuals, although not gamers in the _truest_ sense, still play video games and certainly account for at least a good portion of Snood's popularity.
  • by mistcat (187084) <{ten.rekaerhp} {ta} {tactsim}> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:34PM (#5083394) Homepage

    The author of Snood, Dave Dobson, is a professor where I went to College [guilford.edu]. From what I understand from talking with him and people who asked him about it in school, he wrote it just for fun and figured he might make a couple hundred bucks over the lifetime of the game from the few people gracious enough to register the game. Its hard to believe how the game has taken off. I think this is more a triumph of the internet and the ways an uncontrolled distribution channel can let just about anyone into the marketplace. There are plenty of markets where cost of getting into the distribution channels alone is enough to stifle meaningful competition. Just read Charles H. Ferguson's High Stakes, No Prisoners for an example.

    I think another thing to consider is that the internet doesn't just allow for originality or quality but also popularity. I think its sobering to realize that even in the anti-clique of the open source movement there is a lot pressure to conform to certain world views and also to tear down what's popular. (I'm sure everyone who posts to slashdot with a @aol.com address can attest to that) I'm sure there are games with better graphics and maybe better game play than snood out there, but I think a lot of peoples reflex reaction is to attack snood simply because its not necessarily the very first game of its kind. The problem is that without popular products, even ones that are not the best of their breed, some markets will never get wide exposure. I think that most genre's of software benefit immeasurably from exposure, it almost always spurs competition and I'm sure there will be bigger,faster,stronger snood that I'll hear about on slashdot in another year.

  • For those of you that are into puzzle games like myself there are plenty of other games worth mentioning. Here's my little list:

    Columns -- Sega's answer to Tetris. Fun and addictive.

    Magical Drop -- Sorta like Puzzle Bobble but upside-down. Highly addictive.

    Money Idol Exchanger -- A Magical Drop-like game but there's math involved. Many may be put off by the cutsey graphics but it's a great game.

    Puyo Puyo -- Released in the states as Puyo Pop or Puzzlow Kids. Tetris-like.

    Chu Chu Rocket! -- Extremely fun in multiplayer mode.

    I know for a fact that most of these have open source clones available, it's just a matter of looking for them.

  • video games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by snyrt (151824)
    okay, first off, i'm a fan of snood, i love it. though, the one game i fell more in love with was smiletris. i still don't know the rules, but i continue to waste my life with it.

    secondly, going on with that whole debate that is going on about influencing children and Snood vs. UT. this is an insight i had a few days ago.

    thirty years ago, children played board games. board games have rules, but you have to learn the rules and enforce them for yourself. you then have to be able to explain the rules to others when you want to play with them. you accept that you must play within the rules of the game and you're okay with that.

    today, with computer games, the rules are enforced by the programming. children try to test the rules. they also try to find cheat codes and subconsciously, this gets them to feel that they don't have to adhere to the rules if they can just find the loophole.

    that's why kids these days are bastards.
  • by jellisky (211018) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @05:50PM (#5083509) Journal
    I love those simple games... the ones that make me focus and think for about a half hour or less. Tetris, Bust A Move (and other Snood-type variants), Tetris Attack (and other variants), Bejeweled, Nisqually, Glines, any of those Yahoo Games word games... all of those get some significant playing time during a standard week from me.

    But that's not to say that the more complex games don't get playing time from me. The Civilization series, the Final Fantasy series, Imperialism, the Diablo series... all of those also get played regularly on my computer/console.

    The big point, though, is that each game fills a different type of gaming and entertainment niche for me. Both will have markets in the world of gaming.

    But, I contend that making those "simple" games, is, as the author pointed out, probably harder than making the more "complex" games. Kind of an oxymoron at first glance, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

    A "simple" game must have few controls and those that it does have should be almost immediately obvious in nature. This severe limitation in design isn't overly restrictive, since a simple game will have simple rules, by definition.

    But where a simple game is difficult is in the rules of the game. A simple game's rules must be flexible enough that there is no trivial strategy for putting up good scores or winning. The rules must, however, be simple enough that, in reality, they should be able to fit on a simple splash screen. The gameplay should be fluid and usually ever-changing, allowing for natural planning ahead and strategy building. Lastly, skill, not luck, should dominate the gameplay.

    Taking these all into account, I can see why there aren't all that many of these simple games. That's not an easy design paradigm, in the least. But, simple games will never really get too much recognition, since they don't really need to. I think the authors of such games often realize that quite quickly. The market is there, but it remains quiet since it doesn't take much time or money to make such a game. So, the ideas can be coded up by an amateur or a professional or two, tested by a few of their friends, and put out for the world to enjoy. Not much infrastructure or capital or time needed for that, is there?

    So, keep giving me both types of games. I'll gladly take both. :)

    -Jellisky
  • There are hundreds of games in the same class as "snood", including all the knock-offs. You can probably remember playing some of these:
    • Shoot the things dropping from above.
    • Fit the falling blocks.
    • Blast floating rocks to bits or be crushed.
    • Pilot and shoot your way along a lengthy and trecherous course.
    • Use a paddle to bounce a ball off a brick wall.
    • Guide a hungry thing through a maze, avoiding predators and gathering food.

    These and many other "simple" games are popular for the same reasons:

    1. They're different from each other. Each type came up with a whole new paradigm. By comparison, all first-person shooter games are practically identical.
    2. They're straightforward enough that any one of them could be assigned as an intermediate programming class project. Knock-offs everywhere. Everyone says they've played "Tetris", but nowadays how many people do you think have ever even seen the real "Tetris(tm)"? It was a DOS-based game, remember?
    3. They're not like real life at all. We play games for escape, mostly.

    Well, that's what I think.

    -Rick

  • by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @06:13PM (#5083635) Homepage Journal
    I was reading an email from Greg the other day and he mentioned that he's going to make his blog about game design a regular thing. Or as he put it, "I'm starting the blog mainly because I rarely find this kind of material on the Web; consumer-oriented sites offer mainly reviews, while professional sites offer mainly how-to material. I want deeper analysis, and since I don't often find it, I might as well write it myself."

    Greg is a fantastic designer, having worked both with paper and electronic-based gaming. Plan to visit often to get more insight in game design. It should be updated once a week.

  • by Rayonic (462789) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @07:07PM (#5084035) Homepage Journal
    You may be wondering why Snood is so much more popular than the game it poorly rips off, Bust-a-Move (aka Puzzle Bobble). I mean, BaM was around for years, appeared on many more systems, enhanced the gameplay over the generations, always had multiplayer , etc, etc. So why Snood?

    Simple: Snood was (is?) available in the America Online games section.

    Yep, we have another thing to curse the "drooling AOL hordes" for - popularizing an inferior puzzle rip-off. Oh, and for a good non-spyware-riddled version, try Popcap.com's Dynomite [popcap.com], or at least go out and one of the many versions of Bust-a-Move [yesterdayland.com] (not all versions listed).
  • Simple is Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by (eternal_software) (233207) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @08:09PM (#5084464)

    Sometimes the simple games are the best.

    Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo [gamers.com] for the original PlayStation is a great example of this. Everyone that I have showed this game to has become hopelessly addicted, yet it could easily be coded by a small team.

    Even though it was released back in 1997, it consistently goes for good money on eBay [ebay.com], because it is so much fun and so hard to find.

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

Working...