Have You Played… Snood?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There are games that take over your life which really don’t deserve to. At one point in the early 2000s, that game was Snood.

Originally released in 1996, the Puzzle Bobble-alike saw you matching sentient coloured blobs to eliminate them, and really added nothing else to the genre. What made it special, I think, was what it took away: pressure. It was a super-casual interpretation of the concept that let you obsess on high scores rather than reflexes. And thanks to an early 2000s shareware version, there was a moment when everyone was playing it. (Wikipedia reports that in 2001 it was the 9th most played game in the world.)

It was always an incredibly ugly game, the homemade look being mostly because it was homemade, created by geology professor David Dobson for his wife. But gosh, if it didn’t spread like mad fire.

The crucial means to playing was to shoot out a group of three or more of one colour such that other Snoods fell with them, thus lowering the Danger Bar and holding them all back from further descending down the screen. Because descent was based on how many turns you’d taken, rather than an ever ticking clock, it completely changed how the familiar genre played. And in that, I reckon, came its massive success. It also had a completely brilliant puzzle mode that I’m now discovering is as compelling as it ever was, and thus playing Snood instead of working, fifteen years on.

You can still play it right now for free, downloaded from here. And if you ever played it back in the day, it’ll be the sound effects that get you the most. Duh-duh-dah!


  1. Wisq says:

    From Twitter:

    Have you played… Snood? If you’re over 18 of course you have

    Well that’s strange. I’m well over 18, been gaming non-stop since the 80s, and I never even heard of this game.

    • mechabuddha says:

      If you’re over 18 [and had a Mac] of course you have

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Nope, nope, nope. Never heard of it, and I’m a proud mac gamer since.. well, let’s say 1986 or something.

        • Premium User Badge

          Aerothorn says:

          John Walker on long-time Mac gamers:

          “Oh, and Myst is responsible for levels of smugness beyond any other, generated by – brrrrrrrrr – Mac gamers in the nineties. Oh, has the universe ever witnessed a more loathsome collection of turtle-necked smug-goblins? “Yes, I play computer games. But I play them on my [imaginary internal fanfare] Mac.” “Oh, so you play Myst and Civilisation then. And NOTHING ELSE.”

          Those one-mouse-buttoned buckets of self-importance, explaining to you how their Apple Macintosh is so much better for gaming than your PC, like a group of pompous weeds with dustbin lids for shields going to war with the armies of Sparta, and yet somehow the absolute certainty that they’d already won the battle. And then when trounced – smashed into the ground – looking up through their spindly glasses and saying, “And it’s far better for desktop publishing.”

          • John Walker says:

            Gosh, I’m good.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Ironic that the Greeks won the battle of Marathon?

          • wraithgr says:

            What is ironic about that?

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            It’s a dumb joke making reference to John’s ancient Greek battle analogy and the Mac’s revered-by-some FPS Marathon. It’s very funny and you should laugh, please. Full disclosure: I don’t really know what irony is.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      My girlfriend was wild for this game at age 18-19 (2000-2001). It was ok, I played it a bit, but mostly was playing Pharaoh at the time, and then eventually she got sucked into that too.

    • Jeremy says:

      It’s interesting how things like that happen.. just random gaps in experience. It happens all the time for me with a movie here, or a book there. I still haven’t seen Dazed and Confused, and for most people, that just doesn’t compute.

      Funny enough, Snood went absolutely crazy at Western Michigan, and everyone I knew, including people who had never played a video game in their lives, were playing it.

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Dazed and Confused is a two hour movie where absolutely nothing happens except Ben Afleck gets a hard-on for beating children and Mathew Machonahey gets a hard-on for statutory rape. But it has such a good soundtrack and wouldn’t it have been soooo awesome growing up in the 70s, man!

        I really don’t like D&C.

  2. Zeroebbasta says:

    Gorsh, I’d completely forgotten about this! Of course I remember the ugly sound effects. I played it when I was very little, possibly on my father’s mac. The memories!

  3. Anthile says:

    This requires a staring eyes tag. I feel stared at.

  4. haldolium says:

    Thanks. I was just thinking about it the other day at work… awesome game

  5. fledo says:

    Holy shit! I did not expect Snood to show up on RPS. I played it a lot back in the 90’s. Will download it asap. :)

    • fledo says:

      Snood does not like win 8. :(
      Tried a few compatibility modes and running as admin but nothing. There’s a process running but there’s no GUI showing up. Any else got it working?

  6. BooleanBob says:

    Is this the game that was supposedly hypnotising children with its subliminal music? Threw the press into a fit for about a week?

  7. Pink Gregory says:

    Good heavens yes. In those heady times in which my dallies with Computer (ie not console) gaming began and ended with demo CDs from Macworld magazine, on my Dad’s Power Mac that crashed if you breathed on it.

    I still remember Ambrosia Software games fondly. Mainly that one in which you’re a guy in an office chair firing staples at aliens.

  8. airknots says:

    Still remember this! Back then, I’m always searching for good freeware and shareware games. Anyone else remember the DOS game?

  9. phanatic62 says:

    Of course!

    I played it a lot in high school (2001-2002). We had a couple of desktops in most classrooms, and the login software had a fatal flaw where you could close the login screen and open the program manager and install anything you wanted, including Snood (Amongst many other games. In one classroom we played Half-Life and Rainbow Six multiplayer over the lan. Amazingly good times! Also amazing that to my knowledge no one ever got in trouble). I can remember being in one class at the end of senior year and all four computers had people playing Snood.

  10. IcyBee says:

    Dave has kids
    They sure are neat
    Please register Snood
    So they can eat

    At least that’s how I remember it.
    I didn’t register, so they must have starved to death ages ago.

  11. ansionnach says:

    It’s one ugly game. Would have never heard of it before now except for one girlfriend used to play it a lot. She was pretty smart so I didn’t really get why she bothered with this and not any good games. She did play Picross on my DS obsessively when I introduced it to her, though. I liked how she pronounced “Snood” with her Glasgow accent.

  12. ScoutAbout says:

    Yes, I played Snood during class all through law school. So did many classmates sitting around me.

  13. badmothergamer says:

    During my university days (2000-2004) I taught math to kids in the summers for free summer school tuition. One summer my classroom had a PC and one of the kids installed Snood. For the rest of the summer, I came in every day, grabbed some flash cards, did one round of “Around the World” then let the winner hold the cards for the remaining rounds while I played Snood until the next class. Rinse, repeat for all three of my classes. That was a good summer.

  14. Spacewalk says:

    Christ, Snood was ghastly to look at. That’s something that stays with you. Is the next HYP gonna be Moraff’s Dungeons Of the Unforgiven by any chance?

  15. Scumbag says:

    My dad hated games. He would remind me and my siblings on a daily basis that video games were idiotic and anyone over the age of 10 playing them were wasting their time and should find something more productive to do. We were not permitted to own consoles and had to stealth play UFO on the PC hoping he did not notice.

    He played Snood though. He played Snood a lot.

  16. codekitchen says:

    Not only have I played it, but I created the PocketPC and PalmOS ports for David. It may be responsible for my marriage, I met my wife through a conversation struck up when she saw me debugging Snood on my PocketPC. Ah, simpler times, when phones were just phones and pocket computers seemed like magic.

    And yeah, the graphics are horrendous. Maybe that’s part of its charm.

  17. April March says:

    The combination of the MS paint on acid graphical style, the bizarre game concept that seems to involve throwing heads at heads lest they be crushed and turned into skulls, and the fact that many people are saying a game I’ve never heard of is the game everyone was playing at a time when I was very much alive and playing games leads me to ask: is this Frog Fractions 2?

    • rexx.sabotage says:

      The fact that it requires temporal paradoxes to be true proves it!

  18. mathead says:

    Oh dear Snood. I still remember the moaning-snood-crowd noise when you started the game…