The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The Snood dude: A professor’s flirtation with fame

Beginning as the product of Associate Professor of Geology David Dobson’s grad-school hobby, the computer game Snood is now considered one of the most addicting and recognizable computer games in history. Dobson, who originally wrote the program as a gift for his wife, now has the claim to fame for creating the “puzzle game” that many Internet gamers and Guilford students are self-professed addicts of.

Usually leaning to more extreme gaming styles like first-person shooters or sports games, Dobson considered one reason for the unforeseen success of his less visually capturing Snood.

“There’s something really neat about games that are simple to learn and have no time pressure (like Snood, some kinds of solitaire, bowling, pool, etc.) in that they open up games to a broader segment of players. I get a lot of mail saying ‘Snood is great! I play with my grandkids and beat them every time.’ Pretty cool,” explained Dobson on the blog-site

One recovering Snood player tried to explain just why Snood is so spellbinding.

“You don’t have to be a genius to play Snood – it’s simple – but the thing is the game is different every time,” said junior Dan Etter. ” Plus there is no time limit so it’s easy to drop it and go do something, then come back and pick up where you left off.”

The premise of the game is simple. Snoods in groups of two or more can be “freed” by shooting them with the same color snood. The user shoots the snood that he has (which is given one at a time, Tetris-style with one visibly waiting) into a cluster and they all fall. When all Snoods are clear you move on to the next level, although with every bad shot a Danger meter fills up and once it’s full the game is lost.

The pre-game instructions explain, “Snood is a puzzle game which emphasizes thought rather than reflexes.”

Etter admitted his reactions weren’t always the best while playing, but his thoughts were usually superior to most.

“I think the reason I was so good was because I would thread the needle on the bank shots. I just zone out and see the angle,” said Etter.

Taking Dobson only four months to finish, Snood was the most popular game he has created thus far. Though this seems like a short time to assemble an entire game, Dobson says it was a materialization of “many years of messing around with computer gaming.”

Dobson recalls being a game fan from an early age, but his real interest was sparked at the age of 14 when his dad brought home a PC.

Dobson’s father, also a teacher, owned one of the very first PCs or personal computers, which at the time cost around $10,000.

“My father had an academic deal worked out with them; he was writing a book about the new computers so we got to have one in our house,” said Dobson.

Snood was the actually the third game released by Dobson, the first was an advanced minesweeper type game, and the second was called Centaurian. The latter was based on a popular arcade game at the time (which Dobson still has in his basement) called Bosconian.

Dobson released his second creation Centaurian on a forum-based site called “Usenet,” pulling in around 3,000 dollars, which he used for tuition.

With Snood however, came unforeseen success for Dobson. His brainchild had turned into a nation-wide craze, with college kids playing often enough to practically earn majors in Snood.

One troubled young person even posted a question on Yahoo! Answers which said, “Help! I am addicted to Snood! I can’t stop playing! Does anyone know if there is a Snood’s Anonymous?” To which they then they added, “I’m going to go play one more and I’ll check back with you.”

As the Snood players multiplied so did Dobson’s paperwork.

“At that time people weren’t as keen to use their credit cards online,” said Dobson. “I was receiving payments and registrations mostly by mail and I started to get about 33 envelopes a day.”

Dobson decided to hire a business partner to handle the registration workload so that he could focus his time on finishing school.

Since Snood, Dobson and his partner have generated several new games including: Snoodoku, Snood Zoo, and Chowder. They are also in the process of creating an iPhone application for Snood and a new game called Snood Poppers.

As anyone would be, Dobson is pleased with Snood’s cult status.

“It’s pretty cool when you hear a game you created getting mentioned in movies and on television shows like the Sopranos,” said Dobson.

Though Dobson will continue to create games in his leisure time, he reassures his students with a smile, “Teaching is most of what I do now.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *