Who needs food when you've got Snood?

April 10, 2003, midnight | By Sally Colwell | 17 years, 9 months ago

Chips reporter tries in vain to beat her addiction to a Satanic computer game

Snood. The word itself is unthreatening and innocent, and it brings to mind only happy things. "Food," for instance and "dude" (let's ignore "lewd" for now). Even the game seems harmless at first, before the tendrils of addiction creep into the mind like the roots of some sort of bloodthirsty plant.

My abusive love affair with this demonic computer game began five months ago, when it was first brought to my attention by a friend whom I think I should now be allowed to disembowel with no legal repercussions.
When my addiction was in its infancy, I thought I was strong. I thought I could control my actions and my thoughts. I was mistaken.

Within no time I was forgoing meals to watch the little heads fly across my screen. When I closed my eyes at night, I would play Snood in my head (although I never did learn how to calculate my own scores). And I was not alone. Snood was infecting my friends and family like a virus with its own lovable sound effects.

The lion at the heels of my existence is a simple computer game invented in 1996 by a man who, until then, had had no police record of being evil. His name is Dave Dobson, and when he is not destroying my academic career, he is a normal man with a normal job as a professor of geology at Goucher College. He plays the tuba in his spare time, and he even has children. What blackness lurks within his soul that spawned such a destructive program? The answer: none. In fact, he seems, disappointingly enough, like a pretty nice guy.

He came up with the idea for Snood while avoiding research for his Ph.D. (fittingly) and thought his wife might enjoy the game. He tells me that he got the name from a team, the Snood Trunion, in his fantasy football league. So much for my image of the Devil himself whispering the name to Dobson on a dark night as he lay terrified in a haunted house.

Dobson admits one regret. "I do feel kind of guilty about the folks who write and say their girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with them or that they failed out of school because of Snood," he says. "But in the end, many of those people would probably have found a different way to distract themselves. Right? Right? I hope so."

I tried to snag him into admitting that his game is the devil by mentioning the endless battle between good and evil, but to no avail. "Snood probably distracts both sides and makes them procrastinate instead of pursuing their struggle," says Dobson. That sounds like a good deed if I've ever heard one.

After hearing from the father of Snood, I am not so sure that the game is as wicked as I had previously thought. I have accepted my fate and no longer struggle against its hurricane-like force, which pulls me again and again to the computer. (Apparently Dobson himself is not immune: "Every once in a while, I'll stay up until 3:00 in the morning until my contact lenses dry up into little bricks launching the little buggers into oblivion," he admits.)

Snood has become to me what Yoko was to John, Lassie was to Timmy, fried banana sandwiches were to Elvis. I know that I will never be able to separate myself from this wonderful, terrible monster, and maybe now I can move on with my life.

Besides, I hear Tetris is pretty great.

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Sally Colwell. Sally Colwell is co-centerspread editor and is tremendously excited to be on paper this year. In her free time she enjoys reading novels, drawing, not practicing the violin and attending demolition derbies. During the summer she is a counselor at Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies … More »

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