Greg Costikyan’s getting a bit of ribbing right now. He wrote an article in his (interesting, go check it out) blog about a game called Snood, which turned out to be very similar to the classic arcade game Puzzle Bobble.

Now, Puzzle Bobble’s a good game. There’s a reason it’s called a classic. But I think Snood is different enough to stand on its own. For one thing, in Snood, you always start with a half-full pit and it’s your job to clear it out completely, unlike in Puzzle Bobble where the different screens have different configurations (some deliberately designed as one-bubble puzzles).

The other difference is the compelling one. In Puzzle Bobble, if you have a “run” of empty spaces and you shoot a bubble at it, the bubble will stick to the first firm surface it hits, blocking the run. In Snood, the bubble will slide up the run as far as it can go, allowing players to eliminate large numbers of back bubbles throughclever play.

Snood, therefore, exemplifies one of my design rules: Allow the player to be clever, and reward him when he is. (Yes, there are more design rules. Yes, you’re going to get a list. In fact, I’ll be writing an article on each one in the near future.) And I think this is what caused the game to catch Costikyan’s fancy, while Puzzle Bobble was forgotten.

You’ll notice I haven’t linked to Snood, despite having mentioned it several times. The author of Snood has seen fit to burden his game with a large number of adware and spyware programs in an effort to obtain more money from the game. I am morally opposed to such programs. If you really want to try Snood, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it, but you Have Been Warned.