Saturday, July 11, 2009

Scribblenautic Fanart Gallery: Sunday Edition

It's been just about a week since the conception of this blog, and exactly a week since the last Sunday edition of the Fanart Gallery. Today we take a look at more work from Edison Yan, Lead Artist of 5TH Cell and all around Insanely Awesome and Talented individual. We'll also take a look at a bunch of Nintendo-themed Scribbletars.

I also wanted to mention I'm going to reduce the number of times I do this per week to just 2: Sunday and Thursday. That should space them out enough so I have a good amount of "new material" to play around with. These artists that are working on these are fast, but they're not superhumans!

Courtesy of Edison Yan

Yan finishes off his Street Fighter work and continues to blow me - and I hope everyone else - right the hell away. Wow. I can't help but picture a fighting game that makes use of the Scribblenauts style and premise...imagine a game where you have to fight a single opponent using any item you can think of...hmm. Though I guess you can basically do that in Scribblenauts already.

Courtesy of turk128 (Birdo) and Divvy (Ludwig)

I was a huge fan of the Koopa Kids back in the day. I thought it was great idea and was executed well. Plus each kid had a unique personality and style. I never did question the basic biology which would be needed to produce these "kids", but it's probably best not to think about it.

Speaking of not thinking about biological oddities, I never really liked Birdo. I think some people like him (yes, him) because he's "ironic" and weird. Eh. He's out of place and serves as a shitty counter-balance to Yoshi, and he does in most of the spin-off games.

Courtesy of jrricky

I'd like to think a lot of people know about Hotel Dusk. It's a pretty cool adventure game for the DS that has an amazing art style. Though the environment is 3D and colorful, the characters are hand-drawn, purposefully "poorly" animated, and black and white. Indeed, it very much reminds me of music video for Take On Me.

Regardless, I imagine it'd be tough for someone to translate a character from a game that is built on its style to ANOTHER game that's built on its style. Phew. Luckily jrricky was able to do it, maintaining the right colors and look of Kyle Hyde, the lead character of Hotel Dusk. He really did an amazing job with this one.

Courtesy of Divvy

If you don't instantly recognize these two then I strongly urge you to go back in time and relive your childhood. Seriously, this is important.

Anyways, Divvy continues to show us how naturally Nintendo characters fit into the game. Now join me in banging my head against a wall due to the fact Nintendo would never in a million years allow 5TH Cell to allow these guys in as easter eggs. Ah well. Hopefully I can summon a boy, green tunic, and sword. Close enough...

Courtesy of Versipellis

This is a sad clown. He has nothing to do with Nintendo, but he is so cute and adorable and heart breaking that...well...he's added anyways

September 15th release date confirmed by Warner Bros.

Mark your calenders, boys, we have an official release date.

The September 15th date has long been speculated as the actual date. We were told "early Fall" and sites such as Amazon began listing it on the 15th. Today Warner Brothers, producers of Scribblenauts, finally confirmed we were right all along.

Now that we have a concrete date we can finally begin counting down the days. And how many days do we have to wait? Well...

65 days, 1569 hours, 94174 minutes, and 5650479 seconds.

Better start counting.

Jackson does some rapid fire confirming

Creative Director Jeremiah Slaczka is unlike other gaming developers. He keeps tabs on his fans through online forums and every now and then actually answers questions people may have. I remember one memorable time during E3 when he was posting his reaction to Scribblenauts winning a whole bunch of awards...he was as pleasantly shocked as all of us.

Under the username Jackson over on GAF Jeremiah has been quick to answer any question you might have in this thread right here. Today Jackson decided to answer and clear up a bunch of things all at once. Take a look.

internet is in the game, plumbob is too, pretty sure usb stick is as well... maybe just as usb?

lolwut = epicness

There's 220 unique levels, the game is divided between action and puzzle.

also SHOOP DA WOOP ?? Seriously? You'd even test that? Awful.

So then! First, Jackson confirms Internet is still in the game (and we all raise our eyebrows at ONM for saying it isn't), as is plumbob (continuing eyebrow raising) is USB (please see a doctor if your eyebrow stays in this position for longer than 4 hours). Between believing the lead designer of a company with his repuation on the line and a gaming magazine...well, I'm going to go with Jeremiah. Because of this reveal that brings the list of "legit" failed words to 3.



Then Jackson goes on to confirm that lolwut (presumably the item in Scribblenauts) = epic.

No argument there! I do wonder what - if anything - this lovable doofus does.

Next he confirms the post I made last night before I went to bed. There are 220 unique levels in the game split down the middle between Puzzle and Action. Good to have official proof, even if it was kinda obvious.

And then finally he adomishes people for even attempting to see if SHOOP DA WHOOP is in the game. argument there.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Action/Puzzle level split made a lot more apparent

Earlier tonight I was giving some thought as to how levels worked in Scribblenauts. In a previous post I mentioned that we know there are 10 worlds, and we know that in at least one of the worlds there are 11 levels. This leads to 110 levels, exactly half of the 220 promised. I suspected that wasn't a coincidence. And as it turns out, it wasn't!

A lot of people speculated there was a meaningful split between Puzzle and Action levels, but I was wondering if they'd go so far as to segregate the two modes. After all, in the E3 build both puzzle and action levels were side by side. I think. however, I have some proof that the two modes are definitely separate.

Here we see a 1-1 level. It's a puzzle level. Notice the puzzle picture by the world number

Then we have this image, snagged from one of the new videos. Here we see the "Get the starite out of the tree" level is also 1-1, only this time it has a little explosion symbol next to the name, most likely referring to the fact it's an action level.

This is pretty definite proof that the levels are split in a pretty big way. Thus there are two 1-1s, one for each game mode. I assume switching between the modes is simple enough, though I do wonder if it'd be possible to beat the game playing only one mode.

Finally, there's this last picture.

Here we see the level editor screen. Notice we have 2 pages, each with enough room for 6 levels. That makes room for 11 levels each. Every level shown here is a puzzle level (or it looks like), and we see the explosion icon in the lower right, suggesting we'd tap that to move to the action level selection.

So there it is. To be honest this is probably for my own benefit more than anyone else. It's been something that has been bugging me ever since E3. Thankfully it seems this mystery is solved. Most likely, of the 220 levels, exactly half are puzzle and half are action, and I'd be willing to bet there's an even split of 11 levels per world for all 10 worlds.

Kinda cool, eh?

ONM reveals their giant what's in? What's out?

ONM finally was able to release the giant list of user-submitted words to try out in the game. This is the first time someone has put it to a very, VERY extensive test built by the community, so let's look at some of the words and see what made it and what did not. I think you'll be surprised on multiple accounts!

So first up, words that failed. I split them up by "proper" fails (meaning, they SHOULD be in the game, but aren't) and "improper fails", words that don't fit under the Scribblenauts rules and thus don't have to be in the game.

Not tangible objects

BOOBS (not an object) - Also would be vulgar
MEANING OF LIFE (not an object)
PERPETUALITY (not an object)
ANNUAL - They probably meant the shorthand for an "Annual flower", but "annual" itself doesn't count as an object
LEG WOUND - Not really a tangible object or noun
GLITCH - Not a tangible word, though I do agree it should be in

Not in the dictionary

HAMMER OF THOR (not in dictionary)
DANCING BANANA (not in dictionary)
ONM (not in dictionary)
RAPTOR JESUS (not in dictionary, potentially blasphemous)
SHOOP DA WOOP (not in dictionary)

Trademarked or proper nouns

JEDI (trademarked)
DS (trademarked)
RUDOLPH - A proper noun. It'd only be icing on the cake if he were in, like Santa...

Words that are too specific or probably already have variations in game

SANDBOARD - Seems identical to a snowboard, which I'm sure is in
SHOVELWARE - Probably too specific of a word. "Videogame" is probably in
MISANTHROPE - Again, most likely too specific of a word. A misanthrope, like one of the -phobe nouns, is more of a human with a non-tangible way of describing them, which would probably be hard to represent. You can, however, spawn in a human and make him fear humans in the level editor
COULROPHOBE - Same as above

Proper fails

DELTOID - Spellcheck tells me this isn't actually a word...hmm. Maybe it needed to be "Deltoids" or "Deltoid Muscle"?

So then...not too bad. Out of the 25 words, only 4 of which "properly" failed, and even among those 5, 3 of which have questions about them.

Now let's look at the items that DID make the cut.

PEPPER (both the condiment and the vegetable)
BANDICOOT - I didn't know this was a real word.
NAPPY (you can put it on him)
TATTOO (makes a sheet of stick-on tattoos)
BOMBARD (makes a cannon) - I thought bombard was a verb...hmm
MAGIC EGG (same as a normal egg) - xd, what the hell is a magic egg?
STARITE (but it's a fake one)
EVERYTHING - I wonder what this turns up
C4 (input CFOUR)
JEWEL CASE (but makes a Jewellery Box) - Makes sense
SD CARD (but makes a playing card) - Probably means it isn't it, so the game defaults to the generic "card"
SOLAR SYSTEM (but makes a star) - LAME AS HELL!
GALAXY - Yet this is in...?
RICKROLL (makes Rick Astley appear) - Who promptly explodes. No, seriously.
LASER SWORD (but makes a normal sword) - Makes sense
I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER (makes a cheeseburger) -
SCRIBBLENAUTS (makes the orginal character design) - What weird wording...
5TH CELL (makes the developer's logo)
LOLWUT (makes his head huge) - Uh, what? Does he means the lolwut pear?
MORON (makes a dunce)
SPY (makes a Ninja) - LAME AS HELL

So as you can see, Scribblenauts already has a pretty robust input device. Even if you get a word wrong or you try to be too specific it spawns in what it thinks you want. All in all the testing was an amazing success. Tallying it all up, out of the 93 "proper" words that were checked, only 4 failed.

Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

Scribblenauts get a sort-of release date; multiplatform talk

Out of all the news breaking today we have two big pieces that I'd like to touch on that I feel are, above all else discovered today, the most important.

First we have affiliate @Scribblenaut figuring out (thanks to a Dutch website) that Scribblenauts will be released the 23rd of September in the PAL regions. This is 8 days after the speculated September 15th date for the states. I think it's safe to say the United States will see the game anywhere between those two dates, though I am thinking the 15th is the correct date.

Second, we have an interview that might scare some people while exciting others. Yes, multiplatform talk. To quote technical director Marius Fahlbusch,

Starlet developer 5th Cell has never thought of puzzler Scribblenauts as a DS exclusive, technical director Marius Fahlbusch has told VG247, and has confessed that the puzzler could migrate between platforms.

“The concept would definitely work on other platforms as well and we’ve seen gamers from very different backgrounds pick it up and enjoy it equally,” said Fahlbusch.

He added: “We’ve seen both kinds of gamers instantly taking to the game, the casual gamer that played a few games before as well as hardcore ones that play nothing but the latest titles on PS3 and X360.

“But we never limited ourselves to the DS as platform in our heads and we’ll see what the future holds.”

Personally? I'm disappointed in that. 5TH Cell has always been somewhat of a Nintendo loyalist. In fact, Scribblenauts wouldn't have even come to life if they didn't look at the DS and say, "Ok, what can we do with this?" Though I am excited that it may branch out to other consoles and support the developers, I gotta say, it would not be ideal. Once a game goes multiplatform some problems begin to come up. Some platforms become more favored than others, release dates and content begin to differ greatly. It'll be interesting to see what comes in the days ahead.

Previews and interviews galore!

Noticing a trend? Though my previous post below will track screenshots, will will track previews and rip out the important bits.

"On one level, we tried writing "fly spray" and "repellent" on a fly, but in this case, "bug spray" and "insect spray" were the acceptable solutions"

"Given that we're located in London, Fahlbusch dropped in a royal banquet, including the Queen, a table, a grill, beef, and a chef's hat. Rather amusingly, he then also added a vampire that quickly turned the Queen into a fellow vampire. Thankfully for Maxwell--the game's protagonist--there was some nearby garlic bread to help keep the vampires at bay."

"There are 220 levels in total split across 10 worlds, and you can unlock them by earning the game's currency: ollars."

"Fahlbusch demonstrated the physics engine with a stage that featured a starite atop a tree. There were numerous ways to get to it, including the use of a ladder or termites that would eat the tree. Instead, he added two acrobats and placed Maxwell on top of them, allowing him to reach the starite."

Just how many people stumped the game at E3? Were we the only ones to come up with a word that needed to be added?

Not many people did, I remember a journalist friend of mine came by and said, "I'm going to stand here and stump your game for 20 minutes, so leave me alone." And this guy is hardcore even among hardcore gamers. Afterward he had to admit he had a real hard time stumping it and shook my hand. People will always stump the game if they really try, but the fact is there so much in Scribblenauts that stumping the game is only fun for a few minutes. Then people say, "Forget that - I want to play with the objects I'm creating!" – and you can!

How do you make a sequel to Scribblenauts? Are you working on ideas for one?

We're just focused on the original Scribblenauts for the time being, but I have plenty of ideas for a sequel.

Is there any one item or creature that has proven to be much more useful than others? Or is there anything in there that acts as a "cheat code" -- something deliberately put in the game to solve all kinds of stuff? If not, can we be one?

We've tried very hard to balance the game to ensure there are no uber characters. That way people can have fun experimenting without fearing that they aren't using the best object possible to solve a puzzle.

What's the craziest thing you've seen in the game so far?

This game has a lot of crazy moments. One recent one was that I was flying a helicopter over some enemy soldiers, but I was too close to them and so one decided to hop in the backseat with Maxwell still flying and I was shot in the back of the head. I was like, "Wow, this game keeps on surprising me." It's hard for me to keep playing a game after working on it for so long when you're done with it, but I continue to laugh and have a blast with Scribblenauts and I think that says a lot.

“The concept would definitely work on other platforms as well and we’ve seen gamers from very different backgrounds pick it up and enjoy it equally,” said Fahlbusch.

Have you got “sweary” stuff in there?

We did not include any vulgar items, so that first thing we know everyone wants to write in there… I am sorry! But who needs vulgarity if you can ride three panda bears on a unicycle while wearing a snorkel. There are just so many surprises in the game.

Finally, can you see the idea being replicated by other developers?

Every title out there is also in inspiration to all developers in some way, so why wouldn’t certain concepts of Scribblenauts flow into other future titles? But it will be interesting to see if and what kind of influence it could have.

Gamespot video preview - summary incoming

GamesRadar video preview
- summary incoming

More as they are availabile

Screenshot overload

Today is going to be a big news day for Scribblenauts. A big day. So I'm going to begin early (and kinda small) and bring you some new pictures I've found around the web. There's a lot of them, so I'll link you to where you an find them and show you some of my favorites.

New pictures over at...


Now let's look at some of the cooler shots.

Here we see what I assume if the first part of the level editor mode. As you can see we can choose from 10 different worlds, each with its own theme. Standard fare among video games, of course. Through each world we can then choose the level we want to use as our template. There are 6 levels per page with multiple pages. The Gardens has 2 pages, and from the E3 demo we know it has 11 stages.

For those keeping up with the math, though, 10 worlds of 11 levels each equals 110 levels, exactly half the 220 levels promised. I don't think that's a coincidence. Do you think some worlds have more levels (some would have to have over 22 levels for the math to work out), or are we missing some key component?

Here we have something I am personally VERY excited for. During some of the previews people mentioned the icons when interacting with objects weren't always clear. Sometimes it was hard to determine if you were going to pick something up or throw it. 5TH Cell listened, it seems, and has added some text to each option to show you exactly what they do.

He we can see the level editor again, showing off how you can modify object properties. For example, this monster can follow the matador around. Other options mentioned were "mount", "consume", "scare", etc.

More shots will go here as the day goes on!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The ESRB probably has a worse imagination than you do

Just the other day I was talking about the rating this game will get from the ESRB (E10, in case you didn't know) vs. the actual rating it should get based on the events happening. I briefly mentioned that while the violence and the like were kept at a minimum, your imagination could take the situation and really run wild with it. And run wild it did for the ESRB. Take a look at their rating summary to find out...

This is a puzzle game in which players navigate a series of traps, puzzles, and enemies to collect stars scattered throughout the colorful levels. Players have the ability to summon different objects by writing/typing in the word (e.g., bike, spaceship, lion) and watching it come to life. If multiple words are entered in a sequence, different whimsical scenarios can be triggered: a bicycle can be used to jump over a baby; a bulldozer can clear away a shark; and cabbage can be fed to dinosaurs. Players can elect to summon "cartoony" versions of bats, bombs, guns, and flamethrowers. These types of items can be used to destroy objects or even other summoned items (e.g., a club can be used to hit an animal; steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions; rockets can be lobbed at a man). These triggered animations are minimally depicted and are usually accompanied by popping, musical sound effects; bright, star-shaped flashes; or small puffs of smoke. If players wish to, they may type in the word vomit, which causes a beige-colored lump to appear on the screen.

Wait, what?

Out of all the examples to use...these were definitely the most bizarre. They could have kept it simple and said you can "kill" babies. But no. Instead they decided to tell us the wonders of jumping over babies on a bike while gluing steak to their cute little heads so they'll be eaten by lions.


Well...on the brightside, I know the first combination of words I plan on trying out. Uh...thanks, ESRB?

New characters and " other customisation tools" confirmed?

Thanks to @Scribblenaut I was about to read a rather interesting preview at an Australian news site called, fittingly, Ausgamers. You can find it here. The preview itself is from E3 and didn't contain much in the way of new info in terms of objects or puzzles...but it did contain this interesting tidbit at the end:

Rewards will come in the form of in-game currency to buy new avatars and other customisation tools

Now that gave me pause. New avatars? As characters beyond Maxwell? You got to wonder what this could possibly mean in terms of unlockables. After all, a simple costume change would be silly as you could just write in the clothing item you want and Maxwell would put it on. This leads me to think these new avatars might really be entirely new characters (other Scribblenauts?) or, at the very least, contain unique clothing.

No point having unlockables costumes if I can look like this all the time

As if that wasn't mysterious enough, the latter part of that quote, namely the part about "customization tools", also leaves me wondering what exactly that means. What can we customize? Perhaps music or maybe even the interface? And why the word "tools"? My kneejerk reaction is that maybe we'll be able to unlock a tool that would allow use to change item properties on the fly, similar to the system employed by the level editor. I doubt I'm right, but it's definitely the first thing my mind jumped to.

Hopefully as more previews roll in we'll get further confirmation

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Scribblenautic Fanart Gallery: Thursday Edition

Once again here we are with the Thursday edition of the Fanart Gallery. Today I plan on looking at a mix of avatars without a real theme or rhyme or reason. Most of these are the result of someone requesting an avatar done of their favorite character, so thus you'll be seeing a lot of variety

Courtesy of unknown (Iron Man) and Esperado (Superman)

Being from different universes means these two heroes will probably never meet. But these great drawings really show that the Scribblenauts style is perfect for capturing the "essence" of a character with minimal design. You then realize that anyone can recognize Superman with the right colors and an emblem, even if he has dots for eyes and no mouth.

Courtesy of Versipellis

Look at this smug motherfucker. Holy god he just oozes style. Now, unfortunately this style sort of abandons the "minimalistic" approach and instead makes it highly detailed. At least it still looks like it's straight from a notebook, though to be honest he looks more like a sticker than a paper cutout.

And if you don't recognize him, you should definitely check out Knights of the Old Republic

Courtesy of Divvy

Now I'm not one to pay much attention to games on other consoles. I sort of "outgrew" most console gaming (of course, by outgrew, I mean my bank account shrunk. Stupid tuition!) and thus have not paid much attention to the Last Guardian, though I did hear a bit about it at E3.

Then I saw this picture and fell in love with the cute little thing. Like, holy god, look at him!

Courtesy of Edison Yan.
Click any of them for a larger shot

It might be unfair to call these fan art. For those who don't know, Edison Yan actually works for 5TH Cell. I'm unsure of the exact capacity, as it seems he's more of a freelance artist who does art for their games and isn't a regular employee. I don't know how much he's done for Scribblenauts, but I do know how amazing his fanart is.

Hint: It's very amazing.

Edison goes all out with his doodles, as you can see. You can see both Street Fighter and Final Fantasy 7 more than represented. I am blown away at the sheer volume and style of these. I don't think it'd upset me one bit if all video games in the world were forced to use the Scribblenauts style.

Post 217 travels to Nintendo Power?

If you're a fan of Scribblenauts then you're probably already aware of Post 217. If you're not a fan of Scribblenauts, then post 217 will most likely instantly make you a fan. Hopefully that means the game has a lot more fans this month.

Seems like Post 217 found its way into Nintendo Power, at least in some sense, says NeoGAF reader cooljeanius,

I got my latest Nintendo Power today. Scribblenauts showed up twice: First in a letter asking if sword + vegetables = salad, and then in their E3 section, in which they basically reworded Post #217.

Reworded, eh? Well I definitely don't doubt that. Nintendo Power is still a "family" magazine and despite the amazing concept they may not have appreciated some of the colorful yet highly appropriate (for the situation) language:

I had played all the big titles at E3. Private showings of God of War III, Heavy Rain, Alan Wake. But at 4:00 on Thursday, I was wandering around the show floor, wondering what else I had to see. I saw a small little booth for "Scribblenauts!" in the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment section. I mean, who goes to that booth? But I remember hearing about it on GAF, and so I decided to check it out.

Best game of E3? Without a fucking doubt. Anyone who says otherwise did not play Scribblenauts. Best game of all time? Jesus Christ, I don't know, maybe. It's a game that challenges your IMAGINATION. No other game has ever done that.

So listen to this story. I was in the early levels; I didn't quite have an idea of how ridiculously in-depth the database was. I was summoning things like ladders, glasses of water, rayguns, what have you. But I reached a level with zombie robots, and the zombie robots kept killing me. Rayguns didn't work, a torch didn't work, a pickaxe didn't work. In my frustration, I wrote in "Time Machine". And one popped up. What the fuck? A smile dawned on my face. I hopped in, and the option was given to me to either travel to the past or the future. I chose past. When I hopped out, there were fucking dinosaurs walking around. I clicked one, and realized I could RIDE THEM. So I hopped on a fucking DINOSAUR, traveled back to the present, and stomped the shit out of robot zombies. Did you just read that sentence? Did you really? I FUCKING TRAVELED THROUGH TIME AND JUMPED ON A DINOSAUR AND USED IT TO KILL MOTHERFUCKING ROBOT ZOMBIES. This game is unbelievable. Impossible. There's nothing you can't do.

Holy fucking shit.

The post has since become something very special, and can be seen a sort of combination of internet meme and prime example representing the freedom Scribblenauts has to offer. After getting tired of using the classic "Ladder vs. Axe vs. Beaver vs. Fire" example , I decided to switch to this story when explaining Scribblenauts to someone. Their eyes sparkle.

ONM puts up a preview...wait, what?

As I mentioned previously the Official Nintendo Magazine has Scribblenauts - but they're not talking. They said they have a preview embargo until Friday. They're being so careful that they're not even revealing what words are in and what are out.

Well, someone should probably tell that to the guy who wrote this article.

Now there's a few confusing things about this article. For one...well, they're on an embargo until Friday! I may not be the best with time zones, but I'm pretty sure it's not Friday yet, even in the UK. Further, on their Facebook page they held off revealing a giant "What objects are in?" list due to their embargo, and they still haven't revealed anything. So why launch a preview but not reveal their list?

Perhaps most confusing of all is how generic the preview is! I don't mean to be insulting, but for a site who has uninterrupted use of the game...god, what a boring article this was to read. Indeed, it was so generic and told us literally nothing new that I almost suspect this is a preview from someone at E3! They mention no new items that haven't been seen in YouTube videos and screenshots and they don't even talk about puzzles. It feels like a summary of the game, not a preview.

So what do you think is up? Is this really their preview, or do you think it might be a "placeholder" of sorts until Friday?

Update: It's come to my attention (thanks to this guy) that the preview put up very well might be from E3. It seems this article is from their print version, and thus is a bit old as it's their E3 issue. It explains why it contains nothing new...but does not explain why they would put it up so late!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

God is Dead. Or, How I Learned to Stop Fearing the ESRB and Instead Fear the Public

Sometimes even Scribblenauts breaks its own rules...and it's usually with hilarious results. Despite hearing we won't see any "proper nouns" we've seen plenty of them already, much to our pleasant surprise. We've seen creatures such as Cthulhu, religious figures such as God, and a good amount of "Easter egg" items such as Keyboard Cat. And though no one would mind if I sacrifice Keyboard Cat to the a horde of zombies (some might praise me)...they might care if I did that to God.

Another day at the office

Now I'm not one to fear monger, nor am I suggesting all Christians (or really, any person of any faith) would overreact to such a scenario. But some will. And it brings up an interesting challenge Scribblenauts might have to overcome. In a game where you use your imagination to solve problems...whose to blame if your imagination does horrible, unthinkable things? If you're with your child playing what you think is a childrens' game, and you see him kill God...well, where do you go from there?

This isn't a new or unique problem, and many games have had to deal with similar issues. There are generally two directions a game ends up going:

There's games like Grand Theft Auto where you can gleefully plow down a sidewalk of people in your car. That's going to be rated by the ESRB and it's "obvious" enough to make news headlines. You don't need to use your imagination here...there's clearly an old lady rolling off your hood, and it makes for a powerful argument against violent gaming.

Then there's games like The Sims, an innocent and family-esque game on the surface. However, I have the freedom to do whatever I want to my little Sim guy. I could decide, for example, to remove all the doors in my sim's house and watch as he slowly withers away to nothing. I can kill his entire family in front of him and force him to stand in a puddle of his own urine and eat spoiled food just to survive.

Now those parts are not rated by the ESRB (Sims is rated Teen) nor do stories like those make headlines...usually. Nothing in the Sims is done graphically or in a way that'd offend. Your sim starves but he doesn't fall over and die. Instead he has a talk with the grim reaper and becomes a friendly ghost. Everything is done in an almost comical way, so it's up to gamer and his imagination to "fill in the details". The implications of his actions, however, still remain.

"Not to be afraid, my love, this game is rated E! What's the worst that could hap-"

Scribblenauts takes a little bit of both approaches it would seem. Like the GTA series you're going to find yourself in some very obvious "bad" situations. Strap some TNT to a cop then glue him and a puppy to a nuke. Yeah, pretty obvious I'd say. However, the way it's actually executed is closer to The Sims in that it's in a comical and "innocent" way. No one really dies, they justdisappear. The largest amount of graphical violence we'll see is the little emote people make while fighting.

Thankfully we have nothing to worry about from the ESRB. All they care about is the lack of graphic violence, the fact no one is gushing blood, and the lack of vulgar items. But like the title suggests, I'm not worried about the ESRB. I'm worried about the general public.

Mommy, what's C4?

It's easy to imagine this sort of thing being picked up by a Fox News-type show and then spread like wildfire. Just think of some of the situations you could find yourself in when you're armed with tens of thousands of nouns to play around with. Imagine spawning "president", "terrorist", and then arming the terrorist with weapons to kill the president with. I mean yet again to the naked eye it'd be no problem. You'd see two figures walking into each other for a bit then disappearing in a poof of smoke.

But it's the imagination that takes that concept and makes it a lot more real and a lot more...dangerous. I wonder what, if any, backlash we're going to see. Everyone is excited that you can do literally anything you want in this game...I just wonder if they realize that some people might not want to do very good things.

Finally, it starts going down some rather dangerous paths...can we police the mind or the imagination? Can the ESRB rate a game based on what a person takes away from it, not what is literally going on the screen? Hmm.

I think this will be a subject I keep coming back to.

It was inevitable: Scribblenauts Objects database

Scribblenauts has tens of thousands of words. Some gaming websites like to misquote that and say it only has 10,000...but no. Tens of thousands.

So you can imagine the relative difficulty one might have at coming up with some sort of comprehensive list of all the words, what they do and look like, etc. It'd be...well...time consuming. Lots of time spent in front of a DS and a dictionary.

Thankfully the guys over at Scribblenauts Guide have taken two approaches to the situation: hit it early, and hit it with the entire community.

Check it out here and feel free to add some stuff it's missing! Or, alternatively, avoid it like the plague if you want to discover these things yourself.

Of course you should also avoid most dictionaries, encyclopedias, and web forums.

Oh, and this blog.

Scribblenautic Fanart Gallery: Tuesday Edition

Today's edition will be a little short on words and more focus on pictures. I'm a bit tired today and I got a few work obligations, but hey, this post is about pictures anyways so no harm, no foul, right?

Courtesy of Harbadakus

Thankfully these four don't need an sort of introduction or paragraph describing them. I'll just let you take them all in.

Courtesy of
jrricky (Mario, Pikachu) and C_V

In a lot of respects I probably don't have to introduce or explain these 3 either. I think Nintendo characters by default lend themselves quite well to the style. They tend to be more cartoony than real and it shows.

Courtesy of Harbadakus (G-Man) and jrricky (Miyamoto)

The avatars of pure joy and pure despair. One captures your childhood imagination in video games, the other uses you as a pawn in some sort of weird intergalactic Crowbar Wielding Championship

Monday, July 6, 2009

Around the Twitters (update #3)

Love or hate it, Twitter provides one clear advantage over many other social media: Instant, RSS-esque news and information. And thankfully most big businesses and newspapers have adopted Twitter, so sometimes you'll find that's where you'll get the most exclusive and up to date news.

Scribblenauts is no exception. With Edge and ONM having Scribblenauts in their possession they decided to do a bit of tweeting about it. I compiled some of their "findings" in this here post. I'll be bolding anything new each update

*Edge solved one puzzle where they had to catch a bee by riding a lowrider. Swagger: CONFIRMED

*Edge and ONM both confirmed some random items people were wondering about:

-What's in: Aviators, Asbestos (hmm!), Dottere (some wading bird that actually helped Edge through a puzzle!), bird as both an avian and a female, chick as both a baby chicken and female, ethernet cable, jelly, seismometer, rickroll?, elf, orc, Satan, sandworm

-What's not: Drogue, Charles Dickens (...), Tay Zonday, St George. Only one of those words is a "proper" fail

*Out of 115 suggested words for ONM to try out, only 29 failed. ONM states, however, that "That's not bad considering most of you were trying to stump it by coming out with licensed words and things that weren't objects"

*Edge had a little "tournament" it seemed...Orc beats Elf, Dragon beats Orc, Dragon beats Knight, Dragon beats Astronaut (hmm), Tank beats Dragon. Technology: Superior.

Look out for a special Scribblenauts-themed competition on Friday, Edge-followers. Details to follow.

*Edge confirms God kills Satan!

"Yes, Scribblenauts is effing incredible. I made god fight a giant sand worm. He lost, just like I wanted him to." from

Because Europe operates on BiZaRrO TiMe we'll probably see quite a few updates done while us yanks are sleeping, so look for this post again in the morning. I'll be sure to update it with any relevant tidbit of information.

Brace for impact! (update)

Like little magical storks carrying bundles of magical joy (what?) it would appear more and more sites are getting copies of Scribblenauts.

Thanks to the magic that is Twitter I found at least a few places which have their grimy little hands on the game and are playing it as we speak. I personally feel this is unfair, as my hands are just as grimy as the next guy's. Where is my copy?! These lucky fellows have so far confirmed they have the game: (these guys are taking suggestions of nouns to stump the game via twitter. Take advantage of this! (they had this to say about Scribblenauts via twitter: "CONFIRMED: Scribblenauts recognises 'bird' as both an avian and a woman.")

Also keep an eye on the ONM's Facebook page found here:

They'll keep us up to date on the stumpability!

Though we have no new info as of yet we're definitely on the cusp of what could be a very big, very exciting news day. Keep your eyes glued.

Update: To say that the gods have spited us would be too overdramatic, but it'd be close. Unfortunately if you were one of the 0 people who read this article and, indeed, braced for're just going to have to keep bracing until you pull a muscle or something.

ONM revealed via their Facebook that they're under a preview embargo until the end of the week. No, I have absolutely zero idea as to why this would be. It's a preview, not a review, and the game isn't coming out for months. Because of this they're not revealing giant lists of what is or isn't in the game. However, they did comment that out of the 115 items suggested to them (I wanted to see if "Rudolph" was in the game alongside Santa), only 26 didn't make it, which was pretty good given of those 26 I'm sure most were suggestions that didn't fall under the "rules" of Scribblenauts.

Still, new news IS coming, as I speculated just the other day. See you at the end of the week?

Scribblenauts: Telling a story through (new?) pictures

We have a lot to thank the Spanish for. Tacos, for one. Burritos, for another. And don't get me started on quesadillas! But aside from that slightly inappropriate list, the Spanish will now be known for something else: bringing us new Scribblenauts screens!

Now, I'm not one to gush or obsess over screenshots of a game. With that disclaimer out the way, I shall now proceed to gush and obsess over the following screenshots of Scribblenauts! Thankfully, screenshots tell a story in Scribblenauts. Usually they're finely crafted "scenes" by the developers to showcase well as what is possible with this game.

Let's take a look at them.

Top - I'm actually wondering if this is a reference to some famous movie scene or something, because it's just too hilarious on its own. It seems there is a difference between pumpkins (as seen on the house) and Jack-o-Laterns. Also it looks like domestic abuse is - thankfully - CONFIRMED!

Top mid - Maxwell ponders God while God ponders Maxwell. The cycle completes. Also, I wonder if those planets in the background can be summoned, or if they're static background props.

Bottom mid - This brings up the indepth is the AI? I know this scene is meant to show off the is he really? Or will he just stand there, pot in hand? I am also angry that the dog (looks like a specific breed?) isn't chasing the mouse. Not because his AI should, but because they clearly should have bought a cat.

Bottom - It's the end of the world, and it's up to a ragtag group of rebels to fight back the oppressive shadow government which has taken over. Run, little man! Get behind the barricades so Maxwell can unleash...a minigun?

Maxwell vs. a cow...followed by...the aftermath? Grusome.

Then we see Maxwell in a rather modern looking battleship vs. an unmanned pirate ship. Not much of a challenge.

Finally Maxwell gives us his best redneck impression and stares down a moose, shotgun in hand, with that little smirk of his. Smug bastard.

Oh no! Run away, Maxwell and other guy! Get away from those two zombies!

Uh...uh I away, Maxwell! Get away from those three zombies! Oops. Well I'm sure other guy wasn't very important.

Here we see a noble having an affair with the queen. They think their secret is safe, but what's this? A boy with a red hat and a star on his shirt? Where the hell did he come from?

And who is that behind...


This is the single most complicated way to solve this level you'll ever see.