Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fuck it. Spoilers be damned. Guess I'm coming back

I do this a lot. I tend to start a project, get a little too overwhelmed by it (or I just lose interest) then quit.

This time around I had a valid excuse, but it's been about a week (or so!) and I swear every day I struggle with whether or not I should come back to the worlds of Scribblenauts. It was a lot of fun, and it gave me something to do while at work or bored at home.

That, and Scribblenauts is an amazing game. Despite wanting to keep it "fresh" I've realized that this isn't really a game you can spoil. Today I saw someone solve Action 1-1 by using a sleeping Swordfish to chop the tree down. It just made me realize every level has a ridiculous amounts of solutions, and even if I tried I wouldn't be able to spoil myself completely.

So after much internal debate I've decided to come back. I know at least one blog cropped up in my stead, but instead of us competing I'd like to either get them on board here or at least affiliate with them. I think it'd be neat if this blog could have multipe writers, though, but we'll see what happens there.

I got a lot to catch up on, so look for a bunch more posts tomorrow and into Monday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

QUESTION 1: Wishful Thinking

A few days ago, I asked my Twitter follows the following question:

"QUESTION: If you could put ONE trademarked object (not a character) into Scribblenauts, which would you choose and why?"

I got a decent number of responses to this question. It was definitely interesting to see what you guys would think of. Though some of you didn't quite grasp that "not a character" part.
Let's have a look:

Photobucket MistaKoo: "Lightsaber obviously because it's so freakin awesome!"

I should have seen this one coming, but for some reason I didn't. I agree that light sabers are really bad-ass, but I suppose that, in practice, they do little more than a normal sword.
Then again, one thing that normal swords don't do is being really freaking awesome.

Photobucket scry12: I would put the Sham-wow, so I could soak up all the water in the water stages

This is one of my favorite responses. Scry12 clearly chose his item based on usefulness.
Not only is it really cool and useful, I also don't think there will be anything in Scribblenauts that can simulate it. Maybe a water pump?

Photobucket TehG33kL: I would choose Mario. Give him a mushroom and he grows. Give him a star and he becomes invincible for a bit. Add Goomba too.

Those are several objects, but Mario is not one of them. He's a character.
And characters in Scribblenauts have a tendency of not trying to help you. They do what their instincts tell them (a fireman will rescue a kitty, a chef will cook food) but they never seem aware of the goal you have in mind.
Would Mario's instinct be to jump on evil characters? Perhaps break blocks with his head?

Photobucket Kirbizard: Portal Gun. As far as I'm concerned, the Portal Gun should be in EVERY game. It's one of the most fun game mechanics ever.

I can't argue with this one. The portal gun is not only useful, but allows for some really fun gameplay.
You'd only be able to shoot at walls, however, because movable objects disrupt the portals. Scribblenauts has enough of those to play around with, though.

Photobucket Razdor2K: I would choose Pikachu, because its another way to kill sharks, and you can have a cute sidekick :D

Pikachu is a character.
While it would be nice to have a portable source of electricity, how do you tell Pikachu to attack? The only animals I've seen follow orders in Scribblenauts are the ones that you can ride. And I've got a feeling you wouldn't be able to ride Pikachu. (Though that would be pretty funny.)

Photobucket Scribblenautic (SirPenguin): Hmm...let's go with the "Triforce", from Zelda. It grants wishes to whoever touches it...

I'm not sure how to let the game know what your wish is, but it would be a cool mechanic. I wonder if you can make a wish to a Genie.
Assuming we've already made the occassional steak-baby by then, I guess the Triforce would split because someone whose heart is not pure touched it. Which piece of the Triforce would you choose?

Photobucket tennist0: I saw Scribblenautic wrote "triforce" to give wishes, but why do you need a wish if any item is alreaddy at your disposal?

Hey, good point, actually.

Photobucket SirPenguin: I'd like to change my answer to what @Kirbizard said. The Portal Gun is pretty amazing

Well, that settles that, I suppose.

Photobucket danny_ds: It's probably useless, but I'd like a "velcro" in #Scribblenauts - It's one of the most useful inventions human had.

Velcro is indeed a trademarked name, but I'm hoping 5TH Cell will still be able to sneak the product in.
If all else fails, Wikipedia tells me some non-trademark synonyms for the object are "hook and loop fastener", "hook tape", and "loop tape".

Photobucket DurkyDurk: I'd put a Kamehameha in, because I can.

Technically not really an object, but since lightning is in too, I don't see why Kamehameha can't be in as well. (Aside from the trademark, obviously.)
I never really watched Dragonball that much, but it's my understanding that Kamehamehas are usually "tossed", so I suppose you would need to carry it to Maxwell and have him launch it at someone. I don't know what would happen if you summoned a kamehameha and just placed it on the ground...

Photobucket occono: Yo-'yo.

You're in luck, Occono. According to Wikipedia, the term Yo-Yo has lost its trademark back in 1965. Which would explain why we see Yo-Yo's in games like Earthbound and Captain Rainbow.

Those are all the responses I got. Thanks to all who have answered. It was fun to try to apply Scribblenauts logic to objects we know won't be in.
I don't have any other questions yet, but keep an eye on my Twitter account. I hope to be playing this game with you guys again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Edge contest video impressions

As most of you probably know, the fan-made Scribblenauts blog Scribblenautics recently came to a screeching halt when author SirPenguin realised he was spoiling the game for himself. It was a sad day indeed, and I'm sure it left a bit of a gap in the daily routine of a bunch of Scribblefanatics out there.
I certainly feel like I'm missing something, without Scribblenautics around. Recently, Edge and IGN released a bunch of videos, but SirPenguin is no longer around to take a closer look at them for us. I guess I'll have to take matters in my own hands!
Keep in mind, though, that I'm not at all expecting to match Scribblenautics' quality with these blog entries. SirPenguin is somewhat of a veteran at video game blogging, while I struggle to create something worth reading in even my own language. (Dutch)

But enough mourning over Scribblenautics' demise. I'm here to look at some videos, and hopefully you are too.

I'm sure you're aware of the premise behind these videos, but in case you're not, allow me to explain.
Edge held a Twitter competition, asking us to solve a Scribblenauts level for them. The level had a Starite in a cage hanging from a rope above a giant pool of lava, Maxwell hanging from another rope right next to it. The videos you are about to see show off the winning entries, as well as some popular techniques that simply didn't work.
Let's have a look!

First up is the first prize winner:

One of the first thing you'll probably notice in this video is the way Edge removes the hat: By wearing a monocle. Edge says it is possible to remove the hat without an item, by simply tapping it and selecting the "remove" option, but that's not the point. The point is that this means you can only equip one accessory per body part. So you won't be able to wear a top hat, monocle and moustache at the same time, which was something I was looking forward to doing.
Also note, by the way, that the termite in this video has a "Battle" emote after it is summoned. Does this mean that the termite "fought" the cage, or did it try to fight Maxwell before deciding to chow down on the wooden cage?

Second place to this guy, whose idea is pretty much the same as the one above.
Both these videos end with Maxwell in the lava, by the way. I'm not sure if this means Maxwell becomes invincible after grabbing the Starite, or if the lava simply didn't damage Maxwell fast enough to kill him, and cause the player to lose after all.

Even though this method failed, it still got third place. Why? Because of the 100 entries into the Edge competition, only 2 actually managed to beat the level! That's pretty crazy when you think about it.
Edge decided to award third place to this solution because of how creative it was. While I can't really argue with that, the video ends in such a heart breaking way!
Anyway, in this video we learn that the player is allowed to leave objects suspended in mid-air if they please, which is a really useful feature in levels such as this one.

With the winners out of the way, Edge shows us why most of the entries didn't work:

The first two videos show two popular flying objects. As you can see, both take too long to lift Maxwell and hit the lava. Once they touch the lava, they are no longer in working condition, and Maxwell is left to die.
The third video has some kind of metal box poking out of the lava. Maxwell can stand on it, but dies anyway. I guess simply getting close to the lava is lethal too.

So how did Edge solve the puzzle?

...Yep, that's right! It turns out you can simply open the cage! None of the participants even considered that one!
Not that anyone can blame us for that, though. It's a cage! The point of a cage is usually to keep its contents inside, or everything else out.
It's an iconic trait of the object that was ignored for the sake of versatility. Another example of that in Scribblenauts would be the ability to ride dinosaurs, even though they are usually portrayed as vicious killers. Personally, I think it's a good move. The more we, as players, are able to do, the better.
It made me realise that Scribblenauts might allow the player to do even more than we anticipated. Objects can be used in ways beyond what we might initially expect from them.
Once you get the game, don't forget to check the actions menu for each item you encounter. Who knows, you might find a surprisingly useful function you didn't even think of!

IGN had some videos to show as well. This blog entry is already getting longer than I anticipated, though, so I'll try to keep it short.

I'm not sure what IGN was trying to achieve with the fan and pole, but the fishing pole seemed to have gotten the cage close enough to Maxwell for him to open it. They might have even gotten the Starite with the fishing pole, had they acted fast enough.
Note, by the way, that the Starite leaves the cage through the top, which seems like an odd choice to me. It might be useful in this particular scenario, but wouldn't it be more logical for the Starite to leave the cage through the side it was opened at?

Here we see a black hole tear the cage to shreds. The gravitational pull of the black hole doesn't seem strong enough to move Maxwell, however. That's hardly realistic.

Lastly, we have a video of an all-new level. We also finally find out what the heck that green creature is supposed to be. It's a "monster". Makes sense.
The level features some kind of trap that activates when Maxwell gets too close to it. I hope we'll be able to make traps like that ourselves in Level Editor mode, and I wonder how customizable these traps will be.

Well, that's all for now, folks. I hope these video impressions helped soften the blow of losing Scribblenautics a bit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

And now for something completely different

I'm quitting this blog. Oh no!

Well, truth is, I love this game, more than I should, but I'm getting increasingly saturated in new info. Edge released their contest winner videos and showed off a very...very simple solution to this problem.

These are solutions I'd prefer to find out myself. I hate I'm getting increasingly spoiled every day. And yet, as a blogger, I'm expected to keep you guys up to date on the latest news.

So I'm going to stop. You got plenty of news sources, and indeed, just take a look at my affiliates to the right hand side and find other people just like me.

It's been fun!

Around the Twitters - prepare for a lot of news this week!

Love it or hate it (and you'd be perfectly justified with either feeling!), Twitter is a great source of news. This morning is starting off slow without much info coming from over the pond, but we do have some Twitter accounts of people who might be bringing us new media or, later in the week! Let's take a look.

@NZGamerdotcom - We got some hands on time with Scribblenauts (one of the most anticipated titles of '09), check it out - ;-)

And check it out I did! You can find the preview in the tinyurl they provided. The preview itself doesn't tell us much new, though it is very colorfully written (I assume in the "written dialect" of their native country) and entertaining to read. They did drop a few interesting tidbits, one good and one bad.

The bad:

So, the handwriting recognition software is average at best (I suppose this is where they put the Scribble in Scribblenauts - but Tapnauts just doesn't have the same ring to it) and I found the odd time where clearing the screen of stacked up, useless objects got frustrating, as the controls for Maxwell, the objects, and interacting with the environment are all the same, causing confusion if you get the stylus-tap even slightly wrong. But forgivable? Forget it. In a game this good, they don't even feature.

I think we might have figured out why we haven't seen anyone making use of the writing ability. Most of the recent videos and such show people using the keyboard, and I'm thinking this is due to the fact the writing recognition might not be the best.

I was also worried about the "context sensitive" controls might wig out if you try to do too much at once. The difference between dragging an object, moving to the object, and picking up the object might all be in how you tap it, and that could get confusing or troublesome if things get hectic.

The Good:

Well, basically EVERYTHING else in the article. However, this I especially thought was interesting:

When I arrived at the RVB event, there was no one playing Scribblenauts, and four very lonesome DS consoles, so I took the opportunity to have a second sit-down with it. Word got around and just like at the big E3, by the end of the night you couldn't get near it.

Now, a quick Google search didn't really help me. I couldn't get any results that weren't some Red vs. Blue website. So though I'm not sure what event he speaks of, apparently Scribblenauts is/was there, and it is getting a LOT of love. Could we be seeing even more previews/screenshots in the coming week from real gamers?

Next up, we have a rather unique impression from editor and chief of

@Tanja_Menne - Games played over the weekend: Scribblenauts, 22 Levels/1 World (not my game, was boring). Blue Dragon (not a bad one, but not half as ...

I'm sure a lot of people will get into "burn the heretic!" mode, but honestly, I'm more confused than anything. She is literally the only reporter in the entire world who has something bad to say about the game. That's impressive, but one might also question the state of her imagination if she finds it boring.

Last we have yet another tidbit that suggests we'll be getting some new news later in the week.

@eurogamer_net - Shadow Complex a no go, again, as debug's brief Friday comeback returns to RROD shame. Scribblenauts it is!

So we have another website with their greedy mits on the game. Hopefully this week will be full of interesting news, what with all these people getting a chance to play around.

Finally, we have a couple of websites who've made some claims over Twitter last week that never really panned out. Edge Online claims they'll (eventually) put up a video of their contest winner, and NGamer Mag claims they'll (eventually) put up the rest of the pictures of objects people suggested they try out.

Though today might be a slow day so far it is quickly ramping up to be quite the week. Stay tuned here, and I'll make sure you guys are well informed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scibblenautics Fanart Gallery: Sunday Edition

Welcome to yet another Sunday edition of the Fanart Gallery!

Courtesy of imprecise! (zealot) and Bazoozoo_ (cookie monster)

C is for Cookie, and Z is for Zealot. These two couldn't be more different. One is an ancient space warrior defending his home planet from a parasitic invasion through any means necessary, even if it means his own death. And the other is a Protoss Zealot!

Courtesy of Caddywompus21


And Magus is here with Billy Mays.

Startling confession: I have never beaten Chrono Trigger.

Courtesy of C_V (pyramid head) and Divvy (Big Daddy/Little sister)

I've said it before, but I always enjoy seeing video game characters in a Scribbletar. Our of all the proper nouns I'd want in the game, I'd say 95% are simply video game characters. Even games with very stylize and unique designs such as Bioshock and Silent Hill still somehow manage to look perfect and entirely in place to the whole Scribblenaut design