Saturday, August 1, 2009

Past week in Scribblenautics: July 26th - August 1st

This week was a crazy one. With several more websites getting their hands on the game and giving us updated impressions or videos or contests, it was hard to keep track of all of it. Thankfully, you don't have it. I've rounded up all the news of this past week for your viewing pleasure.

Today is August 1st. There 44 days left before the release of Scribblenauts in North America.

Here's what you may have missed

News


Previews, Interviews, and Impressions


Media
  • *Check out my two part posts detailing all the new videos we got last week. Part 1, Part 2
  • *The death of God is avenged by an angel wielding a bow.
  • *GamersGuide shows us even more internet memes. Are you of tired of that as I am?
  • *G4 posted their Comic-Con impressions video. Shows off some items (like an ark), internet memes, and various screwing around.
  • *IGN included two very cool videos with this Friday Feature, so make sure to check them out as well. They solve two levels in a variety of really creative ways.

Kotaku gives results of their wordlist challenge while 1Up offers their own

Phew. This whole embargo ending thing sure means my job is a lot more frantic than usual. Seems like whenever I get the chance to get online I discover 2-3 stories to cover. You're going to want to definitely check out my weekly roundup tomorrow to find anything you missed, but at least this will be the last story of tonight.

Firstly, Kotaku decided to (weirdly) respond to people's word suggests in the comment section itself. Now maybe I'm just plain stupid, but Kotaku's comment system really doesn't make any sort of sense, and it was being pretty buggy to boot. Thankfully there are people to do the work for me. UncleSporky, over at Penny-Arcade, was kind enough to compile the list himself. I won't quote it verbatim as it's rather long, but you can find it yourself here. I think you'll be happy with what they found, though there's nothing that really stood out to report on.

Well, actually, they do mention the shrink ray working as you'd expect, and they were able to shrink a dentist. Sounds like the setup to a bad SciFi movie!

Next up we have 1Up offering yet again to check to see if a word you want is in Scribblenauts. You can find the page right here. They'll be taking the more interesting suggestions and making videos about them next week, so again, try to be creative!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Two very different podcasts discussing Scribblenauts

It would seem this is the last news coming out of the embargo lift today. Two podcasts that release on Fridays decided to devote a fairly big segment to Scribblenauts. First up we have the Joystiq podcast followed by Listen Up, which is 1Up's podcast.

Together the discussions are as different as night and day. Check the highlights.

Joystiq Podcast
http://www.joystiq.com/2009/07/31/joystiq-podcast-103-2010-edition/

Highlights
  • Action levels don't seem to "work as well" as Puzzle levels
  • Controls are finicky
  • Puzzles are really interesting and unique
  • "Protect a picnic basket from ants, but don't kill the ants as it'll upset the hippy" - Amazing level description
  • Biggest problem Scribblenauts will have: Gives impression possibilities are unlimited, when that's not the case. Some objects don't act like you'd expect or want them to.
  • Example: Needed to get on top of something, created a beanstalk, but it just created a rope-like object and didn't work like they wanted it to
  • Another: Needed to stop a ship from hitting an iceberg. Fireball killed the iceberg, which was cool. But he wanted to attach an anchor, needed a chain, but the weight of the chain was enough to stop the ship, which was weird.
  • Yet another: Farmer freaked out and killed a rabbit, then killed a rat. I don't know why he thought that was weird...
  • Favorite thing that happened: Created God and Dracula. Dracula killed God and turned him into a Zombie.
  • Another about God: Had to knock over some bottles. Created God on one side, the Devil on the other, and it was close enough to the bottles so the ensuing fight knocked them over
  • Keeps coming up with these caveats on purpose in order to tone down expectations
  • Half of the appeal is solving puzzles, other half is to see if a solution will work the way you want
  • You will absolutely want to purchase it

Listen Up podcast

Highlights
  • They were endlessly entertained
  • There will be things you think of that just won't work
  • In the "rescue the cat" level his first solution was to chase it off with a dog, but that pissed the cat off and thus he didn't solve it. His second solution, to burn the house down, did indeed solve it.
  • It's incredible at how many things are in, didn't run into too many words that didn't work
  • They had so many moments of just doing really cool things that impressed the hell out of him
  • So many "Oh my god, they actually have this in the game?" moments
  • Vampires beat zombies
  • "It's fucking unreal!"
  • "It sounds like something videogames have been waiting to be"
  • "When this game comes out, I'm not going to play anything else ever"
  • They want a PC version of this game for the online component
  • Yet another Satan vs. God fight. Vampire killed God. Why do so many people go back to this?
  • A monkey stole a helicopter. Holy shit.
  • Overall they were absolutely gushing about it. They were so hyped and talking so quickly that they kept interrupting each other in their excitement.


It's hard to fault Joystiq for being a lot more subdued about it than the 1Up guys. I felt they were trying to be "real" and reign back the hype and expectations, which is never a bad thing. On the flip side the 1Up guys sounded like kids at Christmas, but keep in mind these are their "first blush" impressions, so also take that with a grain of salt.

One thing we can draw from this is that Scribblenauts will clearly "click" for some people but not for others. I think that having a good imagination is definitely part of it, in addition to being able to self motivate yourself to try new and crazy solutions just for the hell of it.

All in all? Pretty sweet news. Make sure to check them both out.

IGN: Random thoughts on Scribblenauts ...volume 1?

IGN finally put their impressions up, and decided to do something a bit different. Instead of being like Gamespot and simply updating their impressions, they went the more non-traditional route and discussed in great detail their experiences and solutions to two different levels.

Thankfully they included videos of everything! You can find the article here, and I'll go over the two videos in my post, commenting on each solution they attempted. Indeed, I'll also take a different route here, and instead rate their solutions instead of simply discussing them.




Bazooka: I'm not sure why they thought this would work, but it was hilarious, and we got to see the power of the bazooka...which took out the cat, house, and a nearby tree. 4/10

Squirtgun: A really great and amazing idea that didn't seem to work. Cats hate water, right? This one either didn't mind it...or the angle of the shot meant he wasn't actually being hit by it. Hmm. I'm hoping for the latter, as out of all the complex and interesting interactions and reactions of objects...cats hating water is pretty simple. Even though it didn't work, it was a great idea. 8/10.

Pyro: Holy shit I couldn't stop laughing. Yes, ok, this is a GREAT way to solve the level. I'm damn impressed the cat KNEW the house was in trouble and jumped off almost immediately. You'll also notice the house didn't just get destroyed right off...it burned long enough for Maxwell to enjoy the blaze. Very creative, very hilarious, and you're lucky the pyro didn't kill everyone by burning them alive. It was entertaining! 10/10

Escalator: Pretty decent idea here. Better than simply "stairs" or "ladder", though not much more creative beyond that. I do like how Maxwell didn't have to do any work in climbing. I also laughed at how it's constantly going up, so Maxwell ended up having to jump off of it. Not bad. 8/10

Mouse: A very traditional solution, but an average one at best in terms of creativity. We all know cats love mice. Still, he gets a bumps in score because the cat ran off the house on her own without any interaction from Maxwell. That's pretty cool. 7/10




Baseball: Yawn. Yeah, it worked, but you had to throw it a couple of times and EVERYONE will try that one out. 2/10

Battleship: ...holy shit. I...I...what? I'm blown away by this idea. The previewer was quite creative here, as the level said "No weapons"...but the battleship is a vehicle, not a weapon. It just so happens to have a cannon on it which destroys the bottles, the stand, and itself, in one big explosion. But hey, he got the starite! 11/10

Kangaroo: Alright, I didn't think the above could be topped. But...it was. This is the single most fucking hilarious thing I've seen in a Scribblenauts video. Hands down. He attaches lettuce to a fishing rod, then the rod to the head of the kangaroo...the resulting "carrot on a stick" chase causes the 'roo to plow down the bottles. Incredible. Amazing. It took some REAL creativity to pull that off. 20/10



Phew, alright, now I'll take off my judging hat. Best part about all of this is that they plan on doing this all over again every Friday right up until the release of the game. Now this is a pretty good way to spoil the game for yourself, so if you're looking to avoid that then definitely stay away.

But for everyone else this serves as a GREAT way to show off the power of Scribblenauts. We see boring solutions, solutions that definitely don't work, and creative solutions, and hilariously entertaining and incredibly awesome solutions.

That IS the definition of Scribblenauts. Glad to see IGN understands, and I look forward to next Friday and hopefully two new videos!

Live "word test" offered by Kotaku...but only for the next hour!

My job is pretty easy with this one, as I don't have to describe a damn thing. Here's the link, and here's the article:

For the next hour, if you write a concrete, kid-friendly noun, I will try to test it in Scribblenauts. The DS game should render your nouns as objects. I'll attempt to keep up in the comments and report back.

I will ignore bad words, so don't waste my time.

Look for a preview of Scribblenauts' gameplay next week. For now, let's mess around with turning words into virtual objects in the game's menu screen.

I'll start: I typed "boy," and a boy appeared. I typed "blob" and a blob appeared and attacked the boy.

I typed "president" and got a white guy in a suit. I typed "Republican and got the same guy." I typed Democrat and again got that guy.

Suggestions?

(The game's out on September 15, from development studio 5th Cell and publisher Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment.)


It's only open for the next hour, so please, be mindful of your suggestions.

Gamespot updated preview: overall positive, but they want to see some challenge

Finally we have our first "major" outlet reporting since the embargo has ended. Gamespot got another look at the game and posted some updated hands-on impressions. You can grab it here. Instead of highlights (it largely contains nothing new) I'll instead bullet point some of the general feelings and opinions the previewer had.

Note: This was a preview build. Gamestop was a bit more descriptive in what that entails: 11 Action/Puzzle levels from The Gardens, and 2 levels each (1 Action/Puzzle) in the next 9 worlds. So 40 levels total out of 220. Keep that frame of reference in mind.

  • Overall, not very difficult or challenging. Most answers seem obvious.
  • Not much of an incentive to redo levels a different way, and the challenge of doing it 3 times with different items isn't very hard to do. If you solved a level with a baseball you could solve it again with a basketball or soccer ball, etc.
  • Despite the lack of challenge, some of the later levels definitely required some creative thinking
  • Very impressed with the vocab of the game. Contains a ton of objects that behave as you'd expect
  • Sandbox mode is a blast to play
  • Overall positive impressions, but they want more incentives to use your imagination


All in all the complaints are to be expected. Many skeptics of Scribblenauts have voiced similar concerns, and I'd say they're valid to a point. Still, though I understand his want for an in-game incentive (he suggests leaderboards of some sort), I really don't think Scribblenauts is that type of game. I more agree with the Kotaku impressions, which you can check out here, which seem to realize that thought this game can be simple at times, the challenge comes from within your own imagination.

Further, it should be said that they only got a taste of 2 levels from Worlds 2-10, so it's safe to say they didn't see the whole picture. Also, merits (achievements) and ollars (to unlock things such as avatars) should surely provide a good incentive to redo levels, but the previewer makes no mention of them.

Finally, he talks about the level Joystiq is currently using for a challenge. He says it's possible to spawn just about any item you want, drag it above the bottles, and drop it to beat the level. Indeed, it might be harder to find an item that WOULDN'T work in that situation.

That might make the challenge a little easier to complete than it already was...hehe.

Joystiq offers a Scribblenauts challenge



If you were with us for the EDGE contest awhile back then this should come as no shock to you, but that doesn't make it any less cool.

Joystiq has issued a challenge for their readers to solve a level in Scribblenauts. There's no prizes this time around (except for the accomplishment of a job well done!) nor is the level particularly difficult. You can see the level and what it entails at the top of this post.

However, despite not being very hard, this sure sounds like it could be a ton of fun and allow for creative (and entirely insane) ideas. The lack of a challenge will enable some really awesome and free form solutions...at least I hope. We're not sure what "cheating" means, but I assume you can't just walk over to it and knock it down. Still, it just said no guns. Explosives? Nukes? A black hole? Those are entirely different stories.

So head over to Joystiq and drop them a comment. They'll have the results on Monday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Even MORE Australian Kotaku impressions: Now with 100% less internet memes

I'm pleasantly surprised. Yesterday I made the comment that I was getting a bit tired of impressions and previews simply listing off a bunch of words they used without actually talking about any of the gameplay or puzzles. Kotaku proves how awesome they are by giving us both. You can read that "Sandbox mode" article here, and grab the new "Puzzle mode" article here.

The highlights!

One of the first I tried was set in a one-room house during a kids birthday party. A pinata hangs in the middle of the room and it’s your task to help the birthday boy break it. The obvious solution would be to give the boy (or yourself) some sort of stick or bat and smash the pinata. Too obvious, I thought.

So I typed in “Trebuchet”.

Already I love this preview, hehe. It's refreshing to see a journalist who realizes the traditional solution is boring and no one wants to read about it. So he decides to solve it with a bit of overkill, and there's nothing wrong with that.

He does drop an interesting tidbit, though. It would seem a level auto-restarts when you complete it, apparently to encourage creativity by solving it a different way immediately (while it's fresh in your head?). Neat. I thought I had noticed that in some videos but it didn't seem too obvious. This game definitely knows its own replay value.


A second puzzle I played featured an island on which my avatar and a cat were located. To the left, three swans swam in the water, while to the right, across a similar stretch of water, an ugly duckling perched at the top of a cliff. A tunnel ran underneath the island to connect the two bodies of water. My goal: to reunite the ugly duckling with the swans… without harming the cat.

A new level, though it has elements of some we already know. Though it isn't directly mentioned I assume the cat can attack the swans/duckling, meaning you have to find a way to go around it. WITHOUT killing the poor kitty, you sadist freaks!

The level serves a similar design as the "Over, Through, Under" level in the E3 build, as it basically gives you the ability the ability to fly over the cat, somehow make it through the island while trapping the cat in some way, or going under the island with the tunnel. This level also shows that some level design will stop "obvious" solutions. A submarine, for example, was too big to fit through the hole in the bottom, meaning you had to find some other means of traveling underwater.


It’s important to emphasise that: this is a game all about creativity and experimentation. As a puzzle game it doesn’t seem too taxing, and in most cases, an easy solution will immediately spring to mind. You could probably play through much of the game, sticking to a conservative set of objects and completing each task in the most straightforward manner. But you’d be doing the game a disservice.

Ah yes, the common theme throughout this entire preview. He gets it, and I hope others do as well. I think a lot of people worry Scribblenauts might not be that difficult. And perhaps it won't be.

But who cares?

Any game is easy if you try to brute force your way through it. Level to 100 in the first dungeon of an RPG, or run in guns blazing in a stealth game. Yeah, you could probably cheese your way to victory, but why would you? Scribblenauts is about making the game your own. You make it as difficult or easy as you want. Feel like being boring? Yeah ok, you can, sure. But if you find the boring way...well, let's not mince words, if you find the boring way boring, then why the hell would you do it?


Scribblenauts is a surprisingly demanding game. Unlike a lot of contemporary titles, it doesn’t spoonfeed the player. It gives you all the tools you need, but it requires you to generate the ideas to make all those tools work in combination. It demands imagination. The real joy is in asking “what if…?” at every opportunity and then grinning like a fool as the game (most of the time) indulges your whimsical nature.

The above point is only hammered home here. The game will give you a minor hint to solve a level, perhaps a reminder you have tens of thousands of objects at your disposal, then whispers, "Have fun." That's it. Some people might find this overwhelming, others might find it lacking in direction. But at the end of the day it just emphasizes that those who WANT to enjoy Scribblenauts will indeed have a blast with it.

Scribblenauts makes ONM's cover


Click to enlarge

Good deal. Seems like this is a feature (perhaps an interview?) and not a review of the game or anything. I do wonder what that means, at least in terms of info. I wouldn't expect too much new stuff that we don't already know, but if you're looking to pick this issue up you can as early as tomorrow.

Source: http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/article.php?id=10323

Interview: Game could possibly be done development?

Some interesting info found in this new interview over at Vooks. They sit down with Joseph M Tringali and discuss all things Scribblenauts. You can find the interview here.

As usual, here are some highlights.

JMT: We were in the final weeks of development around the time of E3, so we definitely had some limitations on the scope of changes that we could make. E3 was the first time we had unrestricted public access to the title, and there was consistent feedback on some of the controls, and particular objects that we found valuable, and made some last minute changes. June was a crazy month for us, but we love our fans, so we did what we could.

There's a lot of interesting things going on in this paragraph. First, he mentions they were in the last stages of development around E3. Wow. E3 was over a month ago (close to 2!), so it's very well possible that development on Scribblenauts is actually complete. Kinda crazy to think about, eh?

Further, they seem to mention the control issues were a problem for them and they squeezed in some last minute changes. This is strange, as people with the preview copy of the game still say there are control issues. Perhaps in the final version we could be seeing some improvement?


Vooks: Where did you draw the line at what would be included in the game? Obviously swear words and trademarks are out, but where does it just get ridiculous?

JMT: I think we paused once while going through a list of chemical formulas, but then just continued on. Chlorinated Diphenyl Oxide anyone? We put everything in, miniscule or not, and while I’m sure there are a few obscure words we missed, we never passed on a word that fit the nothing vulgar / copyrighted / trademarked / proper noun criteria.

A lot of people are going to be excited about the bolded part. I seriously cannot believe they added chemical formulas to the game. Like, it boggles the mind. Entirely. Wow.


Vooks: How much of a nightmare was it to play-test a game with a seemingly unlimited number of possible items and interactions creatable by the player?

JMT: Testing was a challenge, but because the game revolves around systems, we tested the systems more so then the individual objects. If the system functioned, then theoretically the objects contained within the systems should work fine. This wasn’t always the case, but we ran into fewer problems then we initially expected. Most of the issues had to do with several special case objects that didn’t quite fit into a specific high level system.

That makes me personally breath a sigh of relief. Bugtesting a game like this without a higher level system would be madness. Thankfully, with their in-house "Objectnaut" engine they're able to troubleshoot items without getting into the nitty gritty. Hopefully this means we have a polished game...and that 5TH Cell didn't kill their eyes trying to give us just that ;)


Vooks: Finally, can we expect any Australia colloquial expressions to be in the game? If not, we have a few ideas if it’s not too late!

JMT: There is definitely some Australian terminology in the game. One of our company founders is from Australia, so he made sure to include some of the more common terms. You can certainly shoot a Wallaroo and grill whatever is left of it on the barbie. Or ride a brumby with Maxwell in cozzies.

Well, he lost me. But I'm ok with that.



The interview itself is one of the more well done I've ever read, and contains more interesting bits than these highlights. Definitely go check it out.

Kotaku Australia update. It takes 4 Spartans to kill Death. Whoa.

Kotaku of Australia finally posted their impressions from their time with the game yesterday. Remember, these were the guys who took suggestions for items. For the most part they stuck to those words.

You can find the article here.

Some highlights:

“BFG” didn’t work. The Warner rep I was with suggested “Big Friendly Giant” instead, which did work. However I suspect it just picked up on the word “Giant”. “Chuck Norris” failed me as well since no real people are in the game.

No surprise there. Also very astute of the previewer to assume it simply picked up on "Giant", though to be honest it doesn't really matter too much if it did. I'm sure the actual BFJ is trademarked. Also, thank god we have further proof of Chuck Norris is out of the game.


“Clinical Neuropsychologist” did work, assuming your idea of a clinical neuropsychologist is an old guy with receding white hair. “Spatula”, “Penguin”, “Butter”, “Parasol” and “Black hole” all worked too. The latter sucked the penguin and neuropsychologist to their doom.

Similar to the giant above, I assume the game picked up on the key word in the name to spit out a doctor. That's actually a really great system, as I'm sure not every gamer will remember (or know of) the "rules" and might add adjectives or unnecessary words purely by force of habit. I also take offense my Penguin died in such a way!


This time I added a pirate then a monkey, both of whom were happy to wander around next to me. Next I added a ninja who immediately attacked and was killed by the pirate. The monkey picked up the ninja’s throwing star. Then I added a zombie and a robot. The zombie attacked the monkey, but lost! The surviving pirate, monkey and robot were content to exist peacefully, although the latter seem rather confused by the whole thing.

No words are needed here. Make up your own story to go along with this.


“Chewing gum” gave me a pre-chewed wad of stickiness. “Propeller hat” gave me a regular hat. Slightly disappointed, yet undeterred, I put the hat on my avatar. I then attached the chewing gum to the hat. Certain objects can be stuck on or attached to others, you see. I typed in “Propeller” and attached the propeller to the chewing gum stuck to my hat.

My avatar immediately flew into the air. Yes, Scribblenauts lets you make your own propeller hat

Bwahahaha, that's incredibly awesome. I'm surprised propeller hat isn't in the game...though it might be under the "proper" term, beanie. But even then, Scribblenauts allows you to improvise, and he was able to build a make-shift propeller hat McGyver Style. Screw par! I'm going to make awesomely complex creations like that.


Lastly, riffing on the theme of mortality, I entered “Grim Reaper” and watched as Death himself chased my avatar around the screen. Thinking quickly, I typed “Spartan” and a near-naked warrior appeared. His spear was no match for sickle, however, so I added a second then a third and then a fourth Spartan in quick succession. By the end of the battle, only one Spartan remained standing.

So, there you go, it takes an army of four Spartans to defeat death.


"There you go", indeed! I would have never thought to use Spartans to solve this situation. But though it took 300 Spartans to defeat Persia, it took only 4 to defeat death.

Alright, good stuff. We learned some pretty interesting interactions, and got confirmation we can build homemade "gadgets" if we can grab some base components. All in all? Pretty cool preview!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New video impressions from Comic-Con [Tiny update]

It's about time! I was wondering if the game's presence at Comic-Con was some sort of illusion, as no website or even a gamer had been talking about their time with the game there. Thankfully G4 has fixed this problem with a new video. Let's take a look.



Items seen:

-Xray
-Treasure (produces a diamond)
-Kleptomaniac (actually STEALS the diamond from Maxwell, then attacks him. Incredible)
-Hoverboard (dramatic reenactments of Back to the Future: CONFIRMED)
-Loch Ness Monster
-Ark of the Covenant. I can't believe they wasted time of the video trying a item that obviously would not work. What in the hell.
-Just "ark" works, though, which is cool. Start tossing some animals on that bitch
-Keyboard Cat...oh good...well, Keyboard Cat plays him off.

So nothing too special. The coolest part was easily the klepto stealing the item and the fact hoverboard exists. I do kinda wish these people would stop making these types of videos...they really seem so basic compared to stuff we've seen. But oh well! More word confirmation and cool interactions are always welcome.



Tiny update: Just in case you think the previewer not trying "XRay Glasses" is because it isn't in the game, like I did...well, you're wrong, like I was. Jackson in his infinite awesomeness basically confirms it's in. Neat. Time to spawn some cheerleaders.

Messin' with the site design

So for probably the last 3-4 days I've been randomly messing with the site design in some random ways. Some of the sidebar elements were making the website load slowly, and that's no good to me! I removed some of the RSS features and added a (gigantic) post archive feature, and then removed the weird looking poll.

Not sure if I'm going to go any further. I thought about adding some sort of description of the game, or perhaps useful links, but let's face it...if you found you way to this blog, you definitely know what this game is and where you can find info.

What do you guys think? Would you find anything of it useful? And how about the colors or banners? What changes would YOU make?

Megaton: The Rooster Hat will probably fit your head



I know I was personally worried if the preorder bonus hat would fit on my fat head. And it probably won't, because no joke, my head is stupidly big (clearly it's to hold all my brains). Here we see Jeremiah Slaczka dispelling those fears again - at least for you "typical" and "normal" and "non-freak" heads - and this time he used pictorial evidence.

So if you have normal human adult head I'd say this badboy will fit you just fine. And thank god for that, because look at that thing! It's fucking amazing. On the display shown at Gamestop it might look a bit gimmicky, but in action it looks to be the most hilarious video game item I've ever seen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Get a preview of Scribblenauts Prima Guide

I honestly didn't think that Scribblenauts would even have a strategy guide, considering the non-linear nature of the game. However, Prima will offer a Scribblenauts strategy guide, which will include:
Starite Strategies: Our complete Story and Puzzle Mode strategies will direct you through each level and
help you obtain every Starite.
Solutions: Every level description will feature 3 different solutions to solving each puzzle with the fewest objects in
the shortest time. With over 220 levels, this guide contains over 660+ strategies to help bring your skills to the next
level.
Word List: Learn some of the best and most obscure words you can use to solve each puzzle!
Level Creation: Learn the tips and tricks you need to build the most creative and elaborate levels possible.
Art Poster: Pullout art poster included!

I find it absolutely fascinating that their Word List does not claim to have every word, but instead the "best" or "most obscure". That makes me think that they simply were unable to track ALL of the words (though the use of "best" words makes me worry some objects will be over powered or over used).

The guide will drop the same day as the game, September 15th (no spoilers for you).

(Australian) Kotaku goes a-Scribblin' tomorrow. Tonight. Sometime soon!

On Monday Kotaku (the Australian variety) asked us for some words to try out when they get their hands on the game, which they planned on doing this Wednesday.

Well, due to the way time zones work (I think by magic?) it is, indeed, Wednesday in Australia. Kotaku released the list of the words they're using and will (hopefully!) have some impressions up today. Er, tomorrow. Tonight? Stupid time zone magic.

Anyways, onto the list:

BFG
Clinical neuropsychologist
Spatula
Force field
Trebuchet
Penguin
Butter
Wizard
Shrubbery
Chewing gum
Propeller hat
Parasol
Mirror
Treadmill
Chuck Norris
Acid
Black hole
Corpse
Pirate
Monkey
Ninja
Zombie
Robots
Taco
Boomerang
Slinky
C4
Axolotl
Spartan
Gamer
Earthquake
Grim Reaper


You can see my "influence" yet again in this list. I was the one who suggested "Penguin". I realize this might be confusing for those who only know me from this website and not elsewhere. I use the handle "SirPenguin" just about everywhere I can, and though I don't claim to be obsessed with penguins, I do love the little guys when it comes to video games.

So anyways, how about the list? What do you guys think? Anything you REALLY hope is in?

Rumor time: European commercial in production?

Or at least that's the claim of a guy at G4. Apparently Stephen Johnson, a writer for G4's website, has an "actor friend" who auditioned for this role. What type of commercial is it? Well, you can check it out right here for a "plot" synopsis

The spot involves a mom-type lady, a teenager and a young kid trying to catch a bus. They miss it, then sit glumly on the bus bench and pull out their Nintendo DSes. The mom draws a bike, which appears, then she pedals away. The teen draws a sports car, in which he zooms off. The kid draws a Pterodactyl and flies off on the winged lizard. Bam! Lights down

Hmm! Well, I'm usually not a big fan of game commercials, but this sounds interesting. It's hard to ease the casual/typical gamer into the concept of Scribblenauts, and I think the progression from bike to sports car to peterodactyl is a good way to explain it.

So again, this is merely a rumor, but if it is true, I can assure you we'll have video footage of it the moment it pops.

New vid and perhaps new info come Friday [UPDATE]

Update: Seems like I was right. There is currently another embargo for previews that ends this Friday. Craig Harris over at IGN had this much to say about Scribblenauts:

  • He has the ROM.
  • He considers it the "real deal"
  • The puzzles are "really cool"
  • He considers the controls clunky, sometimes requiring multiple taps
  • Overall the idea is "solid"
  • Starting Friday, a preview embargo will lift, allowing him to begin a weekly feature on the game

Thank you to SmellyWaffles of GAF for the info.

A weekly feature, eh? What do you think that means? Could we see more Edge-like contests? Or maybe we'll see a sort of "Items of the Week" feature? Guess we'll find out Friday.



First on the agenda is another new vid from GamersGuide.nl. Now you can get your fix of even MORE internet memes with this low quality video. You won't see much new, unfortunately, but you WILL see:

-Leeroy Jenkins
-Longcat
-Spaghetti Cat (I guess this?)
-NEOGAF
-and a vampire which kills Leeroy and turns him into a Ghoul. Oh no!

Finally, I have a sneaking suspicion we might have another preview embargo underway, and that more sites (most likely American?) have the game in their hands.

First up we have the guys in the IGN podcast (check this post out) letting us know they have the game but cannot talk about it in detail yet. Then we have Justin Calvert of Gamespot saying he's writing a preview for Friday on his Twitter. Hopefully this means that, like last time we had an embargo, we'll have an influx of new info at the end of the week.

Cool beans.

Gamestop now providing the Rooster hat for U.S. Preorders

 
Looks like U.S. fans of Scribblenauts will be able to get the same Rooster hat Australian fans can get. Just put a pre-order in with Gamestop and it's all yours.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Attention Comic-Con attendees...we want YOU!...to do our job for us

So Comic-Con ended just yesterday, and people are finally able to come home and give their impressions and feedback about the whole event. Though not wholly dedicated to games, Comic-Con has become a great convention for real gamers to get hands on with games, as opposed to E3 which is so press heavy.

We've already had some feedback from various Comic-Conners. You can read Feep's impressions right here, for instance. However, I know there's more of you buggers out there who played the game, loved it, but haven't spoken a word! We want your impressions! We live off of them! So instead of having us track you down all over the internet using Twitter or Google, how about you guys come to us?

Did you go to Comic-Con, or do you know somebody that did? Did you get some hands on time with Scribblenauts, or did you perhaps grab some media such as screenshots or video? Let us know!

Easiest way is to leave a comment at the bottom of this post. You don't need to sign up for an account or anything like that. Impressions or thoughts can be as short or as long as you like. We just want to hear what the game felt like, what was cool, what was lame, whatever!

If your impressions are longer or you wish to remain private, feel free to send me an email at jbossie@gmail.com.

Lawyers chase ambulances, Atheists fear God, and rumors of a hyper-advanced mode?

I'm excited about this one! Feep over at GAF (you'll remember him as the author of Post 217) was able to get his hands on the game over at Comic-Con and has a bunch of impressions for us. Normally I'd just like you to the "article" (in this case, a post) and then comment on the highlights, but the whole damn thing is a highlight, so I'll go through this piece by piece. Get ready to be hyped even more.

Actually, prior to Feep we had this hilarious gem which made the title of this post:

At one point I called out a "Lawyer" and then something popped into mind that I just HAD to try with the guy! I called out an ambulance, got in, and drove off. Now, I didn't think they'd actually program this in the game, but the lawyer, true to his nature, CHASED after the ambulance.

I REALLY hope that's true. They've kept in a ton of typical "cliches" about professions, such as cops loving donuts. Oh god, I'm going to spend so much time in the intro screen just running away from the lawyer...

Now, onto Feep's impressions.


God vs. Atheists This one's great. If God is on screen when the atheist is summoned, the atheist will quickly bow twice to God before running away, screaming.

Bwahaha. I was hoping this would happen! I'm not sure if they really bowed or if that was they "OH SHIT" animation, but regardless it's still hilarious. And true to life!


Hwacha Not in-game.

Catgirl Not in-game.

Not too surprised catgirl isn't in the game (I imagine that's a trademark issue). Hwachas seem like a pretty famous weapon, though perhaps it's the language issue that prevents it from being in the game. Perhaps under a different name?


Post Two One Seven Spawns a banner-type object containing a shrunken version of the official art that Edison Yan drew to commemorate Post 217. Jackson, I'm honored.

Yes! I had a feeling this is exactly what it would spawn. Definitely not disappointed.


Necromancer Spawns, surprise, a necromancer. I'm a little unsure of what happened next; I had already spawned a politician, and one of two things occurred: either the necromancer directly transformed the politician into a green zombie, or the necromancer summoned a zombie who then bit the politician, and therefore turned the politician into a green zombie.

Now that's just plan amazing. I notice he says "green" zombie. Do you think it's literally a green zombie (we've only seen blue), or perhaps the "Ghoul" we saw earlier when a vampire bit someone?


Zonkey It's in there! A docile animal. I also tried Liger, and of course, one appeared...but unlike the Zonkey, the Liger was a huge asshole. It killed the poor Zonkey and then came after me.

I had no idea a zonkey existed. It does. Wow. I love that the Liger attacked it.


Portal Gun Worked, and fired...something...but it did not appear to be a portal, and left no lasting mark on the terrain. I was running out of time here, so I performed no further testing. I also tried Portal, which works, and will eventually spawn a random creepy (I got a demon, a gargoyle, and an alien through separate portals). You cannot use them as in the game Portal, however, which would pretty much break the game difficulty.

When I saw this was in my heart skipped a beat. Feep isn't sure what fired or what effect it had on anything, but it's in. It's safe to say it won't act like Portal's famous weapon, but the fact it's in at all is amazing. I also like their interpretation of Portal.


Baking a Cake I summoned a bowl, and then proceeded to fill the bowl with egg, flour, sugar, and milk. I then summoned an oven, and put the bowl in the oven, and waited a few seconds...but unfortunately, the items did not combine to form a cake. (In fact, for a moment I thought they HAD, but the game actually spawns a cake when you type in "sugar", and nothing had changed). This isn't terribly surprising; 5th Cell can't program in an insane number of recipes for a single object like oven...but to be fair, I didn't have time to try simpler recipes (something like egg -> omelet, or whatever).

That's a shame, though I didn't really expect it to work. Interesting that "Sugar" spawns "Cake", though. Goes to show that while they might have a great amount of words, we'll probably have a large amount of repeats as well.


Celebrity I spawned a celebrity and then a reporter, but the reporter made no effort to chase her. I then summoned a paparazzi, and not only did the paparazzi start to chase the celebrity (who was running away screaming), the reporter actually JOINED IN the chase once the paparazzi got it started. I guess he thought, "Oh, man, there might be something newsworthy over here!"

What a great interaction! I wonder if the reporter chasing after the paparazzi initiated it is on purpose or not. I wonder if they'd fight if I gave one of them a weapon.


This was the recent press build of the game, I assume. Only around 10% of the stages were unlocked for play, but interestingly, they did not seem to follow any particular order of difficulty. The single stages available in Worlds 9 and 10 were quite simple, but World 1-11 (involving a switch and a bunch of spikes) was quite difficult. I'm proud of the solution I worked out, though

That's good to hear. I'd love to see 1-11. Hell, I'd love to see the last level of ANY of the words. At least we gave (further) proof the levels do get a good deal more difficult.


An Hero Yup.

Bwahahaha. I hope this works like I expect it to, though I somehow doubt it



The word "Up" spawns a strange, mechanical-looking box (which also spawns if you type "Give Up"). I was unable to discern what it was, and it seemed to have no useful function. "Down" does not work.

How curious! I wonder what it does? I'm betting if you interact with it in some way it forces you to give up...maybe? Hmm. Honestly the first thing I thought was "this is a suicide machine", hehe.


Alright, now for the rumor. And this is a big one if it's true. I'll quote Feep verbatim here and leave you to draw your own conclusions as to whether you believe it or not. If it's true, then this game definitely will increase in difficulty...to say the least.

I also found...something else. Or rather, I was talking with an entertainment journalist the next day who was quite familiar with the game, and she told me something extremely interesting. I hung out with her quite a bit; she bought me an authentic Afghan meal for dinner.

I want to reiterate that this is an extremely unsubstantiated rumor about a late-game unlockable that I came across, hearsay, from a woman who I had never met before, ever. And she was a little weird. Not, like, really weird, but just a little off-putting. Jackson, if you want me to remove this information, please let me know immediately via either this thread or Private Message.
She claims that there is some kind of hyper-advanced mode, whereby you can only use an item once per GAME. As in, you need to beat all 220 levels and not use a single item more than once throughout the entire run.

Until we can confirm it's true or not we'll leave it like Feep does: just a rumor. But it is interesting, and dear god, it could change everything.

Amazing impressions all around, and I am even more psyched for this game than I was before. I am continuously blown away by the sheer attention to detail they put into every item. It's ridiculous.

So what do you think, guys? You excited yet?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

God's death avenged thanks to a bow wielding angel. Only in Scribblenauts does this make perfect sense

Let's face it. Spawning God in the game and having him fight powerful beings is like the "initiation" ritual of Scribblenauts. It's like jumping on a Goomba for the first time in Mario or blowing yourself up with a rocket in Team Fortress 2. There are certain things you must do before you can say you're "officially" playing the game.

Now poor God sometimes gets put into situations even he might find hard to win in. Like fighting Cthulhu.




Ouch.

New God has lost to this Old God before on video, though it actually ended in a tie with both dying at the same time. This time we see some footage of God losing the struggle, but thankfully not all is lost.



Now you're going to see a lot of things in this video, most of which will annoy you (such as people standing in front of the camera), but stay for the end, as it's worth it. God loses to Cthulhu despite (or perhaps because of) the fact he was wielding a shotgun. Thankfully they summon in an angel and a bow. The angel, at first scared shitless by the Ancient One, decides to finish the job off with a single shot.

Classy.

IGN discusses the controls in Scribblenauts

IGN's Game Scoop! Podcast covered a wide variety of topics this week, including answering a brief question on Scribblenauts (49:00 - 50:10).

Specifically, the question was about the controls of Scribblenauts. As you can see in different demo videos, you use the touch screen to tell Maxwell where to move to, while the D-Pad can be used to move the camera. They also mentioned that when you generate an object, you simply drop it into the field of play, which could cause the object to flip upside down or something like that. Therefore, when you pick the object up again, you can use the L and R buttons to rotate the object. The guys from Game Scoop! did seem a bit frustrated overall by the controls, which is something that has been heard before by other people playing the demo due to the ton of objects that could be at screen at once.

We'll see how the controls work out Sept. 15th.

Tons of new videos...Part 2

I probably should have thought up a more exciting name for these articles...ah well. I shall now continue on my journey of bringing you new videos that we were blessed with last week. Some of these broke early in the week and might not be very new to you. For posterity's sake, however, I'll still include them.




This is a pretty neat demonstration played at Ideame. Elizabeth England, a designer on the Scribblenauts team, is the one doing the presentation, and as far as I know this is the first we've seen her.

First she shows probably the most unique solution to 1-1 we'll ever see (this is like the 3rd time I've said that...). She took a swordfish, shot it with a tranquilizer dart, and used the sleeping fish to cut down the tree. Incredible. The solution actually prompted a round of applause from the crowd. How often does that happen with a DS game?

She then goes on to show the Optometrist level that was shown in the new trailer, and solves it with the same solutions (eye and sniper rifle). The video ends rather abruptly (and also began in the middle of the presentation!) so I would expect to see more, better quality videos of this conference in the coming week.



This video from IGN came out sometime last week and has the distinction of being the only video showing us this relatively complex new level, 9- 5. First you have to break your way past some stalagmites, so think something powerful enough to break rock. Next up you have to dodge a trap which drops some spiked balls on your head (ouch) while making your way down to the 2nd floor. Now you have to deal with pits of lava, a flaming platform, and finally a necromancer (?) with some skeleton cohorts.

Phew!

All in all the player makes it look very easy. However, you'll notice he gains only a single digit in style points. This either means his solution was "boring" (and it was a pretty "typical" solution) or he's reused those items before. Either way, this is proof enough that you'll have a hard time cheesing your way through levels if you're looking for money.





Now I'm not sure why you'd want to do this. But uh...you can, and I guess that's what matters in Scribblenaut terms. Still, I'm happy to see the radius of the black hole isn't as big as I thought it might be. We could actually be kind of strategic with this as a weapon. A rather creative weapon.




Finally we have this video from Gamespot Australia doing something many of us will hopefully be doing a lot: finishing a level multiple ways with unique solutions.

First up is the "Rescue the cat from the roof" puzzle level from The Gardens. We saw some interesting item interaction in this video. The cat was attracted to the fireman without any sort of provocation, which was pretty cool. The trampoline definitely worked, and it was hilarious watching the cat bounce up and down at the end. The tornado was...not that good. It was a bit weird, actually. It was VERY contained in its destruction and stayed in one spot. The cat ended up "walking" down the edge of it, which I definitely didn't understand. At the very end the pet owner was launched into space, at least proving the tornado can hurt SOMETHING. Oops. Maxwell failed that one.

Next we see a new level, though don't believe them when they say it's more complex. It isn't. Basically you have a car with a dead battery and you have to drive to the house. Pretty simple. One guy used an electric eel and it not only worked, but the eel seemed to propel the car forward on its own. Another guy used a lightning bolt and that also fixed the car, allowing him to drive it to the house. The 3rd used a car battery and jumper cables. Probably the most boring and mundane answer you can think of. But yep, it worked.

I don't know about you guys, but my first thought wasn't to fix the car, but rather, propel it in some way. Catapult? Explosion? Hmm. I wonder if that'd work.



Anyways, that's it for now. Seems like I'm all caught up. Depending on how the newsweek goes I might catch up on screenshots or other news as well. If it's slow, that is. I'm hoping that post-Comic-Con we have some new and awesome videos and interviews to start the week off. Here's hoping!

Matt Cox, Lead Designer on Scribblenauts, leaves 5TH Cell...but it's not what you think!



I'm very sad to say that it would appear Mr. Cox has decided to leave 5TH Cell, at least according to his Twitter page and this news article. But don't worry, it's not as bad as it might sound. In this economy it's easy to assume it was due to layoffs or budget cuts, but thankfully that does not appear to be the case. Indeed, I encourage everyone to please read the news article I linked above, as the story is truly heart warming.

Though game design was once his dream, it seems a new, slightly more meaningful dream has struck him. Matt is leaving 5TH Cell in order to establish a church in his area and become Reverend there. He plans on making his church a bit more open than people might be accustomed to, instead focusing on accepting people for who they are as opposed to merely passing judgment, something that people criticize churches for.

“It’s not one of those (in a dramatic voice) ‘I’ve realized the sins of the video game industry, so I’m going to follow God.’ It’s absolutely nothing like that.”


I wish him the best of luck. I'd say every person in this company has poured their hearts and souls into everything they do. It can't be easy to leave. So thank you, Matt, for everything you've done for 5TH Cell. I'm sure they're sad to see you go, but you gotta follow that dream.

Good luck, dude.

Tons of new videos and a new trailer...Part 1

(This time for real, now with 100% less formatting issues!)

Thanks largely to Scribblenauts being at this year's Comic-Con, we've been getting a ton of new videos showcasing the game in a variety of ways. In order to prevent both of us from being overwhelmed I'm going to split the new videos into two different posts, because there are a LOT of them. I want to make sure you get to see every last one.

So, shall we begin?




Here's our first video from Game Trailers. This one shows off quite a bit in the way of both levels and objects. We see Keyboard Cat, the NeoGAF logo, Action 1-2 (which has some Zelda-esque puzzle solving in it!), a politician missing his chance to kiss a baby as it's shoved into a greenhouse, and finally Maxwell going back in time to the dinosaur age. Neat!





Next up from GameTrailers we have the 3rd official trailer. This one is of higher quality than the last and shows some cool things. We get to see Maxwell jumping a baby on a bike, for one, totally confirming the fears of the ESRB. Of special note are the thermal goggles which, like the nightvision goggles, perform exactly like they should, giving you a thermal readout. Crazy.

Also in the video we see a giant enemy crab ruining some the fun of some samurais (just like what happened in Ancient Japan...) and a helibackpack. Do you know what a helibackpack is? Because I sure as hell don't. But it exists!

Finally, we get some Medusa action. Maxwell chops her head off and petrifies a nearby Centaur with the severed head.

Holy. Fuck.

Fantastic trailer all around.



Games Guide show some off screen video

Alright everyone, we can all calm down and go home now. Pyromaniac is CONFIRMED in the game. And he's also confirmed to act exactly how he should! First he attacks poor Maxwell. Ol' Maxy-boy decides to think outside the box a bit and defends himself by distracting the Pyromaniac with a house. The Pyro takes the bait and burns it to the ground...literally. We get confirmation that houses can, indeed, burn down. Then they summon in a SWAT guy to nullify the Pyro.





If you can excuse the quality of this video you'll find some pretty cool things. You got a croc vs. an explosive, a snake vs. a boa, a prison (he meant "Python", but the game is set to English mode, so it didn't recognize the Spanish spelling) and finally you get to see him blowing up an elephant with a bazooka. PETA would not be pleased.


I think that's all the awesome I can handle for now. I'll be hitting up with a Part 2 sometime tomorrow with the rest.

EBGames offers a Rooster Helmet with the pre-order of Scribblenauts



Seriously, the Rooster Hat (a name that was coined not by 5th Cell but by Gamespot when trying to describe Maxwell) is now a pre-order bonus (in Australia only).

Remember, Scribblenauts releases Sept. 15th in America, Sept. 22nd in Europe.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I'm Ytoabn, new contributor to Scribblenautic. Hi.