Saturday, August 15, 2009

Past week in Scribblenautics: August 9th to August 15th

This past week was slow, no doubt, with not much in the way of new news or media. However, with GamesCon next week, PAX in early September, and August being halfway over already...well, we're about to get hit with a lot of news.

Today is August 15th. There 31 days left before the release of Scribblenauts in North America.

Here's what you may have missed...

News

-Amazon offers "Release Date Delivery", meaning you'll get the game on your doorstep on the 15th.

-Join us as we investigate Twitter and the Mysterious Disappearing Tweets...

-Love sweet lookin' Scribblenauts artwork? No doubt you do! So you should definitely enter this contest to win a real life poster of Post 217. And while you're at it, check out this incredibly grand new artwork released at Gamescon. Wow.


Previews, Interviews, and Impressions

-Seems like everyone who works at 5TH Cell is getting an interview nowadays...

-Here are some WORLD EXCLUSIVE HEADS-ON VIDEO IMPRESSIONS...of the rooster hat

-Scribblenauts appears to appeal to hardcore and casual gamers alike. What about people who care about edutainment?

-Though this preview might not reveal much new, it does confirm that weapons have ammo limitations.


Media

-I must yet again link to the new artwork we got this week. It's just too incredible not to mention dozens of times.

-Scribblenauts found its way onto XPlay, and you can find a mini-interview and two new videos from them.

-GamesCon is next week, and we were able to find some new screenshots in a mini-press release

-And as always, IGN did a Friday Feature on the game, this time giving us 7 new videos of people trying words out. Cool stuff.


Articles

Check out as I (poorly!) imitate a Cracked article with my Five Interesting Animals I want to see in Scribblenauts

Though this isn't so much an article, it does look into what we should be expecting in the next 31 days before release. I call it the calm before the storm, as this will be one hell of a ride.

Friday, August 14, 2009

IGN Friday Feature, round 3

Like clockwork IGN has released another one of their fantastic series, titled Random Thoughts On Scribblenauts.

This week we're treated to 7 whole videos, each one serving as "random thoughts" of a different member of IGN. Basically, like last week, they decided to test out different objects to see what would happen. Neat. Let's take a look at them, shall we?

Like usual, I'll try not to simply echo what happens in the trailer, but instead pick out the interesting stuff.



First up, Ryan Geddes spawns some strange stuff, such as a liver (which is the same object as "intestines", and probably for most internal organs). The only weird part of this video is it looked like meteor got quite a bit more destructive since we last saw it in the 2nd trailer. It seems to act like the nuke now, whiting out the whole screen and destroying everything. Hmm.



Jason Ocampo is next. I'm a little surprised how this one turned out. Colossus appears to redirect to a "giant" type character, leviathan is the same as a "sea dragon", dreadnought brings up a battleship, and the consulate wasn't in the game. Also, berserker looked...kinda weird. It didn't bring up the "warrior" image I had in my mind, looked almost like a biker or something. He was afraid of the monster and promptly died.

Anyways, the ensuing fight was fun to watch. The leviathan definitely owned them all, even though it looked like he could barely move, probably due to the fact he wasn't in the water?



Then we have Chris Roper's suggestions. Potato gun bringing up a pipe sounds about right (more or less), but I'm not sure why that pissed off the superhero. And we get confirmation that "Nothing" is in the game...it spawns a black hole.



Mark Ryan Sallee is up now. Motorcycle looked nice, though that certainly wasn't the sidecar they wanted. Looked like a chariot. Gauntlet also brought up the armor piece (which makes sense), and racetrack brought in a finish line of sorts...which didn't make as much sense, but that's ok! Still looked cool. I loved how they improvised the sidecar with some glue.



Steve Butts (hehe) apparently suggested some boring stuff according to the article. And yeah, I kinda agree. Carpet, hippy, and gazebo...can't get much more mundane than that. Mars was cool, though.



The only thing I can talk about in regards to Kristine Steimer's turn is that the phoenix didn't rise from the ashes. Ah well. I also really wanted them to try to ride the Ferris wheel, though, disappointingly, it doesn't look like you can. It's a bit too small.



This one, by Peer Schneider, ends up being one of the stranger ones. There are no Germans, for some obvious reasons, so he ends up spawning some sort of pickle/cucumber, known as a gherkin. He then spawns a henchmen (seems to be the same object used by "criminal") who goes to attack him. The henchmen loves his gold, but by the end of the video, he also loves his cucumber-esque fruits.




In all, good videos. Nothing too crazy in them, and it did show a lot of the drawbacks of the game. Lots of repeat models we've seen before (despite the fact different words were used), and some items didn't spawn what you might expect.

Still, it showed off a good amount of items and they clearly had a blast with it. Who knew a game's title screen could be so fun?

Did you love the game art revealed today? Would you also love 82 megabytes of it?

Thanks to TinyCartridge for this one.

Minutes after the latest (incredible) official art was posted people were already wanting a poster sized version of it. It seems their wishes have already been granted.

If you follow this link you can download a gigantic, 82 megabyte file containing Photoshop Document files (.psd) of all the official art, including the one above. The file dimensions of this beast are 4642 x 6000, meaning it's the perfect size for a poster. Now we just gotta figure out how to make one...

Nicholas Michetti: Can Scribblenauts make learning fun?

Michetti, a writer for the website BitMob, has put up an article that asks the question many people have been wondering: will Scribblenauts encourage learning? Could it make education fun? And here's what I want to know...will our kids be playing video games in school to learn things?

It's a very real question, given what Scribblenauts can do. After all, in a lot of ways Scribblenauts is nothing more than a dictionary. But Michetti takes it a bit further, suggesting the way items interact makes it key in the learning experience. And I definitely agree. As a kid I remember doing all these activity books which would provide context clues to help you remember words. "The boy likes to eat his red fruit, which is called a _____________". It worked for me, I guess, given that words are flowing out of my fingers at this very moment. However, wouldn't it be more effective if we could SEE the apple appear and then see the boy eat it?

Scribblenauts would allow for that, so it'll be interesting to see if schools embrace the idea. I sure hope they do.

DEFINITELY new official artwork!

Update: Oh yes, it's official, at least as official as Post 217 was. Look to the left of Maxwell, on the tank. Yep, there's Edison Yan's signature. Hype levels into overdrive!

Anyways, enough talk, let's take a look at it. I had to resize it for this post, so click it for the full version.


It's absolutely gorgeous. There's so much going on in here that it's hard to take it in all at once, though I definitely noticed the reindeers in the sky, the T-Rex riding a motorcycle, and what very much looks like Lock from Lock's Quest in the top left.

For now we'll call it a rumor until we get confirmation, but it's almost sure at this point it's official. So take it all in. It's definitely the best piece of art released so far.

New German screenshots and news about Scribblenauts at GamesCon

If you can read German or are from Germany, this update will probably mean a lot more to you. For the rest of us? Here's some new screenshots I found on a German website. Think these are the press release pictures mentioned way back here? I doubt it, but anyways, let's take a look.







So all in all a good cropping of Screenshots. We see at least two new levels and can probably infer what they're about. Seems the level with the boat has to do with rescuing the guy on the island, and the level with the unicorn is probably some fantasy style level. Also, is that car with TRex screenshot some sort of reference? I feel like it is...but I can't place it.

Anyways, more on the German front is this website detailing Scribblenauts at GamesCon. I don't speak German, but Google Translator does, so here are some things I grabbed from it.

-It will be playable (to all) from August 20th - 23rd. I assume it'll be there but in a press-only capacity before then?

-It will be held in Hall 8.1 - Stand A31, so make sure, if you're going to GamesCon, to mark that on your map.

-This SEEMS to be an official press release from Warner Brothers, so I suppose expect to see an English version of this sometime in the near future.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New preview reveals weapon limitations?

We got news after all! And from New Zealand, of all places, from the website called GamePlanet.

Don't get too excited, though, as it's a pretty standard preview (though by no means bad!) that basically has all sorts of good things to say and praise for Scribblenauts. It especially focuses on the child-friendly aspects, mainly in the way it can educate the player.

However, as you'll see from the tidbits, it reveals a little bit more than we might expect. First, of course, give it a read here.

-"An additional child-friendly inclusion is that any type of weapon can only have three shots" - More on that below

- Rotunda, Lute, Ungulate, Lithographer, Megalodon, Blunderbuss, Mollusk, Time Machine, Arbalest, Archaeopteryx all confirmed in the game

-Overall very impressed with the game, definitely thinks it could be a DS GotY contender

So then! The biggest news of this preview is the rather ambiguous description of how weapons work. They seem to be suggesting that weapons only have 3 shots. We can presume that after it has spent its 3 shots it disappears.

We've seen semi-proof of this in videos in the past. In most videos involving a bazooka the weapon usually disappears after it is used. I could never quite tell why this was, but it would seem this is the most plausible explanation.

I have a hard time believing this is due to them wanting to be child-friendly, though. Seems more like a balance issue. It's a lot easier to run and gun (i.e., kite) enemies than it is to go at them toe to toe, so by limiting your shots the game forces you to constantly respawn the gun, greatly increasing your par unless you switch strategies.

Of course, learning about any "limitation" of the game will prompt some fairly negative responses, so what do you guys think? Is this lame, or does it not matter?

The calm before the storm

No doubt about it, this week has sucked for Scribblenauts news. It's been slow with the occasional new video...but nothing very exciting. Some people may perceive the hype train is, oddly enough, slowing down considerably in a short amount of time. Discussion topics on forums are quiet. Scribblenauts has stopped "making the rounds" among news sites and gaming blogs.

So what's up? Why did everything die off so soon? Well, to me, it seems this is going to be the calm before the storm.

Today is the 13th, which means that Saturday the 15th marks 30 days until the release of Scribblenauts on the 15th of September. Here's what we can expect this in this last month before release...

-At least 4 IGN features occurring every Friday, one of which happens tomorrow!

-Scribblenauts makes an appearence at GamesCon, the largest gaming convention in Europe, which lasts Monday the 17th all the way to Sunday the 23rd. Expect a lot of hands on coverage and media from press and players alike.

-We know that a new press release with new screenshots shall be coming, and we know that some places in Europe are getting an updated demo. Could this be coinciding with GamesCon?

-The game will also be making the rounds at PAX, which happens the first week in September on the west coast of America

-Commercials should be hitting fairly soon, one of which is already rumored to be shooting

-Soon, final copies of the games will be circulating throughout the industry. Reviews of the game could happen as early as the first week of September


All of this and more will be happening these next 30 days. So if you're thinking things are a bit too quiet...just give it a little while longer. Pretty soon the Scribblenauts flood of info will drown us all.

Hope that's a good thing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Five Interesting animals I want to see in Scribblenauts

Scribblenauts is bound to have a ton of really awesome creatures in it. We obviously can expect common animals, and even some uncommon guys (such as ligers) have been making their appearances. Thankfully, there are no small amount of really cool or interesting animals out there, so I decided to make a list of the top 5 interesting animals I want to see in Scribblenauts. I don't exactly EXPECT them to be in, but a man can hope!

Especially with animals like this...


5. Pistol Shrimp

These guys are nuts. Absolutely nuts. And if anything, it proves nature is just as batshit crazy for allowing these guys to live.

A pistol shrimp, also known as an Alpheidae, is a shrimp with a claw-like appendage on one of its arms. When it spots its prey it "cocks" the claw and then clamps it shut quickly. By doing this underwater it sends out a god damn sonic wave that create bubbles that, upon collapsing, momentarily reaches temperatures hotter than that of the sun.

Its prey, now stunned and perhaps slightly cooked, is dragged off to be eaten.

Their role in Scribblenauts? Sonic booming anyone who dares enter the water. Remember that level where you have to refresh the man? What's more refreshing than a tall glass of water with a pistol shrimp in it?

Oh, did I say refreshing? I meant to say terrifying


4. Sun Bear

I'm including this little guy for the absurdity of it all. Despite being popular for stuffed animal mascots, bears are huge tanks that can kill you with the sheer weight of their steady gaze. Which is why it's funny when you think about this little guy, the smallest family of bear.

It's extra funny when this guy does a 180 with his head to bite anyone daring enough to pet him.

Despite their size these guys are vicious and have virtually no natural enemies due to the fact they're busy just fucking everyone's shit up. Just like any other bear, really. The main reason I added them to the list, aside from their badass fur markings, is that they pack all the violence and power of a bear in a smaller, neater package. And that's pretty damn cool.

Their role in Scribblenauts? Probably similar to their role in real life...tricking humans into thinking they're cute and cuddly then ripping their throats out with their giant teeth.


3. Immortal Jellyfish, aka Turritopsis nutricula

To many, "jellyfish" might as well mean "pain". And "Immortal" means "infinite". Put together, these guys are "infinite pain", and that's pretty damn awesome. In reality these guys aren't REALLY immortal. They can die if something kills it. But left on their own they are, technically, immortal.

How so? Well, most jellyfish die after laying their eggs. Not these guys. Instead, they revert back to sexual immaturity, more or less cheating death by becoming kids again. They then mature (again) and lay their eggs (again) and repeat until...well...forever. Biologically they cannot die.

If you've ever wondered about the possibility of being invaded by creatures of the sea, "immortal jellyfish" make it sound a lot more plausible.

Their role in Scribblenauts? In some interview awhile back Jeremiah mentioned a bug in which two rabbits would mate indefinitely, crashing the game. Of course that's silly, as rabbits eventually age and die, and obviously could never just reproduce like that, continuously doubling their population every time, creating an invincible army the likes the world has never seen. I mean to do that, they'd have to be immor-OH MY GOD


2. Flying Squirrels

Betcha didn't think something as mundane as a flying squirrel would make the list, eh? Well, I got news for you guys. Flying squirrels are anything but mundane. Newsflash: Squirrels cannot fly, yet flying squirrels can. And that is incredible.

I'm not sure why I have so much respect for these rodents that try their best to defy gravity. It might be because they remind me of batman as they descend from the trees, only instead of stopping villains they...I don't know...eat fruit and nuts or something?

Their role in Scribblenauts? Now for the real reason I included them on the list: I bet it would be hilarious to watch Maxwell ride a flying squirrel. Make it happen, 5TH Cell.


1. Honey Badgers

Honey Badgers are fucking insane and badass. Let's just get that out right now. You might have a hard time thinking a badger is badass, but wait until you meet this guy.

His diet? Beehives, scorpions, porcupines, and crocodiles. Seriously. But perhaps most amazing of all is that they're well known for their taste of venomous snakes. Yep, these guys are so incredibly awesome they eat snakes that could kill a grown man. What happens if they're bit? Well...

In a 2002 National Geographic documentary titled "Snake killers: Honey badgers of the Kalahari", a badger named Kleinman was documented stealing a meal out of a puff adder's mouth and casually eating the meal in front of the hissing snake. After the meal, Kleinman began to hunt the puff adder, the species being one of the badger's preferred venomous snakes. He managed to kill the snake and began eating it, but then collapsed on the dead snake as he had been bitten during the struggle. After about two hours he surprisingly awoke. Once his paralysis had subsided, the badger continued with his meal and then resumed his journey.


Can you even believe that? No, of course not, it's insanity.

Their role in Scribblenauts? Professional badass and official snake eater. God vs. Cthulhu is lame and overused. But how about God vs. Honey badger? Nuke vs. Honey badger? Honey badger vs. Honey badger? We're talking literal weeks of entertainment answering these questions

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New X-Play hands-on, shows off new level, confirms Heaven/Hell!

Oops, if you saw a blank post here then congrats! You're quick. I hit enter too quickly ;)

Anyways, got a new video for you guys. Basically it shows a demo of the game while Jeremiah himself is being interviewed. Poor Jeremiah, though, was mostly ignored by me as I tried to glean new info from the video.

First, here's the video itself.



And here's some cool stuff going on:

-Heaven and Hell confirmed as places represented by buildings. Neat
-9-1 Puzzle has you transferring bad guys from hell to heaven. Doesn't seem very difficult at all, and I wonder how we can get creative here. Hmm...
-Halos make people fly, as does ambrosia. Once given flight they know enough to fly to heaven on their own
-Stairs are so tiny!


Round 2! This time we see another new level. In it, Maxwell must revive a corpse and put it back into its cage. Neat. Of course, as the story goes, though the level BEGAN with that in mind, the previewers took it in a much weirder direction...



The tidbits!

-Defibrillator works on the corpse, turning it into a zombie. Of course!
-Zombie was not attracted to the melon, but did like the meat, which he gobbled right up
-Dingo? Yeah, it'll eat a baby. Holy fuck.

They also promise that later in the show they plan on trying to stump the game, presumably with the items suggested via Twitter. I'm not so sure when that video will be put up. If it's soon I'll toss it into this post. If it's later I'll just make a new one!

Scribblenauts to be on G4's XPlay?

So it would seem, at least.

Two Twitter accounts of people from G4, namely Morgan Webb and Wade Beckett, are asking for word suggestions to try out in the game. Wade actually mentioned this is going into a "live demo" on Xplay, which I guess means exactly what it sounds like. I don't get G4 where I live, but I do assume this'll find its way to the internet in some manner, and when it does I'll make sure to get it to you guys.

In the meantime hop on Twitter and toss words at these guys.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hands on video impressions...of the rooster hat?

This will definitely be the most bizarre news I'll report on today.

MTV Multiplayer was able to get their hands on a much coveted item: the preorder bonus rooster hat. They then took some pictures and actually made a minute long video showing it off. I don't think I've ever heard of anything like this, and I am seriously flabbergasted at the insanity of it.

But that doesn't stop me from loving it.

So! You can find the video itself right here...



...and don't forget to check out the photo gallery, which you can grab here.

Want to win a "real life" Post 217 poster?


Of course you do, how is that even a question?

So clearly everyone should head on over to this site and enter their contest. It seems simple enough: rate their podcast over at iTunes, and that's it! You're entered. Of course it probably makes sense for you to listen to said podcast first.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Twitter and the case of the disappearing Scribblenauts tweets

You gotta feel bad for anyone in ANY "private" department of a company who uses social networking sites such as Twitter. Us average Joes can talk about our jobs all we want without ramification, so long as we don't compare our bosses to warthogs or something. Unfortunately, if you know some "privileged" info it can lead you into trouble if you announce it to the public by accident.

A few days ago I mention that Brittany Aubert, a producer over at 5TH Cell, was taking suggestions for some items and situations to make screenshots with. Presumably she did make said screenshots though nothing came from it, and it seemed forgotten altogether.

OR WAS IT?!

Though I have no confirmation on this, I've learned that Ms. Aubert posted two interesting tweets on her page. One, she has the screenshots and plans on releasing them in some sort of press release. And two, more demo builds of the game have been released into the wild.

Now the speculation can run wild. Press release? What could that mean, aside from the obvious? Is there something planned that's coming up? Are these demo games "updated" versions of the game? Who is getting them and why?

These questions and more may go unanswered for now. Those Tweets mentioning that info? Gone. For now, at least. Still, speculation is the lifeblood of a pre-release hypetrain, and it'd be a crime not to buy into it!

Amazon to offer "release date delivery" at a cheaper price than overnight shipping

Man, you'd think the concept of a preorder would be so easy. I mean the purpose is right there in the name: you want a product so bad you're willing to order it before it's even released. It's so simple that I'm left utterly flabbergasted when companies continuously do them incorrectly. Despite the fact you want a product BEFORE IT'S EVEN OUT, many online preorders don't actually ship it until the day of release. That means even if you opted for the overnight shipping you won't be seeing the product until at least one day after the release - perhaps more. And if you chose a cheaper shipping plan? Best hope there's no weekends in your way, as that could push your actual delivery date up a week...sometimes more!

Sheesh.

Well, onto the story. Amazon has at gotten rid of some of the hoops we have to jump through, as long as you're willing to pay. They are now offering "Release Date Delivery", meaning the package will be on your steps on the 15th of September. Hopefully. Now even if you already have it preordered you'll have to do it again to change the shipping type, so head on over to Amazon and do exactly that!

Prior to this I had a preorder at Gamestop with overnight shipping. The price? $42, with an estimated delivery date of the 17th. I was pretty confused at that, but whatever, I wanted the game in my hands as quick as possible. Even Amazon had a steep overnight charge, so I figured I'd stay with them for the rooster hat preorder bonus.

The price of my new preorder with Amazon? $34, with an estimated delivery date of the 15th. So 8 dollars cheaper and 2 days earlier.

I think I can do without the rooster hat.

New interview with yet another new 5TH Celler!

Hey guys, back from vacation. Seems like not much happened while I was gone, save for another IGN feature which you can check out below this post. But I did find this interview while going through my various resources, and I thought I'd share it.

The interview is with a different member of the Scribblenauts team by the name of Nathan Hernandez, Lead Animator of Scribblenauts. It doesn't contain much new info as I get the feeling the interviewer didn't know much about the game going in. But it does contain some cool tidbits about the development which I have shared below.


TC: Are there any Easter Eggs or hidden words put in there that people would be surprised to find?

NH: Yeah, there’s a ton actually. We put keyboard cat in there. I took a frame by frame of the video and I animated it — that was fun, but it came up to about a thousand frames, so I had to cut that in half, but if you watch it, it syncs up perfectly with the video. There are a lot of cool things in there and we’re hoping people will find them. There are a lot of things where if you spawn them in the right scenario, more things will pop up from that


TC: What was your favorite thing to animate?

NH: I particularly liked the monster. I got a lot of inspiration from “Where The Wild Things Are” and Sully from “Monster’s Inc.” He was fun. I also really liked animating the dinosaur. When I was growing up, I watched a lot of “Denver the Last Dinosaur.” I made sure the artist drew him kind of like him, and then I made him animate like Denver. Overall though, the monster is my favorite.



I really liked how his inspiration for the "monster" was inspired by Where The Wild Things Are. It makes me giddy that this game could be FULL of references and callbacks to various characters and styles from all over the place. Even a rather generic or typical character, a monster, can be based on something cool.