Saturday, August 29, 2009

Past week in Scribblenautics: August 23rd to August 29th

It was a slow week last week. GamesCom was over and we really just received "spill over" in the way of media and previews. Next week is PAX (at the end) and we can definitely expect some more previews, videos, impressions, and maybe a contest or two to keep us busy.

Today is August 29th. There are 16 days left before the release of Scribblenauts in North America.

Here's what you may have missed...


News

--Last week was a week of delays. Europe had a confirmed delay, pushing the date back to October 9th. Australia also had a delay, pushing it back to the 30th. If you're a bit confused about all these regions and how you fit into this, check out a post I made to help make things clear.

--We had a bit more commercial speculation as a talent agency claims one of their talents booked a Scribblenauts commercial. Intriguing!

--Gamestop runs out of rooster helmets...hope you preordered already!

--Did Scribblenauts spread to Facebook? Seems that way


Previews, Interviews, and Impressions

--GamesCom came and went last week, but we're still seeming some impressions roll in. You can check out my gigantic community impressions compilations as well as a new preview that tells us stories of time traveling milk turning into cheese. No joke.


Media

--A bunch of assorted videos from GamesCom

--Like shaky cams? Eh, neither do I. But they're better than nothing!

--5 bite sized videos for your viewing pleasure


Articles

--Thinkin' bout possible Scribblenauts challenges to make the game more fun, difficult, or just plain interesting

--Confession time...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Clearing up the delay confusion: what we know so far

I've been seeing a lot of confusion in regards to the release date in various regions. Some regions have seen delays while others have not which is causing some people to mix up release dates. Hopefully this post will clear up any confusion on the matter.

North America: Originally scheduled for the 15th, and has not been delayed. Still coming out on September 15th. Source (make sure to read it carefully, hehe)

Europe: Originally scheduled for the 25th, it recently received a 2 week delay. It is now coming out October 9th. Source

Australia: Originally scheduled for the 16th, it recently received a 2 week delay. It is now coming out September 30th. Source

European release date confirmed to be October 9th

This has more or less been common knowledge since GamesCom. However, a lot of people were confused or thinking it might be a mistake. Game stores have changed the release date all over the place, from October to September back to October...it's been a mess.

EuroGamer was able to get a hold of Warner Bro
s. and revealed that there was indeed a delay. For you Europeans, the date to mark is October 9th, a little over 3 weeks past the US date.

As one preorder bonuses disappears, another takes its place

Bad news for fans of rooster helmets who have yet to preorder.

It seems Gamestop/EB Games has removed the banner announcing the rooster helmet preorder bonus. Indeed, any mention of the bonus has been removed entirely from their website. I'm going to assume this means they're out of stock. I'll await confirmation before saying it's gone, but it's looking that way.

However, if you're still itching for a preorder bonus, then perhaps you should check out Gamecrazy, who is offering a Scribblenauts notebook as THEIR preorder bonus. It's not the same as the rooster hat, and I'm about 90% sure this notebook can't summon in any object you want...but it's better than nothing, right?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scribblenauts gets a two week delay in Australia

Update: Courtesy of Vooks. Forgot to cite my source!

Bad news for the people in the land down under. Remember the European delay last week? Well, it's not that bad here, but I'm sure it feels that way.

Originally scheduled for September 16th, the launch date was pushed back two weeks until September 30th.

Some of you may remember the presumably lofty goal of a simultaneous worldwide release stated by 5TH Cell earlier in the year. Well, though I'm not sure how one defines simultaneous, but right now we have the NA version out the 15th, the European version out in October, and now the Australian version out the 30th.

As far as I know there has been no stated reasons for the delays, though due to their rather small lengths I'll assume it's either due to localization or other publisher-related problems, such as perhaps production. Publishing games worldwide is definitely complex work. Still, can't help but be disappointed for our friends overseas.

Confession time: I have the Scribblenauts guide on preorder


It's true. Oh god, I'm so ashamed. After all, doesn't a guide entirely destroy the entire purpose of a game like Scribblenauts? Even if the challenges ARE difficult, the idea is to use your imagination to solve the level...not the imagination of some stranger writing a guide!

Well, in truth, I decided to pick it up due to pretty much everything else BUT the boasted 880 solutions. Let's take a look at the feature list:

Solutions: Every level description will feature 3 different solutions, as well as one obscure solution, to solving each puzzle with the fewest objects in the shortest time. With over 220 levels, this guide contains over 880+ strategies.
Obscure Words: Over 700+ obscure words you would never have thought of directly from the dev team!
Level Creation: Learn the tricks you need to build the most creative and elaborate levels possible.
Art Poster: Pullout art poster included!
Dev tips: Exclusive dev tips for objects, level creation, crazy solutions, and much more!
Behind-the-Scenes: A detailed behind the scenes look into this year’s biggest blockbuster.


Alright, so hopefully my sins aren't TOO bad after looking over this list. Like I said, I'm fine with ignoring the solutions. The fact that this is an "official" guide means we get all sorts of other cool goodies. For example, we apparently will get suggestions for over 700 "obscure" words from the developers themselves. Speaking of 5TH Cell, it seems they also have some gameplay tips (including level creation and insane solutions) as well as some behind the scenes stuff. And to top it all off it looks like we get a poster of Post 217.

As I'm (more than a little) interested in Scribblenauts I decided the guide will simply be some other cool thing to go along with it. It reminds me of back when I was a kid and I'd buy the Pokemon strategy guides just for the built in Pokedex. I loved just looking at the pictures, reading various development history, etc. I hope to recapture that feeling with this guide.

Or maybe I'm just trying to rationalize it. Who knows? Interestingly enough, if you purchase the guide and the game over at Amazon, you'll probably pay close to the price of a typically priced console game. That's pretty cool.

GamesCom preview actually reveals new, really awesome stuff

Ah, finally! I was getting a little annoyed that every preview I've been sharing has to be prefaced with, "Well it doesn't really show anything NEW...". This preview, by a website called Video Gamer, DOES indeed reveal some cool new stuff. It actually may surprise you.

So then! The highlights.

--If you're holding milk while using a time machine it turns into cheese when you emerge. If you toss that cheese into a freezer a block of ice with cheese in the middle will pop out.

--There exists a level where you have a rescue a king from a cage. The lever to open the cage is guarded by a dragon, who in turn is guarded by fire. There's also a chasm that prevents the king from escaping. Lots of little challenges.

--God and Satan are the only two religious figures to make the final list. I wonder if that means no Zeus/Thor/etc.

--You can store up to 8 user created levels. Well, the direct quote it you could "build" up to 8 of them, but I assume the wording suggests you have room for 8 levels.


I was shocked at the cheese bit. Utterly shocked. I mean it makes perfect sense, right? Cheese is basically aged milk. But the fact they would include that is so mind blowing.

The fact God/Satan are the only religious figures is kinda disappointing. I'm going to assume this means no Greek gods, though I would assume mythological creatures are obviously still in the mix, despite their very strong ties with religion.

I also am impressed the DS can store up to 8 user created levels, as the real estate on this cart can't be cheap. I imagine people will constantly be switching levels in and out as well (due to the nature of the game) so the amount we can hold isn't even that important.

This new preview with actual news is a breath of fresh air. I do hope that we see more things like it in the coming weeks. Remember...less than 3 weeks until release. It's getting close.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Five bite sized videos to cure Shaky Cam Syndrome

For the last two weeks I haven't been able to bring you guys anything but shaky cam videos. The quality of such vids really takes a nosedive, and half the time I spend more time trying to figure out what's going on than actually watching the video.

Anyways, enough of that. GamingXP Com brings us 5 very short (all under 1 minute) videos showcasing basically one event each. You get to see a Giant Enemy Crab vs. a mech, Death vs. a mech, a Jurassic Park reference...among some other things. Check 'em out below.









More commercial speculation

You might remember the rumor I reported on about a month back about a possible European Scribblenauts commercial. Well, though we have no proof that commercial exists, we just got confirmation (of sorts) that SOMETHING is happening.

A twitter updated alerted me of this new tweet, done by the UDT Agency...

Talent Andrew Christian was booked for a Scribblenauts commercial!

Oh, really?

So we don't know much, if at all, other than a real live person was booked for the position. Whatever it may be. A quick Google search of Andrew Christian reveals this guy:

Hmm! Intriguing! Stay tuned, as if they're casting for the commercial (and the game comes out in less than 3 weeks), I think it's safe to say we'll be seeing commercials pretty soon.

Hopefully.

A new preview and a few new "shaky cam" videos

No need for introductions here, so let's get right to it.

G4TV was able to get their hands on the game again, this time writing up a pretty detailed preview on the game. He describes two action levels they tried out, both of which sound new. I won't bother explaining them here as he does a good job in his preview, so go check it out.

Next up we have a few new videos from a Portuguese website called UOL. They have a preview up that I cannot read, but I'll assume it's nothing new. What they do have, though, are 3 videos for your viewing pleasure. The first two are mostly typical "overview" type videos, but the last shows a bunch of dog breeds being summoned. The game does a pretty good job at popping out a unique asset for every animal.

Lastly we have some "shaky cams", presumably taken from GamesCom. These are definitely not my favorite type of videos, but hey, no sense not sharing them, eh? Let's take a look.



This is a funny video showing Maxwell, armed with a sword, destroying everything. Dogs, bees, trailers, lawn gnomes...all of them feel the wrath of his mighty sword. It's pretty funny.



The person playing the game here speaks Spanish. As if to prove that fact, he spawns in a bull and matador, followed by a tortilla and chili. Alright, alright, we get it! He then...makes a baby drive a car?

Anyways, we get a brief look at a new level, though we're left in the dark in regards to the objectives. It seems you must save a black bear, though there's a mean polar bear underneath him. My first thought would be the melt the ice...he decided to dig. The video ends before anything happens, though.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thinkin' about challenges

I've mentioned before that I don't think Scribblenauts will be that difficult of a game. This isn't to say that's a bad thing, though. In the beginning - going back a couple of months ago - this disappointed me. As a fan of the puzzle genre I prefer those games to be difficult. However, as I learned more and watched actual people playing the game I realized that the difficult is mostly self imposed. Levels will probably be chock full of "boring" solutions that are easy, but where's the fun in that? The whole point is to challenge yourself, to use your imagination, to be creative!

I'd say a fair amount of people have also picked up on that notion which leads me to the point of this article. People have already come up with different challenges and restrictions they could force themselves to do in order to experience the game in a different manner. Perhaps you ban a certain type of object or you only allow them a narrow selection. Either way, those sort of challenges are fun to come up with, so I've decided to share a few of my own that I plan on doing once I get my hands on the game. Who knows? Perhaps one day we could be seeing Scribblenauts Tournaments that make use of these rule subsets.


1. It's like I'm really playing Pokemon

Though Scribblenauts does not have a very robust battle system it does have a very thorough bestiary. As anyone who knows the world of Pokemon realizes (and I gather there are a lot of you), Pokemon trainers don't do crap. Even small tasks - such as cutting down tree saplings - are done with Pokemon.

Creatures cutting down trees for their owners...?


Seeing where I'm going with this?

The idea of this challenge would be to solve every level using creatures. You, the player, would be disallowed from doing any task that would require a tool. For everything else you'd need a creature of some sort. They'd provide transportation, protection, and various utilities like being able to eat wood. Think you could do it?


2. Around the alphabet

A lot of people have already come up with ideas for letter based challenges. Perhaps you have to solve levels only using words that begin with the letter "B", or maybe only with words that don't have an "E" in them. But this challenge should provide an extra layer of depth to the mix.

Each item you summon is restricted to a letter of the alphabet that is constantly changing. Your first item must begin with an "A", while your second item must begin with a "B", and so on. Once you hit "Z" you'd wrap around to "A" and repeat the cycle. The idea would to be to go through the entire game like this with the intent to have the fewest amount of cycles.

Though someone could technically spawn "junk" answers until they hit a letter that helps them, that would only server to increase their par and cycle count, keeping the challenge balanced.


3. MacGyver Style


Alright, look around the room you're in. Look at all the objects at your disposal. Think you can solve a level with them?


This challenge I feel has the opportunity to be one of the coolest. The idea is that because Scribblenauts contains (near) every object you could possibly have in your house it would entirely be possible to summon in items in your room to help you in game. MacGyver, as you SHOULD know, is famous for solving problems and situations using nothing but the items at his disposal, no matter how useless they might seem.

I imagine most people don't have an axe or chainsaw lying around, so imagine a level as simple as 1-1 and how that changes everything. Spawn a bed, perhaps, and jump on top of it to grab the starite out of the tree. Or maybe you have to rely on glue and a bunch of office supplies to build a makeshift pole and knock it to the ground. Seriously, by forcing creativity by focusing on the use of otherwise mundane items really turns the whole point of the game on its head. It's a challenge I'd love to try...so long as I'm in a decently sized room!

A bunch of assorted new videos

I've been collecting some new videos I've seen around the 'net recently. None of them have been "newsworthy", but I figure a whole bunch of them at once warrants a post! I'd say a lot of these are from GamesCom with at least one interview in there.



This is a pretty neat "interview" of sorts with Jeremiah. He talks a lot about the success of Scribblenauts, how the hype has been almost entirely user generated, and how shocked they were everything has worked out the way it has. I think we can all agree Scribblenauts and 5TH Cell deserves all of this.




This is a very blurry, kind of uninteresting video. I share it, though, if only so we can all laugh when the guy a) summons a mine (building) instead of the explosive, and b) actually summons the explosive and blows himself up in the process. Definitely sounds like something I'd do.









These are a series of very short videos showing some level or interesting thing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Scribblenauts expands to Facebook, rewards us with new pictures

Last week the Scribblenauts website went a crazy overhaul. After it emerged, a beautiful butterfly compared to the ugly catterpilla it was before (wait, where am I going with this?), we noticed a few links on the bottom, suspciously letting us know that a Facebook page, Twitter page, and fan site page were "coming soon".

It seems at least one of those has happened...or so it looks. Check out this Scribblenauts page on Facebook. It seems to have turned official! You'll notice the page talks about Q&A sessions and has a bunch of new screenshots from various levels. Below I shall post said screenshots, but if you're part of Facebook then you should definitely become a fan. Seems we might have a chance to win swag, get new media, etc.!

Now onto the screenshots.


You'll recognize this scenario as one of the pictures posted on the official website. We now know it's indeed a level, and we also know the objective: dress Maxwell up for a halloween party. Cool stuff.




We've probably already seen this level as well. Seems like Maxwell has to complete 3 different carnival games. At least one of them looks like you have to dunk the man into the pool. That's definitely my favorite thing to do at a carnival! Well, that, a fried dough. Mmm.


Anyways, I guess it's not 100% confirmed to be official yet, but I think we can safely assume so at this point, judging by the evidence. So yeah! Like I said, become a fan! Support the devs, invite your buddies!

Asssorted GamesCom impressions

As GamesCom wore on I made sure to keep track of various people talking about their time with the game over forums and Twitter. I've made a compilation of sorts of various people who had something to say about the game. It's "real" and uncut impressions, and those tend to be the most accurate ones.

@krystman

#GamesCom Scribblenauts is made of condensed, high-octane awesome mixed with an overdose of win. I had god shoot a zombie with a shotgun.

#GamesCom Scribblenauts: Also had a Dinosaur vs Dragon fight while keyboard cat was playing in the background. Was killed by the Dragon tho.

First disappointment in Scribblenauts. You can't wear too many items together. Can't wear glasses and a hat at the same time.


@Xater

And scribblenauts is awesome as everyone thinks.

Controls may need some refinement. I sometimes had trouble having my scribblenaut interact with the items. But they may also be because I had to figure everything out by myself ina very short time.

One thing I tried was a Cop vs. Zomie fight. The cop lost , got turned into a zombie and then the zombies killed me. I also learned that God will ride on donkeys.


@Maxemillian

Yes, Scribblenauts is as awesome as I imagined. Note: sailors are sissies against Krakkens.


@derO23

Gamescom Scribblenauts Awesomeness: 'God in a tank vs Cthulhu' works in German build.


vyse_1986

First of all, I was always wondering if there is a "sandbox" level that just lets you summon things and see how they interact. The title screen is that very thing. I challenged the dictionary by summoning El Chupacabra and gave him a goat to eat. He looked very weird, though, and it seems like not every object in this game has its own dedicated sprite.

What you won't want to hear is that the interface is very clumsy. Everything is done with the stylus, so it's very overused, which leads to accidentally doing things you didn't mean to do. I later talked to other people who had the same problems. Of course, I have to add that there are 11 tutorial levels to ease you into the interface, and we didn't have time to get used to it.

I also played a few levels, and the game not only gives you bonus points for using new objects on every level, but also for using obscure objects. There was one level unlocked where you had to dress up a mannequin; using a simple hat - sweater - jeans combo gives you little points, but giving it a dress, a sombrero and a pair of gloves already resulted in a moderate amount of Style Points, as they are called. The game also seems to keep track of every word you ever entered, which might add insane amounts of replay value if done right.

So, my opinion of this game is as follows: I need to play it for way longer before I can really have one. It might get a lot better once you get used to the interface and get to the more challenging levels. However, I can say with absolute certainty that this is not a holy grail of gaming, so please don't expect one. This game will be loved by many people who appreciate the unique concept, including me, but it isn't nearly as polished as Persona 4 or even Super Mario 64. You can expect tons of trolls and haters who will pirate this game, play it for 10 minutes and come to this board to call it boring and easy... but personally, I'm really looking forward to seeing what this game has to offer and how it will eventually turn out.


migulic

We only tried a few levels (1-1, 1-3, 1-4 and 1-5 IIRC), focusing on testing the vocabulary and gameplay. One thing really surprised us - the puzzles were really difficult, even this early in the game! Maybe we were just thinking too far, but we couldn't beat two of those levels (1-4 and 1-5) at all... And there were three of us. I'll post more detailed impressions later, but there is one notable thing. Even though you can use literally everything in the game, you never feel overpowered. The levels (at least the first few) are designed so that you cannot use the 'easy' solutions (eg. take a plane to get somewhere high, dig a hole under a wall, teleport somewhere); each object has its own limitations, just like in real life, and you really have to think to solve the puzzles.

But then of course, we maybe just thought too much...

What was cool as well, was the creativity all throughout the game. If you type in 'answer', a Starite will appear - but it's the wrong one. A 'teleporter' teleports you somewhere into outer space, time machines work too (but everyone knows that due to Post 217), rickroll, NeoGAF and keyboard cat work.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Question of the week: What would it take for you to be ok with a delay?

Games get delayed all the time and for all sorts of reasons. Some get delayed because the game isn't ready, others get delayed because the publisher wants to release it at a more advantageous time. And as users from Europe know, sometimes it gets delayed without much of an explanation at all.

My question for you guys is this: what would it take for you to accept a delay? Let's say they added even MORE items in or more unique objects for items. Or maybe they add the ability to download new items. Or perhaps they revamp some area of the game, such as the controls, or combat.

Or, perhaps, you'd never be ok with a delay!

Either way, let me know, drop me a comment at the bottom of the page.