Saturday, September 5, 2009

PAX in Pictures (Day 2)




Yesterday I gathered up a bunch of PAX impressions people were posting over on Twitter. Well, today was more of the same, but honestly a good 90% were "Wow, Scribblenauts kicks ass!", and while seemingly accurate, it's not exactly interesting reading material.

Instead I'll share some pictures of the Scribblenauts booth and people playing it...including one certain assassin...

[Again, this will be updated throughout the night. I'm on EST, meaning PAX is occurring 3 hours in the past to me. PAX is open until 3:00am, so expect even more media as people head home]

Oops! That review I mentioned earlier? Well, something WAS fishy...

And that something was that they reviewed a preview copy. Which was purposefully stripped of features. And they broke the review embargo. Jackson over at GAF tells us why G4 is full of shit...

The "review" isn't real they scored a preview build what they did was unethical they broke the review embargo date early by reviewing an older preview build that had lots purposefully missing they should know better and you won't find this "review" online. I'm typing from my iPhone at PAX so excuse my sentence structure

Wow. As I mentioned below - when I first reported on the review this morning - something felt very weird about the whole thing. The score didn't match their words at all and the review itself seemed REALLY early. Initially I speculated that they broke the embargo and rated the game low in order to generate publicity. I edited out that part after reviewing my work, figuring that I shouldn't accuse them of such a thing with no evidence.

Well, I'm back to accusing them. They broke their embargo, reviewed a incomplete preview build, and rated it low based on problems that might not even exist in the final copy. That's low, a new low of gaming journalism that tarnishes the reputations of them all. It's misleading to consumers and damaging to the companies.

One must question what exactly they had to gain from all of this. Certainly it severely damaged their reputation among Warner Bros and 5TH Cell. You got to wonder...were they really doing it for publicity?

First review hits, definitely not that flattering

Scribblenauts finally received its first review score, which seems a bit weird as it was my understanding the game is under review embargo. Anyways, it was on the show called "Reviews on the Run", which airs on a Canadian version of G4.

You can find said review right here. Simply click the "Reviews on the Run" tab and select the September 4th episode. Then you're good to go.

So, the final scores?

7.0 and 7.5

Ouch!

Now before you have your hearts broken TOO much I'd like to take a look at this review. It's actually pretty weird, as the score doesn't seem match up with their review. They spend about 3 minutes explaining and praising the game, and it'soOnly in the last 30 seconds or so do they mention how the controls were a pain. Apparently a single problem, one they seemingly only brush over, drops the score by 30%. Honestly, it makes me suspect their review scores were purposefully skewed lower due to other reasons. At the end they mention that it didn't live up to their expectations stemming from the E3 hype, which leads me to believe they were disappointed due to being overhyped. Perhaps that is why they were more harsh on it than I was expecting.

Also, though I have no idea if they are breaking their review embargo or not, I'd say the possibility is likely given the fact other big sites and publications must have their review copies by now. If the embargo is up then we would have certainly seen other reviews by now, right? But we haven't, and so far they've been the only people to get a review in. Strange.

Of course, all of this could also mean that the controls really are THAT big of an issue, something we should all keep in mind as well. Control issues can be dealbreakers for people.

Regardless, as far as I know this is the first review to hit, so looks like we'll be seeing more over the next week.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Official website adds 4 more wallpapers


Head over to their downloads page and check 'em out for yourself! It might be a little confusing to find them - the arrows to navigate wallpapers seem to blend into the background. But you should be able to see it to the right of the first wallpaper.

In total we now have 5 backgrounds. All of them are pretty slick, but the one with the flying pigs is definitely my favorite.

PAX Impressions from Twitter (Day 1)





tinysubversions Oh wow. Scribblenauts is AMAZING.

majornelson Loving Scribblenauts. I need to get someone from that project on my show.

sleet01 Chillaxin' in BYOC. Scribblenauts was so amusing and entertaining I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

maro254 I'm at PAX today doing "research". The game that has most impressed me (you know other than Duels & MO) is a DS game called Scribblenauts.

Lag0s omg scribblenauts is so many win #pax09

JoMasta Everyone loves the WB booth and Scribblenauts!

in_orbit Scribblenauts is pretty much the greatest game in history. A bold statement, yes, but just trust me on this one. #scribblenauts #pax

Brian_Lutz Favorite games I've seen at #PAX so far: Scribblenauts, Muramasa, DeathSpank. Waiting for Diablo 3i now.

nakedinternsusi no really, it smells like PAX. strong, musty, PAXers. goo. and I want Scribblenauts. now.

Sorry for the lack of posts today, it was busy on my end. Throughout the day I've been collecting various impressions and pictures off of Twitter from people playing the game. These are my compilations of day one.

[Note] I'll be updating this throughout the night

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Incredibly inspiring story of the start and success of 5TH Cell. Also discusses plans for the Wii and Xbox Live

The Seattle Times posted a story today detailing the humble beginnings of 5TH Cell, revealing some interesting backstory of the development studio behind Scribblenauts.

Turns out 5TH Cell began as just two people who met one another online. Though they initially wanted to make bigger online games they found that their lack of funds held them back, forcing them to start small and work on mobile games. After signing with some publishers they started to see the cash flow a bit and set their sights on the DS. Nintendo initially rejected their first "Drawn to Life" concept, but almost a year later changed their mind after a second pitch. DtL went on to sell a million copies, more than enough to fund their next projects. Inbetween this all they saw growing and shrinking in their tiny development studio, sometimes forced to lay people off when money was low.

Their story is literally that of a Cinderella Story, a rags to riches tale of four guys who didn't even meet until they signed a deal with THQ at E3. It's a really incredible story, one you don't hear too much of nowadays.

Towards the end it's easy to miss this last bit of interesting info. We know 5TH Cell wants to break out of the handheld market...but where are they most likely to be headed? Well...

THQ agreed to publish the title, which sold a million copies and funded what's now a 34-person studio putting the finishing touches on "Scribblenauts" and aiming to release games for the Wii and Xbox Live in the next year or two.

Scribblenauts is bound to propel them even higher on the game development food chain, making them a studio we should definitely keep an eye on in the future.

Scribblenauts gets a launch party at the Nintendo World Store

Whoa.

Maybe I'm rusty on my Nintendo knowledge, but when was the last time they gave such special treatment to a 3rd party game? I know Muramasa has a launch party coming up, but that game has already been released in Japan and is a "proven" game, topping the sales charts in the first week of its release.

Regardless, it would seem Scribblenauts will enjoy an early launch event on September 13th, 2009.

On Sunday, Sept. 13, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be hosting an exclusive launch event to celebrate the debut of the already acclaimed Scribblenauts, available for Nintendo DS and DSi. The Nintendo World store will be the only place that consumers can purchase their copies of Scribblenauts (while supplies last) before its official launch on Sept. 15, and the event will feature an autograph signing with Scribblenauts creative director Jeremiah Slaczka, fun and informative game demos, exclusive premium item giveaways and many more fun activities.

The Scribblenauts scene will take place...

Sunday, September 13th
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Nintendo World store
10 Rockefeller Plaza (at 48th St. between 5th and 6th Ave.)
New York, NY 10020



So not only do you get the game two days early, but you also get to hang out with 5TH Cellers, grab some autographs, watch people play it, earn some prizes...ugh. This is one event I really wish I could attend! But as a poor college kid in my senior year, it's hard to justify the cost, a 14 hour car ride (round trip to NYC) and missing class for the launch of a video game. Still...I so wish I could make it happen.

Ah well. If you guys do live in New York or close to it then definitely mark that day on your calender. And take pictures so I can be jealous of you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FYI: Scribblenauts will be at PAX

PAX (or Penny Arcade Expo) is coming soon. Indeed, it's coming basically tomorrow. Registration is starts Thursday with the big floor days throughout Friday and the weekend. PAX is pretty big nowadays and has earned the reputation of E3 for people who aren't journalists.

Anyways, a lot of people are attending this (from the industry and fans themselves) and I've seen some wondering if Scribblenauts will be there. I come bearing good news you may have surmised from the title of this post! It's there. Not only will it be there, but so will 5TH Cell, including Jeremiah Slaczka himself. And as he states on the NeoGAF forums...

Make sure gaffers say whats up to me and the other 5TH Cellers manning the scrib booths. I'll be floating around from time to time. :)


So yeah! If you don't already have tickets you're out of luck, but if you DO have tickets...then, well, go forth and Scribble! We got a good amount media and impressions from GamesCom, so I can only expect we'll get some cool things here as well.

Well here's a weird contest

File this under "Scribblenauts seriously appeals to everyone", I guess.

Ever hear of parenthood.com? Well, you have heard of it now, and there aren't any surprises to that site...they literally have resources for people with kids. That's about it. So how they managed to offer a contest like this one is beyond me. I imagine that parents would be busy citing videogames as the reason for obesity or war or perhaps genocide.

Anyways, there doesn't seem like there's much to it. Enter a name and email and you're in the drawing. Three winners will be announced. As long as this copy doesn't like...accidentally get you pregnant or something, there doesn't seem to be any catch.

Grab some new screens for Back to School week

Scribblenauts has an official Facebook page now...which is apparently different than this one. I imagine they're both official...one for Australia and one for North America? Who knows. Hopefully confusion will be cleared up once the official website (man, am I tired of typing the word "official"!) links to them properly.

Regardless, it's a safe bet to assume it's official (last time) given these 5 new pictures celebrating the time honored tradition of...going back to school. It shows 5 levels being solved with school related items. Let's take a look...

A desk, a chair, an alarm, a bell, a clock, and of course an apple...all makes for the perfect tower to get over an obstacle.


Attack of the school supplies! Not sure if that'll help you knock down the bottles, though. Check out the size of that tack!


Coffee (or tea). As the boyfriend to an aspiring teacher, I can tell you that some sort of pick-me-up in the morning is VERY important. And, thankfully for this guy, very refreshing.


LET'S RIDE BIKES


The best way to catch a butterfly is to recruit an army of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Albert Einstein. Obviously.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Level Editor: Exploring the (near infinite) possibilities

Scribblenauts is a big game. Is that really new to anyone? Probably not. As if 220 levels weren't enough for you, though, we also know that we'll be seeing a level editor. This editor is unlocked right at the start allowing people to jump in and edit levels they've played. A lot of companies can make the claim of "INFINITE REPLAY!" with level editors which, let's face it, never pans out. With Scribblenauts' impressive object dictionary and every combination with 220 levels...well...the number of possible interesting levels is quite high.

What we know:

--You can't create your own level designs. Instead, you use one of the 220 existing levels as templates to build a level around

--You populate the level with items similar to how you would in game. There is an item limit as well

--Items can have custom built properties in relation to other items. Bears can fear honey. Zombies can follow cars. Etc. The exact functionality of this system isn't known

--As of right now one can only create action levels. You can freely place the star anywhere.

--You can share levels with your friends via friend codes. The amount of friends is unknown. It's been confirmed you can save up to 8 levels. It's unknown if this is TOTAL (a combination of levels you make/levels you download), but we can assume it is

--It's possible to set a name, a hint, and music for each level


As we can see, there's an awful lot of customization and freedom with this system despite the restrictions. With 220 templates you'll most likely find any level that'll work with one you want to make. Perhaps most exciting aspect is the ability to play with item relationships. This allows people to make really awesome custom levels with rules no one can predict.

So what exactly is possible with this? Well, NGamer Magazine in their latest tweet mentioned they recreated a Pikmin-esque level with the system. Now that's pretty cool, and it makes me wonder what other type of custom levels you could create. With every object at your fingertips you could spawn background items (like walls), platforms, etc. I mean hell, could it be possible to recreate Super Mario Bros. 1-1 level? Probably!

What I want to see more of is the custom relationships. How powerful can we get? Can we make two items which normally hate each other suddenly not? Maybe zombies could pair up with humans while riding bulls...man, I don't know! But further, I'm interested to see how we could have relationships with items not yet on screen. I feel that would be important. You could make bears fear honey if you have the honey and bear on the level. But could you have it so the bear fears ALL food? With Objectnaut each item has many properties we could feasible take advantage of, and I do hope we see that. I'm not holding my breath, though.

By being able to share these online (though limited to friend codes) we could conceivably have communities which do nothing but make levels and share them. It won't be as powerful or freeform as, say, Little Big Planet, but it COULD happen. It's definitely something I want to explore via this site as well.

So tell me, what type of level do you hope to make?

"Downloads" section of the Scribblenauts website opens up, offers cool stuff



Though the new site has been up for a couple of weeks now the "Downloads" section has remained suspiciously under construction. Today it would appear construction has been completed. At least part of it.

You can find a lot of cool stuff in this new section. Wallpapers, icons, ringtones...the full monty. There are two objects we currently can't get - a widget and a screensaver - but I imagine we'll be seeing those by the end of the week.

The wallpaper seems cool at least, and I think it'd be hilarious to have a Scribblenauts ringtone, but I do wonder how much the other media will see use. Anyways, head over there now and check it out!

Monday, August 31, 2009

I can only hope Scribblenauts spawns infinite inspiration for fan art



Eric Wiryanata

Because those three submissions to Super Punch's art contest are just plain awesome.

Live in Australia/New Zealand? Have a good imagination? Want to win Scribblenauts and rooster hats?

If the answer to all of those (complicated) questions is a resounding "YES!", then Vooks has the contest for you.

Vooks.net, an Australian-based video game website, has revealed one of the cooler contests we've seen. They've outlined a scenario - which I will quote below - and have asked their readers to solve it as creatively as they can. Two winners will receive a copy of the game and a rooster helmet. Two runner ups will receive just the rooster helmet.

You can read more about the contest right here, and the scenario of the game below...

You wake up to realize there’s a T-rex in your front yard! Summoning three different items, how will you get past the terrifying dinosaur so you can get to school or work?
But wait there’s more!

Whilst open-ended, your items must follow these rules (the same rules of the game)

1) Must be a noun
2) No naughty stuff, adults-only stuff or swear words
3) No trademarks or characters (so ’car’ is fine, but Ford Falcon is not; favourites such as Mario, Link and Samus are unfortunately not allowed).

Simply jot down (in fewer than 200 words), act out or draw, how you’ll do the above impossible feat. Remember contestants, we’re looking for creative solutions here, not just the most powerful items. We will be particularly interested in seeing ideas that implement the items three TOGETHER in a uniquely innovative way!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Question of the week: On what platforms would you like to see Scribblenauts on?

5TH Cell has announced in the past they want to move on from the DS. In addition, they've told us we haven't seen the last of Scribblenauts. This leads us to the inevitable conclusion that eventually Scribblenauts could hit another platform, whether as a direct port, a remake, or perhaps even a sequel.

So my question for you guys is this: what platforms do you want to see Scribblenauts moved to? The PC for modding and the possibility of user generated content? The 360/PS3 with vastly improved graphics and physics engine? The Wii with the possibility for motion/pointer controls? Or do you never want to see it leave the DS?

Drop me a comment at the bottom of this page. You don't have to register or even supply a name, so anyone can participate.