Though I tend to ignore the seemingly kiddish Nintendo DS, I occasionally stumble upon a little gem that makes me long for the days where I was playing "Super Mario Land 2" on my Game Boy (the BIG one) with the volume turned down in church. Last month at E3, players got their first taste of "Scribblenauts," an upcoming puzzle action game from 5th Cell and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. While on the surface it appears to be nothing more than a kid's toy, what lies beneath the surface is the making of a really, really cool game.
A fundamental element of Scribblenauts is the ability of the player to summon myriad objects into the game. This is achieved by writing the name of an object on the touchscreen (or via keypad). For example, the player can write "ladder", summoning a ladder, which the player may use to climb to an out-of-reach Starite. The player may turn the ladder on its side and set it on fire. Summoned objects also range among animals, weapons, forces of nature, famous people (both fictional and real), vehicles, household objects, easter eggs of the development team, and even internet memes. However, the game does not include trademarked terms, nor potential profanity. The game includes a homonym system to offer the player possible choices between similar-sounding objects, such as distinguishing between a toy balloon and a hot-air balloon; there is also a spellchecker to provide close matches for misspelled words. The North American release will include support for other languages including Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, French, and Spanish, with French-Canadian and Latin American variants available for words in the French and Spanish language sets, respectively. 5TH Cell has stated that the limit to what objects may be summoned is up to the player's imagination, with the number of words placed in the tens of thousands. The player may also chain objects together, such as chaining a piece of meat to a pole and holding it while riding on a raptor. As such, the developers consider the game to strongly promote emergent gameplay.
Among the 10,000 plus objects you can summon are horror staples like vampires, werewolves, zombies and mummies, but don't you really wish that you can summon a Cthullu to help you along the way? Oh wait, you can!
The no copyright thing means that you obviously wont be seeing Freddys or Jasons hacking and slashing around the cutesy universe, and I'm sure some of you may be disheartened by the inability to use penis monsters to your advantage, but with 10,000+ options, I'm sure I could find a way to get myself in trouble with "Scribblenauts." It's looking pretty complete already, so I'm sure that we'll see this thing popping up pretty close to its vague release time of "Early Fall 2009."
Mark is the Co-Owner/Web Developer/Podcast Co-Host/Beard Wizard of Bloody Good Horror. When he's not casting spells in Magic or Hearthstone, he's watching wrestling and sampling Chicago's many beers and meats.