Scribblenauts – Complexity in Simplicity

3 min read


There’s one game that was showcased at E3 that I can say blew my mind. It’s not an HD blockbuster concerning a pale angry Greek’s beef with deities, It’s not a tale about a bulletproof treasure hunter’s exploits, nor is it a comedic rock-opera with one too many umlauts in its name.

No, the game that has me trying to stuff my brains back in to my ears is a simple side-scrolling platform game, for the technically weakest current gaming platform, the Nintendo DS. 5th Cell’s Scribblenauts is not only the most ambitious DS title to date; it’s one of the most ambitious games ever conceived. The game, like most new DS platformers has you controlling your character with the stylus – solving puzzles, trying to collect “starites.”

The difference here comes in how you solve the aforementioned puzzles; Write the name of an object on the touchscreen and it comes to life – complete with the physical attributes you’d expect from it. Need to ascend to a higher area? Write “ladder” and one will appear, allowing you to climb it. Of course, the solutions to these puzzles are limited only by your own creativity, so summoning a jetpack, or employing a trampoline would work equally well.

The game features 10,000 unique objects, each with their own properties and artwork; a feat that took a team of 5 people 6 months of dictionary and encyclopaedia scouring to collate. I’m assuming some sort of sorcery was also involved somewhere.

The game is scheduled for North American release in September, with a PAL version due in early November. Hopefully I’ll have managed to relocate my grey matter back inside my skull by then.

Here’s a  NeoGAF user’s profanity-laden, but astonishing preview of the game :

“So listen to this story. I was in the early levels; I didn’t quite have an idea of how ridiculously in-depth the database was. I was summoning things like ladders, glasses of water, rayguns, what have you. But I reached a level with zombie robots, and the zombie robots kept killing me. Rayguns didn’t work, a torch didn’t work, a pickaxe didn’t work. In my frustration, I wrote in “Time Machine”. And one popped up. What the f*ck? A smile dawned on my face. I hopped in, and the option was given to me to either travel to the past or the future. I chose past. When I hopped out, there were fucking dinosaurs walking around. I clicked one, and realized I could RIDE THEM. So I hopped on a f*cking DINOSAUR, traveled back to the present, and stomped the shit out of robot zombies. Did you just read that sentence? Did you really? I F*CKING TRAVELED THROUGH TIME AND JUMPED ON A DINOSAUR AND USED IT TO KILL MOTHERF*CKING ROBOT ZOMBIES. This game is unbelievable. Impossible. There’s nothing you can’t do.”

Source : NeoGAF

Last Updated: June 17, 2009

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

Check Also

Russian folklore meets Blade Runner in Aftershock Comic’s Dead Kings

Plagued by the ramifications of a techno-magic world now thirty years gone, Thrice-Nine is…