Scribblenauts - A Revolution In Gaming Has Never Been So Cute

You remember the original Mario Bros. on the NES, right? The gameplay was very simple. Run to the right, jump over obstacles, jump on enemies to kill them (or squoosh them, if that makes you feel better). If you played the game well, and hit the right bricks, you got access to some powerups, the Super Mushroom and the Flower. Or an invincibility star, if you were lucky. That was it. Use those tools, and get to the end. Now, imagine the same game, but you could arm Mario with whatever you mind can dream up. And by anything I means anything. Flamethrower, bazooka, stink bombs, grenades, snot, napalm, a frying pan, a piranha. The possibilities would be endless. If you came across a chasm too large to handle, you could just summon the Hindenburg to carry you over. Bowser bothering you? Arm mario with a gatling chain gun and have at it.

It's the stuff of a gamer's paradise, otherwise known as Scribblenauts for the Nintendo DS. This cute, unassuming, 2D sidescrolling platformer wants you to get to the end. Using anything you can dream up. And by anything I mean 22,805 different objects you can summon and use to achieve your goals. The list (as uncovered by an anonymous cartridge hacker) is here. Just looking at the first hundred or so entries gives you an idea of the insane amount of potential and wackiness this simple game provides. If you really think an Aardvark is what you need to finish the level, go ahead. If you'd rather summon an Abominable snowman to do your bidding, that's there to. I don't even know what an absconder would look like, but that'll work too.

That's just the first layer of the onion. You see, if I'm really feeling adventurous, I can summon an Aardvark (or an Aardwolf) and an Abominable Snowman and see what happen when they interact. That's right, every object can interact with every other object. And intelligently. At the Scribblenauts booth at the E3 gaming convention, one of the developers was demonstrating the engine by typing in whatever people wanted and seeing the results. One person summoned a stegosaurus. Then next guy summoned a kraken, which killed the stegosaurus. Various ideas were concocted to try and get rid of the stegosaurus, including summoning a gryphon, Obama (not in the dictionary), and a velociraptor. Eventually, someone suggested that G-d be summoned. Lo and behold, a man in a robe with a white beard came down and opened up a can of whoopass on the Kraken. Unfortunately, you can summon Death, and Death can kill G-d. Interesting. Before death was summoned, Albert Einstein was summoned. He ran away and cowered from G-d. Once again, interesting. Oh, and you can summon Rick Astley. And Your Mom. Just saying.

That's all outside if the puzzle parts of the game. There is a goal, and you can use all these things to accomplish that goal. For example, in one level you have to knock down a bunch of stuff. You can be boring about it, and just bazooka the stuff. Or you can summon a kangaroo, attach a stick to its head, attach some lettuce to the stick, and let the kangaroo destroy everything in its path.Or you can summon Cthulhu to wreak demonic hellish destruction upon the objects. Or you can just throw a baseball. Or a hand grenade. Or a tax collector. Or you can build an Abortion Clinic on top said objects, destroying them. Or you can throw some pentachloronitobenzene at it and most likely make something explode. Or you can use a Nuclear Recoilless Rifle. There's always G-d. Are you starting to understand the immensity of this simply drawn, cutsey game? 

The ability to do whatever you want with whatever you want whenever you want, has been a holy grail for developers since the beginning of games. Scribblenauts is a gigantic leap forward in that regard, and a great game as well. It only makes me wonder what the next leap is going to be.

It also makes me wonder what would happen if I launched a real estate agent out of a human cannon and hit a fighter plane in midair.

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