Scribblenauts for the Nintendo DS

I’ve always loved the puzzle type games. I’m not talking about the ones like Tetris, where you need to think on your toes or the game simply ends. I’m talking about games like the Myst series, the Monkey Island series, and basically any game that requires you to buy a strategy guide.

These are the ones where you play a different character, and some have called these Role Playing Games. These are not to be confused with the Role Playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and others that don’t have a computer.

There is one thing I have learned in these type of games. Most of these games consist of your character picking up items. If you see an item in one of these games, you don’t just leave it. Chances are, you will use the item in some form or another. The classic case is finding a key, because it will always open a locked door. Sometimes you have to use an item in a way that it was not designed for. I remember one of the Monkey Island games where I found a magnet and a needle, and I used both to make a compass.

I found that when games play this way, it seriously limits the game. It insures that you go one direction in the game, and can only win in one way. This is different than some other recent games such as Bioshock and Fallout 3 in which the character can make several choices, which will determine an entire different direction for the game.

What if there was a game where solving a problem is like life, where there are many answers. This is basic concept of Scribblenauts, a family-friendly DS game from WB and 5th Cell media.

The basic idea of Scribblenauts is that you play a character who has to get stars. How you get the stars is up to you. In one level, the star is at the top of the tree. Most games would usually have a ladder conveniently nearby, or a gun to shoot the star off the top of the tree. In Scribblenauts, the player decides what he or she wants to solve the task at hand.

The player can write the item he or she wants with the DS pen, and if the dictionary in Scribblenauts knows it, it will appear to you. Now you are probably wondering how many words could it possibly know, as there are almost one million words in the English language.

The answer is quite a lot. Some hacker actually went and tore down all the words, and there are over 20,000 possibilities. Practically every noun is in there, and then there are other oddities such as asterism, harmonism, blogger, existentialist, marionberry, and dramatic chipmunk. As the game progresses, secret words will be revealed that you can use.

From the moment that I saw this game, I realize the video game possibilities had just got greater. No more of going through a game and using one item to do just one thing. No, games will get more lifelike as you will be able to do many things in one world.

You should be able to get Scribblenauts sometime in September 2009.  When you bring it home, put your thinking cap on. 

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