Thursday, July 30, 2009


Every once in a while, a developer comes along making such outlandish claims about their upcoming title that no one can take them seriously. And on even rarer occasions, that company simply sticks the title on the floor of E3 and lets game do its own bragging. Scribblenauts is one of those games.

5th Cell has cooked up a creation that is limited only by your imagination, or so they claim. And the videos taken by random testers on the floor of E3 2009 absolutely back up those claims. In a nutshell, you complete levels by having random items dropped into the game that your avatar can use to navigate past any obstacles. So, where do those random objects come from? Your imagination. No, really. Write down the name of what you want, and if the game knows what it is, it appears on the screen ready to be used. Coming in September, this is certainly one of the most creative games ever made for the Nintendo DS.

And this is a game that proves once again that anything can be turned into a game so long as it brings the fun. Scribblenauts will not win any awards for amazing art or super realistic physics simulations. Thats ok. It's a simple idea executed in a fun way with attention to playability and the fun factor. It is exactly what a good indy game should be. And some of the major studios could learn a thing or two from it as well.

Of course there is no guarantee that Scriblenauts will be a market success, or that 5th Cell will still be here two years from now. Thats the price of producing in the middle of a recession. Regardless, the Scriblenaut sets a standard for would-be indy developers everywhere. Don't worry about flashy graphics or corporate tie-ins. You don't need them. Make the game fun, and the press will find it. Make it fun, and the praise will come. Above all, just make it fun.

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