Scribblenauts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Scribblenauts
Scribblenauts logo.png
Genre(s)Action puzzle
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Creator(s)Jeremiah Slaczka
Artist(s)Edison Yan[1]
Composer(s)David J. Franco
Platform(s)
First releaseScribblenauts
September 15, 2009
Latest releaseScribblenauts Showdown
March 6, 2018

Scribblenauts is a series of action puzzle video games primarily developed by 5th Cell. The series is owned[2] and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The first game in the series was titled Scribblenauts and was first released on September 15, 2009, in North America, exclusively on the Nintendo DS. Since the release of the first game, five other Scribblenauts games have been released, in addition to two compilations and two comic adaptations.

The Scribblenauts series primarily sees the player as Maxwell, a boy who has a magical notebook that summons anything he writes in it. Players are tasked with solving puzzles by summoning different items and creatures using the notebook, leading to emergent gameplay elements. The sixth and latest installment in the series, Scribblenauts Showdown, has significantly different gameplay than other entries, with it being more of a party game, rather than an action puzzle game.

Critical reception of the series has been generally positive, with critics praising how the series encourages creative thinking and the number of objects that can be summoned within the games. Some criticism has, however, been directed towards the lack of properties of objects, which some critics have felt restricted the player's creativity. In October 2015, the series had sold over 13 million copies across its different installments.[3]

Games[edit]

Release timeline
2009Scribblenauts
2010Super Scribblenauts
2011Scribblenauts Remix
2012Scribblenauts Unlimited
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

The first Scribblenauts game, also titled Scribblenauts, was unveiled in December 2008, when its gameplay was first shown.[4] Scribblenauts was later available as a playable demo at E3 2009, where its presence received numerous awards and honors.[5][6] Scribblenauts released in September 2009 in North America, exclusively for the Nintendo DS. Since, five other games in the Scribblenauts series has been released for multiple different platforms. Additionally, two compilation games have also been released: Scribblenauts Collection (2013) for the Nintendo DS, consisting of the first and second game,[7] and Scribblenauts Mega Pack (2018) for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, consisting of the 4th and 5th games.[8] The series also has 2 canceled games, first being Scribblenauts: Fighting Words, which began development in 2014 and was canceled in March 2016 after the lay off of forty-five 5th Cell employees.[9] In late 2019, a cancelled 3D action game trailer was leaked on Instagram by former developers.[10]

List[edit]

  1. Scribblenauts, the first game in the series, was first released on the Nintendo DS on September 15, 2009, with a Europe release following on October 9.[11]
  2. Super Scribblenauts first released for the Nintendo DS on October 12, 2010, in North America,[12] after it was first announced in an issue of Nintendo Power earlier that same year.[13]
  3. Scribblenauts Remix first released for iOS devices on October 11, 2011.[14] The game was later ported to Android systems on December 10, 2012.[15]
  4. Scribblenauts Unlimited first released on November 18, 2012, for the Wii U, with a PC port via the Steam service releasing later the same month.[16][17] The game later released on the Nintendo 3DS on December 6, 2012, and on mobile devices in December 2015.[18][19]
  5. Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure released on September 24, 2013, for Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PCs via the Steam service.[20][21]
  6. Scribblenauts Showdown, the latest entry in the series, was first released on March 6, 2018, for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.[22][23][24]

Gameplay and common elements[edit]

A screenshot of Scribblenauts Unlimited, showing Maxwell having summoned a ladder to rescue a cat from a tree.

Scribblenauts is a series of emergent puzzle games, where players primarily take control of a young boy named Maxwell, who has a magical notebook that summons anything he writes in it.[25][26] Players are tasked with solving puzzles by summoning different objects with the notebook, which rewards the player with "Starites", a type of star.[27] Puzzles in Scribblenauts typically have multiple different solutions, with players being encouraged to use out-of-the-box ideas.[28][29][30] The original three games were divided into linear levels, whereas Scribblenauts Unlimited and Unmasked took a more open world-like approach, with individual levels featuring multiple different puzzles for the player to solve.[31][32][33]

Summoning objects is done via a keyboard interface or a rotary wheel,[34][23] where players type the object they wish to summon. Starting in Super Scribblenauts, players could also add adjectives to words to alter their appearance and properties.[35][8] The games recognizes thousands of words,[36] although it omits most profane words, gore, and copyrighted material.[37][26] The games have, however, included some copyrighted characters, such as Nintendo's Mario and Link, among other characters, in the Wii U release of Scribblenauts Unlimited.[38][39]

Scribblenauts Showdown features drastically different gameplay than other installments in the series, with it being a party game where players play different minigames.[40] Before starting a minigame players must choose an object to use, the first letter of which is predetermined by a carnival wheel.[41]

Development[edit]

The first Scribblenauts game was first conceived by 5th Cell in spring 2007, around the same time as they had come up with their other title, Lock's Quest. The first idea for Scribblenauts named "Once Upon a Time" was inspired by Mad Libs. In Once Upon a Time you could draw sentences on the bottom screen and the action would appear on the top screen. "It was a good idea but it wasn't a game", Jeremiah Slackza said. Later on Jeremiah Slaczka had a dream where he was solving puzzles in an Aztec Temple. He merged the two ideas together and made Scribblenauts (a portmanteau of Scribble Astronauts).[42] The first story for the game was about an Austronaut that went to different planets to help them out.

The general concept of Scribblenauts was that "anything you write, you can use", with 5th Cell spending three months just listing different objects to be added to the game. The game was developed using an engine named "Objectnaut", which allowed 5th Cell to quickly add properties to objects and creatures.[4] According to 5th Cell creative director Jeremiah Slaczka, Scribblenauts was developed to be more of a casual game, akin to that of Brain Age and Nintendogs.[43]

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment was chosen to publish the series in English territories, due to them showing gradual interest in the first Scribblenauts game as it was developed.[44] Konami published the first two games in Japan.[45][46]

After the lay off of 45 5th Cell employees in 2016, development of the series was shifted over to Shiver Entertainment, who would proceed to develop the series' sixth entry, Scribblenauts Showdown.[47]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Scribblenauts 79/100[48]
Super Scribblenauts 81/100[49]
Scribblenauts Remix 86/100[50]
Scribblenauts Unlimited 73/100[51]
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure 71/100[52]
Scribblenauts Showdown 47/100[53]

Reception of the Scribblenauts across its different installments has been mixed. According to review aggregator Metacritic, the first three installments of the series all received "generally favorable reviews" from critics,[48][49][50] whereas the next three games received either "mixed" or "generally unfavorable" reviews.[51][52][53]

The general concept of the series has been described as encouraging creativity from the player.[54][55][56][57] Some reviewers have, however, felt that the player's creativity is limited by the lack of unique properties of objects. Ian Bonds of Destructoid, reviewing Scribblenauts Unmasked, wrote that the game promotes creativity, but only creativity that the game designers intended.[58] The A.V. Club's John Teti, reviewing the original Scribblenauts game, felt that most objects are pointless, noting one scenario where a plumber with a wrench wouldn't fix a leaking pipe.[59]

Critics have enjoyed the series' art style, which has been described as charming and cute.[60][61] Casey Malone of Paste wrote that Scribblenauts has an adorable art style, describing it as being akin to paper dolls.[62] IGN's Chuck Osborn, reviewing Scribblenauts Unmasked, felt that the series' "cutesy art style and presentation" made it clear that the games can be enjoyed by different age demographics, opining that even DC Comics characters such as Doomsday and Mr. Zsasz, who are normally "bloodthirsty killers", become adorable when in the series' art style.[63]

The series' soundtrack has been a source of generally positive reception and has been described as upbeat and "whimsical".[64][65] In a review for Scribblenauts Unlimited, Game Informer's Kyle Hilliard complimented the music, writing that it "rests pleasently in the background".[61] Destructoid's Dale North criticized the music of Super Scribblenauts, writing that it felt repetitive.[66]

Scribblenauts Showdown is generally considered the worst game in the series by critics, who felt that the game restricted the player's creativity by limiting the objects usable in a minigame.[67] Nintendo World Report's Daan Koopman wrote that Showdown was highly underwhelming, and criticized how the different objects barely differ in gameplay.[68] Steven Petite of Digital Trends was more positive to Showdown, writing that the game's is a "fresh and fun spin on the party game genre" due to the game's object creation feature.[69]

Merchandise and other media[edit]

American writer Josh Elder adapted the series into comics.

Multiple pieces of merchandise featuring series protagonist Maxwell have been released, such as a real-life replica of Maxwell's "rooster hat", which came with GameStop and EB Games pre-orders of the original Scribblenauts game,[70] and a figurine of the character released to promote the release of Super Scribblenauts.[71] In 2011, in collaboration with Funko, 5th Cell released a vinyl figure and plush of Maxwell.[72] In conjunction with the release of Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, a series of Scribblenauts vinyl figurines was released by DC Collectibles.[73]

Bundled with the Wii U release of Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure was a one-shot comic set in the Scribblenauts universe featuring DC Comics characters written by American writer Josh Elder, titled Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Battle Most Bizarre.[74] The one-shot was first conceived when editor Alex Antone asked Elder to pitch a comic adaptation of Scribblenauts.[75] Following the pitch for the one-shot, Antone asked Elder to pitch him an idea for a limited comic book series also based on Scribblenauts, which ended up becoming the 9-issues long Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination.[75][76] To promote the release of the original one-shot, multiple of DC Comic's other comics received alternate covers featuring the art style of Scribblenauts.[77]

American publishing company Prima Games has released two official strategy guides for the Scribblenauts series: one of the first game and one of the second game, released in 2009 and 2010, respectively.[78][79]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leray, Joseph (July 11, 2009). "Scribblenaut artist does Street Fighter, Final Fantasy VII". Destructoid. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  2. ^ Sherman, Alex (July 12, 2020). "AT&T seeks sale for Warner gaming unit, could fetch about $4 billion, sources say". CNBC. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Hall, Charlie (October 8, 2015). "Scribblenauts team launching crowdfunding, investment campaign through Fig". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Bozon, Mark (May 11, 2012). "World Debut: Scribblenauts". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  5. ^ Kuchera, Ben (September 15, 2009). "Scribblenauts is genius, maddening; Ars reviews hit of E3". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  6. ^ Hernandez, Pedro (June 29, 2009). "Scribblenauts Receives Honors at E3". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  7. ^ Green, Andy (March 5, 2013). "Scribblenauts Collection Out Now in North America". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Kennemer, Quentyn (September 14, 2018). "Everything in the Scribblenauts Mega Pack for Nintendo Switch". iMore. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  9. ^ Phillips, Tom (March 22, 2016). "Warner Bros. cans new Scribblenauts game, 45 laid off". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  10. ^ "Art of Mike Uziel". Art of Mike Uziel. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
  11. ^ "Scribblenauts (DS) Game Profile". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  12. ^ Cork, Jeff (September 10, 2010). "Super Scribblenauts: Maxwell Expands His Vocabulary". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  13. ^ Good, Owen (June 3, 2010). "Nintendo Power Reveals Scribblenauts 2, Due Out This Fall". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  14. ^ Rose, Mike (October 12, 2011). "Scribblenauts Remix Released For iOS Devices". Gamasutra. Informa. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  15. ^ "Scribblenauts Remix - Apps on Google Play". Google Play. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  16. ^ "Scribblenauts Unlimited (Wii U) Game Profile". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  17. ^ Skyes, Tom (November 25, 2012). "Scribblenauts Unlimited writes itself to Steam - er, unless you live in Europe". PC Gamer. Future plc. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  18. ^ "Scribblenauts Unlimited (3DS) Game Profile". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  19. ^ Seppala, Tim (December 17, 2015). "Word-puzzler 'Scribblenauts Unlimited' returns to mobile". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  20. ^ Whitehead, Thomas. "Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure to Save the World on 24th September". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  21. ^ Sarkar, Samit. "Superman alone won't get you through Scribblenauts Unmasked". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  22. ^ "Scribblenauts: Showdown (Switch)". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Tailby, Stephen (March 12, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown Review (PS4)". Push Square. Nlife Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  24. ^ Snaith, Kim (March 21, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown Review: Your New Favourite Party Game". GameSpew. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  25. ^ Calimlim, Aldrin (December 17, 2015). "If you can think it, you can create it in Scribblenauts Unlimited". AppAdvice. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  26. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffrey (December 3, 2012). "Scribblenauts Unlimited review". Eurogamer. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  27. ^ John, Tracey (June 17, 2009). "How Innovative Scribblenauts Recognizes 10,000 Different Words". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  28. ^ Gallegos, Anthony (September 15, 2009). "The Consensus: Scribblenauts Review". GameSpy. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  29. ^ Snaith, Kim (October 1, 2018). "Scribblenauts Mega Pack Review". GameSpew. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  30. ^ McShea, Tom (September 16, 2009). "Scribblenauts Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  31. ^ "Wii U - Scribblenauts Unlimited Developer Interview". Nintendo. June 5, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2021 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (September 18, 2018). "'Scribblenauts Mega Pack' Out Now for Switch, PS4 and Xbox One". Variety. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  33. ^ DelVillano, Ron (January 16, 2014). "Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure Review (Wii U)". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  34. ^ Kohler, Chris (October 12, 2011). "iPad's Big Screen Makes Brilliant Scribblenauts Shine". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  35. ^ Hatfield, Daemon (May 5, 2012). "Super Scribblenauts Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  36. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (September 16, 2009). "Racial Term in DS' Scribblenauts? Unintentional, Developer Explains [Update]". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  37. ^ Good, Owen (May 1, 2011). "Fatalities Are OK In Mortal Kombat. Finger Banging, No". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  38. ^ McFerran, Damien (November 20, 2012). "Link And Mario Have Gate-Crashed These Scribblenauts Unlimited Trailers". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  39. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (October 19, 2012). "Why Scribblenauts Unlimited's Nintendo Characters Aren't on 3DS". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  40. ^ Sheridan, Connor (January 16, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown challenges you to have words with your friends in March". GamesRadar+. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  41. ^ Cowley, Ric (March 12, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown review - A party puzzler which doesn't quite deliver on its potential". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  42. ^ "Scribblenauts game developer makes a risky bet on being original". VentureBeat. 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
  43. ^ Jordan, Jon (June 29, 2009). "Interview: 5th Cell's Slaczka talks about E3 DS hit Scribblenauts". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  44. ^ Bozon, Mark (May 1, 2009). "Interview: 5TH CELL Talks Scribble". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  45. ^ Plunkett, Luke (May 1, 2009). "When A Game About English Words Is Released In Japanese". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  46. ^ Mountain (October 13, 2011). "NDS「スーパースクリブルノーツ」本日発売。プロモーションムービーやミニゲームアプリでゲームの特徴をつかもう". 4Gamer.net (in Japanese). Aetas. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  47. ^ Frank, Allegra (January 16, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown brings the series back in March after four years away". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  48. ^ a b "Scribblenauts for DS Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  49. ^ a b "Super Scribblenauts for DS Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  50. ^ a b "Scribblenauts Remix for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  51. ^ a b "Scribblenauts Unlimited for Wii U Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  52. ^ a b "Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure for Wii U Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  53. ^ a b "Scribblenauts Showdown for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  54. ^ "Scribblenauts". GameTrailers. Defy Media. September 15, 2009. Archived from the original on November 27, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  55. ^ McShea, Tom (November 13, 2012). "Scribblenauts Unlimited Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  56. ^ Squires, Jim (October 13, 2011). "Scribblenauts Remix Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  57. ^ Sanchez, David (November 3, 2010). "Super Scribblenauts review". GameZone. Archived from the original on September 24, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  58. ^ Bonds, Ian (October 5, 2013). "Review: Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure". Destructoid. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  59. ^ Teti, John (September 21, 2009). "Scribblenauts". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  60. ^ Saltzman, Marc (October 6, 2013). "Comics, creativity collide in 'Scribblenauts Unmasked'". USA Today. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  61. ^ a b Hilliard, Kyle (November 18, 2012). "Scribblenauts Unlimited". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  62. ^ Malone, Casey (October 23, 2013). "Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure Review (Multi-Platform)". Paste Magazine. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  63. ^ Osborn, Chuck (September 26, 2013). "Scribblenauts Unmasked Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  64. ^ DelVillano, Ron (November 28, 2012). "Scribblenauts Unlimited Review (Wii U)". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  65. ^ Campbell, Evan (October 29, 2010). "Super Scribblenauts Review". Nintendojo. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  66. ^ North, Dale (October 21, 2010). "Review: Super Scribblenauts". Destructoid. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  67. ^ Biggs, Tim (March 21, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown review: a lack of imagination". The Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Entertainment Co. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  68. ^ Koopman, Daan (March 28, 2018). "Scribblenauts Showdown (Switch) Review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  69. ^ Petite, Steven (March 12, 2018). "'Scribblenauts Showdown' review". Digital Trends. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  70. ^ Casamassina, Matt (July 28, 2009). "Scribblenauts GameStop Pre-order Bonus". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  71. ^ "Super Scribblenauts on DS". Game People. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  72. ^ McWhertor, Michael (March 29, 2011). "Summon Some Scribblenauts Toys For Your Collection". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  73. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (January 18, 2014). "DC Collectibles to release Scribblenauts Unmasked figures". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  74. ^ Burlingame, Russ (September 6, 2017). "Scribblenauts Unmasked Comic Coming From DC Comics, Josh Elder and Adam Archer". Comic Book Resources. Valnet. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  75. ^ a b Carle, Chris (August 9, 2018). "DC Comics to Launch Scribblenauts Unmasked Digital-First Comic". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  76. ^ Perry, Isaac (December 4, 2013). "Return To Scribblenauts Unmasked With Crisis Of Imagination". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  77. ^ Langshaw, Mark (October 10, 2013). "DC Comics titles get 'Scribblenauts' variant covers". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  78. ^ Browne, Catherine (2009). Scribblenauts: Prima Official Game Guide. ISBN 9780307465504. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  79. ^ Ronaghan, Neal (November 15, 2010). "5th Cell Reveals Exclusive Excerpts from Prima's Super Scribblenauts Guide". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved April 11, 2021.

External links[edit]