Nintendo’s recent DS release Scribblenaut joins the ranks of games that we would probably like better if we hadn’t expected to like them so much. However, this knowledge comes to me from a new game review site: The New York Times.
Sure, Seth Schiesel writing in The Times was a bit tougher on the game than Gamespot or IGN.
The big idea is that Scribblenauts includes a dictionary of more than 20,000 nouns. You type in a word, and the corresponding object magically appears on the screen. Almost anything you can think of that isn’t sexual, racially offensive or copyrighted is included. The concept is that you are limited only by your imagination in how you solve the various puzzles.
But it generally doesn’t work out that way. Instead, the interaction among various objects often seems arbitrary. I need to start my car, for instance. Giving Maxwell a key doesn’t help. Maybe I can summon a tow truck and connect it to my car with jumper cables? No dice.
A couple of his “frustrating examples” seem to forget that the game rewards creativity, but the important thing is that they reviewed the game and actually took a close look at what the game was trying to accomplish artistically—not how it sold or how controversial its content might be made to seem.