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frankzappa

Scribblenauts Unlimited

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7: Scribblenauts Unlimited

Developer: 5th Cell Media
Publisher: Warner Bros.

While most videogames are created using programming language and game engines, Scribblenauts is carved out of magic. There’s no other explanation for how this impossibly wonderful series of games could possibly work. You play Max, a little cartoon boy, who has a magic notebook. Anything he writes in it is created as an interactive object/living thing in his world. “Anything?” you ask incredulously? Well, almost, yes.

How 5th Cell managed to not only draw and animate, but also provide meaningful application in reaction to the world, for every damned noun in existence can’t really be explained without resorting to the dark arts. In its early incarnation on Nintendo DS, it was a brilliant idea, but it didn’t know what to do with itself. By the time it reached PC in the form of Unlimited, that issue had been resolved by offering larger, more open levels, where your improvised madness can support getting bored of trying to achieve set goals and just seeing who would win in a fight between Cthulhu and God.

Of course, the magic does get burst when you stumble on a word that isn’t in the game, which is always a sad moment. But then you’re back riding on a velociraptor, seeing if you can create a waterfall to blow out the candles on a birthday cake, and everything is joyful again.

rockpapershotgun.com

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