Zero Punctuation: Scribblenauts

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You know, after reading all 6 pages of comments, it's pretty remarkable how few people are willing to think for themselves. Professional criticism is not gospel, even coming from an intelligent and charismatic Australian. It's just a tool to use to help guide you in making your own decisions.

This is the first Zero Punctuation that I absolutely disagree with. Not saying he's wrong; he made several good points and salient arguments. As is true of absolutely everything that has ever existed, "It's not for everyone." He has every right to hate it, just as I have every right to absolutely love it, despite its shitty character movement controls and despite the fact that object interactions don't always work out like you'd expect. I can definitely see how these issues would ruin the experience for a lot of people, but they aren't irritating enough to me to ruin my good time.

I have to say that I don't get the "You can just solve every level with [flying thing], [rope], and [killing machine]" argument. The game's challenge mode is designed specifically to get you out of that rut, and there's always more than one way to solve a level. Of course, there's well more than 3 items in each of those categories so you could just do the same stupid thing 3 times in a row, but that seems to be missing the point. I understand the whole "performance anxiety" thing, and the "dont' fix what isn't broken" angle, and that calling people who don't like the game "uncreative" is an unsatisfying and douchebaggy approach the problem... but I guess Scribblenauts is a game for people who are willing to challenge themselves, instead of expecting the game to do it for them. You could call that lazy game design, and you might be right, but I treat Scribblenauts more like a toy that I occasionally play with rather than a traditional game that I am playing through.

As has been said a couple times before, I'm a little surprised that Yahtzee had absolutely nothing positive whatsoever to say about the game. Even in his review of Mirror's Edge, a game he hated, he at least stated he was glad that it existed, because it was a unique experiment in a sea of mediocre sameness.

The question on my mind is if you can spawn the other members of the Lovcraftian pantheon.

That aside, this doesn't really look like a game I'd be interested in.

I read the comments hear and basically want to smash my head against a keyboard...Some people have sense, and others, well they don't...

As a lot of people are saying, don't decide if a game is good or bad based off one person who is known to primarily criticize ALL games...read around...Check out Metacritic...Don't just rely on one source...

Second, yes a lot of his complaints are valid...Movement is bad...But you get the hang of it after awhile...A lot of puzzles can be solved the same way...That's why you try to think of other ways...And he didn't mention one thing positive besides being able to summon Cthulu...There are many pros to this game he didn't even try to touch...

Such pros would be the sheer number of puzzles (over 280 if I my latest findings were correct) and the challenge mode that makes you replay them without the items used before...Someone previously mentioned the ability to get more would be nice...There is one...There is a level editor with the ability to share...I have started playing this in my dorm and I already got about 10 other people interested in two days...this thing is addictive like none other...

Also Cthulu isn't the only cosmic horror...Try Shoggoth for some fun...Or Ancient Japanese History/Giant Enemy Crab (Complete with level hint "For Massive damage")...There is so much to do in this game...It causes you to look over the faults and just feel like a kid again acting out your wildest imaginations...

Gutterpunk:
I'm sorry, but the Incredible Machine was better than Scribblenaut, and it's 20 years old.

The Incredible Machine and all of its sequels were spectacular. I wish they'd bring out a new game in the series.

Indiscrimi:

TheRealCJ:

Indiscrimi:
Did anyone else notice that Yahtzee misspelled Kalishnikov? And then he complained that the game didn't recognize it. I don't have the game myself, so I don't know if spelling it correctly makes a difference, but I'm just saying, check a dictionary before you criticize.

Kalishnikov is a brand name, therefore won't be used

Hell, "Jetski" doesn't work for the same reason.

Kalishnikov isn't a brand name. The Avtomat Kalishnikova 1947 is so ubiquitous that there is a legal argument for it being public domain. It isn't legally possible for anyone to own the name.

Oh, I agree, but it's better safe than sorry, and, let's face it, how many people know what a Kalisnakov is?

Yahtzee mentioned on his site that he was worried about his dwindling comment count on these things, so i'm posting just to add to the tally.

As such, i enjoyed this entry very much, as i do most ZP episodes, although i still hate the music.

BrainWalker:
You know, after reading all 6 pages of comments, it's pretty remarkable how few people are willing to think for themselves. Professional criticism is not gospel, even coming from an intelligent and charismatic Australian. It's just a tool to use to help guide you in making your own decisions.

This is the first Zero Punctuation that I absolutely disagree with. Not saying he's wrong; he made several good points and salient arguments. As is true of absolutely everything that has ever existed, "It's not for everyone." He has every right to hate it, just as I have every right to absolutely love it, despite its shitty character movement controls and despite the fact that object interactions don't always work out like you'd expect. I can definitely see how these issues would ruin the experience for a lot of people, but they aren't irritating enough to me to ruin my good time.

I have to say that I don't get the "You can just solve every level with [flying thing], [rope], and [killing machine]" argument. The game's challenge mode is designed specifically to get you out of that rut, and there's always more than one way to solve a level. Of course, there's well more than 3 items in each of those categories so you could just do the same stupid thing 3 times in a row, but that seems to be missing the point. I understand the whole "performance anxiety" thing, and the "dont' fix what isn't broken" angle, and that calling people who don't like the game "uncreative" is an unsatisfying and douchebaggy approach the problem... but I guess Scribblenauts is a game for people who are willing to challenge themselves, instead of expecting the game to do it for them. You could call that lazy game design, and you might be right, but I treat Scribblenauts more like a toy that I occasionally play with rather than a traditional game that I am playing through.

As has been said a couple times before, I'm a little surprised that Yahtzee had absolutely nothing positive whatsoever to say about the game. Even in his review of Mirror's Edge, a game he hated, he at least stated he was glad that it existed, because it was a unique experiment in a sea of mediocre sameness.

You're saying that you absolutely disagree with the review, but you really haven't stated why that's the case. After watching most of Yahtzee's videos, I can safely say that his resume consists mostly of "tearing games apart by picking out their flaws". In the viewer's case, the best way to enjoy his videos is to expect him to pick every game apart, and to not be optimistic of him praising the positive parts of a game. This aspect isn't consistent, though. I do agree that Scribblenauts is a new game with unique aspects to it (I've never played Drawn to Life), but one shouldn't expect him to give a bone to every game that he absolutely demolishes. In fact, when Yahtzee reviewed Portal, I half expected him to criticise the short length of the game and the fact that the game is about as challenging and innovative on the players' part as Super Mario.

I believe that Yahtzee is trying to say that the game doesn't really have challenges because there doesn't really seem to be any difficulty curve when you're allowed to just rumble through the game. Sure, a creative person could conjure up all sorts of stuff to complete a level, but it still doesn't change the fact that any variable between the beginning of the level to the end of the level can be replaced by a generic jet, or Cthulu. An analogy would be trying to "catch 'em all" in Pokemon Red as the motto of the game suggests, but no one's going to actually do that because you can just steamroll through the entire game with a Charizard that pretty much kills everything with Dragon Claw.

You're right about the fact that few have their own opinions here, though. Most people simply post with a "wow ur so right im not going to buy this game because u talk rly fast and i am convinced because talking rly fast makes you intelligent and therefore correct".

VanityGirl:
To think I actually wanted to buy this game. If it's that broken and boring, no thank you.

It's not. Yahtzee is just incapable of actually enjoying a game in these reviews because that's not what his fans want; they want him to take the most minute of errors in a game (Maxwell's control, for example, which I got a hang of about five levels in) and turn them into a dealbreaker.

@Yahtzee

The point of the game, you sorry excuse for a reviewer, is to give the gamer a sense of freedom, that feeling that he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Saying that the game boils down to "helicopter and rope" is idiocy, because you're missing the point of the entire game; Finding the wackiest solution to the puzzles. It's like playing through World of Warcraft and doing nothing but the collection quests; you're practically trying to miss out on the bits of the game that are actually fun.

You buy a game that is touted as promoting creativity and is advertised as "Do whatever you want!" and complain that you can just do the same thing over and over again? Your argument is flawed and idiotic, and I sincerely hope you regain the gland, artery, organ, cell, whatever it is that lets you enjoy something besides pandering to your cult-like following.

Captain Pancake:
It seems a moot point saying a DS game is bad, seeing as most of the people who have DS's are little brothers and geriartrics who can't remember what 2+2 equals.

The sum of 2+2 is four and geriatrics can remember that. As well as "little brothers."

Where the fuck are you getting this statistic, because most of the people I see with DS's are college students and people who don't have the money to plonk on a 360 or PSP.

Think for yourself and stop being Yahtzee's sheep.

Flying-Emu:

@Yahtzee

The point of the game, you sorry excuse for a reviewer, is to give the gamer a sense of freedom, that feeling that he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Saying that the game boils down to "helicopter and rope" is idiocy, because you're missing the point of the entire game; Finding the wackiest solution to the puzzles. It's like playing through World of Warcraft and doing nothing but the collection quests; you're practically trying to miss out on the bits of the game that are actually fun.

You buy a game that is touted as promoting creativity and is advertised as "Do whatever you want!" and complain that you can just do the same thing over and over again? Your argument is flawed and idiotic, and I sincerely hope you regain the gland, artery, organ, cell, whatever it is that lets you enjoy something besides pandering to your cult-like following.

I don't see where all the "idiotic" parts are coming from. Yahtzee never made any flawed "arguments", he simply said that the game isn't fun because if someone has every means to achieve something, it just doesn't hit them as fun because certain people probably need limits to a game in order to generate fun. Even in the Sims, the omnipotent player has limits to what they can do, measured in simoleons. He never personally assailed anyone who likes the game and I certainly don't see a reason why anyone who likes the game would rage over criticism of a game by a game critic.

Unless the designers of Scribblenauts are paying you a large sum of money to put a shield over their game on escapistmagazine.com, none of that was necessary. Moreover, none of his arguments were flawed. Most people, even those who enjoy the game, agree that the controls are screwed up and him not finding the game fun is just his opinion. Needless to say, when he told the designers of the game to look up the definition of "fun" at the end of the video, he was being facetious while accrediting to his dislike of the game.

By the way, what's this sense of freedom that you speak of when the one and only goal in the game is to get the starites? That just sounds a lot like Super Mario (hey I'm alluding to Super Mario again) with extra props. Or, if you didn't like my analogy with Super Mario, we can use your own: that just sounds a lot like playing World of Warcraft and raiding all the end game instances with 24 priests and a rogue; it's wacky.

jamesmchapman:
Hah, this is another good review. I just don't think it's all that fair to bash on Scribblenauts as it's a damn good game. Some good points raised but this game is pretty much only limited to your imagination so it shows Yahtzee isn't all that imaginative...

Well I think you haven't fully watched that section as he clearly states that when given too much freedom of choice people OFTEN go blank and can't think of anything. I for one had the same problem. It's a good review that does target bad aspects of the game (mainly controls, lack of instructions on levels, etc) and thus I rate this review a nice 8/10

I've avoided playing this game simply because of the control system because it doesn't matter how ambitious, creative, or raved-about your game is if you can't fucking play it or at least jump without cramping your thumbs.

It's like, "If you have to press up on the the D-Pad/Stick to jump, you may as well drive a car without holding the steering wheel."

Why is everyone saying that DS games are crap?

Some of the best games I've played were on a DS.

Or is this just because it lacks quality graphics?

The game's not that bad. Other than when anyone has to walk anywhere. That does get annoying. They'll run into anything. They are all idiots (stupid gardener, knocking over her own flower basket, spilling the flowers I just put in there and making said basket fall into the world geometry and I have to restart the level).

If you think trying a level once is difficult to think of something, do the advanced level, where you have to do it again, 3 times in a row, with different words each time.

It's fun, but it could have been better. Of course, I like Jrpgs, so what do I know about fun?

I have to admit that I agree with most of Yahtzee's review on this game. As soon as I saw the God vs. Cthulhu video on YouTube, I was psyched to Hell about this coming out, and immediately went out to pre-order this game, and subsequently got a hat two sizes too small for my head.

The most irritating thing in the whole game is the movement, which I'm sorta surprised Yahtzee only complained about once, considering how many times I've been burned/eaten due to it. It's so irritating to FINALLY have the perfect solution to getting the wizard out of the bloody cage when the screen suddenly whips back to your location, and you sprint gleefully into a pond of lava. Or into an orc. Or a dinosaur. I'm sorta surprised he DIDN'T mention the 'screen returning to your location' thing. It's hard to set up your solution when it decides that two seconds is more than long enough to grab the rope, when you've only got like, three pixels worth of width on said object that you can grab.

I admit to using the [insert flight mode here] x rope solution too many times than is healthy. I usually wind up using a roc or a pegasus, or a pterodactyl if there's nothing killable nearby. He's right about there being too much freedom in the game. There's just so many options that I don't know what I should do at any given moment.

Most of my time on the game is spent on the title screen figuring out how many Cthulhus it takes to kill a T-Rex. Or how many Gods it takes to kill a vampire.

I like the game, it's just not as great as I would have hoped.

Edit: I was upset that I couldn't summon Yog-Sothoth, let alone Azathoth.

I think I want a t-shirt that says "Anything can be solved with helicopters, boulders, and C'thulu."

yup hes right when he said he doesn't have much imagination. instead of balancing on the truck he could have made a bull, attached it to the truck via rope and put something red in front of it so the truck would be pulled to safety. And that's just off the top of my head.

uguito-93:
yup hes right when he said he doesn't have much imagination. instead of balancing on the truck he could have made a bull, attached it to the truck via rope and put something red in front of it so the truck would be pulled to safety. And that's just off the top of my head.

There's that par business, though. Do the puzzle in X amount of items or less, and you get more "ollars." And with those "ollars" you can buy the next world.

Sort of a cheap way of making people have to use their brains, making them buy the next set of puzzles.

Repulsionary:
As soon as I saw the God vs. Cthulhu video on YouTube,

Huh, I never tried God before.

As for the game, I enjoyed it for the total 1.5 hours worth of unlocking things. The game does indeed get quite repetitive, and the physics is indeed quite questionable. I had this puzzle where I had to avoid triggering a tripwire that would send my starite to its lava doom. I had everything ready, then I accidentally pressed on empty space, sending my little scribblenaut plummeting to his doom.

And for Cthulhu... There are actually a lot of things that can beat it. I'm surprised Yahtzee only thought about the most 'known' spawn and decided to stick with it throughout the entire game (granted, I stuck with pegasus, chain, wall and kraken throughout mine).

I have however - somehow quite easily - discovered two invincible spawns,

This leads to stupidly easy puzzle solving as you try to avoid some of the more... unpleasant and less known mythos that tend to stand there blocking your way.

Some other interesting crap you can spawn:

Yahtzee's still right, though. This game isn't worth buying, but it had some very good concepts and ideas with which it then proceeded to ruin by stuffing up the physics (it's FREAKING HARD trying to use rope in the game! Especially through small spaces)

one aspect of the game I enjoy is how some things react to one another, the werewolves that I summon decide to help their small wolf brethren but will die after having a piece of silver handed to them which turn them into a defenceless office worker in front of the beast. I can create a Sun an it'll extinguish a Vampire and I found the hard way that they take a note from "The Wizard of Oz" where Witch's melt when they come into contact with water

if I ever feel like I don't want to fight the sea monsters I can just drop a toaster into the pool. rescue the little girl from the Zombie hoard by throwing a lasso from atop my pegasus (this is a very manly, not gay pegasus mind you) and have Death himself sort out the whole mess. jump on top of my raptor if I want, get a jet pack or wings for those hard to reach places and stuffing the mice into a stove, that'll fix 'em. even get Liz, one of the game creators (who is a Zombie for some reason) to turn my enemies into more Lizes

there's no point, it's just damn fun, I mean, what was running through you mind when you saw the trailers?

also, while testing which profanities and suggestive words were allowed, "Virgin" gave me a guy with a picture of a game controller on his shirt *snigger*

Rhiya Ravenwing:

I have however - somehow quite easily - discovered two invincible spawns,

This leads to stupidly easy puzzle solving as you try to avoid some of the more... unpleasant and less known mythos that tend to stand there blocking your way.

Some other interesting crap you can spawn:

Yahtzee's still right, though. This game isn't worth buying, but it had some very good concepts and ideas with which it then proceeded to ruin by stuffing up the physics (it's FREAKING HARD trying to use rope in the game! Especially through small spaces)

For the invincible spawns:

As for the other things...

And the rope physics are outrageous. Then again, having twenty individual rope pieces instead of six might cause the DS to explode.

I really enjoyed the review, I agree with most of the things brought up by Yahtzee (tried this game myself but got bored after the first 10 levels or so.. and yes I spawned cthulhu).

I'm actually curious to see what Yahtzee's opinion of Phoenix Wright & Elite Beat Agents / Ouendan would be, some of the few games I actually really enjoy on my DS.

Crystal Cuckoo:
Why is everyone saying that DS games are crap?

Some of the best games I've played were on a DS.

Or is this just because it lacks quality graphics?

I have been confused about that as well. I honestly thought everyone in the world owned a DS and loved it. Actually, recently Matt, Yug (Australian Gamer) and Yahtzee (their friend) did a podcast live at GenCon and at one point, Yahtzee asks the audience how many of them have a DS, and to raise two hands if you had two, and pretty much everyone's hand went up.
http://www.australiangamer.com/podcast/175_matt_yug_and_yahtzee_on_the_main_stage_at_genconoz_2009.html
I don't know what rock these "gamers" crawled out from under to think so poorly of the console.

I'm still waiting for him to review DOA Extreme beach volleyball 2.

It's biggest selling points were...
-more swimsuit clad silliness
-indipendant breast jiggle
-and now CLACKERS EFFECT!!!

image

captainwillies:

Captain Pancake:
It seems a moot point saying a DS game is bad, seeing as most of the people who have DS's are little brothers and geriartrics who can't remember what 2+2 equals.

equals what?

Come now, everyone knows that. It's 5.

Cthulu? SEEEERRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSLYYYYYYYY NOW?

OM NOMNOMNOMNOM DELICIOUS MONSTAR

Hilarius review!

I thought I was gonna fall of the chair when you mentioned the part of your character wanting to be a cloud :P

Orhid:
2) Are you suprised that DS game is just bloody boring?

Uninformed bull.
There are plenty of fun and good games on the DS, allow me to count some of them for you:

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Contra 4
Death Note
Final Fantasy III
Front Mission 2089, Front Mission
Harvest Moon DS Cute
Princess Maker 4 DS Special
Resident Evil Deadly Silence
Soma Bringer

Generic tier list for Creatures in Scribblenauts:

God tier
Witch

Top tier
blob/ooze, vampire

High tier
death

Medium tier
god, devil, cthulhu, robosaurus, dragon, hydra, leviathan, kraken

low tier
shoggoth, behemoth, zombie, tyrannosaurus, soldier

shit tier
everything else

The witch is god tier because it turns anything into a frog at long range, the blob and vampire are high tier because they are invincible, death is high tier because it can kill everything else in a fight, everything in med tier can kill everything else, everything in low tier is good but just has superior alternatives. The soldier is the worst in the lot but it gets bonus points because of the gun it drops.

You can spawn cthulu? Count me in!

McMarbles:

IrirshTerrorist:
Am I a total idiot for thinking this game might be worth buying... (please don't give a jackass response)

Of course you are. Thinking for yourself is a bad thing.

Ah yes, very true... *wanders off to follow the masses like a good sheep*

BrainWalker:
You know, after reading all 6 pages of comments, it's pretty remarkable how few people are willing to think for themselves. Professional criticism is not gospel, even coming from an intelligent and charismatic Australian. It's just a tool to use to help guide you in making your own decisions.

This is the first Zero Punctuation that I absolutely disagree with. Not saying he's wrong; he made several good points and salient arguments. As is true of absolutely everything that has ever existed, "It's not for everyone." He has every right to hate it, just as I have every right to absolutely love it, despite its shitty character movement controls and despite the fact that object interactions don't always work out like you'd expect. I can definitely see how these issues would ruin the experience for a lot of people, but they aren't irritating enough to me to ruin my good time.

I have to say that I don't get the "You can just solve every level with [flying thing], [rope], and [killing machine]" argument. The game's challenge mode is designed specifically to get you out of that rut, and there's always more than one way to solve a level. Of course, there's well more than 3 items in each of those categories so you could just do the same stupid thing 3 times in a row, but that seems to be missing the point. I understand the whole "performance anxiety" thing, and the "dont' fix what isn't broken" angle, and that calling people who don't like the game "uncreative" is an unsatisfying and douchebaggy approach the problem... but I guess Scribblenauts is a game for people who are willing to challenge themselves, instead of expecting the game to do it for them. You could call that lazy game design, and you might be right, but I treat Scribblenauts more like a toy that I occasionally play with rather than a traditional game that I am playing through.

As has been said a couple times before, I'm a little surprised that Yahtzee had absolutely nothing positive whatsoever to say about the game. Even in his review of Mirror's Edge, a game he hated, he at least stated he was glad that it existed, because it was a unique experiment in a sea of mediocre sameness.

I agree with you. Although I do particularly also agree that when a game doesn't have any predetermined storyline or an actual way to solve things, and rather gives you way too much freedom to solve it, I find it lazy at the part of the game (it kinda feels like user-made content in itself). Too much freedom in a game is also a bad thing. I think this freedom in game is the reason why the game is not very appealing to all. Its shallow freedom, and gamers tend to have instincts in being pragmatic as well as being more creative when you don't have the freedom.

I can safely say I am still quite addicted. Especially when my fiance tells me something she tried, and then I have to try it myself.

Repulsionary:
For the invincible spawns:

As for the other things...

And the rope physics are outrageous. Then again, having twenty individual rope pieces instead of six might cause the DS to explode.

And uhmm... yeah to be honest, Cthulhu wasn't that good. It was a very wtf moment when something a fifth of its size could take an elder god down.

Rhiya Ravenwing:

Repulsionary:
For the invincible spawns:

As for the other things...

And the rope physics are outrageous. Then again, having twenty individual rope pieces instead of six might cause the DS to explode.

And uhmm... yeah to be honest, Cthulhu wasn't that good. It was a very wtf moment when something a fifth of its size could take an elder god down.

Yeah. Cthulhu would probably be down in the shit tier with everything else. He should at least be MORE powerful than an itty-bitty little dragon.

I don't get the argument of "Helicopter + Rope" to win. The way I see it, he (Yathzee) is saying how he can just breeze through the game by doing the most simple and repetitive thing.

And?

Can't you just go to school and just sit in the classes, hand in the work, and ignore all the social interactions and extra curricular, whether they be drama or sports?

Can't you just find some decent-paying job, punch-in and punch-out, taking no interest or pride in your work or not even bothering to make your work worthwhile?

Can't you just hop in bed with some woman, have at it, and then pay child support, so that your genetic material is passed on?

Yes, you can, if you were a boring man who lives with Logic all his life. But if you just get a little wild and use your Imagination (yes, I did that little children's magician voice in my head when I typed Imagination), then you can have a good time discussing the latest games with your friends while pretending to do you math, you can enjoy your time at work, and you can light some candles up before slipping under the sheets and letting the donkey* in.

Scribblenauts is one of those few games that gives you almost as much choice as Life does. If you just chose the easy way out, that's your own fault, not the games.

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