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Comic for: September 17th, 2009
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Scribblenauts: "Age Old Dispute"
Posted: Thursday September 17th, 2009 by

You know I never really understood the whole pirate vs. ninja thing. Sure it's funny on some level. Hell it even spawned a show on the Discovery channel. But, where did it come from? Real Ultimate Power? Maybe on the surface; but, I mean on a deeper level. There had to be something that initiated the line of thought. My guess is that the whole thing started in response to the only question that really matters. What's more important in game development?

I sense your confusion...
If that's the only question that matters, why would I address it by way of Scribblenauts. The answer there is two fold. The first is probably somewhat obvious to anyone that's been reading carefully the last couple of days: I'm playing Scribblenauts at the moment. The second is a hair more complex as it answers the question while simultaneously throwing it into doubt.

See Scribblenauts is very basic, graphically speaking. But the graphics accomplish the goal. They make the game accessible. They serve the design of the game in so much as it can be used as a tool for challenging the imagination and our sense of wonder. It allows us to be somewhat childlike in our approach and response to the game. And the gameplay seems simple. It's what draws most of us to the game in the first place. But at the same time, there are issues with the gameplay, bred of its underlying coding complexity, that make it somewhat painful to play. Some of the physics are broken. The sizes of some objects are unexpected thus rendering them useless. Interaction with some elements in the game are completely unexpected making the solution to challenges aggrevating to find.

So in my mind, Scribblenauts serves as the perfect example of the graphics versus gameplay debate.

Whew! All that for such a simple premise.

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