Did Scribblenauts reach it's peak too early?

A Hit or Miss?

Did Scribblenauts reach it's peak too early?
A trailer of the first Scribblenauts launch featuring the mascot, Maxwell.

In today's society it's safe to say that the gaming industry has boomed better than ever. Not to mention it has become extremely marketable to the point where it can provide potential careers. One reason in particular why is because graphics have become more of a priority than anything else. If you're not convinced check out literally any game that's being released and you'll see that the overall consumers prefer a game with "Good" or "Realistic" graphics, not to mention developers spend more time on it. Although this is the case there are other factors of a good game, one would be Sribblenauts (2009) by 5th Cell.

For those who are not aware, the game is built on an engine called Objectnaut which is data-driven and gives certain properties to objects in the game. Thanks to Jeremiah Slaczka (game designer/creative director & co-founder of 5th Cell) and his team they were able to make the game definitely something we've never seen. The way how it worked was that you could type in anything to solve a puzzle given to you, this was clearly a game-changer because the possibilities were endless. If for some reason you didn't want to solve puzzles it gave you the option to play freely. It was a game that both made you think and be creative which helped it earn the mantle of "Portable Game of the Year".

A image of the object editor from Scribblenauts Unlimited (2012).

Since the initial release in 2009 the franchise would continue to grow over the next few years, even manage to branch from the Nintendo DS to consoles, PC, and eventually mobile devices. Newer titles would add a little something special to make each experience better. One feature that was highly favorable was the object editor (Image seen above), in case there was something you typed that didn't appear you could make it yourself or something more imaginative. In many ways it had similarities with another popular game, Garry's Mod by Facepunch Studios. Despite the additional mechanics and newer gamer launches the franchise would hit it's peak between 2012-2013.

It's popularity would begin to decrease significantly after 2014, quickly losing its momentum. It was set to make a light comeback with the launch of Scribblenauts: Fighting Words but then the project was cancelled, leaving a bigger gap that needed to be filled. Following that, the next-gen phase of the gaming industry would hit hard causing most consumers to ditch their current the systems that were compatible with scribblenauts. Nonetheless 5th cell wanted to show they could stay within the new times and continued to release content, even go as far as to making scribblenauts compatible with next-gen consoles. As a result of they gained back some support but then quickly lost it again even with the latest launch, Scribblenauts Showdown (2018), it didn't have the same feel it once did a few years back.

In conclusion the game undoubtedly had potential but could have been taken been taken more seriously. Maybe after reading this you'll try out the game for yourself if you haven't already. If not then just take this into consideration and give other things in life a chance, be adventurous.

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Duke A. Haberfield
Duke A. Haberfield
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Duke A. Haberfield
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