“Scribblenauts” developer 5th Cell has got to be feeling pretty swell right now. Their new game is hitting stores today, riding high on a wave of critical praise and fan love. It’s got an unforgettably adorable lead character and is a contender for game of the year. That’s all just icing on the cake, though. 5th Cell’s real achievement is creating the Objectnaut that powers “Scribblenauts”, the data engine that gives all the objects in the game their characteristics and also allows players to summon them using the good ol’ English language.
“Scribblenauts” recognizes 22,802 words, which is astounding and 5th Cell should be proud of the achievement. But not that proud. I mean, come on, 22,802 words? There are over 400,000 in the English language, and that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of words from other languages regularly used by English speakers. Way to limit my creativity in defeating your cleverly devised obstacles, 5th Cell!
Here are just five examples of words that would have been perfectly useful if they hadn’t been so rudely excluded from the game.
In all fairness, 5th Cell gave players a goodly number of equestrian options. Write in horse, donkey, or mule, and Maxwell will have himself a four-legged pack animal to ride. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that there are no prehistoric options though. There are dinosaurs, but are there any antediluvian horse-relatives? Hell no. I should be able to summon an eohippus if I want to. Some situations plain call for a dog-sized horse, I tell you.
I can think of all kinds of scenarios where all you need is a big piece of man-candy, but nooooooo. Not in “Scribblenauts”. Don’t bother trying to summon a greased up he-man using traditional words like “hunk” or “Adonis”. All the game gives you is “muscle person”. Your politically correct lingual acrobatics make me sick, 5th Cell.
Not having played through all of “Scribblenauts”, I’m unsure as to whether or not the game features any Nepalese merchants. 5th Cell are creative people, so I recognize that there may in fact be Nepalese merchants. If I run into one, though, how the hell am I going to pay him if the game doesn’t recognize “paise”, the rupee equivalent of the penny? What if I need a piece of Nepalese penny candy to complete a puzzle? I’ll be shit out of luck is what I’ll be.
It’s not a commonly known fact that “murder” isn’t just a verb used to signify the most heinous crime imaginable. Murder is also a noun. It describes a big ass group of crows. Say you need big ass group of crows in “Scribblenauts”. Know what you’ll have to do? Write “crow” a big ass number of times. It’s just one word, 5th Cell. Geez.
I’ll level with you. I was kidding about those other words, it makes perfect sense that they aren’t in the game. This one, however, is a bit more shocking to me, considering it would be an ingenious hint system for a game based around language and creative thinking. If hard headed or very young players without a broad vocabulary need a little help, just summon a muse for some inspiration. How cool would that have been? Especially if the muse looked like Salma Hayek muse in “Dogma”. Or a really loud, British art rock band.