When the first Scribblenauts title launched in 2009, it caused a stir in the gaming industry as it was unlike anything else on the market. The premise of the game was simple – the gamer was presented with a series of short levels, each of which are made up of relatively straightforward puzzles. The twist was that in order to solve those puzzles, you couldn’t just use items you found in-game, you had to create them yourself. Armed with your Nintendo DS stylus and a notepad in-game, you could write the name of an object which would then be created for you to use on-screen.
For instance, there might be a cat stuck up a tree – but how do you get it down? You could write the word “ladder”, and a ladder would appear for you to climb and save the cat. Or you might prefer to write “axe”, and cut down the tree. Further still, a jetpack would help you reach the cat even quicker. There were huge possibilities, although the game could only understand fairly simple objects and names. The concept evolved with Super Scribblenauts and a later Remix version, which added many more words to the in-game library, as well as the ability to add tags and adjectives to the words. Now you could use your stylus to create a blue house, or an angry Emu, for example.