Saturday, 8 January 2011

Words + Imagination = Perfect puzzles for writers who love the creative power of Gods!

Ok this is a rather odd post as it isn't entirely about writing and it isn't entirely about Soul Chaser either. But it is something I think I should shout about as not only is it cool, it's fun and I did something very amazing with it.

First off I should make this clear that if you don't have a Nintendo DS then you won't be able to experiment with the magical game I have discovered - it is called Super Scribblenauts, (there is a prequel simply titled Scribblenauts but I got my bro's old DS long after that was out.)
Super Scribblenauts is where your character/avatar is placed in a scene, with certain people/animals, with certain objects and you are given a puzzle or task to complete and you complete these using the power of words.
For example, you come across a ravine that is too wide to jump, so you simply get out your notepad, write the word bridge and WELLA! You have called a bridge into existence, place it over the ravine and everyone can safely get across.
OR
You are given a human, tiger and cow and must provide them with homes so you give a cave to the tiger, a house to the human and a barn to the cow. All are happy as can be!

Now these may seem really simple and on the first try are but the real beauty is that to get the ultimate stars you must complete these puzzles three times in a row and you are not allowed to use what you previously did so you have to think up something new each time. And believe me it can be challenging! 

At one point I had to arm 4 villagers to protect from invaders I used guns, bows, magic staffs, grenades, swords, mace, spears, even a raygun in the end! It was quite a challenge to think up of 16 different weapons new, old and futuristic hehehe.

Having got so far in the game I clicked back to the start screen and was about to turn off when I realised I had amassed enough points to change my avatar and Boy did they have a long list of strange and wonderful characters from hairdressers, firemen, goths, vampires, sorceress, martian, zombie and even GOD himself! But there was one amongst the list that I couldn't resist being - THOR! Sadly I didn't have blonde but a brunette hair and beard and I carried now mighty hammer but the fact that this mighty figure of norse mythology existed in this quite american game was delightful.

Of course my imagination spurred on by this nordic presence couldn't help trying to see if Scribble recognised Odin and it did! I typed in viking and it did! But sadly Odin didn't like the viking and he ended up killing him which I found rather odd. That's the hidden danger in this game when you create something or someone you have to think about how they might react - I created a dragon and Odin killed that too lol so I made it a friendly dragon. I went on to call a longship, runes, ravens, an actuall Valhalla hall and my all time favourite a VALKYRIE! I had ended up creating my own virtual Asgard on Scribblenauts!
I gave my viking an axe, my valkyrie a spear, Odin to hold his rune and I placed myself (as Thor) proudly upon his longship which for some reason wouldn't float on the river lol.

Anyway digressing from my sudden burst of viking madness ultimately this game really made me think about words and how I use them because in a sense Scribblenaut is a virtual way or writing a story (apart from the fact that you don't have total control otherwise who would set the puzzles?). When we write a story we create people, animals, places, objects but before we do even that we usually create a purpose, a reason, a need for those to be created and when we write that the little school boy took some sweets from the jar we then have to think of what consequences lead from that one moment, does the boy get fat? does the boy take the sweets to the counter and pay? does the boy get caught? The effect of consequences dawned me when Odin not only killed the viking but also the dragon. I can only presume americans image Odin as a very aggressive and angry character. But it really does highlight the real essentials of a story first you need a location or a person, then you need a 'want', then you either provide them with or not with what they want and display the consequences of that action. 

As I said it is a lot like playing god writing a story with words or using words and images together with my new favourite word brain teasing game Super Scribblenaut!

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