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 "The only limit is your imagination... and your twisted sense of humor."

Scribblenauts is a pair of physics-based puzzle games for the Nintendo DS, developed by 5th Cell Interactive and published by Warner Bros.

You are Maxwell. You want to get the Starite. (What's a Starite? Well, a shiny star-shaped thing, of course.) You have to figure out how to get the Starite. In order to get the Starite, you need to use the tools at your disposal to reach it.

What are your tools? Everything.

No, really.

A trampoline? But of course.

A football? Sure thing.

A teapot? Why not?

A bazooka? Might as well.

A velociraptor? Could come in handy.

A dialysis machine? Pancake mix? Large hadron collider? Longcat? Tacgnol? A windmill? A tornado? A yacht? A Shoggoth? A certified public accountant? A pink striped robot ninja wielding a huge glowing flame sword riding on top of a holy purple winged gigantosaurus?

What part of everything don't you understand?

While Scribblenauts has a simple premise, there's more to it than is immediately obvious. Using a magical notepad, you can write--and summon--almost anything to the game world to solve puzzles. Call elephants. Call thunder clouds. Call all the zombies you can handle. By moving and manipulating objects, solve the puzzles. Of course, there's more ways than just one to solve a puzzle. Got a Starite stuck in a tree? Chop it down. Climb it with a ladder. Get a Lumberjack to help you. Make termites eat it. Kill It with Fire. In fact, the game prevents you from solving a puzzle the same way more than once until you've beaten it a certain number of times. Not like that's a problem. You have everything.

Prior to the game's September release, the game received some mild hype from various outlets from its extremely ambitious premise. Mild until E3, that is, when game journalists finally got to play it for themselves--and kicked off one of the most massive hype trains for any portable game ever. In an entirely unprecedented occurrence, not one but three major game reporting outlets declared the hand-held Scribblenauts to be the game of the show--even more remarkable considering that none of them had ever made such a claim about any portable game. In a relatively short amount of time, the game went from being known primarily to portable gamers and those who followed portable games to the entire game blogosphere, catapulting it into the spotlight. Reviews of the full game were still generally positive, but not as enthusiastic as at E3; the controls for Maxwell's movement in particular were almost universally criticized.

See the Scribblenauts Wiki. Also, has its very own (and well deserved) The Dev Team Thinks Of Everything page.

It also has a sequel, Super Scribblenauts[1]. Included are adjectives (meaning you can create a Piratic Zombified Robotic Ninja), new levels (there are fewer this time around, but they're longer and more puzzle-based), and a whole lot of improvements to the controls, camera, and physics engine. Considering it seems to fix the problems the first game had, the hype for this game is mostly optimistic (not as much, though, considering we've seen the concept before. The major attraction for the second game in early reviews wasn't the new adjective system, but the fixes to the control system that nearly sank the first game).

The third game of the series, Scriblenauts Unlimited was announced during Nintendo's E3 2012, which will feature the ability to mix and match pieces of objects to make brand new ones. It will be available for both the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS.

An iOS sequel was made, called Scribblenauts Remix. It contains the adjectives system of Super Scribblenauts, and contains favorite levels from the first two games, as well as levels exclusive to it.


Both games provide examples of:

  • All Myths Are True: There's plenty of choices in the "mythical creatures" department, including Cthulhu!
  • Ambulance Chaser: Lawyer is attracted to Ambulance
  • Art Attacker: The player's modus operandi.
  • Ascended Meme: After seeing the NeoGAF post, the devs added "Feep" and "Post Two-One-Seven" to the in-game dictionary. And made Feep's experience into a desktop wallpaper.
    • Typing "Post Two-One-Seven" (or some spelling variation of that) summons a billboard version of the wallpaper... which then acts as a nuke.
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Where do we start? In the sequel, anything can be this, due to your ability to make anything colossal.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Give Maxwell any non-projectile weapon (swords, baseball bats, crowbars, Death's scythes... you get the idea) and then send him to attack any target (living or not, hostile or not). He'll keep hitting it until one of them dies.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Pterodactyls and their equivalents are pretty sturdy, fast, friendly, agile, flying dinosaurs (okay not technically).
  • Author Avatar: Use the teleporter to see 5th Cell at their studio (and steal their car). Shortly after, Liz (a zombie dev team member) jumps from the second floor and kills everyone else (assuming you didn't kill them first). Also, type "5th Cell" for their logo.
    • Also, "Edison" the dinosaur (Edy in the sequel) (a tyrannosaurus with a headband) is one for game artist Edison Yan.
    • Almost any name you see in the credits that has an associated character can be summoned.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Nukes, Meteors, and Tsunamis kill everything on-screen. Including you.
    • The Flame Sword is awesome, but deals less damage than a chainsaw.
    • Also Awesome but Practical: type "black hole" and see how many monsters and obstacles it destroys for you handily before it tidily implodes. Sadly changed in the sequel - now a black hole autokills everything in the stage a few seconds after starting, and can't be "picked up" and erased before it hits critical mass.
    • For that "matter", "antimatter" and "dark matter" also work quite handily.
    • And summoning and interacting with the Large Hadron Collider creates a black hole too.
  • Bad Future: In the sequel. Levels in the first game also imply this.
  • Batter Up
  • BFG: Nuclear Recoil-less Rifle qualifies. There's also the Exploding Barrel Launcher.
    • You can make literally any gun colossal in the second game.
  • BFS: The historical Zweihander is a valid weapon for Maxwell. It's also slightly taller than he is.
    • Let's not forget about the legendary Excalibur falling in the same category...
    • As with guns, you can make literally any sword colossal in the second game.
    • Of course, if you want a sword that is massive without the aid of adjectives, try a zanbato. Or go all the way and summon a colossal zanbato.
  • Blatant Lies: The game manual packaged with the game says there are 30 extra levels available from the Ollar store, but the only other thing you can get from the Ollar store is your game crashing.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: The Portuguese pause menu, for example, looks like this: Continue, Try to Quit and Quit.
    • The French translation is so bad it deserves mention. Oh, the menus are perfectly fine, but they managed to make the whole game unplayable.
      • Some simple words don't give any results : try typing “meat" ("viande"), nope, never heard of that.
      • Pretty much all words give you 2 or 3 possibilities, either all so similar they're impossible to distinguish, or completely unrelated to what you typed. And the disambiguation hints don't help a single bit.
        • Type "cow" ("vache"), you get "cow (human)", "cow (mammal)" => the first one is a cop, it's apparently old slang nobody's heard of.
        • Type "rock" ("pierre"), you get "rock (stone)", "rock (nature)", “rock (environment)" => the first one is some unidentified U-shaped object, the second one is a big rock and the third one is a small rock.
        • Type "wall" ("mur"), you get "wall (contruction)" and "wall (construction)".... => The second one is a wall, but the first one is some sort of safety barrier.
      • The list could go on and on as virtually every word is a problem. Thanks for ruining the game.
      • Inverted with the Spanish translation: The Spanish translation is OK, but the dictionary is from the European Spanish dialect, NOT the Latin American ones. Justified, because due to the fact there's many Spanish-speaking countries, using a Latin American dictionary along the European one would be impossible to implement in the game, but If you don't know the European Spanish versions of some words, you're screwed.
    • Type in anything (well, almost) it a different language, and go to a different language, the translation is extremely different. (For example, typing chat with french, changing to english and coming back, viewing its name will give you "button front.")
  • Blob Monster: Summoned by typing in "blob".
  • Boring but Practical: Rope-like objects are indispensable (if somewhat touchy) tools for moving things, dragging things, connecting things...
    • And due to how many puzzles involve moving things that don't want to be moved and/or can kill you, your best friends will very often be ropes, glue, and baskets. Oh, and lasso + wings = Starite.
    • Most puzzles are based around you trying to get Maxwell to the Starite, but are very simple if you just move the Starite to Maxwell (Say, if the Starite is on top of a cliff). Cue the Fan, a simple object that generates wind to blow the Starite around, completely bypassing challenges.
    • "jetpack" pretty much allows you to get up to any otherwise inaccessible height. Same with "wings", although to a lesser extent.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted for Maxwell, but played straight for everyone else, in the first one. Played straight for Maxwell, too, in the sequel.
  • The Cameo: The crew of Mega 64 can be summoned in Super Scribblenauts. See here.
    • The Japanese version of the first game (which was published by Konami on 5th Cell's behalf) allows you to summon Alucard from Castlevania, as seen here.
  • Camera Screw: The camera system isn't awful, but occasionally the way it snaps back to the character can be a bit annoying.
    • The sequel fixes this thankfully.
  • Casual Video Game: The first game's levels are divided into "puzzle" levels and "action" levels. The main difference is that in puzzle levels, the Starite is hidden until you complete a challenge, while in action ones you can see it immediately and the challenge is getting to it. It's worth noting that puzzle levels can include some action (as seen in a level where you must collect some flowers, getting past enemies on the way), and action levels can be mostly puzzle-y in gameplay (such as the "Starite-in-cage-over-lava-pit" level, in which the main challenge is figuring out a strategy).
    • Also some of the action levels cheat, having the Starite trapped behind a wall that lifts up when you complete the objective.
    • The second game does away with the distinction for the purpose of the main game, putting action levels in two extra constellations.
  • Chainsaw Good: The chainsaw is one of the most powerful weapons in the game, capable of killing dragons, Cthulhu and even God.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Maxwell. Rooster helmet. Need I say more?
    • Apparently somebody realized exactly HOW awesome this hat was, and made a REAL ONE a Preorder Bonus!
  • Combinatorial Explosion: Even ignoring other examples on this page, we know that the Moon turns Villains into Werewolves, Water shorts out anything electric, people dance to Keyboard Cat, and you can create a Zombie by using a Battery to jump-start a corpse. In fact, it is literally impossible to do every single combination possible in the game in a human lifetime. 5th Cell is phenomenal.
  • Collision Damage: "Nail", "spear" and "spike" all destroy everything they touch. With the proper application of glue, anything can turn into a weapon.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: God vs. Cthulhu, for one. God wins, by the way.
  • Creative Closing Credits
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: While not a cutscene, the official artwork for Post 217 defines the gameplay completely.
    • You can ride any large creature by placing a "Saddle" on it, then hopping on. This doesn't necessarily make them tame enough to use like a vehicle, but it sure looks cool.
    • Use a "Cupid Bow" to tame them to that point. It's fun to ride a Hydra, Sea Serpent, or a T-Rex like a horse. The Sea serpent is especially fun!
    • "Poison" also works, for that matter. Although, they will look like they died at first.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: The DJ, which is both a summonable item and one of the avatars.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Given enough time, it's possible to kill a dinosaur with a spoon. (Provided he doesn't eat you first.)
  • Delivery Stork: One level tasks you with getting a baby to a king and queen, with a stork asleep nearby. The assumption being, the stork is shirking its job. Hurting it makes the level end. Storks will also protect any babies that happen to be nearby.
  • Developer's Room: Spawning and using the Teleporter item may take you to 5th Cell headquarters.
  • Development Gag: "Scribblenaut" spawns the original protagonist before he was changed to Maxwell. Your reward for Hundred-Percent Completion is the ability to play as that character.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The most obvious way is to summon a bigger fish, but there are many more Crazy Awesome ways of doing this.
    • Actually, it is played as straight as it possibly can get. You can summon Cthulhu himself, but he has a relativity low damage threshold.
    • In the level editor, you can actually make something eat Cthulhu.
    • One mission has you kill a Shoggoth.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Three months of the game's development were devoted to just making lists of things. They wanted to make sure that you really have everything. There's a Whole separate page for this trope for this game
    • Whilst the goal of each level is to get the Starite, using the notepad to create a "starite" just gives you an imitation MacGuffin that works just like any throwable item. No easy ways out here, folks!
      • Except the final puzzle level.
    • While there is a shrink ray, there is no way to make things giant. FOR SHAME, DEV TEAM.
      • There is a growth ray in Super Scribblenauts, though.
    • Surprising aversion: "immortal" does not protect a creature from a "dead potion", although the carcass will be indestructible.
  • Double Standard: Atheist runs from God, but not Goddess (who will try to protect him) in the first game.
  • Dummied Out: A rather poor attempt at it in the first game.. The original's manual mentioned you could buy 30 extra levels from the ollars store.. They never added the levels, and instead of just removing the section where you're supposed to buy them, they made the buttons to get to it invisible.. What happens when you access this section? Your game freezes.
  • Easter Egg: Including a literal egg.
    • In one puzzle, your objective is to get a group of bad guys into heaven. This can be easily accomplished by placing a stairway near them.
    • It's a bit ruined now thanks to all the 'HOLY CRAP GOD VS CTHULHU!' stuff at E3, but at Puzzle Stage 5-1, try scrolling allllll the way down.
    • Also, summon any type of bread that takes the "loaf" form. "Bread" and "Toast" work. Then summon a cat. "Use" the bread on said cat.
    • The kinda-sorta but not really hidden ARCADE MACHINE mini-game.
  • Eats Babies: Summon some kind of human and a "Delicious Baby" in Super Scribblenauts Also, if you summon a dingo and a baby, guess what happens.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Several, including "Cthulhu," "Shambler," and "Shoggoth".
  • Electrified Bathtub: Throwing any electrical device into water (even something as small as a battery) will One-Hit Kill anything nearby, not to mention short-circuiting (activating) switches.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: While an ordinary "Elf" is no trouble, try putting a "Wood Elf" and a "Dwarf" next to each other. If both unarmed, the dwarf panics and is slain by the elf. If both equally armed, the dwarf will defeat the wood elf.
  • Epic Fail: Go ahead. Type it in. See what happens.
    • You get a nuke, which blows up everything. Including you.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The game will certainly reward any player who had a childhood obsession with dinosaurs. T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Plesiousaurus, Apatosaurus, Spinosaur, Dimetrodon, and ARCHEOPTERYX, of all things.
  • Evil Twin: Spawn anything relating to Maxwell himself ("Maxwell", "Me", "Clone", "Protagonist", etc.)[2] and you get a opposite colored clothed Maxwell who steals things right from the hands of the innocent and whose presence scares most people. Typing in "Clone" actually spawns a slightly different Maxwell lookalike than "Maxwell, "Me", "Protagonist", etc. He has a few different animations (including a weird floating limb and head thing) and doesn't scare people, but he still steals things.
    • In the sequel, evil Maxwell has his own notebook and will summon random objects from out of thin air, just like you. He's also the final boss.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: The first mission in Dark Hollow (9-1) includes the clue "Get the bad guys to heaven!" Upon further inspection, the "bad guys" are a prisoner, a bully, and a lawyer.
  • Explosive Breeder: Place two rabbits next to each other, and they will multiply until the object meter fills up. In the sequel, they will merely spawn two "baby bunnies".
    • This used to be a bug (before release). The rabbits would spawn so many other rabbits that the game would crash.
    • A fertile woman will spawn kids until the object meter is full.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The Shoggoth.
  • Face Heel Turn: Using "earth magic" will turn anyone evil. Even God and Santa Claus. Using "mind control device" or "Cupid bow" will turn some (but not all) evil characters good.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink
  • Follow the Leader: Before the game even came out (in fact, only a few days before), a Flash Game called "The Wizard's Notebook" borrowed the game's central concept but with a much smaller dictionary.
  • Forced Tutorial: Any time that you want to start a new game, you must waste 3 minutes trying to skip through levels 0-X. If you try to summon any items in level 0-6 (the only time that you can summon something on these levels), it will immediately disappear, no matter its properties. This was quite annoying for people on launch day, who discovered to their dismay that they couldn't get to the part of the game where you can summon stuff and solve levels right away - which is, you know, the entire point of the game.
    • Well, you can use the notebook at the title screen...
    • This is averted in the sequel. You can exit during the tutorial in the pause menu.
  • Freeze Ray: Like everything else in the game, this is summonable.
  • Freud Was Right: The inclusion of adjectives in the second game. This includes "Naked," which will give anything a Caucasian skin tone. Including sausages.
  • Fridge Logic: You can run into this when comparing different summonable objects on nearly any sort of scale. Like how ants are larger than grenades (either those are the tiniest grenades ever, or huge fricking ants).
    • Some objects don't do things or interact the way you would expect.
  • Game Breaking Bug: The developers described a bug which they thankfully caught at the E3 release: A pair of rabbits would multiply so quickly, baby bunnies would keep appearing until the game crashed. This was fixed for the final version with the rabbits breeding until your object meter fills up.
    • Also according to this blog "We also tried to attach wings to a motorcycle with some glue and then ride it off a jump. We jumped on the motorcycle the game froze. The developer actually thanked us for breaking it though."
    • Chaingun vs. Godmother = game freeze.
    • The game freezes when you try to access the 30 buyable levels.
  • Game Breaker: Worried about Maxwell's safety? In the sequel, just give him an invincible potion.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: What you get when you type in "Enemy," and the standard form of foe for many levels.
  • Gender Bender: In the sequel, a female or male potion.
    • You can also make a Female Male and a Male Female.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Typing "Giant Crab" gets you a normal crab in the first game. Typing "Enemy Crab" will get you a normal crab. Typing "Giant Enemy Crab" gets you this trope. It even appears in a level with three samurai with the hint "For Massive Damage!"
  • God: The game considers this a synonym for "deity". Yes, you can summon a Grandpa God.
    • So is Goddess.
    • God seems to function as a God mode - he can solve most combat-oriented problems with ease.
      • But Death can defeat him.
      • So can Longcat.
      • Robot dinosaurs can, too (type in "robosaur").
      • And he fights Cthulhu to a draw.
      • But he's much better in a fight when he's got a chainsaw.
      • And Nathan Hernandez (also with chainsaw) can beat even that.
      • If you piss off a ghost it is immortal, being both nonphysical and already dead.
    • Playable in the sequel. Odin and Thor show up. Thor is also playable.
  • Ghost Ship
  • Glass Cannon: Edison. Very powerful (he can one-hit kill Maxwell in sandbox mode), but takes only one hit before dying.
  • Grandpa God: Writing "God" causes a manifestation like this.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first world, set in a forest.
  • The Greys: The standard alien. Typing in "Xenomorph" also results in one of these.
  • Grotesque Cute: What happens when a certain kind of player plays Scribblenauts. That, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Guess the Verb: Inverted. A lot of people spend time trying to guess something the game doesn't have.
    • Sort of played straight in Super Scribblenauts which had a lot more guessing games and sometimes didn't accept reasonable answers.
  • Guns Are Worthless: In a combat-heavy stage, don't get an ordinary gun (or most ranged weapons for that matter). Not because of low firepower, but because of limited ammunition. (NPCs don't suffer from this problem, though).
  • Hand Cannon: While typing in "Hand Cannon" provides an early firearm, typing in "Gyrojet" yields a pistol as big as Maxwell which fires exploding ammo. That's right, folks, they put a bolter in.
    • Actually, such a thing exists.
    • Try typing in "barrel gun". The resulting pistol's barrel is as big as Maxwell's head.
  • Harmless Freezing: You can freeze anything using a Freeze Ray, and it doesn't harm it.
    • A kid in one level of the sequel is frozen solid.
  • High-Class Glass: The Philosiraptor's defining characteristic, aside from its lack of speed.
    • In Super Scribblenauts, a "Gentlemanly" anything will be wearing a monocle. Even a monocle.
  • Hilarity Ensues: When objects interact in unexpected ways.
  • Historical Hilarity: It is possible to summon George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Horny Devils: Natch. Only "Succubus" summons a unique monster, however; "Incubus" and "Devil" are synonymous.
  • Hundred-Percent Completion: Requires you to beat each level with three different solutions. There's 220 levels. Go figure.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The tutorial explicitly states that things summoned must be real life objects and must not be any of the above: a place, proper name, suggestive material, shape, Latin or Greek root word, alcohol, race or culture, vulgarity or copyrighted. How about: Abraham Lincoln, Cthulhu, Adamantium, or Mythril? They don't follow the guidelines, but you can spawn them because they're not copyrighted. Even 5th Cell is there so you can summon it.
    • Fridge Logic: You can't summon anything racist, vulgar, or suggestive, but you can summon Cthulhu. Presumably, it's Hand Waved by the fact that Cthulhu isn't anything vulgar, racist, or suggestive.
      • They did get in some trouble for an accidental one that snuck by: Sambo summons a watermelon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51nKrAlxXbw And apparently it's actually the real name of a fruit. The word was removed from the sequel, as was the common word for the taxonomic family it belongs to.
        • The game claims it doesn't deal in culture or race, yet one still can summon Imam, Rabbi and Priest for all one's culturally insensitive bar jokes.
          • And the Imam will follow a Rabbi or Priest around going "Hm?" with a question mark over his head. Also, you can't give the Imam bacon.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Dropping a radioactive rock on someone turns them into a mutant.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Not only are there human cannibals, but cows and pigs will also and happily munch on beef and pork. Ew. Though at least cows will attack you afterwards.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Inevitably, Maxwell. When you've got just about every noun in the English language at your disposal, this sort of thing is bound to happen.
    • In the sequel, it's even more inevitable with adjectives. Beware the man riding a rainbow of pandas going in a full circle wielding a colossal zanbato!
  • Improvised Platform: you can write the name of any object you want, such as "dock" or even "floating platform".
  • Incest Is Relative: "Wife" and "Mom" produce the same woman. But so does "Woman"--some Fridge Squick is a little inevitable when there's one "generic female NPC." And one "generic male NPC."
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Try using the shrink ray... Or Shrink Magic.
    • Small potion in the sequel.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The wizard staff can kill anything with relative ease.
    • The sequel's Infinity+1 Sword? Dead potion.
    • Even better is a quick deadly sword. It'll one-hit-kill EVERYTHING. Not just everyone, EVERYTHING.
    • Hell, just add the adjective Deadly to ANYTHING and it's a Infinity+1 Sword.
  • Item Get: Starite get!
  • Jerkass: Maxwell really kind of is.
    • All the while remaining blankly cheerful.
      • Well, actually, if he really is, that's what you make of him. So, if there's someone to be blamed for this, it's the player.
  • Joke Item: There are a lot of goofy items in the game, but the most obviously jokey ones are the ones based on Memetic Mutation.
  • Just Eat Him: Summon Edison. You'll find he does just that.
  • Killer App: Even before its release, millions of DS units were sold just for the game.
  • Kill It with Fire
  • Kitchen Sink Included: Yes, you can spawn one.
  • Law of Disproportionate Response: Throw a pillow at God and he'll try to kill you.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: "Lightsaber" is not a word, but "laser sword" is. "Frisbee" doesn't work, either, but "Flying Disc" will.
  • LOLcats: Ceiling Cat, Spaghetti Cat, Longcat, Tacgnol and Monorail Cat are all present in this game.
    • In fact there are 19, 20 or 21 different kinds of cat, both in breed and in coat colour, in the game. 19 proper, 20 and 21 if you count an Egyptian Mau/Lynx that looks like a grey Persian that growls like a larger cat, or a tiger cub that meows like a cat.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Blob will destroy any creature, provided said creature is not on fire.
  • Lethal Joke Item: "Post 217." Looks like a billboard based on the "ROBOT ZOMBIES" story, acts like a nuke.
    • Longcat is apparently stronger in a direct confrontation with God. He hates water, though.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: It can jumpstart cars and revive corpses, just to name two uses.
  • Literal Minded: Puzzle level 10-11. Hint: "Write the answer". Answer? "Answer"
    • Though other words will work too. You can use anything that normally summons a false starite.
  • Made of Explodium: Summon a Gas Tank and see what happens if you so much as look at it the wrong way.
  • Made of Plasticine: Maxwell can take the same number of hits as a baby.
    • Except in the sandbox, in which case Maxwell has no hitpoints and can only be killed by Edison, or a screen-wipe.
  • Malevolent Architecture
  • Market-Based Title: The recently-revealed Japanese title for the first game is "Hirameki[3] Puzzle: Maxwell's Peculiar Notebook."
    • The Japanese release of its sequel averts this, strangely enough, simply sticking with the original title.
  • Master of Disguise: Maxwell seems to be one of these, judging how Super Scribblenauts contains a merit called "Maxwell In Disguise" for using an avatar.
  • Memetic Mutation: There are several silly Internet memes included In-Universe as Easter eggs, including:
  • Mercury's Wings: One of the many ways you can make Maxwell fly is to write winged sandals. You could also write winged helmet but it doesn't fly.
  • Mister Seahorse: The adjective "Pregnant" makes the unit spawn a baby version of itself. It works with literally anything.
  • Monster Mash: One mission in Dark Hollow has Maxwell trying to enter a party attended by Jenny Greenteeth, a Skeleton Warrior, The Invisible Man, a tanuki and a Doppelganger. Another one puts him against two gargoyles, two Flatwoods Monsters, the Jersey Devil and a chimera.
  • Moral Guardians: Despite their desire to include everything, the devs decided that vulgar things would have to be left out. So if your first action upon opening up any text input/creation tool in any game is to input the word "ass," you'll get a donkey. Same thing also goes with stuff that's technically under copyright.
    • As well as a few other words that do have a non-vulgar alternative, like "dick" for a detective and "cock" for a chicken.
  • More Dakka: In Super Scribblenauts, it's entirely possible to make guns that wield other guns, which wield other guns.
  • Motivation on a Stick: You can set this up using a "plank", "glue", and something the character wants.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: A Take That. "Virgin" and "Gamer" make the same effect in the first game. "Otaku", too.
  • Nice Hat: Maxwell's helmet is race car red and has not one, not two, but three horns. That's pretty awesome. It's been dubbed the Rooster Hat by the fan-base.
    • Even nicer hats are possible. A wizard sitting on a saddle strapped to a bear riding a unicycle glued to a top hat? Now that is a fine piece of headgear.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: The game includes both "passive" and "hostile" nihilists.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Priests, vampires and longcats are almost completely invincible; the only known ways to eliminate them are Edison, Black Holes, nuclear weapons, and other sources of one hit kills.
    • In fact, vampires can be easily killed with some creative thinking. Stakes, holy water, crosses and even garlic are one-hit kills. Alternatively, you can summon a sun and watch the vampire die on his own.
    • Longcat can be eaten quite easily by a dragon or a large carnivorous dinosaur.
    • Anything you want in the sequel. The weakness? Dead potion.
    • Well, any person that might represent a religious sect is indestructible to anything that doesn't wipe the screen or destroy absolutely anything. This includes priests, rabbi, imam, nuns, and atheists.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Post 217 is a fantastic example of this: there are robot zombies. Which are defeated by riding a dinosaur through time.
    • There's also robot hamsters and robosaurs.
    • And ninja sharks.
    • And a Philosoraptor.
    • You can make a Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot by giving a robot zombie a pirate hat and shuriken.
    • The sequel adds an entire dictionary for adjectives. Robot Ninjas fighting Zombie Pirates, anyone?
  • Noodle Implements: ...the game!
  • Nostalgia Level: Using the Time Machine in Super Scribblenauts will occasionally send you back to the first stage of the original game. There's another Maxwell (the normal one, not the doppelgänger. You can not identify him.) running around there, and you can even collect the Starite, and you need it for Hundred-Percent Completion. You can use potions on the normal Maxwell.
      • You can even kill your past self.
    • The sequel's last level ends with writing the answer again, only now you're on the moon!
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: Water shorts out a variety of electrical items, including some you wouldn't expect to be electrical at all.
  • Oh Crap: The moment in Action level 4-6 when the giant crab shows up out of nowhere.
  • One-Hit Kill: "Edison" will eat anything alive in one bite, including you.
    • This doesn't work on the Kraken, sadly.
    • Or robosaur.
    • Or longcat.
      • The adjective "Deadly" seems to turn anything into this in the sequel.
      • Dead potion.
  • One Million BC: Reachable via Time Machine.
  • Overly Long Gag: The hint of action level 10-9 goes on for about 20 hint boxes and, rather then giving any actual hint to the straightforward level, contains a somewhat amusing rant. Something about coffee, steak, and rules to live your life on.
  • Panacea: In the sequel, using this on a sick being cures them. Using it on a healthy being makes them invincible.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Witches won't attack you if you wear a witch hat.
  • Planimal: You can add "wooden" to anything in the sequel.
  • Pothole: The programmers had a little fun assigning words as synonyms. For example, inputting "Science" will produce a Large Hadron Collidor.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Neogaf vehicle is powered by a gamer. If you interact with the Neogaf logo instead of riding it, a gamer will pop out and the logo will no longer fly.
  • Preorder Bonus: Maxwell's Nice Hat, as a matter of awesome fact.
    • When you pre-order the sequel, as you can see, you get some nice plush headphones. They come in grey, polka-dot, and the pictured camouflage.
  • Puff of Logic: In the sequel an atheist can kill God. By thinking.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Summon an atheist, then summon God, the atheist runs away. However if you summon a gun for the atheist, this trope happens.
    • Subverted in the sequel: if an atheist so much as TOUCHES God, God goes *POOF!*
  • Raising the Steaks: In the sequel you can make anything undead. Literally anything. Even things that were never alive to begin with. Can add a little Narm in the fact that you can summon a colossal undead banana, which will then jump around attacking the living.
  • Reality Writing Book
  • Rule of Cool: There's a plot, but who cares when you've just turned into Gordon Freeman and are using a crowbar to beat the tar out of zombie robots with God fighting alongside you?
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: "Stump the Dictionary" was popular when the game was being demonstrated at E3. Some gamers have also sworn to complete the game with specific-item runs (like beating every level with a dinosaur, or stuff like that).
  • Shout-Out: A trailer showed Maxwell with a hazmat suit minus the helmet, glasses, and a crowbar. And the video that shows Feep (linked above) also has "GAF" summon the NeoGAF logo.
  • Shown Their Work: A kappa will eat cucumber. In the sequel, they also get the friendly adjective.
  • Somewhere a Palaeontologist Is Crying:
    • Plateosaurus is NOT a hadrosaur, so why does its name summon a Hadrosaur? Also:
    • The word Dunkleosteus summons a shark.
    • In the first game, the word Microraptor summoned a Pteranodon, in Super Scribblenauts it correctly summons a feathered dinosaur, however, it's a little big for a Microraptor. Luckily, the adjective "tiny" fixes that.
    • The word Ceratosaurus summons a T-rex, and so do the names of several other meat-eating dinosaurs that were not Tyrannosaurs.
    • The word Ichtyostega summons a plesiosaur.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: See comments regarding Grotesque Cute and Sugar Apocalypse. The music remains cheerful throughout.
  • Star-Shaped Coupon: Starites.
  • Start Screen: It acts like a sandbox mode, allowing you to just play around and summon whatever you want. In the sequel, you can customize it.
  • Stepford Smiler: Maxwell won't stop smiling. Even if he's burning to death.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Dynamite, C4, nukes -- you've got plenty of options.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Literally; with a shrink ray, it's possible to stuff a fridge into a fridge.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: It is fully within your power to turn Maxwell's world into a thoroughly Crap Saccharine World, through whatever means you deem appropriate.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: You can summon anything, so this is a natural way to solve combat-related problems.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The DS's stylus obviously is one for the player, but in Super Scribblenauts, that distinction falls on potions: when you create one, any adjective you decide to adjunct to it is the potion's effect. Go nuts.
  • Take That: "Virgin" maps to "gamer". Also, "scientist", "astronomer", "nerd" and "dork" are all represented by the same character.
    • Also, an Indy Escape level has the hint, "The fourth one is bad." (Pay note to said trope's name.)
    • "Day" is not in the game. Neither is "Night." Nor "Afternoon," or "Dawn," or "Dusk," or "Sunset," or any other time of day (since they're immaterial, after all)... but "Twilight" is. It summons a black hole.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: You can summon them, and they take you to a variety of places such as outer space or 5th Cell's office.
  • Time Machine: One of the summonable objects. It allows you to either move forward or backwards in time.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Maxwell may as well be the king of this trope. Death? God? Cthulhu?
  • Throw It In: When someone actually succeeded at "Stump The Dictionary" at E3 (like with "plumbob"), the devs made a note to add the word before release. They also threw in the references to Feep's infamous post.
  • Try Everything: This is where the fun comes from.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A good deal of summoned human characters tend to chow down on any can of arsenic they see.
    • You can cure them, however, with "dimercaptosuccinic acid". Just like in real life. And Ruby Quest.
      • Good luck trying to spell it.
  • Total Party Kill: Try typing in "atom bomb" or "tsunami". Or drop a meteor from high up.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Need to knock down bottles? SUMMON A BATTLESHIP!!!
  • The Tetris Effect: After playing Scribblenauts, you'll find yourself coming up with ludicrous ways to solve problems in real life, even if you can't actually do that. Like thinking "I wish I could call Einstein to beat that stupid physics teacher up..." or "I wish I could go home riding a velociraptor...". Possibilities are endless.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Level 10-5 (the final normal level) of Super Scribblenauts. Also, try writing "arcade machine."
  • Universal Driver's License: Maxwell. In addition to "mundane" vehicles like cars, pogo sticks, and boats, Maxwell can also drive tanks, helicopters, and ride dragons, unicorns...
  • Unobtanium: Easily obtained, in your choice of Adamantium or Mythril. Both are pretty much indestructible.
    • Even better? In the sequel, Adamantium is an adjective.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Double Subverted: While the last Action level was designed to be Unwinnable if attempted the hard way, it's still possible to flip every switch and press every button through the clever use of glue, anvils and shrink rays. However, neither the switches nor the buttons actually work.
  • Vague Age: Maxwell.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As suggested by the devs themselves: "Make an elephant, make a pool, drop the elephant in the pool, make a shark..." And watch the fun begin!
    • You can put a baby into an oven.
    • To quote the ESRB's justification for the E10+ rating: "a club can be used to hit an animal; steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions; rockets can be lobbed at a man".
    • Please, please don't put any kind of cat and dog together. I died a little inside.
      • Unless it's Super Scribblenauts and it's a "peaceful dog."
      • Or the dog is ticklish and you glue a feather to the cat. The dog will alternate between aggression and fear. That could be considered cruelty of a different variety, though.
    • You can have a dingo eat a baby.
    • An early level in World 2 has a few trick or treaters visiting you on Halloween. You can give them candy, or you can give them something very dangerous to their health. Either works.
      • Or you can just throw a rock or shoot at them. You can even beat it with no items by throwing a pre-spawned jack o' lantern at the kids.
    • You can make something simultaneously pregnant and cannibalistic. No points for guessing what happens next.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Part of the Combinatorial Explosion: Dracula runs from Garlic (or Garlic Bread), Bigfoot runs from Cameras, and atheists run from God.
    • Unless those atheists have a shotgun.
      • And the in the sequel, it's atheist that's God's weakness.
  • Weapons Are Useless: "Godmother" turns any weapon summoned into a rose. Including bullets from guns, and you can't erase those roses. This can cause problems when you fire unerasable bullets from guns, especially the auto-fire Chaingun, at her. As a result of this glitch, she was Nerfed in the sequel to lose this ability.
    • Apparently, gaining control of adjectives gives you immunity to them, meaning paint, Medusa head, and Shrink Ray won't work on you anymore.
  • Western Terrorists: What you summon when you type in "Terrorist," "Anarchist," "Arsonist," or "Madman."
  • Wide Open Sandbox: While it's technically a puzzle-platformer, Scribblenauts' central conceit is going to make it hard to resist playing it like one of these. To that end, the dev team has thoughtfully designed the start screen to be sort of a "sandbox mode", so you can have hours of fun without even loading your save file!
  • The Wiki Rule: Here.
  • With This Herring: Completely and utterly avoided. There's no such thing as "low-level equipment" when you've got everything, after all.[4] With This Herring, but then again, see all the Shout Outs above...For the record, you can't. [5]
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Maxwell isn't shy about wearing women's clothing. Or babies' clothing. Or... anyone's clothing, really.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Pegasus is afraid of dolls.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: You're going to kill him with a ninja riding a dinosaur and wielding a rocket launcher? Why don't ya just suck him into a black hole? (Answer: because it's more fun that way.)
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The 'clone' will not become infected by a zombie. Something of an Unfortunate Implication.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: "Taser", "frisbee", and "lightsaber" are not in the dictionary whereas "stun gun", "flying disc" and "laser sword" are.
  • Yandere: Summon a "girlfriend" or "cheerleader". Then summon a "psycho" or "stalker". Notice the similarities, yet notice the difference.
  • Your Mom: Note that just "Mom" summons a normal woman whereas "Your Mom" summons a zombie. Hmmmm...

The second game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Any adjective applied to a projectile weapon will also apply to its projectiles. This can be useful (an "explosive gun" will shoot exploding bullets, and a "flaming gun"'s burning ammo can set its targets on fire) or completely useless (a "pretty gun" will shoot bullets that wear little tiaras).
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Whatever Potion
  • BFG / BFS: Yes, you can literally summon a "big" "flaming" sword, gun, or anything else.
  • Boring but Practical: The "immovable" adjective makes objects, well, impossible to move by any means, including gravity.
  • Cartoon Cheese: Try making something "CHEESY."
  • Censor Bar: The "Birthday Suit" is a nude body costume with one of these.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Among other things, you can create, say, Winged Wings, or Burning Fire, or a Lycanthropic Werewolf, or a Zombie Zombie, or a Giant Giant, or a Robot Robot. Some of these are visibly different from the normal: Winged Wings are wings wearing wings, for example, and a King King wears a crown... on top of his crown.
  • Dirty Communists: "Communist" is an adjective.
  • Fearless Fool: Giving a creature the adjective Brave will cause him / her / it to fight back anyone that harms him, even especially if they don't stand a change of beating it. (ex. Brave Man vs Evil Dragon)
  • Fridge Brilliance: The sequel's title. You know how the main draw is adjectives that will enhance objects? Why else would it be Super Scribblenauts?
  • Game Breaking Bug: A bug sometimes occurs, in which Maxwell randomly ascends to the skies and never comes down. This renders the sandbox mode (arguably the best part of the game) unplayable.
  • Gay Option: In one of the levels, Maxwell has to but presents for each of his parents and his girlfriend, based on the objects they have in their rooms. And if you switch to a female avatar...
  • Fission Mailed: In the sequel's last level. It says "Try again: The starite was destroyed." with the only button saying "No way".
  • Fridge Horror: The ending of the sequel. The Starites are destroyed, Jeremiah Slazcka, a baby, a deer and Barack Obama all die and Maxwell is stuck on the moon. The time machine shows that the future is apocalyptic and people have already left for Mars. Hopefully a third game will clear things up.
    • Actually, Maxwell isn't stuck on the moon. Sometime in the near future he uses a time machine to get off it. Other than transporting you back to the first level of the original game, it occasionally also transports you to the final level of this game. Here you can see Maxwell quickly walk into a time machine and disappear
    • Wait... how the hell did they manage to give Scribblenauts, a game with no remarkable plot, a Downer Ending? ...as depressing as that is, it's kind of impressive.
    • Only one Starite is destroyed, and the final puzzle is to summon up a replacement.
  • Guide Dang It: To get the final merit, you must "apply the secret Super Scribblenauts adjective". The only clue is that the merit is called "The Fourth Wall". The adjective is Scribblenautical if you were wondering. It gives everything the rooster hat.
  • G-Rated Sex: Try summoning "Pregnant Potion".
  • High-Class Glass: Try applying the adjectives "dapper" or "gentlemanly" to things.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Handle the "Nuclear" adjective with extreme care.
  • Mini Game: Summoning the Arcade Machine and using it lets you play a little mini-game where you must defend a wall from falling bombs. You not only get an achievement for doing so, your file also tracks your high score!
  • Nostalgia Level: The first level from the original game appears as an Easter Egg - very occasionally, the time machine, instead of taking you where you asked to go, will take you to said level. Maxwell from the past and the starite appear as well, and collecting said Starite is required for One Hundred Percent Completion.
  • Logic Bomb: Averted, typing in contradicting adjectives such as "Blue Yellow Apple" will result in the game ignoring all contradicting adjectives apart from the last one.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Among many other possibilities, you can add (and remove) wings to any creature or monster with the "winged" and "wingless" adjectives. (Cue the Flying Pigs?)
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The "Lycanthropic" adjective will add "shaggy" brown fur and "fangs" to any object exposed to the light of a "full moon".
  • Sequel Escalation: Adding a dictionary of adjectives means that your seemingly limitless repertoire of potential objects is now multiplied by an equally limitless number of modifiers. Good luck trying to write them all.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: What you get from anything with the "exploding" adjective.
  • Taken for Granite: Gorgons can petrify creatures. If you kill the gorgon or summon a gorgon head, you can use the head as a weapon.
  • Teens Are Short: The adjective "teenage" makes objects smaller.

T-V-T-R-O-P-E-S *poof*

Notes

  1. Which is a pun on the addition of adjectives to the game.
  2. Except for "Llewxam", that'll just create a DS cartridge.
  3. Could mean "insight" or "flash"
  4. It is unlikely that you have the capability to cut down a tree
  5. Unless, that is, you use a long, deadly fish in the sequel...
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