Scribblenauts: Bazookas Blowing Up Piranhas

Ride That Shiz!

I played some more Scribblenauts today, and I’m continually impressed with this little game. It’s gone from something I hadn’t heard of, to something I bought my girlfriend because she likes puzzles, to something I can’t get out of my head. Scribblenauts is one of the more recent games where I actually found that failing is awesome.

Consider today. I’m trying to pick up some goddamn flowers for a chick. Whatever, okay, cool. It quickly becomes clear to me that one bouquet is underneath, straight chilling with a piranha.

It seems like it has a pretty simple solution to a meat head like me. I’ll conjure up a fucking bazooka, and teach that piranha about the dangers of explosive devices. Never mind the fact that I’m wondering why this chick wants these flowers that are absolutely soaked, and ruined by a flesh-devouring monster left over from the prehistoric days.

So I’m all, you know, get ready to feast on death, Mr. Piranha. I aim, I fire…I explode. I blow up a nearby tree, I blow up myself, and the piranha telepathically conveys me the finger.


Solving puzzles is awesome, and half the fun of Scribblenauts has been wondering what exactly will solve the problem. I’m sitting there, having to give a fireman (or is it firefighter or fireperson?) something he’d like to hold. I’m like, here dude, hold this oxygen mask.

He ain’t feeling it.

Really bro? You’re going to run into some flaming cauldron of asbestos and you want to suck wind? Curious. But I wasn’t pissed. I equipped the chap with an axe and apparently he was ready to play the hero. I found myself talking shit to him, even as I trashed object after object, but somehow it was fun. Thinking? Fun? Well played 5th Cell.

Scribblenauts: No Dildos, But Racial Terms?


ZOMG, controversy surrounding Scribblenauts? I lamented the lack of dildos in the game earlier in the day, but apparently there’s buzz about the word “sambo”:

Via Kotaku:

What happens when you write “sambo”? You get a watermelon.

I’m a naive sheltered white kid who was luckily raised by two very open-minded parents. And as such, I had never heard the term before.

According to Kotaku:

The word “sambo” has been used to demean and degrade Africans and African-Americans alike. “Sambo” was a common slave name in the U.S., and the late 19th century children’s book The Story of Little Black Sambo is cited as furthering the word as a slur. While the book was set in southern Indian, it did play on the blackface iconography and African-American intellectuals have been critical of the pickaninny motifs


There was even a New Jersey brand of watermelon called “Sambo brand”

Weird. The Scribblenauts’ creative director Jeremiah Slaczka retorted:

Via Kotaku:

Slaczka said that the word was included in Scribblenauts because it is an ingredient of the Ecuadorian dish Fancesca, which is listed, on Wikipedia, as including a “figleaf gourd,” or “sambo.” A Google image search of the term “figleaf gourd” produces an image that looks like a watermelon. Slaczka said that it is common to use the same image for multiple words in Scribblenauts and that that is the reason a word meant to depict a figleaf gourd appears to be a watermelon.

Oh boy. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing about this one for a few days. I don’t really understand how this could have gotten past the Scribblenauts team. Knowing people given the function of this game, the first thing a bunch of intrepid nerds were going to do was…try every single imaginable slur, curse word, and questionable noun. While I had no idea what sambo meant or the negative connotations it carried, it is hard to fathom there wasn’t a group of people or person in charge of preventing something like this from happening.

Someone’s Christmas bonus is going to get significantly lighter!

Scribbenauts And I Disagree On Key Cultural Ideas


I bought Scribblenauts for my girlfriend yesterday. It’s a pretty dope puzzle game, and I knew she’d like it. I watched her play it for a bit, and it seems fun enough. But then I came to a pretty big disagreement with the game over the concept of vulgarity and what constitutes it.

Caffeine: Do you think you can use a dildo in the game? Or is that vulguar?

Note how I even have to ask this.

Far Too Patient Girlfriend: I’m pretty sure that’s vulgar.

Insert some serious silence while I ponder.

Caffeine: Really? Like…really?

I again doze off into rumination.

Far Too Patient Girlfriend: It’s a dildo.

Caffeine: Yeah, exactly! I mean, it’s a device that brings pleasure. How is that vulgar?

Sorry Scribblenauts, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Apparently you’re like everyone else in this boring Puritanical country. I mean, I should have known we’d part ways. I’m the same guy that finds it completely acceptable to discuss bowel movements and masturbation at the dinner table with my eighty-seven year-old Nana. I mean, c’mon! It’s just a beautiful scientific discovery we’ve fashioned to give women and me pleasure. It’s not vulgar, it’s beautiful.