Super Scribblenauts, it becomes readily apparent why you'd want to use the D-pad to manipulate the game's hero, Maxwell. So why wasn't that an option in the first game? Joystiq asked 5TH Cell Creative Director Jeremiah Slaczka, and were told that the original touch-screen input didn't draw any complaints -- at least not from casual players. "We haven't gotten any emails from casual users," he told us this week, "that are like, 'Hey, I don't like the controls.' It's the hardcore users that are like, 'I play Mario all of the time, and I'm a hardcore gamer, and I'm used to these kinds of controls, and what's what I want."
Though controlling Maxwell directly with the D-pad may seem an obvious choice, it wasn't the first time around. "Maxwell's actually an AI," Slaczka said. "So it wasn't just like throw the D-pad controls in." Maxwell was programmed to respond to the rest of the game's systems rather than just follow button directions, and so it didn't occur to the developers to control him directly. "You'd have to overwrite all of the code that we'd built up for him. So in the second one, we basically did that." The team "stripped out" all of the behaviors and responses that had been coded, and created the option for "one-to-one player control."
For his own part, Slaczka says he doesn't care which option players use, but he'll stick with the stylus. "This isn't a platforming game," he said. "This is a puzzle game. Unfortunately, it has a platforming-type feel to it. So we said for the second one, that's fine, we'll address it, we'll give you both. And we actually fixed up the stylus controls, too, so Maxwell doesn't run away as you tap -- when you let go he stops. So we made it way better."