Inspired by the never-discouraged mailman, the true professional permits no act of nature, chance or evil to interfere with his coverage of a new video game. But what fun could you have with Super Scribblenauts just 10 minutes after your wedding ring disappeared?
I ventured toward Manhattan's west side yesterday around 5pm Eastern, off a subway with the sudden sensation of air making contact with the base of my left ring finger. I glanced at my hand. Wedding ring gone.
We do not panic in situations like these. We think clearly. Walk up and down the subway station steps for the ring, though surely it couldn't have just fallen off. Not there. Reach the surface of Manhattan's sidewalks and contact the office. They can't find it. Head to the office near ninth avenue where I have an appointment to play Super Scribblenauts and accept the offer of the people there to let me spill the contents of my bag. No ring rolled out. Sometime during that, the initial terror — this was my grandfather's wedding ring before it was mine — my wife was on the phone suggesting I had left it home. Doubtful. I'd have noticed it.
The first Scribblenauts was an ambitious and enjoyable game that contained enough flaws to raise hopes that a tweaked sequel from development studio 5th Cell could and would be built without obvious cracks. Spell almost any concrete noun into that original DS game and a virtual object matching it would appear. That was enough for people who used Scribblenauts' opening title screen as their re-writable Book of Genesis. Let there be pigs and robots and underwear and let's see what happens. The game's levels encouraged that player creativity be used to solve the puzzles that vexed hero Maxwell or to reach a landscape's distant treasure (let there be hot air balloons! and machine guns!). The game was controlled with the DS stylus, which would have been fine if Maxwell didn't drop an object or the object didn't bounce away due to some occasional disagreement between Scribblenauts software and Scribblenauts player about what a given tap would do.
When the mind is racing through the variables of how, when and where a wedding ring is lost, the mind might not be ready to judge the quality of new and improved controls for Super Scribblenauts. The mind might not even be ready to conjure items in a DS sequel's menu screen, less so when encouraged to try Super Scribblenauts' best new feature, support of adjectives.
The wedding-ring-worried mind comes up with nothing fancy: Red Box.
In the title screen for Super Scribblenauts, a red box appeared on the ground in the cave-like setting I had chosen to set Maxwell in. I could have chosen a sunny plain. Dark mood, I guess.
The second conjurable thing that comes to mind should be obvious: Lost Wedding Ring.
An alert appears on the DS' upper screen. Something like: "It's alive." On the lower screen, at Maxwell's feet, there was a wedding ring. Not the gold band I had lost. More of a ring with a diamond rock. This ring scampered. It did not stay in one place.
If my ring had fallen off in the subway — it couldn't have, I was playing Picross 3D the whole time — what would someone who found it do with it? How would they ever get it back to me?
I needed to focus. Those new controls. Optional. You can pick d-pad controls and move Maxwell with the DS' directional pad (or face buttons if you hold the stylus in your left hand). The stylus can drag the screen to move the camera. You tap things to interact with them. Tap and drag them to move them or combine them.
"Microscopic blogger." (My desire to hide from this scary situation?) It rendered a brown-capped writer guy who stood at the height of Maxwell's shoe.
"Mommy blogger." It crossed off "Mommy." Must not have known it could be an adjective.
"Angry striped ostrich." The bird battled the lost wedding ring.
Let me be a newsman, I thought. "Sambo." Nothing. "Fig leafed gourd." Nothing.