It's remarkable how little you need to hear about some games to get a feeling for how they play.
Look at Gangstar: West Coast Hustle. All I have to say is, it's a Grand Theft Auto-style game for the iPhone.
Immediately, you understand you play as a gang member. You hijack cars and motorcycles. You undertake missions, like killing other gang members.
And you read dialogue in the vein of: "Hola, vatos! Good news! Remember some punk stole my boy Lil' T's car near the pier? How 'bout you go there and give him a message from us?"
Yes, that's cliché city. But Gangstar is a decent if easy game for the puny iPhone. Just because a game is a copycat doesn't mean it's no fun.
Then there's Need for Speed: Shift. All I have to tell you is, you drive BMWs, Volkswagens and better and worse cars on beautiful tracks around the world.
Shift is more intense and entertaining than the last few, weak Need for Speeds. And you can race your butt off in online multiplayer games.
Okay, now that you've been reminded that games rarely reinvent the wheel, let me tell you about one that does:
Scribblenauts is like nothing you've ever experienced.
You play as a little guy with a blue hat and - when you type the name of an object, that object appears on the screen!
You type "god," and a white-bearded guy in a robe appears. You type "rhino," and a rhino appears. Then, God and the rhino will fight to the death!
In one part, I made a pterodactyl and a mosasaurus come to life next to a military tank in a grocery store, merely by typing those words. How crazy-fun is that?
Tens of thousands of objects can be summoned from the database, minus proper names, vulgarities, shapes, alcohol, race, Greek and Latin.
In 220 mini-games, you're placed in a setting, a scene that looks like a painting, and you must solve a puzzle to escape.
My favorite setting is a Halloween scene where kids come trick-or-treating. You can type "candy" or "chocolate" or whatever to summon candy and chocolate to put in their bags.
Or, you can trick them by summoning "ghost" or "devil" or whatever to scare them away. Be warned: The devil will slay the kids, though you'll escape the mini-game.
You must finish each scene a handful of times in a row, without using the same words you've used before. I once summoned "shark" to eat the Halloween kids, but I lost that round, because I suppose sharks aren't Halloween-y.
Scribblenauts is new to store shelves, but at this year's E3 game convention, it was the first portable game ever to win Best of Show.
It sticks to my brain like glue. It will spawn copycats and sequels, which means in a few years, I will say of some other game, "it's a Scribblenauts-style game," and you'll know exactly what I mean.