So... What is Creatures?
is an incredible game created by Mindscape and Cyberlife.
|It is the result of years of development in artificial life and artificial intelligence|
|(AL and AI), this is cutting edge technology that makes a great fun game.|
|Tons better than a tamagotchi!|
|Steve "Digital God"
Grand, creator of Creatures who I shall let introduce himself in his own words:
"I create artificial life. I apply my scientific skill to the detailed and complex simulation of neurons, biochemicals and genes, and then assemble them delicately and with care into living, breathing virtual creatures. I nurture these tiny defenseless souls into existence, place their miniature, pulsating brains into their cute little heads. And then I kill them."
Artificial life is an attempt by humans to simulate living organisms using computers and
robotics, similarly artificial intelligence is the product of the process of simulating
Creatures embodies both.
The main focus of the Creatures games are norns (see picture to the right) who are fluffy little animals who inhabit a flat world called Albia. The drive of the game is to feed, teach, entertain and breed said norns to improve the race and continue the species.
To this end you can add various objects to the world to help your norns to thrive, and many people from around the world have created and shared them.
As the technology develops
so does the game, three sequels have been released as well as three other games in the same vein.
Creatures 2 was set 1000 years after the first episode, it's main downfall was over
ambitious norns that are too complex and so faulty that it made them impossible to rear.
Luckily several add-ons, both official and unofficial, made the game much more playable.
Creatures 3 is set a millennium before the original Creatures game and is staged on an organic spaceship far from Albia. The mistakes made in Creatures 2 have been ironed out, and the norns themselves are far more intelligent and are positively social. I love this episode almost as much as the original.
A good part of the game is the malleability of the world. Players can export .exp files that contain exported creatures so they can swap them over the internet. Many players have created objects, contained in .cob files and can be added to your world to expand it.
There have even been a few new worlds created by avid fans, which have their own features, thrills and dangers.
Creatures Village is a series of simple, light-hearted spin off Creatures games for younger players. It is brighter, more colourful and simpler to play. Although I have barely played them, others have given them positive reviews.
Thus far there are two episodes called Creatures Adventures and Creatures Playground.
| More recently
Cyberlife released the free game Docking Station (or DS), an internet-compatible
Creatures 3 style game. DS can even "dock" with Creatures 3 if you already own
it, making the total number of terrariums ten (six from C3, four from DS).
There have even been versions of the game made for the Game Boy Advance and two for the PlayStation.
Creatures 4 (previously called Creatures Online) was released in 2016 and is set on the 3D world of Sphericus.
|The Creatures series has a massive following and a thriving online community, we have held online Creatures Community Spirit Festivals every year since 2005. So what do people say about this game?|
"I first saw this program in the same week that evidence was discovered of life on
Mars. This is more exciting."
- Douglas Adams
norns do nothing but party! What can I do?"
- David Chess
"Breed, not bread!! Eat wheat, not norns!! Love 'em not
- Indigo, of the Rights for Norns Society
"The primary thing I've learned is that the majority of
so-called "loving" Creatures players are vindictive, hateful people who lack a
firm grip on reality. "
- AntiNorn, when asked about what he'd learnt from Tortured Norns
"I think realness is over-rated anyway"
- Helen of the Bibble Directory
"There is no trick: These enchanting, irresistible, quasi-conscious little pets live in real time on the screen of your ordinary home computer. Call it a game if you like, but this is the most impressive example of artificial life I have seen."
- Richard Dawkins
All said, I love this game series, and I have been playing the original on and off for over twenty years. I will probably keep getting out the CD, blowing off the dust, and playing Creatures every so often for the foreseeable future.