Sunday, November 27, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 1

How did you get into Creatures in the first place? What game did you start with? What intrigued you about it or was the most fun? Do you have any special or fond memories?

I first heard of Creatures through a mail advertisement that I received. Alongside advertising the latest Petz game, there was one page advertising Creatures. I initially was a little weirded out and thought the norns looked rather strange. I remember my father was playing a lot of Myst at the time, and I think I got a sort of Myst-like vibe from the advertisement. I was very curious, but not exactly excited or felt like the game was worth saving up my meager allowance for.

I was however very much into Petz and when I was allowed internet access I spent a lot of time looking up Petz websites. One thing that was kind of controversial at the time was the idea of petz 'fighting' in which two petz were brought on screen and encouraged to antagonize each other (often by petting one pet until the other got jealous enough to attack). At some point during one of the many community debates about whether or not this was considered "abuse," someone posted a link to Tortured Norns. That was when I finally learned more about that mysterious game on the flyer.

It was actually all the controversy that drew me in. The hate mail page was understandably blocked by the webfilter my parents had installed, but I got the picture that people felt extremely passionate about these little digital lifeforms and I thought, moreso than I had even seen in the Petz community. Kid-me drew the conclusion that if people got this upset over the suffering of these 'norns', then there must be something very realistic, compelling, and endearing about them. I wanted something that emotionally compelling, I realized. So I started saving.

Creatures 2 was about to be released by that time, so I decided that was the better target to save for, since it would of course be better than the first one. (Lord, if only I knew). I saved every penny. It was summer then and I spent a lot of time at the pool scouring around for loose change that people often dropped. At one point I found a $20 bill and thought my saving days were finally over, that soon I would have little norns of my very own, until my mother encouraged me to turn it in to lost and found. It was the right thing to do, but I was a little crushed. I tried other methods, like starting a 'beanie baby camp' in which the neighborhood kids would give me a dollar to 'take care' of their beanbag toys for a week. Somehow, I actually got a few takers, until my mother found out again and made me give the toys (and money) back.

I eventually did save enough through honest means to order the game online, or rather to give to my mother in exchange for equal use of her credit card. The shop online was cheaper than the normal retail price because it had an option to purchase the game without the norndoll. At the time, I cared much more about getting the game as soon as possible than having the doll, but when my box arrived with the empty side compartment, I felt a little sad that I didn't get one. It was actually only a few years ago that I was able to find on on ebay at a reasonable price and finally fill that void.

I saw a bunch of people in the CC naming the first pair of creatures in their world Adam and Eve, so I followed that naming convention. Around 40 minutes into my first vanilla C2 world, Eve collapsed and died. I didn't have any of the tools to help her, and even if I did, I wouldn't have known how to use them.

But I kept trying, and eventually tried out third-party COBs. I found one that activated all the kits, and that was enough for me to keep my norns alive. Through trial and error and a lot of poking around in genetics, I learned what made my norns tick. Even if they weren't smart enough to take care of themselves, with the right chemicals I could take care of them. When I finally took a biology class, I was actually surprised to realize just how much of Creatures was indeed taken directly from real life; it's a little silly, but at the time I didn't realize just how realistic they actually were-- it was just all part of the game to me.

I guess I could go on and on about how my love for creatures progressed, but there are other prompts that cover those stories, and I've probably given you way more information than you ever wanted already! I didn't really intend for this to get so long, but as I was writing, the memories came flooding back to me. I'm interested to see what other bloggers have to say in response to these prompts, too.


  1. The funny thing is that I remember setting up a stand to sell Pokemon cards to the neighborhood kids... One girl from across the street paid $32 for a Blastoise, and I thought I was rich! Then my mom made me give back the money. Legitimate sale ruined by good parenting. Ha ha! There do seem to be a lot of memories attached to Creatures for many of us who grew up with at least one of the games. Glad you ended up getting that Norndoll not too long ago, too. I remember freeing mine from the box and how excited I was. This was also right around the time of the Beanie Baby craze, so naturally I thought it looked great with them!

    1. Hah, that's hilarious! I guess I'm not the only one who's childhood business ventures were thwarted by parents!
      Sometimes I think it's better that I waited until later to get my norndoll when I compare it to my old beanie babies, who were all in awful condition after so many years of playing. At least my norndoll still has all its beans!