Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Playing "Paws Off" and Other Alternate Playstyles

A long time ago I intended on writing a series of articles about different Creatures playstyles and releasing them all at once in the the form of a site. But eh, I don't really see that happening anytime soon-- I have enough sites to maintain as it is, and well, I do have this Creatures blog... might as well make use of it.

Alternate playstyles for Creatures have been around pretty much since the original game hit the shelves. After we started to bore a bit of raising a colony of norns in the traditional sense, so the infamous wolfling runs came about as a way to let evolution take its own course. Then, in perhaps one of the more controversial moves by the community, some took to torturing creatures and pitting them against each other in some attempt to squeeze a little more enjoyment from the repetitive game.

Creatures is a sandbox game, and the playstyle possibilities are pretty limitless, especially with CAOS and the ever-increasing number of breeds, agents, and metarooms available. At the risk of sounding cliche, all it takes is a little imagination.

"Paws off," granted, isn't exactly imaginative, and it's not so much an entire playstyle as it is a playstyle element, but it is a very simple concept you can integrate into your own C3/DS playstyle to sort of bring Creatures back to its roots-- back when you couldn't drag around your creatures or pick it up and drop it. Back when you only had your slaps and tickles to guide your creatures through life.

In case it isn't obvious, I use the term paws off to describe a playstyle in which the hand does not drag or pick up the creatures, and often doesn't pick up or activate any agents either. This forces the hand to interact with the creatures directly and get personally acquainted with them. In playing this way you'll quickly find the "approach hand" command becomes one of the first commands your creatures learn, as well as pushing and pulling lifts and pushing doors.

You can make this as easy or as difficult as you want. You might forbid yourself from picking up food to bring to creature but allow yourself to activate a potion vendor in a particularly dire situation. You might swear to touch nothing except the Vocabulizer. If you find yourself too tempted to just let the norns fend for themselves, you may even introduce some new dangers into the world so your guidance becomes necessary for the survival of your creatures.

You'll find the more restrictions you put on the hand, the more patient you will have to be with your creatures. However, if you stick to it, you may find yourself getting reattached to your creatures in a way you haven't felt since you first started playing. Paws off is one of the simplest ways to rekindle your personal love for your creatures.

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