CCSF 2016 Blog Carnival: Day 1

Looking Back at How I Started Playing CreaturesIt’s time to celebrate! The Creatures Community Spirit Festival 2016 is getting underway, and one of the major events is the Blog Carnival. Keep an eye on your favorite Creatures blogs to see how everyone answers a series of topics and questions. I know I’m excited to take part and read what others have to say about Creatures! Our two coordinators this year, Allekha and Doringo, are also searching for any last minute contributions. Remember that this is the annual celebration of Creatures, and this one happens just weeks after we enjoyed the 20th anniversary of Creatures 1! Now, to jump into the very first prompt. I typically go on and on, which I hope many of you appreciate! Or just stop by to look at the cute pictures whenever you want. Going back to the way I found Creatures is a tale in itself, so we’ll see how successful I can be at keeping myself from writing an entire novel. The short version: Creatures captured my attention from the moment I saw the box through the wrapping paper. The end!

How Did You Get Into Creatures in the First Place?

It was my birthday, and I was just getting into playing computer games. I believe this was around the time of the original series of Catz and Dogz, collectively known as Petz. I was also very interested in my Tamagotchi, which accidentally took a swim with me one day… I was so upset that my dad went through the trouble of dismantling it and drying out all of the components. I can’t remember if it actually survived, but I remember nervously waiting around. I was serious about my virtual pets! So it was no surprise that one of my gifts was a game all about raising little critters called Norns. It was called Creatures, and I was in love with it just from the pictures and text on the box. I owe this lifelong joy to my family!

What Game Did You Start With?

Creatures 1 was the first game I started with, and is still the game I play the most. I have to say that I was lucky with the timing: Several years later, and I probably would never have felt as interested if I started with Creatures 3 or Docking Station. There is a special connection we often have with the games, movies, music, and other things that came around during the happy times of our childhoods. Those of us who grew up with Creatures are lucky!

What Intrigued You About It or Was the Most Fun?

The fact that these little critters were capable of learning and were actually alive was amazing to me. All of the history behind the Shee and Albia also piqued my interest: These Norns had been abandoned, and it was up to me to take care of them. Mind you, I started playing when the internet was still pretty new and I didn’t connect with anyone that way. Of course I knew that this was just a game, but somehow I felt like I had this enormous responsibility to make sure the Norns lived. I had no clue what anything did, and I was just excited about naming my Norns! I had no idea what I was doing. It felt like I was too young to understand everything. Glycogen? Histamine A? Science?! I didn’t understand much of it. And that is precisely why I fell in love with the game. It felt like an experience I could grow into: Something I had to learn to fully appreciate it. At the same time, I had to make sure those Norns were getting plenty of food and tickles! Not to get off-topic for long, but I really think this is one of the hidden strengths of Creatures. It’s a game series that challenges players to do more than just click. I literally had to teach myself all manner of things to “get” the game, and to this day I’m still learning! Perhaps it’s not the flashiest nor most entertaining game, yet I’ve always seen it as more than just a game: It’s truly an experience that’s unique to each person. Just as each Norn is unique, so is each player. Truly wonderful.

Do You Have Any Special or Fond Memories?

Where to begin?! Oddly enough, I can still remember most of the Creatures I’ve written about on Discover Albia. Those memories are tucked away forever in an endless supply of blog posts that I can always look back on for some laughs and tears! Going way back, I often reference the story of the Christmas Eve wolfling runs my brother and I setup for several years in a row. We would start out early in the night with a few Norns and the fancy Santa Norn! We were always excited to see what would be waiting for us on Christmas morning. Yet without fail, the world only progressed about 20 minutes… Because we always forgot to disable the computer’s sleep mode! Even though those were a failure, it was still so much fun to set things up for our Norns that night. We raised them to be adults and spoiled them with plenty of toys. Just goes to show that even those apparent failures can still work out to be nice memories!

I also vaguely recall the moment when my Norns started to explore so I could see the rest of Albia. When I first played Creatures 1, I didn’t know how to use the Favorite Places to navigate without any Norns in the world. It felt like the world went on forever, and there was just so much to see. Even now, I still notice a little something here or there that I never saw before. It’s such an intricate world, and its warm color palette was right up my alley. The little bits of music also reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time: Labyrinth. It all seemed so perfect!

Finding the Perfect Game to Last a LifetimeA few points to me for keeping that reasonably short! I could go on and on about Creatures because I adore it so much. There has never been a game that comes close to the series. Even though I prefer the first game, I still have fond memories from Creatures 2, Creatures 3, and Docking Station from years ago. Each game is different enough from the rest that it’s difficult to get tired of the series. My only regret is not remembering my very first Norn and what he or she was like. I get attached to these little critters, just like I did with my Tamagotchi! Luckily, Norns can go swimming… Just be sure those who aren’t amphibious have a friendly Pufferfish nearby! Creatures 1 will always be with me, and it’s the only video game I’ve stuck with for so long. It’s a game that stands on its own, and that uniqueness has always drawn me to it. Plus it’s hard not to love those cute Norns and Grendels!

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