Although a.g.c is a part of the Creatures Community and its history, it nevertheless has a very definite subculture of its own. At the time of writing (February 2005) it contained approximately 152,000 posts.
Like most newsgroups, a.g.c has its fair share of local oddities, although it has to be said that the demographics of the Creatures Community has had some part to play in that.
a.g.c is recognized as a haven of InSaNiTy. Newbies must traditionally be "welcomed to InSaNiTy!!!" by at least one a.g.c regular. Extra sanity can be dumped in the Sanity Bin. At one point, Emy handed out strait/straight jackets to every newcomer to the newsgroup.
Cheese Points were awarded by Kylie and Anubis for demonstrating a requisite level of InSaNiTy (although everyone starts out with one cheese point). Attempts by some to use cheese points as a currency proved fruitless due to hyperinflation. The power of cheese points is rumoured to have been the subject of some fan-fiction.
The thread grew and prospered in those turbulent times, even spawning several songs.
- GreenReaper: As of
JanuaryApril 2005, keeping this thread alive seems to be the main purpose of the few remaining a.g.c regulars . . .
Another recurrent thread was AGLAMI and AGC, commemorating the long-time link between a.g.c and alt.games.lucas-arts.monkey-island:
- Our sane newsgroup about Monkey Island was peaceful, quiet and secluded before AGC started invading us. You lot are nuts beyond belef. You are nuttier than.. ..a very nutty thing. Now stop crossposting.
Insanely Long Signatures
eem, the a.g.c Mascot
Origin of a.g.c
Some discussion of Creatures took place on comp.ai.games prior to its release in late 1996, and traffic increased significantly afterwards. After a while it became apparent that this was irritating the regulars of that group, who regarded it as being outside of the group's charter - the specified topic of conversation being the AI in games, not breeding websites or technical support:
- "And remember, if you have an egg disk problem, maybe you should talk to Millennium. Just a suggestion. No pressure."
alt.games.creatures was created by Douglas Setser on or around 24 March 1997, having been proposed by many people. The actual name was suggested by Christer Ericson on 30 November 1996. The most popular alternate suggestion was rec.games.[computer.]creatures, but as this would have been in the "Big 8" (rather than the alt.* hierarchy) it was easier to make the former. Well-known early posters included Toby Simpson, slink, Alexander Laemmle and LummoxJR.
In a heavy dose of irony, alt.games.creatures was deluged with what many considered to be off-topic posts from Petz players when this game was released. The first attempt to solve this was badly implemented, leading to the creation of alt.petz - this was rectified by RedWordSmith, who proposed alt.games.petz in January 1999.
Secret Adventure Mode
The Secret Adventure Mode for Creatures was first reported on a.g.c on 25 February 1998. It quickly became part of the newsgroup lore, confusing countless new users of the game who sought to enable it after reading about it.
CptSiskoX and the Avenger Squadron
As is common on newsgroups, there is often discussion on whether creating a new group to discuss a specific subset of the topic or to exclude some posts would be appropriate. In general the community has been strongly against such attempts - there is even a FAQ about it.
In Feburary 1999 Dillon attempted to create a moderated subgroup, alt.games.creatures.moderated. It was not created successfully as a moderated group and attracted no significant traffic, although it still exists on several servers. Other unsuccessful attempts/suggestions to fork a.g.c include:
- alt.games.creatures.trade (27 September 1997) - a suggestion that trading creatures and COBs might be better accomplished on a subgroup
- alt.games.creatures.two (12 August 1998) - a Creatures 2-specific newsgroup request by Dayon
- alt.games.creatures.tech (Mid-September - October 1998) - initially proposed as alt.tech.games.creatures by Doc Shan - this was greeted with surprise by most regulars, who had never heard mention of it on the main group
- alt.games.creatures.fans (11 August 1999) - another attempt (this time by Dave Dennis) to exclude a.g.c regulars:
- "There is an existing newsgroup which gets 10-20 posts a day, everyday. The problem with this group is that there are a few regulars who like to show that they know best and put other visitors down."
According to Ping, anyone posting to one of these groups will turn into a zombie.
The only Creatures newsgroup to be created and have a significant level of uptake on Usenet was alt.binaries.games.creatures, which was proposed on 17 June 1998 by Bibble and created on 1 July by Jason Westman.
The Current State of AGC
Although AGC has suffered low usage for the last few years it had been hanging on; getting up to 30 posts a day. But as of Februrary 2006, Triad, one of the group's last four regular posters, has left the newsgroup, and the JNCOBOY thread is only getting 2-3 posts per day. It now seems inevitable to some that AGC has turned into yet another newsgroup only inhabited by spammers.