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Windows cover art for Creatures

Developer(s) Creature Labs
Publisher(s) EU: Warner Interactive Europe

NA: Mindscape

Designer(s) Toby Simpson
Composer(s) Andrew Barnabas
Platform(s) Windows, Macintosh
Release EU: November 1996

NA: July 1997

Creatures (sometimes referred to as Creatures 1), is the first game in the Creatures series (full listing). The game takes place in Albia, an annulus-shaped world with simulated ecology inhabited by norns and a grendel. The player, represented by the hand, can raise and care for their norns so they learn to survive and evolve to thrive. The original game is no longer available by itself, but can be purchased as part of Creatures: The Albian Years.

The word Creatures is also used in plural to refer to the A-life animals which are the focus of the games.

Creatures, the Game[edit]

The original Creatures game was set in Albia. It featured Norns, Grendels, and a few minor inhabitants of Albia to occupy the player's creatures. There was no set objective - although players were given a "score" in the Performance Kit, no restrictions were placed on gameplay, and breeders, COBblers, and even norn torturers were free to pursue their own objectives. The game was limited by the technology of 1996, being restricted to a 256-colour palette (background images are available at C2 Back), bamboo architecture and occasional background sounds rather than the ambient music which evolved in later titles.

System Requirements[edit]

Creatures Introduction Video

Creatures was originally published for Windows 3.1/95. It was later ported to Mac OS 7.5. Versions of Creatures: The Albian Years may be purchased from GOG.com or Steam, and are designed to work on newer Windows systems, such as Windows Vista and Windows 7. These versions can also be installed on Windows 10/11.

Note: The Steam versions of Creatures (and Creatures 2) do not allow for a custom installation location, which can lead to problems (see Split installation). It is recommended that you play the GOG.com version instead, as it allows you to change the installation location to My Documents, thus solving the split installation problem.

Original Windows System Requirements[edit]

  • Windows 3.1 or Windows 95
  • Pentium 60 or faster
  • Double Speed CD-ROM (300k/sec)
  • 16-bit Sound Card
  • 256 Colours @640x480
  • 8MB RAM & 40MB of hard drive disk space

Windows NT/2k/XP compatibility is possible through an installer patch and upgrading to at least Creatures 1.02.

Original Macintosh Requirements[edit]

  • PowerMac
  • System 7.5 to 8.1
  • Double Speed CD-ROM (300k/sec)
  • 256 Colours @640x480
  • 8MB RAM with 8MB Virtual Memory (16MB without Virtual Memory)
  • 35MB of hard drive space (+memory size if using Virtual Memory)

Official Breeds[edit]

Interesting Facts[edit]

A hatching Norn
  • A real model was used to create the Albian backdrop in Creatures.
  • The original boxed edition of the game was accompanied by a helpful booklet, The Chronicles of Nornia.
  • Creatures was first pitched by Steve Grand in the form of a 'Mouse for Windows' - a little desktop pet that would need to be fed and watered, and who would interact with the desktop icons and windows. Millennium didn't bite.
  • A second attempt at a pitch was dubbed 'Little Computer Ewoks' (compare Little Computer People) by Steve Grand himself, for lack of a better name. It is interesting to note that this proposal appears to be the earliest manifestation of Creatures as we know it today. It also interesting to note that the phrase 'Little Computer Ewoks' was also used by Erin's father when he was first shown the game!
  • The development title for Creatures was eventually set to 'Small Furry Creatures', quoting Douglas Adams' "small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri" - the game also became known as 'Creatures 1' (or just 'C1') after Creatures 2 was (eventually) released.
  • Creatures was first envisaged and developed as a top-down adventure/RPG game set in the Amazon, where the player would find an abandoned Norn community; much time was spent on this before deciding to base the game around the A-life concept itself (See Vanimals)
  • The final design of the Norn as we know it is actually quite different that the original: Steve Grand originally imagined Norns to be 'gawky and awkward' - early images of Norns even resembled chickens! (see Creatures 0 for a picture of these 'chicken norns')
  • Grendels were originally described as monsters, resembling huge, titanium spiders, complete with eight eyes and a voracious appetite for Norns. Eek!
  • As aging and disease was introduced late in the game (See history), the death of Norns was meant to be enforced by a gene... however, the gene misfired and had no effect! Norns died through illness though, as originally intended, which greatly pleased Steve Grand. (Tarlia later created the Edited C1 Genomes, which included a working "die of old age" gene.)
  • The music from the title movie ended up as part of a published CD from the Cyberlife musician Andrew Barnabas - You can listen to the extended version of the Creatures Montage!

See Also[edit]

External links[edit]