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Vol. 2, Issue 14
February 29, 2000

Birth of a Gamer:

Creatures 3:
I'm Hooked!

by Heather "elki" Haselkorn



t this point in my gaming career, I’m looking for the perfect game.  One that holds my attention for more than an hour, allows me to think yet isn’t too difficult, and above all, is fun.  So far the closest I’ve gotten is Creatures 3.  In fact, I think I’m developing a little problem here.  Normally I play a game for just long enough to be able to write a column on it.  I usually don’t give it a second glance afterward.  This time around, I was torn between writing my column and playing with Norns.  The game just turns me into a sappy fool and I can’t break away.  Now, I should warn you:  if you don’t like drippy columns about cute fuzzy animals, you should probably stop reading right here. 

If you’re not familiar with the game, the idea is to hatch two little creatures called Norns, teach them to talk, keep them healthy and safe from evil Grendels, and eventually breed future generations.  Sounds simple?  Maybe not.  At least, not unless you know what you’re doing.

You begin by naming your world.  Profound student of literature that I am, I named my world Messina, the setting for Much Ado about Nothing.  Actually, I started with Arden, but my first batch of Norns all died before they could reproduce, so I restarted the game.  Anyway, to populate Messina, I chose the option of hatching two Norns.  Having learned from my previous mistake, I realized I had to lay down some Grendel defenses before my eggs hatched.  I set a Sludge Gun and a Creature Detector near a door, and then went about my work of becoming a mommy.  I put one egg in the incubator to hatch right away, and left the other egg to hatch on its own a little later.  My first creature was a cute, fuzzy little thing that looked sort of like a cat with curly hair.  I named her Beatrice.  I took Beatrice to the training room and taught her a few words.  Then, as the tutorial I had printed out off the Creatures home page directed, I took her to Grendel territory to find the Stone of Knowledge.  After that, Beatrice, or “beatwice,” as she liked to call herself, had an almost full vocabulary.  By the time I led her back to safety, Benedick was already hatched and eating cheese.  Benedick was really cute…he looked sort of like Tigger.

I was all set to go.  Except for one thing:  I had set my defenses up at one door, but there was at least one other door that I knew of.  I hadn’t seen a Grendel yet, but I noticed a few Ettins.  Ettins don’t beat up Norns the way that Grendels do, but they can be a major pain.  Sort of like freeloading holiday guests who pick your fridge clean.  Ettins like to pick things up and carry them away.  Creature Detectors, for instance.  So now Grendels were walking right past my Sludge Gun and beating up my Norns.

Good mommy that I am, I led my Norns to temporary safety.  Beatrice and Benedick were adults, and ready to breed.  The way they breed is neat.  They just tickle each other and suddenly there’s an egg.  First there was Hero.  And then Claudio.  Then Juliet.  And how can I forget the very short-lived Romeo?  The eggs were hatching before I could even find them!  And of course, with no time to finish laying down defenses, a few were slaughtered before I even knew they were there.

Meanwhile, while I’m worrying about how to protect my creations, they’re in perfect bliss, talking and playing.  Hero, seeing Benedick nearby, says, “Hewo likes Benedick.”  When a Grendel shows up they tell me they’re scared, or they run away saying something like “Juliet dislikes Ung.”  The best is when they talk to each other, though.  The conversation can go something like this:

BEATRICE:  Beatrice very hungry for starch.

BENEDICK:  Maybe eat seeds Beatrice?

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Birth of a Gamer is © 2000 Heather Haselkorn. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.