Creatures (1996 video game)

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Creatures 1996 Windows Cover Art.jpg
Windows cover art
Developer(s)Creature Labs
Elo Interactive (GBA)
Creature Labs (PS)
PlayStation/Game Boy Advance
Designer(s)Toby Simpson
Platform(s)Windows, Macintosh, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance
ReleaseWindows, Macintosh
  • EU: 2001
  • NA: 18 May 2002
Game Boy Advance
  • EU: 8 February 2002
Genre(s)Artificial life

Creatures is an artificial life simulation packaged as a video game developed by British studio Creature Labs for Windows, and was ported to Macintosh, PlayStation, and Game Boy Advance. It is the first game in the Creatures series.


Creatures is a game which allows the player to hatch and then raise anthropomorphic beings known as Norns.[2]

Notably, the environment was actually a physically constructed model, carefully photographed. This was to keep graphics costs low.[3]

Creatures is an artificial life simulation where the user hatches small furry animals and teaches them how to behave, or leaves them to learn on their own. These "Norns" can talk, feed themselves, and protect themselves against vicious creatures called Grendels. It was the first popular application of machine learning in an interactive simulation. Neural networks are used by the creatures to learn what to do. The game is regarded as a breakthrough in artificial life research, which aims to model the behavior of creatures interacting with their environment.[4]

According to Millennium, every copy of Creatures contains a unique starting set of eggs, whose genomes are not replicated on any other copy of the game.[5] An expansion pack, called "Life Kit #1" was released for purchase later.[6]


The game was in development for four years.[7]


The PlayStation version received "unfavorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[8] However, Next Generation said that the PC version "offers one of the most obsessive and entertaining experiences anyone can have in front of the computer."[2] The Electric Playground gave the same PC version universal acclaim, over a month before it was released Stateside.[11]

The PC version sold 100,000 units by November 1997. At the time, John Moore of Mindscape explained that the company "expect[s] to sell more than 200,000 Creatures by the end of the year."[19] Global sales of the game neared 400,000 units by February 1998.[20][21]


The model built during development and photographed as the game's backdrop, is held at The Centre for Computing History, where it is on permanent display.[3]


  1. ^ Lee, Helen (May 1, 1997). "Mindscape Brings Creatures to the US". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 5, 1998. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "The Power of Life (Creatures Review)". Next Generation. No. 35. Imagine Media. November 1997. p. 206. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Creatures Model". Computing History. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  4. ^ Champandard, Alex J. (2007). "Top 10 Most Influential AI Games". AIGameDev. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009.
  5. ^ "Artificial Life - Evolving - Millenium Interactive". Next Generation. No. 23. Imagine Media. November 1996. pp. 56–58. ISSN 1078-9693.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Peter (31 January 1998). "Creatures Life Kit #1". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on 5 July 2003. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Creatures Wins International Emma Award". October 9, 1996. Archived from the original on January 10, 1997. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Creatures for PlayStation". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  9. ^ Smith, Peter (26 January 1998). "Creatures". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on 4 July 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  10. ^ Jepsen, Dawn (November 1997). "It's Alive (Creatures Review)". Computer Gaming World. No. 160. Ziff Davis. pp. 314–15. ISSN 0744-6667.
  11. ^ a b James, Bonnie (11 June 1997). "Creatures (PC)". The Electric Playground. Greedy Productions, Inc. Archived from the original on 1 August 1997. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  12. ^ Reppen, Erik (September 1997). "Creatures (PC)". Game Informer. No. 53. FuncoLand.
  13. ^ a b Hubble, Calvin (August 1997). "Creatures Review (Mac, PC)". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 13 June 1998. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  14. ^ Parrotta, Dylan (30 June 2002). "Creatures Review - PlayStation". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  15. ^ Roper, Chris (23 September 2002). "Creatures Review (PS)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  16. ^ Romendil (10 January 2002). "Test: Creatures (GBA)". (in French). Webedia.
  17. ^ Pilou (8 December 2001). "Test: Creatures (PS1)". (in French). Webedia. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  18. ^ Tafel, Kathy (October 1997). "Creatures". MacADDICT. No. 14. Imagine Media. p. 70. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  19. ^ Anderson, Jill (3 November 1997). "Mindscape Sells 100,000 Creatures [date mislabeled as "April 26, 2000"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on 20 May 2000. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  20. ^ Jebens, Harley (11 February 1998). "Creatures Multiply [date mislabeled as "April 28, 2000"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on 18 April 2000. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Mindscape Signs Deal to Publish Creatures 2". February 11, 1998. Archived from the original on February 3, 1999. Retrieved July 16, 2022.

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