Creatures 2 article by Al Giovetti

 

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The Mindscape division of The Learning Company, Inc. (NYSE: TLC), a leading software developer and publisher, has released the sequel to Creatures, a virtual life simulation that has sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide. Creatures 2 is now available in the United States, the UK, Europe and Canada.

Creatures 2 will delight users with the most realistic virtual pets in the world. Norns still learn, talk and reproduce, but they are much smarter now. A dramatically expanded vocabulary and 120 new facial expressions let them tell their owners when they are happy, sad, hungry, depressed or frightened. A new interface also makes it much easier to play with them.

Mindscape President John Moore commented on the question of whether virtual pets are a passing trend or a true category in computer entertainment: "The extraordinary demand we've seen for Creatures 2 proves that virtual pets are not a fad, rather a new category of entertainment software that is here to stay," he said. "The appeal of virtual pets reaches far beyond the traditional market for computer games, and Mindscape will continue to lead this new genre by using the world's most advanced artificial life technology in the Creatures product line."

UK-based CyberLife Technology Ltd., creator of Creatures, developed the sequel for Mindscape. CyberLife has been commended by scientists around the world for its groundbreaking advancements in artificial life. Richard Dawkins, noted Oxford University zoologist and author, has commented that Creatures "is the most impressive use of artificial life I have ever seen."

Features
Creatures 2 offers a bundle of fun new features in a brand new world that is twice the size of the original Creatures environment. A virtual ecosystem includes plants, cacti, insects, sea creatures, butterflies, fish, caterpillars, bees and ants, plus wind, temperature, clouds and seasonal weather patterns that affect the Norns' health and behavior. New toys and objects include a volcano, a fishing rod, a dog to chase balls and be tickled, and a fully functioning water wheel.

Also new in Creatures 2 is a scavenger hunt that activates five new features as the Norns pick up a variety of items. These features are: ∑ A neuroscience kit
∑ Ability to scroll all around the map of the Creatures 2 world
∑ Chemicals to inject into the creatures
∑ Ability to select Grendels and a brand new species called Ettins-and run applets with them
∑ A genetics slicer to cross-breed Norns, Grendels and Ettins

The internal systems of Creatures 2 Norns are more complex than those of their predecessors. The new Norns have improved digestive and immune systems, as well as actual organs. New brain lobes and neurotransmitters increase their intelligence and learning ability. An import tool will safely upgrade original Creatures Norns into the Creatures 2 environment.

About Creatures 1
First introduced in December 1996, Creatures is a virtual world of fuzzy little characters called Norns, which hatch from eggs and live inside the computer. Norns learn, talk and breed, and eventually, they die. They also have to face the occasional bad guy - Grendels - mean-looking green monsters who bring disease and trouble into the Norns' world. The Grendels of Creatures 2 are even more vicious than their ancestors.

Norns Online
The ability to trade Norns on the Internet has spawned an enormous online community of Creatures fans and contributed greatly to the continued interest in the product. CyberLife's original Creatures Web site, which is housed under www.cyberlife.co.uk, still receives 700,000 hits a week and hundreds of e-mails from loyal users with questions about how to care for their Norns. More than 400 additional independent sites allow users to share and trade their Norns with other Creatures aficionados around the world. The official Creatures 2 Web site is at http://creatures.mindscape.com. CyberLife's Creatures 2 Web site is at www.creatures2.com.

Availability and System Requirements
Creatures 2 is available at all major computer software resellers in the United States, the UK, Europe and Canada. It comes on a CD-ROM that runs on Window 95/98 and Window NT 4.0. A Mac version will be released early next year. Customers interested in inquiring about Creatures 2 or other Mindscape products may call the company at 617/761-3000. Product information and technical support is also available over the Internet at www.mindscapegames.com.

Mindscape and Virtual Life
The Mindscape division of The Learning Company is the leading marketer of virtual life software in the United States. In addition to publishing Creatures and Creatures 2, The Learning Company recently acquired PF.Magic, creator of the Petz‘ (Dogz‘/Catz‘) family of products. Dogz was the world's first virtual pet when it hit stores in 1995. Since then PF.Magic has sold more than two million Petz worldwide for the personal computer market. Dogz3 and Catz3 will ship this fall.

Mindscape also publishes the AQUAZONE line of virtual aquariums, including AQUAZONE DELUXE. AQUAZONE was originally published in Japan and is one of the best-selling PC products in Japanese history.

CyberLife's mission is to lead a major change in the development and use of computer technology: the power to synthesize intelligent behavior in the form of biologically based software organisms and environments.

CyberLife is pioneering the new field of cyberbiology-the convergence of biological concepts with modern computer technology. This trend beckons a new era of people-friendly, intelligent, self-sufficient technology brought about by living computer systems.

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