[[caption-width-right:236:[[CoversAlwaysLie They don't actually look like rabbits.]]]]
-->''Do Norns dream of electric Shee?''

A series of simulation games created by Cyberlife (later Creature Labs) in the TheNineties, this series tasked the player with caring for a bunch of Norns: fuzzy little critters with a surprisingly complex virtual biology. Two other types of creatures inhabit the game world as well, the vicious Grendels and the worker Ettins (introduced in the second game).

From the start, the fandom was making boatloads of [[GameMod user-created content]], one of the earliest and most widespread games to do so. A lot of it is still available today -- an active mod site, [[http://creaturescaves.com/ Creatures Caves]], exists and is updated regularly -- although a lot of content is lost.

The games in the series are:
* ''Creatures'' (1996): the original; later made into an add-on for Docking Station.
* ''Creatures 2'' (1998): bigger, shinier, but criticized for being ''very'' bug-laden, with somewhat stupider creatures.
* ''Creatures 3'' (1999): even bigger, [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE]].
* ''Creatures Playground'' and ''Creatures Adventures'' (1999/2000): a pair of spinoff games aimed at younger children.
* ''Creatures Docking Station'': a free game, built on a slightly modified version of the Creatures 3 engine with online capabilities. Like ''3'', it was set on a spaceship, and could in fact be "docked" with the Shee Ark if you owned both games to expand the world. It was available on its [[http://www.gamewaredevelopment.co.uk/creatures_index.php official website.]]

Several combo packs have also been published at various times. VideoGame/IndieGala included ''[[http://creatures.wikia.com/wiki/Creatures_-_The_Albian_Years Creatures: The Albian Years]]'' in their June bundle, a combination of the first two games with bonus packs.

Sadly, Creature Labs has long since gone under. The series was sold to Gameware Development, another UK company. However, creator Steve Grand claims that he is working on [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1508284443/grandroids-real-artificial-life-on-your-pc a new kind of artificial life form promising to be more advanced than the original Norns]].

After ten years, [[http://blog.fishingcactus.com/index.php/2011/05/18/announcing-creatures-4-on-ios-mac-and-pc/ developer Fishing Cactus announced Creatures 4]] (later renamed Creatures Online). It was initially set to be released June 2012, but after numerous delays the publisher halted development and sold the IP to Spil Games. They plan to release a free-to-play mobile game, [[http://www.spilgames.com/press/creatures-reborn-mobile-age/ Creatures Family]], in 2017.

The [[https://creatures.wiki Creatures Wiki]] has more information if you're interested in that. Now, on to the tropes.

This series is the TropeNamer for:
* {{Wallbonking}}

!!These games provide examples of:
* AbsentMindedProfessor: A whole species of them. "The Shee were a race unique in their mindset, most likely having invented the steam engine as an offshoot of an attempt to design a better way of brewing tea before they invented the wheel."
* AcquiredPoisonImmunity: How the Toxic Norns in ''Creatures 3'' came to be. It's gotten so far, in fact, that they need toxics and antigens to survive.
* AIIsACrapshoot: A mild, but probably the only genuinely 'RealLife' example in existence; creatures can develop to be aggressive, and rare individuals can kill other creatures [[OmnicidalManiac extremely quickly.]]
* AllThereInTheManual: The official website of Creature Labs provides stories that explain a large portion of the backstory not covered in the games behind Albia, the Shee and the many different Norn breeds.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Allegedly, Grendels. Actually, with proper training, many species of Grendel can be taught to cohabitate with Norns or Ettins peacefully.
** In the first game, at least, the Grendels were actually hard-coded to hit other creatures when they wanted to interact with them. Though training is possible.
* ArtificialBrilliance: So good it's inspired many fans to ContemplateOurNavels (see below)
* ArtificialStupidity: ''Creatures 2'', unintentionally- an excess of reward and punishment signals led to the infamous "One Hour Stupidity Syndrome," leading Norns to do entirely useless things instead of eating and sleeping. Many fan fixes became available.
** Interestingly enough, though, the particular mechanics of this bug actually show that the underlying simulator was pretty much spot-on. They just got the specific numbers wrong.
** Creatures 3 arguably has an issue with this as well. The creatures are "smarter" but their behaviors are somewhat predetermined and not based off the sort of AI the past two games used. This leads to incredibly single-minded norns that will, for instance, opt to continuously play with an elevator button instead of eating or otherwise not dying.
* BigBad: Grendels are treated as such. If you don't either have some sort of disabling addon and aren't breeding them for pleasure, there is generally only one- two in ''Creatures 3''- Grendel born into the world at a time, and it's [[InformedAttribute supposedly]] in your best interest to avoid them as much as possible.
** Additionally, the [[CanonDiscontinuity now decanonised]] Banshee Grendel story seems to set the Banshee (race of Shee, not the Grendels named after them) up as this.
* BlobMonster: The Commedia in ''Docking Station'', a harmless [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifting]] blob creature engineered by the Shee to entertain the Norns.
* CartoonCheese: [[OnceAnEpisode In all the games.]] It's often considered the series's signature food item.
* ContemplateOurNavels: The detail of the creature's artificial biochemistry and intelligence has led some fans to seriously wonder about to what extent creatures can be considered "alive."
* ConvectionSchmonvection: The ''Creatures 2'' volcano has visible lava... but the temperature in there hovers around only 100 degrees F, and the main danger is the [[PhysicsGoof radiation]].
* GameBreakingBug: In the first ''Creatures'', Norns would occasionally die on import for no apparent reason. Also, ''Creatures 2'' liked to crash early and crash often.
* EasterEgg: Many. Borland, Len the Pen, the angry doozers... and that's just ''Creatures 2.''
** Don't forget DJ_G.WAV, a StupidStatementDanceMix included in both 2 and 3.
** The game's scripting language, CAOS, has a command (MOWS) which "returns whether the lawn was cut last Sunday or not."
* EverythingFades: Another series standard. Corpses in ''Creatures 1'' just blink out of existence, while ''Creatures 3'' adds an effect to it depending on species (Norns and Ettins disappear into sparkly fog, while grendels dissolve into stinking green sludge). {{Averted}} with ''Creatures 2'' norns, who float upwards when they die.
* FriendToAllLivingThings: The [[MeaningfulName Treehugger Norns]] in ''Creatures 3''.
* GameMod: ''Boatloads'' of them. Seriously, just check out the Creatures Wiki.
* GRatedSex: "Kisspopping." [[JustifiedTrope Actually explained in-story]]--the [[NeglectfulPrecursors Shee]] were rather prudish, so they made Norn mating a fairly tame affair.
* HotSkittyOnWailordAction: Averted, as Norns, Grendels and Ettins cannot interbreed with each other naturally. Also played straight, as creatures can breed with any other breed within their species, which can result in some pretty strange looking offspring, especially when fanmade breeds are involved.
* {{Immortality}}: It's possible for creatures to mutate (or be engineered with) a variant of this, though it's rarely CompleteImmortality.
** Death in creatures is usually caused by certain chemicals hitting a final threshold, like too much Wounded or too little Ageing/Life or ATP. Having a mutation that significantly changes or even remove these thresholds can make a creature immune to death by disease, injury, or old age - sometimes all three if you get really lucky with mutations and gene inheritance.
*** In particular, in early versions of ''Creatures 1'' the gene that forced Norns to die of old age didn't work properly, making them TheAgeless.
** Regardless of genetics, in ''Creatures 3'' any immortal will still be killed by piranhas or the airlock, as they utilize an instant death command that bypasses all checks; the player can use this themself by accessing CAOS codes.
** Player intervention can go even further, thanks to the ability to clone genomes, back up older versions of a given creature, or even just straight up using a mod to invoke BornAgainImmortality.
* InformedAttribute: The Grendels are supposedly vicious little buggers, and disease-infested to boot. Other than third-party genomes, this didn't become true until ''Creatures 3''. And even then, if they're kept away from the jungle and properly trained when young, they're essentially scaly norns.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In ''Creatures 3'' and ''Docking Station'', if you enter the word "express" near a norn, ettin or grendel that has learned that word, (s)he will face the player (not the hand cursor, we mean the actual player) before saying how (s)he feels.
* LighterAndSofter: ''Creatures Playground''/''Adventure''
* LivingShip: The Shee Ark and Capillata. The latter looks the part a bit more than the former.
* LongestPregnancyEver: Because pregnancy length is governed solely by the mother's own biochemistry, creatures may end up carrying their eggs longer than usual if they're stressed out. Another reason could be that a mutation makes it difficult for them to reach the required thresholds. In really severe cases, it might be downright impossible for them to naturally lay an egg, and without some kind of intervention with codes or mods, they'll be pregnant to the end of their lives.
* MeaningfulName: "Grendel" is the name of the (equally vicious) monster battled in the well-known Anglo-Saxon poem ''Beowulf.'' Additionally, the "Norns" are figures in Old Norse mythology who spin the threads of fate, but this seems to be a reference in name only.
** Ettins are also figures in Norse mythology: large and hideous creatures, but also often attributed with great wisdom and a status of minor Gods.
** Don't forget the Shee- a variation on "[[TheFairFolk sidhe]]".
* MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch: The Banshee, introduced in the [[AllThereInTheManual Lone Shee storyline]] written to coincide with the release of Docking Station, were a minority in the race that loved creating gadgets more than experimenting on genetics, a trait that was considered unnatural by the other Shee. Furthermore, they preferred Grendels over Norns for breeding and experimentation, and even [[NonhumanHumanoidHybrid integrated some of their genes into their own genome]]. They were exiled through an interdimensional portal of their own creation and their existence became ShroudedInMyth.
* NeglectfulPrecursors: The Shee, who didn't bother to safeguard Albia before taking off or the Shee Ark before abandoning it.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Generally in place with the different Norn, Grendel, and Ettin species, who can all enjoy the same foods and suffer from the same diseases, but averted with the Toxic Norns. Bacteria and toxins are actually healthy for them, while medicine is harmful or even lethal. Toxic Norns also have different instincts regarding what they want to eat and may ignore traditional food in favor of rot and waste. Raising them and other Norns in the same environment can be challenging at best, to say nothing of the self-sabotaging, nonviable biochemistry most of their hybrid children will suffer.
* NonhumanHumanoidHybrid: Various combinations between Norns, Ettins and Grendels are possible via the gene splicer or fanmade [=COBs=]/agents. In C2, these tend to be unviable- ShownTheirWork, or just coincidence?
** HeinzHybrid: Mainly in Creatures 3/[=DS=], as standard C2 Ettins and Grendels are sterile.
* OneGenderRace: Sort of. The "mother" machines in ''2'' and ''3'' only produce one gender each of Ettins and Grendels, but getting the opposite genders is possible. With the proper egg agent for C3/DS, this is especially easy, as the egg layers can produce eggs of any breed and gender.
* OrganicTechnology: The Ark and Capillata again.
* OxygenMeter: No visible oxygen meter, but any non-aquatic creature dropped in the water will quickly drown as they run out of air.
* PerfectPoison: ATP Decoupler in ''C3/DS'' is incredibly deadly even in small doses, due to directly targeting the victim's ATP. While there ''is'' a cure, it's practically impossible to administer it in time, since a (non-mutated) creature will only last a few seconds before its ATP goes below the instant death threshold. If you're ''very'' unlucky, [[ThePlague bacteria in your world might mutate into carrying this toxin]].
* PiranhaProblem: Piranhas are the apex predator in the Jungle Terrarium of ''Creatures 3'' and will devour any creature or critter that falls into the pool. Trying to introduce them to an aquarium with other marine life can easily wipe out the ecosystem.
* PlayerDataSharing: Every game in the series has allowed players to save and share Norns with one another.
* ProudWarriorRace: Hardman Norns were designed to be aggressive Norns capable of fighting Grendels. They even come with a tiny mecha Grendel to beat up for fun.
* RapidAging: Any number of mutations can cause a creature to age extraordinarily fast for their species, dying of old age within an hour, if even that long. Due to the way aging is normally handled -- decreasing an "Ageing" or "Life" chemical steadily over time and triggering age transitions at certain thresholds -- fast-aging mutations are caused by either the aging chemical being depleted by abnormal biochemistry (e.g. converting "Life" instead of protein into amino acids), or by simply not being present in the bloodstream at all upon hatching.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: The (supposedly) AlwaysChaoticEvil Grendels are big scaly things, while the friendly Norns and Ettins are small and fuzzy.
* RevenueEnhancingDevices: ''Creatures 3''/''Docking Station'' had a large-number of add-on breeds available for purchase online. In 2009, many of them became available for free download, though the ones that came with special add-ons [the Treehugger, Hardman, Bondi, Toxic Norns, and Banshee Grendels] didn't.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Norns fit the classic template: big heads, big eyes, small and fuzzy, speaking in high-pitched baby talk.
* TeleportersAndTransporters: In all three games. "Conventional" teleporters serve to transport creatures quickly around individual worlds. The standout example is the Warp from Docking Station, which lets creatures jump to other worlds (and plays a major role in the game's backstory).
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Female Purple Mountain Norns wear makeup; female Fallow Norns have purple toenail polish. Many official breeds have the sexes differ only in hairstyle.
* ThrownOutTheAirlock: A possible way to die in ''Creatures 3''; the hapless creature is vaporized instantly. The player can also simply utilize the airlock to destroy unwanted items.
* SwirlyEnergyThingy: Open warp portals in Docking Station, and the atmosphere machine in 3.
* ThemedCursor: Your hand cursor isn't just a pointer, your creatures can see and interact with it.
* ThemeNaming: All of the species are named after elements of Northern European literature and mythology.
* TookALevelInJerkass: The Grendels in Creatures 3. In earlier games, they were quite capable of living happily with the player's Norns and Ettins, especially if they were raised among them. In Creatures 3, they can and will beat your Norns to death, and changing their nature is ''much'' harder.
* {{Wallbonking}}: The TropeNamer, and for good reason -- the fandom coined the term when in ''2'', the norns would become so obsessed with the walls that they would forget to eat or sleep. This was seen as a symptom of One-Hour Stupidity Syndrome, after which point the poor norn would literally be TooDumbToLive. Unlike most examples, this wasn't caused by failing to detect a collision, but rather a flaw in the Artificial Intelligence the "reward-and-punishment" systems in the norns' brains were flawed, causing them to see innocuous actions such as turning around when crashing into something as amazing. This specific instance caused the poor norn to turn around twice instead of just once when running into something because its own brain tricked it into thinking it was just that euphoric. This -- and the rest of the problems with OHSS -- were fixed in The Albian Years.
* WhaleEgg
* WhatMeasureIsANonCute: The grendels, the scaly bulbous monsters with a tendency to physically harm norns, are set up as the creatures the player must avoid or fend off, even if it sometimes means harming them. Some fans do show sympathy for the grendels and prefer to breed their kind instead of the norns.
* WideOpenSandbox: These games are pretty much the ultimate example of this trope. There are no real goals except for the ones you set up for yourself. You can train and nurture your norns or murderously butcher them - in fact this was even what the creator envisioned:
-->'''Steve Grand:''' Equally appealing to children and adults, men and women. Something you wouldn't be ashamed to keep on your office PC. Something a naturalist would want to study, [[VideoGameCaringPotential a father would want to teach soccer,]] a granny to dress up and [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential a complete b***ard to butcher mercilessly.]]
* WorldShapes: Albia is a rather unusual combination of "[[FlatWorld disc world]]" and "[[RingWorldPlanet ring world]]": a flat circular disc, with all the life on the outer edge.
** It in turn inspired the shape of one official level of ''VideoGame/KnyttStories'' ([[spoiler: ''A Strange Dream'']]).
* VideoGameCaringPotential
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: a small subculture of "Norn torture" developed among the fandom, spawning {{Flame War}}s here and there.
!!''Creatures Online'' so far provides examples of:
* AnthropomorphicShift: The current design for norns is more human-like than the previous ones, lacking tails, having shorter muzzles and having human-like noses, though this is still subject to change. Baby Norns' heads got [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter even bigger]], though.
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: The "slap-pet" system is replaced with a reward-punishment system that's easier to use (due to the old one being objectively flawed). Thought bubbles now appear describing the last action that the Norns did. You have the option to either reinforce the action or discouraging them.
* BribingYourWayToVictory: Fishing Cactus promises the game will be free to play with most of the content already available, but players can also purchase "golden eggs" through {{Microtransactions}}, which [[RevenueEnhancingDevices grant access to bonuses that are not necessary to progress through the game]].
* CharacterCustomization: When you start the game you can customize your first generation norns to a certain degree, and when norns breed, you can choose which traits their offspring inherit, again to a degree.
* LighterAndSofter: The overall visual theme.
* RubberForeheadAliens: A live Shee is seen for the first time in this game - as it turns out, they appear rather elflike.
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Averted, now the norns have secondary sexual characteristics.
* TwoAndAHalfD: It takes place in more of a '3D side-scrolling' environment, Creatures can move in all directions and objects can be picked up by the hand regardless of where they are on the plane, the screen can also be zoomed in and out as well as the standard 2D movement.