A few of my favorite things: Creatures game series

In my previous post about Isabella Rossellini and Green Porno, I mentioned reproductive biology as something I have always found fascinating. I want to return to this subject by talking about the Creatures game series.

Creatures game logo

Released in 1996 by Mindscape, Creatures was one of the first artificial life simulation games. Centered around a little creature called a Norn,1 the user guided their ward through its life cycle until its inevitable death. Along the way, the Norn would explore the world, learn vocabulary, and breed with other Norns. The complexity of the game’s inner workings was amazing for the time: the Norns were controlled by an advanced AI program, influenced by digital chemicals in their bodies, and the game had an entire genome built in, so offspring resulting from breeding were not just simply determined or randomized, but specifically generated from the parents’ “digital DNA.”

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A few of my favorite things: Isabella Rossellini in Green Porno

In my novella The Joining, the aliens’ reproductive method is described in great detail. For comparison, the human biologist uses some parallel examples taken from Earth’s own animal kingdom. If you find reproductive biology interesting and want to get into some bizarre and downright alien reproduction right here in our own backyard, you need to check out Green Porno.

Isabella Rossellini writes, directs and stars in this webseries that explores a variety of reproductive methods from all over our crazy little planet. I discovered Green Porno soon after it began in 2008 and I have really enjoyed watching the series develop. I am fascinated by the reproductive biology of different species and through some of the examples brought up in this webseries I have found food for thought and sometimes inspiration in developing alien biology for stories.

Green Porno - "Limpet"

Rossellini in “Limpet”

Green Porno is not your average nature documentary of David Attenborough narration spoken over gorgeous scenery, lush landscapes, and spectacularly filmed animals doing whatever it is those particular animals do. No: this is Isabella Rossellini dressed up as the animals and acting out the nature documentary. Sound funny? It’s supposed to be: though the information is accurate and educational, ultimately “the purpose of each film is to make people laugh, to entertain them.”

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