The quotes on the box are marvelous:
“I first saw this program in the same week that evidence was discovered of life on Mars. This is more exciting.”
That was Douglas Adams.
“Call it a game if you like, but this is the most impressive example of artificial life I have seen.”
That was Richard Dawkins.
It was the summer of 1997; the software was Creatures, for Windows 95, Windows 3.1, and Macintosh. I was nearly 15 years old, but not quite.
Creatures wasn’t so much a game as it was an artificial life simulation. To begin, you choose one of six eggs, depositing it into an incubator. This is how you birth your first creature, a “Norn,” a sort of baby bear-cat-mogwai with wide, expressive eyes and a spindly, dwarfed body.