Critical Play: Creatures Such as We

This week, I played the online story game Creatures Such as We. The game is embedded into a website where you can play along as a participant of the story. After reading a few paragraphs, you are able to make some decision about the rest of the story. You see your changes on the next screen as the story is created according to your own decisions. It’s a slow game as it requires the player to read the story they are creating. Moreover, it can be played by one person as intended but could certainly be turned into a collaborative game with more players all collaborating to create the final story.


The first thing that stood out to me was the website itself. It’s quite simple, black text on a white screen. It asks that you buy the game for unlimited tries or that you may play once for free. It’s a cool business model wherein the game creator expects players to be so interested in the game such that they purchase it to play multiple times. Moreover, the game has breaks built into the free version: a small break of 5 minutes before you can play again. Although the website was simple, I thought that it achieved the goal of the game by creating a comfortable environment to read the story and provide input as it unfolds. I think if it had been more colorful it would have felt more like a “game” and not like the storybook-esque game that it currently is. I would have loved if the game had illustrations that went along with the story, I think it would have brought the story alive and potentially made it more engaging.


I thought the game itself was fantastic. The existing story is interesting and somewhat absurd, focused on living on the Moon. It’s also great that you have input into the progression of the storyline. It’s what makes the story impossible to be boring for any player. Don’t like the story?

Change it. I also thought the game did an excellent job providing options for next steps within the story. There was variety, so at some junctions, there were more options than others. Other times, you would keep returning to the menu of the same choices making you wonder if there was a correct decision. The game keeps you guessing at different junctures as you wonder if you made the right choice and what the consequences of the choice you made will be. I would be lying if I said there were no points where I wondered if it would be possible to return and make a different decision.


I thought that the game was actually quite fun. Having played it through once, I think that I understand why someone would want to play it again to try different combinations and versions. It reminded me a lot of some mystery books I would read as a kid. You would arrive at a page that would make you decide the next step in the story and you would flip to the appropriate pages accordingly. This game was similar to that concept except it was slightly more dynamic and had more options given the advantage of the online format. I could see more applications of this style of gameplay as a way of engaging with young students and folks who are learning to read but may find the content boring.


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