Have You Played… Black & White?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I was vibrating with excitement by the time god game Black & White came out, having read umpteen development diaries about its physics, its AI, its morality system, its gesture controls… So many ideas! So much potential.

The game was not all I hoped it to be – nothing ever could be. It was pretty good, though. You were a floating disembodied hand on a world of tiny people living in villages, and you completed objectives for them so that they would believe in you and you would gain new abilities.

Helping you – or impeding you, often – was your creature, an enormous animal you selected at the start of the game. I liked the cow. Your creature would stomp around the world, crushing houses and eating villagers like an oblivious toddler, and you’d try to shape their behaviour with positive and negative reinforcement. It never quite worked. Your cow would pick up and eat a tiny, terrified villager, and you’d serve up punishment to try to discourage the behaviour only for your cow to misunderstand and decide that all eating was bad. That sort of thing.

Even with its slightly broken or unfinished systems, and the mission design which was both dire and not the dynamic, emergent world I had expected, there was tons to have fun with. I liked tossing rocks at buildings to watch them physically crumple. I liked being able to sacrifice villagers in exchange for power. I liked the gesture controls, where you made patterns with the mouse to cast spells. I liked the creatures for their animation and the sense of dealing with a willful creature. I was a teenager at the time, and I liked that the monkey would eat poo and then vomit poo, or eat a beachball and then do multi-coloured beachball vomit.


  1. Freud says:

    I have. Like many games from the chatterbox whos name we shall not utter, it’s a great idea on paper and decent idea on screen.

  2. c-Row says:

    And then Molyneux cried.

  3. Flangie says:

    I actually really liked this, for all its faults. Also it freaked me out by occasionally whispering my name, which was a cool touch.

    • adammtlx says:

      That was such a dirty trick. I still clearly remember as a teenager sitting there playing it late the night it came out and hearing my name whispered sinisterly out of nowhere. The first time I was sure it was just in my head but then I heard it again and my hair standing on end. Instead of following my instinct to run away screaming, I forced myself to sit and think about it for a moment while I waited for it to happen again, and it occurred to me that my Windows login name was just my first name and that it wasn’t inconceivable that the game had snuck in some audio files to play if the current user profile matched a name it knew.

      The next morning I did an internet search (did we use Google then?) and found that I wasn’t the only one to get spooked by this little prank. At least I wasn’t going crazy.

  4. Mungrul says:

    I loved it to death. Although the expansion, Creature Isle, made it so much better, taking the focus away from the somewhat poorly implemented strategy gameplay and focusing more on the creature.
    I still think it’s one of the best examples of AI in games, and I’m not surprised that the guy behind it, Demis Hassabis, founded Google’s DeepMind.

    Shame it’s not available digitally, although I’m happy to be corrected.

    PS: the article header image is from Black & White 2, which was disappointing compared to the first game.

    • RedShenkt says:

      Haha, I came here to point out the picture being from Black & White 2, as well!

      Black & White was probably the game I was most excited for ever in my life. I read everything there was to read about it, preordered months (if not years) in advance and when it did finally come I played it for months (partly of course because I couldn’t afford to buy new games all the time).

      I couldn’t find it digitally anywhere either, sadly. I did try to get it to run from my old disc version just the other day though! It went very poorly :/

    • AceJohnny says:

      I’m not surprised that the guy behind it, Demis Hassabis, founded Google’s DeepMind.

      Came here to point that out. :) Also worth adding that he was a child chess prodigy who reached master standard at age 13. Later was a level designer on Syndicate and co-designer and lead programmer on Theme Park

    • Turkey says:

      Never played the expansion, but I like the idea of B&W without all the strategy elements, just as an expensive toybox.

  5. Eery Petrol says:

    I loved this game as an elaborate pet simulator.

  6. oceanclub says:

    It’s a real shame that Lionhead’s output isn’t available digitally, meaning a whole generation probably aren’t going to give their games a go, which were at the very least interesting failures.

    • draglikepull says:

      I loved the idea of The Movies and at times it was pretty cool to play, but the campaign just dragged on for so long and involved so much busy-work. Really could have used some serious editing.

  7. jon_hill987 says:

    Black and White was one of my favorites, I did not get caught up in the hype so took it for what it was. The sequel on the other hand was Age of Empires with a free hero unit, I don’t know how they managed to take such a step backwards.

    Can you buy this, and the expansion, digitally anywhere? I lost my disk.

  8. vast_anusse103 says:

    When I played I mainly ignored the creature as it was a pain, and the most fun part was rolling the boulders down the hills and seeing how many people it squashed. It was a great game in many areas, and it’s a little bit sad that people have to jump on the anti-Molyneux bandwagon rather than making a genuine comment on the actual game.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Ignoring the creature is like playing Football and ignoring the ball (I was expert at this in School PE lessons).

    • teije says:

      Vast majority of comments here are on the game, so nothing to be sad about.

  9. Phasma Felis says:

    There was a creature AI FAQ on GameFAQs somewhere with a few tips that made creature-training a lot clearer. For example, tossing something over the shoulder is the hardwired “I don’t know what to do with this” behavior, so smacking your creature for chucking away a villager, or hitting a building with a discarded rock, will only confuse them; you need to identify the behavior you do want and train for that instead.

    Also, smacking the hell out of your creature (maxing out the Discipline bar) does not just multiply the effect of a light slap; it makes them more afraid of you, which has various knock-on effects. There’s uses for that, especially if you’re playing Evil, but you don’t necessarily want to slap them silly every time they do something you don’t like.

    • Mungrul says:

      That’s partly what I loved about the AI. The weird behaviours your creature would learn that defined their character because you didn’t know exactly what affected its learning.

      The second game completely removed the mystery from the creature’s brain by showing it all as bars to raise or lower through training, and I suspect it wasn’t even based on the same AI code. It certainly didn’t feel as organic or interesting.

      • Fiatil says:

        This. 2 gave everyone what they thought they wanted, and made it super easy to tweak the behavior of your creature just by moving sliders around. It was great for 3 minutes and then incredibly bad — you set the sliders, and you’re done! No more joyful experimenting, just minmax it and move on to the still terrible mission structure.

        The Creature AI Project and other guides were really fascinating and were able to show that the system wasn’t just random as Graham alludes to it being above. It turns out they wanted you to raise it as a child, and not just beat the hell out of your creature and expect it to understand. The first game everyone wanted to game it and was frustrated by its lack of total transparency, while the second allows you to game it and instantly killed the series.

        • Archonsod says:

          It wasn’t the ability to game it that killed it, it was finding out precisely why it was so hard to teach in the first place. In the first game you could teach your creature not to eat villagers, yet sometimes it would still eat villagers. In the second you got to see why – because even if the bar was full it would still sometimes pick a villager up and ask if it should eat it. I guess it was a means to prevent the player accidentally teaching the creature the wrong thing and then having no way back.
          If anything I think it killed the series by illustrating the main problem with the game – the creature was too dependent on the player. It kind of forced you down the route of either focusing on the creature and ignoring the village building aspects, or ignoring the creature and focusing on the village building instead.
          I guess it was just typical Lionhead over-ambition. There was enough to the creature they could probably have released a game focused on that aspect to great acclaim (the only thing we had similar at that point was the still 2D Creatures series). If they’d have released the god/strategy game they’d have likely seen great success too (spiritual successor to Populous). Instead they opted to combine them both; annoying the strategy fans due to having their city building and war mongering interrupted every five minutes by a giant baby, while simultaneously annoying simulation fans by having their AI experiments brought to an abrupt halt because their village burned down.

          • Fiatil says:

            I agree! I guess my wording wasn’t super clear, but my last sentence is the same as your first. You can game it in 1 or 2, but they pulled back the curtain in 2 and made gaming it literally just going into a menu moving sliders around. All of the wonder was removed, and we were left with a simple but pretty city builder with bad mechanics and a terrible RTS attached.

            If anyone else remembers, they brought in one of the main guys from Blizzard to work on the RTS parts, and there exists a close to release video where Blizzard guy looks very uncomfortable while Molyneux explains that he wholeheartedly believed it was shaping up to be the “best RTS ever”.

          • lordcooper says:

            I completely believe that Molyneux completely believed that.

          • SirFinbar says:

            That’s not how I remember it. After some serious, initial heartbreak, I could usually get my creature set-up into being a good boy; and I was like 8 at the time.

            It’s just like raising a child. You can’t expect there to be no bumps along the road! Jeez. I loved this game, as you can probably tell.

            I agree that the creature aspect could’ve been a standalone game, which is pretty much what they did with Creature Isle.

            It just needed more sandbox. It’s true that the level design became atrocious. The best thing in the game was developing the town and having your creature learn; in my opinion.

          • noodlecake says:

            I think that’s really good for gaming though. Hindsight is always 20/20, but when you’re embarking on a new creative project, it’s the crazy ideas that move things forward and where you make exciting discoveries.

            I’m glad that a game like Black and White exist, and the fact that the creature management and the RTS were at odds with each other and didn’t quite work make the project all the more endearing to me. There’s too little risk taken these days with bigger budget games.

  10. cosminn777 says:


    • Fiatil says:

      Pleaseeee. I would totally settle for someone to just get the original working correctly on Windows 7 and 10 too. The game will run, but there’s no way to get it to render above the lowest possible settings. There are numerous guides that purport to get it running correctly in 7, but they are completely wrong and the screenshots they post reveal that the game says it’s running at max but is running at minimum.

      It actually still looks really good when you’re playing it on max with modern resolutions! I wound up giving up and dual booting Windows XP on my laptop a couple of years ago, and the difference between that and the Windows 7 screenshots are incredible.

      And yes, I am begging for someone to prove me wrong and tell me how to get the game to render at max settings in 7 or 10.

    • Vandelay says:

      It is crying out for VR/motion controller support too. The God hand is an ideal representation of a VR player in a game that it is hard to believe no one seems to have really tried it (as far as I know.)

      • Fiatil says:

        Didn’t the original have support for one of those old motion tracked gloves? I didn’t buy it, but I totally bought the logitech iFeel mouse that let you FEEL your cow as you pet it.

  11. Merry says:

    All this wonder created by a “pathological liar” who now has nothing to say to gamers whatsoever. Thanks for that, John.

    • Freud says:

      He’s not produced a game worth talking about in a decade, so nothing lost.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Honestly, this pales in comparison to the fact that John Walker shot J.F. Kennedy, torched the Hindenburg, purposefully gave wrong directions to Amelia Earhart, and was the producer for Aqua’s Barbie Girl.

    • durrbluh says:

      It became evident around this point in his career that Molyneux had become so distanced from actual coding and game development that he had no idea what was or was not physically possible on today’s systems, but he was more than willing to promise every wild concept he could conjure up, much to his development team’s chagrin. This was painfully evident during the Fable years, and pretty much led to his becoming a punchline rather than a respected developer both within the industry and the gaming community.

      Peter may have lost a lot of credibility, but he still has enough pull with venture capitalists and crowdfunders to keep cranking out crappy apps, so I wouldn’t shed too many tears for his hardship.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      I’d say Black and White was arguably the beginning of his downward spiral. It’s really not fun to play, it was just pretty and interesting to look at for five minutes when it came out. It was a glorified tech demo.

  12. Mollusc Infestation says:

    My favourite strategy was to train my creature to be as nice as possible, while committing numerous atrocities with my god-hand when it wasn’t looking.

  13. Spakkenkhrist says:

    1. Throw sheep/villager at cliff in front of pet monkey
    2. Watch monkey do the same
    3. Pet monkey to reinforce behaviour

    • Mungrul says:

      1: Set turd on fire.
      2: Pick up flaming turd.
      3: Throw flaming turd at buildings.
      4: Watch creature stomp through buildings, pick up flaming turd, stand there like an idiot holding it while burning to death.

  14. Archonsod says:

    Personally preferred Black and White 2, though I missed the ability to have your villagers convert a boulder into a holy relic, then throwing it at the non-believers.

    That said I suspect my main problem with B&W 1 was that the entire game felt like a tutorial up until the last level. Much as I appreciated the improvements to the city building, strategy layer and even the creature (not so much down to better feedback on the training, it’s AI simply seemed smarter to begin with) what really swung it for me is the fact that you actually get to play with the sandbox after the initial few levels, rather than B&W showing you the nice sandbox but forcibly holding your hand the whole way.

  15. Sardonic says:

    I liked the original Black and White, but I wish they had done away with the influence boarders. They only served to limit you as the AI has no respect for them, and it makes so much of the game an utter grind to boost your range to where you can influence the village you’re actually trying to influence. Not fun.

    I’m convinced nobody has ever actually beaten the final level, or at least the number of people who have beaten it can be counted on a hand, so much empty space between villages and so little wood resources.

    • Archonsod says:

      The final level wasn’t particularly difficult. I suspect the problem you had was thinking the only way of boosting your influence was developing your village :P (although to be fair I think the other means of doing so by using worshipping stones for example weren’t really explained very well, if at all, in the game).

    • poliovaccine says:

      I’d be one of those! Between me and the last guy that’s two already – where are the other three? Cmon folks, sound off!

      FWIW, I literally never remember having had an issue with influence. Whether that’s cus I began with a patched version, cus my intellect/imagination was skewed in a particularly Molyneuxian way and thus the game was uncommonly comprehensible to me, or else cus I was just more persistent when I was young, I dont know. I think it’s probably the second thing – I really enjoyed developing my village, I like turtling in any RTS, in general, and maybe I had more the mindset Molyneux & co. were envisioning in their design. But I do know I didnt enjoy frustration in my games very much – I never ascribed to the notion of “Nintendo hard,” since long before we ever had that term – and I’m sure if it had annoyed me in the slightest I would have quit more or less immediately. Instead I played it for flat out years. Even the tutorial section, which these days is famously maligned, never really got up my ass. I think I was still sufficiently wowed by the physics.

      But yeah, I beat the game. I even beat it as a “good” god, eventually. I was a Hindu god, I guess, since I always chose the cow.

    • Titler says:

      I beat the final level with a Good God and a confused cow too. I’ve still got my save backed up, and I hoped one day someone would release a Mod that told me what my cow had learned, because I never quite got it to act in any coherent or useful way…

      I remember having a lot of fun trying to teach it things in the first game, then resorting to playing it as Populous With Goofy Quests, and as such it was an extremely easy game in my recollection. All I can recall of the later game though is that it was nowhere near as much fun once you took out mystery and magic of uncertain moo, and that the multiplayer was dead right from the beginning. I’m not sure I ever even had a game of it?

      I also never got around to purchasing Creature Island, but I did buy and complete B&W2, and literally the only things I can remember are that the hair on the cow was rendered so much better, and that the AI still didn’t seem to make much sense even with the sliders; Like I’d sit throwing poop in front of it, command it to pick up the poop, and it seemed to think I was teaching it the pick up, not the throw.

      I’m sure if I sat and watched some videos of both games, more memories would come back; mention of the sea shanties and the sheep for instance make me go “Oh yes, so there were!”, but what was so disappointing about the games is just how little was genuinely revolutionary… some of that is how many years have passed, true. But there’s nothing that really stuck except “huge cows are cute”.

  16. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    This was the game that taught me not to believe the hype, and to check reviews and reactions before I bought a game.
    Not just stuff from Molyneux (although it did really shake my confidence in him), and not just games, but any time I feel myself starting to believe the hype, I now mentally take a step back, and temper my expectations.
    I suppose I should probably thank Molyneux for that.

  17. Asokn says:

    “Ohhhhhhhh we’ve got this notion that we’d quite like to sail the ocean”

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      Eidle eidle ee

    • rodan32 says:

      Hah, I still get that stupid song in my head. “Oh, the boat is now finished, but there’s still one thing on the wish list. . .”

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      Perhaps my memory is skewed, but i swear if you gave them a sheep they said something along the lines of “A sheep, lovely. Sheep have many uses – and the voyage is long…”

    • MajorLag says:

      Pretty much the only thing I remember from the game. I have it in my repertoire of Sea Chanties for some reason.

  18. nimbulan says:

    This was a great game, completely ruined by the absurdly unreliable gesture controls. It wouldn’t be so bad if the shapes didn’t take so long to draw.

  19. theWillennium says:

    Coming off of Dungeon Keeper being one of my all-time favorite games to date, I was also extremely hyped for this when it came out in my teenage years. Never quite came together, but I was still quite taken with a lot of it, and think about how parts of its design could be repurposed for better use.

  20. Chaoslord AJ says:

    It was great in theory with the potential AI learning, being a God and all that, less so in execution.
    Fast forward the decades they couldn’t do it now probably.
    The creature learning was so mysterious and unclear and all the creature did was exactly not what it was told like eating villagers all the time despite of spanking.
    Aweful unskippable cutscenes and the creature battles.
    Oh well it was ambitious and I played the promise of it for a long time.

  21. causticnl says:

    gotta love the cow, specially from the first game. didnt liked the character in the 2nd one.

  22. Sin Vega says:

    A fun game but excrutiatingly slow, and your needy people’s incessant whining literally never stopped. Let them expand and they’ll whine about food. Give them food and they’ll whine that they “need offspring!”. And given that any use of combat spells at all, regardless of harm done, counted as “evil”, becoming evil was all but inevitable just to take out some frustration on the useless little shits. What the hell kind of civilisation needs to be explicitly instructed by a god to have sex?

    I loved the creature fights, the chimp was badass in those. Sadly my game fell foul of a bug that reduced my towering creature to the minimum size possible (not the plot-mandated one – another one with no way to reverse it), and thus completely useless and a huge liability by that point. And I didn’t fancy sitting on the same level for another billion hours waiting for him to catch up again.

    Also that stealth mission where you have to follow the guru… fucking hell, what were they thinking.

    Also also, one of my favourite details that was probably an oversight: your creature could “lose the item he was looking for”, which translates to any object he happened to be carrying vanishing into irretrievable nothingness. I once saw him do this with a villager. Something about the metaphysics of this always tickled me.

    Also also also plus, until you realise what it means, having sinister voices whisper “deaaaaaaath” in your ears late at night was extremely creepy.

    It also had the worst unskippable intro/tutorial in the history of the world. Eventually patched, but this was around 2001 and (a) patching was a pain in the arse, and (b) games should have learned to never ever do that kind of unskippable bullshit years earlier.

    • Nauallis says:

      Hmm, this all sounds remarkably like the RPS comment section on any controversial topic.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Oh, that’s everyone? Thank god, I thought there was something wrong when my laptop started randomly whispering “deeeaaaath” whenever I was browsing a controversial RPS comment section.

  23. Talahar says:

    Truly 2002’s premier spank your monkey simulator. 10/10.

  24. Mecha_Rocky says:

    Ahhhh…. my favorite broken game.

  25. Jabberwock says:

    First half was quite fun, as it had many scripted missions for villagers and the creature. Unfortunately, then it became that rather boring RTS, where you have waited for your circle of influence to expand…

    Oh, and I did play it with the P5 Glove, which was even more fun. In fact, I still have it and it works even on modern systems. I wonder if the game would still run…

  26. BaronKreight says:


  27. poliovaccine says:

    I was lucky enough to have played this game without having ever heard any of the hype. Just saw it and thought it sounded cool.

    It was a permanent fixture on my next three computers. I absolutely loved it. Remember how sometimes you could hurl a rock, and if villagers saw it they might start to worship it, making it worth more and more belief/power? Or how sacrificing children at the altar was worth like ten times the value of sacrificing adults? Or how you could poison a whole food supply, either your enemy’s or your own, by having your creature huck some poop into it? Man I adored that game.

    Also, I dont remember having any difficulty training my creature the way so many people are recounting here. Either my own logic was deficient in a compatibly idiosyncratic (or idiotic) way, or else they fixed it in a patch before I picked it up or something.

    Also-also, I had always wanted RTS games to let me zoom in that much. That was the first RTS that ever let me zoom in that much. My god but I loved to zoom in that much. Zoom. In. That. MUCH.

    • Mungrul says:

      And this is another thing people forget about the game: for all its flaws, it revolutionised camera control in 3D strategy games. The zoom was unrestricted, yes, but it wasn’t just that. It was the concept of grabbing the landscape to move the camera, or holding a mouse button then moving the mouse to rotate the camera around a fixed point.
      These things are considered industry standard now, but as far as I remember, B&W was the first to do it.

  28. IcyBee says:

    My memories of this game…

    Level 1 – Tutorial.
    Level 2 – Interesting game – lots of things to do.
    Level 3 – Took my creature away. Became long tedious game.
    Level 4 – Stupidly hard, annoying fireballs everywhere.
    Level 5 – Really hard – everything too spaced out. Gave up. Will try again some day….

    (never did)

    • Konservenknilch says:

      Pretty much this. I loved the first two levels, fooling around with my creature and the villagers. Which was also the part that reviewers got with the promise of more to come. Then, with level 3, the quality fell down a cliff. What a pity.

  29. aoanla says:

    I got as far as Level 2, realised that the game had been handicapping me throughout Level 1 by hiding my creature’s thoughts from me… discovered from reading up on later levels that it was basically going to throw gimmicks at me in later levels (taking creature away, inverting it etc), and decided that it really wasn’t worth dealing with the game trying to remove the bits I enjoyed from it.

    (I came back for Black and White 2, which I actually enjoyed a bit more – despite the less avoidable combat focus – because the Creature was a bit more controllable from the start, and there was less gimmickry.)

  30. Pizzzahut says:

    No I haven’t :( But I wish I could have.

    Back in ‘the day’ I had a Compact Presario :| Running Windows 95, 32mb RAM, AMD K6 233Mhz CPU and a S3 Trio 64v2 2mb video card. Needless to say, games like this were far too intensive for my system.

    Sad to hear there’s no digital version available.

  31. benkc says:

    What I remember:
    Level 1 – the tutorial that was OK the first time and AWFUL if you played through it multiple times
    Level 2 – Learning the hard way that giving my villagers what they asked for was a very bad idea. (Hence starting over and having to go through the tutorial again.)
    Also: Petting the belly was, as far as I understood, both the “positive reinforcement” feedback and the “eat what you’re holding” feedback. So whenever my creature rescued a villager, if I praised ’em for it, they’d then eat the villager.

  32. haldolium says:

    Black&White was awesome. I really miss it.

  33. calvhob says:

    Think I found a legit download: http://www.myabandoneware.com

    One of my fondest memories playing games as a kid, as most of the Lionhead games …

  34. baidi says:

    Does anybody remember that level where your creature gets captured, so you don’t have access to it. And on the island is this weird little guy who’s an atheist? He was indestructible, and would taunt you with all kinds of Pythonesque bravado. And if you threw him outside of your circle of control, there would be a brief moment where you could interact with the world wherever he landed.

    I used that to throw him into the enemy village, then scoop up children from their school to sacrifice in my shrine (I realized after a few experiments that children gave more power than adults). I was pissed my animal had been captured. And repeating this was growing my circle of influence.

    Then, when I was going back for the tenth or so time I noticed something. The villagers from the enemy village were leaving their town and coming to the plain separating mine for theirs. In that plain were a bunch of rocks that had landed there when, at the beginning of the level, I had attempted to hurl rocks at the village, unsuccessfully. Those villagers began chanting and moving around the rocks, and those stones began glowing red and emitting hieroglyphs as they became holy objects whereby the villagers prayed to me to stop seizing their children via the proxy of this sailor mouthed atheist flying from the sky into the school.

    In a game about religion, the systems independently interlocked to create another religion beyond the design of the game. That still stands out as one of my favorite gaming moments. After that, the next level (that volcano affair) I just couldn’t maintain interest – it just could compete with the two days I spent watching all of that develop.

  35. Turkey says:

    How many of you zoomed in on the apple to see the stupid worm? Definitely one of the first things I did.

  36. Carr0t says:

    I remember being freaked out for *weeks*, because I didn’t realise the game told you about villagers dying with a creepy voice whispering ‘Deaaaaathhhh…’, and I used to leave it running in the background while I did other things, periodically tabbing back in to check on the status of everything.

    Every now and again my computer would whisper ‘Deaaaaathhh…’ at me. I thought I’d been hacked or something…

    • Fiatil says:

      You make me feel slightly better at my reaction! I first heard it at like 2 AM after a few days with the game, and immediately quit and went to bed.

  37. KingFunk says:

    I did until I hit a game breaking bug – as I recall there was a mission which required using your creature to biff other gods’ creatures in order to relieve said creatures of a number of MacGuffins (or pieces of a larger MacGuffin?). During battle, there was a double KO and one of the MacGuffins vanished entirely (presumably as it failed to transfer to the inventory of a dead simian). Either I saved at this point before I realised or there was an autosave and I had no way of undoing this heinous situation.

    I can’t remember if you could have multiple saves on that game, but I’ve always used multiple saves wherever possible ever since –
    this was a hard lesson learnt in my formative gaming years…

  38. bill says:

    I now find it funny to see so many people complaining that your creatures thought process was unclear and that it often didn’t respond to your teaching in the way you expected.

    I guess none of you have kids? It all sounds highly accurate to me.

    • Fiatil says:

      Pretty much this. The second game let you reduce your creature to a series of min max sliders, and it was really bad. Part of what made 1 fun despite its flaws is that you had to teach your creature through trial and error. It could be frustrating, but removing the “error” part of it in 2 ruined the entire system.

  39. Neurotic says:

    I remember when The_Bag from the PCG forums got a job with Lionhead, working on B&W 2. That was back around 2004/2005. Those were the days.

  40. TrenchFoot says:

    No. But I worked for a computer magazine at the time and remember through the haze of years the reams of hype, followed by a post-release “this is really good: let there be awards!” to a many-hours-in “this is actually quite rubbish.” But patches, mods, nostalgia of when we were 15, etc.

  41. Bonedancer says:

    I really hated this game. I had such high hopes, and then I couldn’t work out how to get the creature to do *anything*.

    I figured I’d messed up somewhere and re-started, then hard ragequit during the second, unforgivably unskippable cutscene of the singing sailors. Never went back, never touched anything with Molyneux’s name on it again.

    Reading all the comments above from people who did like it has cheered me up rather; I’m actually pleased that someone got something out of it, even if I bounced off it.

    And of course it taught me the important lesson about not getting excited about a game that wasn’t out yet and could never live up to the publicity.