Business Week
April 21, 1997
Page 123

The April 21, 1997 Business Week has a brief story in its "Developments to Watch " section, edited by Neil Gross that discusses Fin Fin and Creatures. It is accompanied by two great photos. The article and photos are reproduced below.


Fin Fin
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IF YOU WHISTLE, HE MAY EMERGE SHYLY FROM THE FOREST--BUT only if he wants to. After years of confinement in Fujitsu Ltd.'s computer science laboratory in Japan, a digital pet called Fin Fin is coming to PCs in America.

At first glance, Fin Fin looks like an elaborate screen saver. But he's more mysterious--and far more sophisticated. The $60 CD-ROM-based Fin Fin behaves like a sentient creature. He is the product of eight years' work and a $30 million investment in two hot areas of software research: artificial life, or A-life, and intelligent agents. Harsh or angry sounds, transmitted through a microphone that plugs into a Windows PC, will send him scurrying into the forest to hide. But he'll quickly learn to recognize children's voices and come when they call. ''He'll hang out with you and let you feed him,'' says Michael Pontecorvo, director of technology at Fujitsu Interactive Inc. in San Francisco.

Another A-life game, called Creatures, is also making its U.S. debut. The developer, Cyberlife Technology Ltd. in Cambridge, England, says its pets already inhabit 150,000 PCs in Europe and Australia. The animated critters, called Norns, hatch from eggs on your PC or Mac screen and rely on their owners to teach, maintain, and play with them. You can monitor the Norns' health and brain activity, trade them with friends over the Internet, and crossbreed them. Mindscape Inc. will market Creatures in August for $40.

Copyright 1997, by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
All rights reserved.

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