Creatures is NOT an artificial intelligence simulation, rather an artificial life simulation - your Norns will never demonstrate great intelligence. They will, however, learn from their surroundings and from you. You guide the Norns and merely give them suggestions, you do not control them. A lot of times Norns will do as they please and may not do what you want them to.
This game is incomparably much more complicated and challenging than your ordinary tamagotchi or anything of that sort. Instead of looking after something that has programmed behavior, you are looking after creatures whose brain has been modelled on that of real life. To put it more simply, Norns are not responding to pre-programed commands, but think for themselves.
The Norn is born as a baby and grows with time through adulthood and will eventually die. This cycle tends to last around 10-15 hours but can be much longer. During its life span a Norn will go about its business (walking, eating, mating, etc). Your job is to make sure they are fed and happy; you are to guide them, monitor their health, keep them safe, and, ultimately, watch them breed and give you successive generations. In Creatures you are embodied as a hand with which you can pick up and drop objects, and teach your Norns 'good' and 'bad' by tickling or slapping them. You can also teach a Norn basic language so that you can speak to them (using your keyboard.
With time and your guidance, Norns learn. They are born knowing nothing and it is important to first teach them language with the computer and the fundamentals such as eating and operating transportation devices. Once you do that, you still have to monitor your Norns, but they are pretty much independent once you've taught them well. A Norn's brain, modelled after that of a human, is made up of many nerve cells called neurons. This enables a Norn to be able to learn from its experiences. Norns can be taught through a punishment/reward method. If a Norn is bad (eating a weed which will make it sick) it will get a quick slap on the bottom. If it is good, however, (eating a carrot) it will be rewarded with a tickle on the nose.
When Norns breed, their offsprings are a combination of the two parents with a few possible random genetic mutations thrown in. Every norn is unique and just what your creatures will be like generations from now is unpredictable!
Albia, the Norns' world, may seem hard to navigate at first. I recommend that beginners view the Albian Map with Labels found in some of the websites available. Not all plants in Albia are good to eat - some are nourishing, some have healing powers and others have deadly effects! View the herb and weed table in the Creatures Help so that you do not confuse the harmful weeds with the beneficial herbs (Creatures Help is supplied with your Creatures Game.
Norns are not the only creatures in the world of Albia! There are Grendels that steals food and toys, carry dreadful diseases, and hit your Norns. However, they are just as capable of learning as Norns are! It is possible to teach them words on the computer and communicate with them. Grendels are still mean, however, but since they are genetically unable to reproduce, there can only be one in the world at any given time. Grendels are born in the Grendel Tree. If Grendels are too much for you to handle, there are humane ways of dealing with them or you can use a program or a Cob to export the Grendel.