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Thingdom


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joyeThingdomHave you ever wanted to breed yourself a colony of blobular lifeforms, only to be stymied by the terms of your lease or ridiculous laws against Thing importation? Well, now you can simulate the experience with Thingdom, a game and webtoy created for the London Science Museum by Preloaded, which manages to make learning about genetics fun. Move over, brown eyes and blue eyes; kids today are finding out how to breed for monostalks.

Proper Thing husbandry is easy to get the hang of. All controls are with the mouse only. First, you lovingly select your initial Thing. Then, you take your Thing into the world and use your cursor and several buttons at the bottom of the screen to interact with your Thing and its buddies. Feed them, brush them, play music for them, and fling them about in the air wildly (a very important Thing need, that). You begin the game in the somewhat boring grassy zone. In order to unlock other zones, you must complete challenges by breeding Things with certain traits, such as square shape or gigantic size. Click on the "mate now" button in the lower right corner, or simply wait for the timer to tick down, and your Thing will shout, "I want to MATE!"

Choose one of several potential mates for your Thing based on the probability that their offspring will have the traits you desire. Then you'll be taken into a mini-game to impress the mate you chose. You may have to keep your Thing balanced on a scale, pull your Thing around to dodge water balloons, jump rope with your Thing, or several other games. The mini-games are fun in themselves and sometimes easier with one type of Thing than another (tiny Things dodge well, but it's harder to hit targets with them). You have a limited amount of time to fill the mate's love meter with successes. If you succeed... the miracle of life occurs, with a fun animation showing the random swapping of genetic material. Hopefully among the new litter of baby Things is a Thing displaying the traits you want. If not, you can pick the baby that has it as a recessive trait and try again. The later challenges will take at least two tries to create a Thing with the desired trait.

Like an increasing number of games, Thingdom integrates with social media, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective. Although nothing is required to simply play the game, to save your progress you must give an email address. The game also encourages you to share and track your progress through Twitter and Facebook. Nothing drives up Twitter follower numbers faster than the news that you've successfully bred a gigantic Thing. Trust me.

Once you've completed all the challenges, the game becomes more of a webtoy. You can focus on the nurturing part of the game by trying to keep all the Things happy, or try to breed a Thing to look just the way you want it. The game has lots of fun touches, from the Boohbah-like bright colors and cute sound effects, to the whimsical accessories you can add in various zones (my favorite is the sombrero and mustache in the desert). Plus, unlike a real animal breeding program, you never have to clean up after your Things. Maybe your landlord had a point after all.

Play Thingdom

26 Comments

Maximus July 5, 2010 1:06 PM

I wanted to try this, but after using Firefox, Chrome and IE, it seems not to work. After selecting "Mate" and then another thing, the screen goes white.. and thats it. Ah well..

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Vectomon July 5, 2010 2:11 PM

Firefox can't locate www.sciencemuseum.org.uk . Too bad, it seemed fun.

[My Firefox located it just fine. Maybe a temporary internet glitch? You might want to try again. -Jay]

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I experienced the "whiteout" mating glitch myself. Just refresh the page, log back in and you'll be able to continue.

Not bad, though these Things aren't nearly as cute or interesting as Norns. That said, the diploid genetics (dominant/recessive genes) are a feature that's sorely lacking from the Creatures series, and if someone ever has the bright idea to revive it, I hope they think to make Digital DNA more complex in that regard.

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Maybe it's just me, but this was ridiculously easy. Maybe because I always found genetics to be easy to understand?

Long live Thingy I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X!

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Tis Is Me July 5, 2010 6:33 PM

This game is acutally quite deep. The characteristics listed in a thing's profile extend beyond what is listed there. Fine hair goes from something that looks abit like spiky hair to really fine fur, and you can breed to get these chracteristics, even though on the profile the name for the thing's dominant chracteristic will not change.

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Cheeseable Author Profile Page July 5, 2010 7:18 PM

I had the problem also, but another problem I had was that I couldn't input my code. I clicked submit many times and waited forever, but still nothing. Otherwise the white balnk screen rarely happened. Go Blob I,II,III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X & VI (Glitch LOL)

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Bad issues -

First, it took forever to get the stupid thing to send me anything to my email address. The very first time I ever played, I typed in my email addy and it told me, "Oops, email already used." After several attempts, I got something in my email box, but it continued to tell me the email address was already being used. Very weird.

Second major problem was the inability to *use* the code in question to get my Thing family back. I would hit the "returning player" button and C&P the code into the window, but hitting "submit" never resulted in anything at all - the screen just sat there, doing nothing. I could hit "cancel" and start a new Thing family, but I couldn't use the code to get my old family back.

Third was the white screen issue. Like several others above, I would get a white screen every time my Thing said, "I want to mate!" but nothing could be done to resolve this problem - if I reloaded the page, I couldn't get my Thing back because I couldn't use the "returning user" code. So far all I've been able to do is feed my Thing, brush it, brush some strange Things that show up at random, and then get saddled with a white screen.

For the record, I'm using IE8, no pop-ups blocked on the page.

I don't recommend this game to anyone who doesn't have the patience to fiddle with IE's settings or whatever is needed to get past the bloody white screen. I myself have no patience for it, and have given it up before I could start it.

[You might try a better browser. IE is notorious for a less than desirable user experience, and I'm not surprised that you don't have the patience using it requires. Try Firefox or Chrome for best results (and your sanity). -Jay]

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I had the same problems as Tabs- mate screen white-out multiple times, and typing in my code and clicking "Submit" only to have nothing happen. However, I am using Firefox, so it's not just an IE problem.

[Thank you. I'll report these issues to the developer, hopefully there will be a fix or a workaround for it. Cheers. -Jay]

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Jay,

I have to disagree with you about Firefox providing a better gameplay experience in general than IE, at least when it comes to Flash games. Firefox has the exasperating tendency to assume all arrow key presses apply to the scrollbar, rather than to the Flash object. As a result, I cannot use Firefox for any browser-based game that uses arrow keys for input.

[Are you sure that's not due to a local configuration of yours? Arrow keys work correctly for me (ie, do not scroll the window when playing Flash games) in Firefox on both Mac and Windows (XP) platforms. I have experienced that issue, however, only when using IE if the site that hosts the Flash game uses the "wmode" parameter to embed the game on the page. -Jay]

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When saving my game, I've tried 3 e-mail adresses and the reply was always that the e-mail has been used.

But I did recieve a mail, giving me a "family code". But when I refreshed the page, typed in the code and pressed submit, nothing happened but some sound effects!

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@James I use Firefox, and whenever I come across that issue, I can fix it by clicking somewhere inside the game window.

I liked this game, the only issue I had was in the last challenge (where you breed a gigantic thing), I always got a choice of 4 tiny babies at the end. It took me a while to realise that some actually had the right genes, but were just drawn the tiny size for some reason.

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Does anyone know the dominance/recession of the genes?

I'm interested in trying to make a thing with all of the most recessive genes...

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Never mind. Order is:

Red > Green > Orange > Blue

Hatched Stripes > Straight Stripes > Polka Dots > Wave Stripes > Floral Dots

Normal > Tiny > Gigantic

Blob > Cushion > Square > Hourglass > Tall > Triangle

Bobbly > Fluffy > Spikey

Round Ears > Judge Wig > Devil Horns > Simian Ears > Pointy Ears > Twin Stalks > Saggy Ears > Mono Stalk > Tri Frills > Bunny Ears

Also it occurs to me that I'm unlikely to be able to get a fully double-recessive genome as that would mean the last step would be finding a partner with at least one of all the recessive genes and then breeding with them and being very lucky :(

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chipmunk Author Profile Page July 6, 2010 3:22 PM

@Albert:

"I always got a choice of 4 tiny babies at the end. It took me a while to realise that some actually had the right genes, but were just drawn the tiny size for some reason."

Maybe the reason is that they're babies? :D

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HopefulNebula Author Profile Page July 6, 2010 5:51 PM

What, am I really the only person here who's named her Things Tribble?

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Loving this, the things are just cute to play with :) .

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rexmario July 7, 2010 5:56 AM

It should be noted that no matter what "size" your think is, they always start small because they are babies

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I played this a while ago. I found that some of the little games don't respond well. Especially the elastic one. It's an interesting way to teach kids about genealogy though.

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My girlfriend is very upset, she worked for hours to build her family and complete the challenges. When we would save, we would receive the error stating the e-mail address had never been used (when it obviously never even had been used). We would get a save code anyway in the e-mail, but typing it in resulted in nothing happening, the button just makes a noise when you click it.

Any chance of this getting fixed?

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iceebear Author Profile Page July 9, 2010 6:19 AM

I really enjoyed the game. To look at it with out playing it you are really missing something. To me is cute and it would teach a child a lot. And it is somewhat challenging in the fact that you have to do certain things to make him appear the proper one to mate to like in the wild. the more prosperous or good looking or biggest nest etc.. it is based more on animal breeding than people. But that is ok. It is really cute game.

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Trekkie_Aspie Author Profile Page July 13, 2010 11:49 AM

I like this game, they should add a 'find a thing' feature.

I managed to breed a thing that carries an 'extreme recessive' allele for each gene, I think. Would someone check my work, please?

It is a green-skinned thing with hatched stripes. It is tiny and square with bobbly hair and simian ears.

The recessives are:

Blue skin, Floral Dots Pattern, Gigantic Size, Triangle Shape, Spikey Hair and Bunny Ears Plumage.

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Long Live Thingle I,II, III IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, and XV!

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:D I actually took the time to breed one with all the recessive genes (took me 30-some generations) and now I'm trying to get one with all the dominant genes.

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:'( the family code wont work! just sound effects! why!?!?!?!

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Hey guys, everything on Thingdom works fine for me :D Why dont u guys get IE(Internet Explorer) cus it works fine
P.S. my code always works.
P.P.S.I finished all quests in 5 mins (10 mins if u count the 5 min dinner-time lol)

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