I really wanted to write a Have You Played about The Movies, and then realised Graham had done one already, way back in 2015. (I’m really annoyed I didn’t get there first, but I was still in school in 2015.)
And, of course, Graham has also written one of these about the first Black & White, so I’m hoping this counts as Fresh New #Content. Black & White 2 was my introduction to the series, anyway. I was definitely too young to buy it myself, so I asked my mum to buy me a copy of it from WHSmith and pretend it was for her, not the 12 year old child standing next to her. A fool proof plan.
Black & White 2 is similar to the first B&W – a god game where you choose to be good or evil by how you treat your followers. It’s prettier than the first, and has a gussied up HUD and a more focused plot. But that wasn’t my main concern.
It was clear from a young age that I really liked telling people – or creatures – what to do. A big Sims fan, loved The Movies, and was drawn to games that had anything to do with owning a pet. And that was basically what Black & White 2 was – a big beastie pet sim, with added small people (use: food or fun) and god-like powers.
I suppose in The Sims you’re an unseen God (it’s kind of unspoken that you’re even there, really) and in The Movies you’re just playing the role of a studio boss/director, but in Black & White 2, you’re proper God. None of that messing around. You’re definitely God. You even have a little floaty hand that lets you chuck people around, just like God probably would do if it wouldn’t blow his cover and be frowned upon. Do you reckon God has a chunky devil and angel on his shoulder too?
But the things that really drew me to this game were the giant beasties, your Creature companions – God’s representative on Black & White 2’s earth, basically. The absolutely adorable lion and wolf, and the little round bellied cow were definitely animals I aspired to own when I grew up. I mean, obviously it’s not possible, but imagine having a giant cow for a pet. Instead, I now have two dogs and a cat. Things could be worse.
The creatures in B&W2 didn’t stay cute and small for long though. They’d grow up and get either a good or evil alignment. I remember getting my beastie to throw humans around and maybe eat a couple of them. And I vaguely remember the real time strategy fights… But I don’t think I played with those as much as the game intended me to. Organising a village and trying to make my beast as angelic as possible were my main goals – but as soon as something bad happened I’d just fully lean into the evil timeline.