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Spore

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Maxis

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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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5. 'Spore' (NDS/Wii/PC)

by Rainier on Jan. 19, 2008 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

Begin your odyssey at the dawn of life as a simple microbe just trying to survive, then use the fun, intuitive Editors to evolve the creature from its microscopic origins into an intelligent, tool-using race. Guide your species as it builds (and the player designs) villages, buildings, cities, and vehicles. Along the way to becoming a global civilization you can choose whether to hunt or forage, attack or trade, be nice or play rough!

Tom Baker: In the beginning, there was Sim City, and gamers saw that it was good. Then there was The Sims, and gamers saw that it was good. Now there is Spore, and gamers saw that it was out of this world. Pioneering procedural generation, Spore doesn't just ask you to act like God, it makes you God. The planet, solar system, and universe change and develop based on what you do, and the open-ended gameplay and sheer amount of possibilities make this one of the most important titles in gaming history. Looking superb, Spore goes for intuitive gameplay and breaks new ground on the rather worn path of the God game. It's impossible to say that you aren't a fan of this type of game because Spore encompasses multiple genres at the same time, and there has never really been a game like this before. Spore is the future of gaming.

Lee Berlik: I get excited by any game that defies categorization into one of the established genres. Games like Bioshock and Portal did not fit neatly into a single gaming category, and look how awesome those experiences were! Spore has the potential to be one of the most innovative titles yet. It's supposedly some kind of life-simulation game, but the lives getting simulated are of cartoonish, Pixar-esque creatures rather than the real-life monotony that other, more typical sim titles mimic. Expect to see some strategy elements as well, though the Spore universe is not at war, as is usually the case in RTS games. In Spore, you start the game as a single-celled organism and somehow guide the evolution of your character into bigger and more intelligent creatures, moving onto dry land and eventually forming tribes and conquering enemies. Your degree of success in taking over the universe apparently depends on decisions you make on issues such as where to grow your legs, how you train your minions, and how you interact with the world's other inhabitants. I'm not sure exactly what to expect from this title, but it's certainly one of the most intriguing releases of 2008.

Mark Buckingham: Will Wright, creator of all things Sim, seems not content with having given users the power to build ant farms, cities, societies and even social networks. Perhaps the polar opposite of Peter Molyneux, Wright speaks little and lets his gameplay do the talking rather than promise more than he can deliver. This seemingly ultimate entry in the simulation genre takes you developmentally and evolutionarily from amoeba to galactic domination, encompassing a greater timeline than many other period-specific games combined. If the interface can stay straightforward and simple throughout, Spore has a chance to not only be fantastically inventive, but could also garner a huge audience (and thus, more player-created content and interaction) if they can rope in the millions who are hopelessly addicted to The Sims.

Alan Butterworth: Something like the Promised Land, Spore always seems one more tantalizing release date out of reach. It's been two years and we're still waiting, but we wait patiently because we know that the genius that is Will Wright is just taking his time to fine-tune and craft what might well be one of the most original epic games to date. How many other games can claim to simulate the evolution of a single-celled organism swimming in the pea soup of primordial history all the way to an advanced civilization colonizing space? I have a feeling that whole new scores of adjectives will have to be created solely to heap praise on this game, and I've already resigned myself to losing track of time, friends and real life all in the name of Spore.

Keith Durocher: At this point, who isn't excited about Spore? Most of us hardcore gamer types are always looking into a reinvention of the wheel, and the mechanics of this game are about as reinvented as you can get. Play from amoeboid to advanced space-faring conquerer? That's worth at least a cursory examination!

Sanford May: I anticipate playing Spore, the virtual species creation laboratory, biological life simulation, whatever the hell it is, and seeing how it turns out. Will Wright has demonstrated that he can successfully create some solid, popular, fun titles, so what I'd love to see in Spore is just that — a great, fun game that aspires to teach me nothing I could not learn far better, far faster reading just a volume or two of Gould's and Dawkins' works.

Tim McCullough: The often-proclaimed king of social simulations, Will Wright offers what seems to be the most unique offering for 2008. I personally find the whole idea of turning the cycle of life into a game quite intriguing. If he can pull it off, what could ever be created to top it? Keep your head down, even with its lighthearted fictional approach to the creation and the cycle of life, there will most certainly be quite a few people bent over this God game.

Steven Mills: I still remember when I was introduced to The Sims at a friend's house; eight hours later, my friend's mother was asking me to leave and rambling about how I'd been there too long. Will Wright is taking Spore to the next level and practically has the potential to make it the best game ever. Not only do I find myself looking forward to creating an innovative and cool-looking creature while taking over the entire planet — and later the entire galaxy — all while evolving into a super-creature, but I also look forward to swimming around in the tide pool phase, popping molecules and struggling to survive. Yes, Spore will probably claim hours upon hours of my life, but at least this time, it will be in the comfort of my own home.

Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen: Oh, where to start with this one. Almost every reader of this site will have played some version of Sim City at some point, or possbly Sim Tower, Sim Ant or, of course, The Sims. From the developer of this collection of hits comes Spore, a game that EA could have called SimEverythingEver, and it probably would have been appropriate. Starting from microbial life and going all the way to intergalactic civilizations, you build, muck with and generally define life in the universe like some sort of freakish God. If this doesn't appeal to the sort of gamer who obsessively looks for creative ways to murder their little Sims, then nothing will. Spore is already slated to be one of the biggest casual games of the year.

Matthew Szlapka: Even the Internet comes into play with Spore, the God game to end all God games. The creatures adapt, the worlds change, and the places differ from creature to Internet-created creature. You may personalize your character, but the game generates its movements on the fly.


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