Spore and the Obvious

Spore is a new game coming out this fall and recently a creature creator was released to show off a bit of the game. Given that this is a game more or less about evolution, with male and female creatures, it did not take long until “Sporn” hit the Internet.

I’ve pasted the “nature video” in all its glory below, so please take that into account before playing it. I found it very funny–ah, the things people put their minds to–but I wouldn’t show it to my kids. The tagline for the game goes, “Starting with single-cell organisms, players work on designing life with ever more complexity.” Or designing it right into the gutters… The hattip goes to Greg Laden.

Our own Greg adds: Warning: Video contains graphic scenes of pink-skinned animated aliens mating, including growling, circling hearts, and funky dance moves. Please don’t click if you are without a sense of humor.

3 thoughts on “Spore and the Obvious

  1. I am both entertained, but somewhat disturbed!

    On a more serious note: being able to control the evolution of a species really begs some questions about teleology and whether or not this really can be called a ‘game about evolution’. A game about creation maybe!

    As fun, and as strange as this game would be, i am wary when people put the word ‘evolve’ in the contexts that may distort a proper understanding of the word.

    What I did find interesting though was the creature stories that accompany the creatures some people have been making. There is a mixture of projection, anthropomorphising, releasing pent-up frustration at someone close, and a lot of humour! Creativity is enhanced by the tools people have at hand. With the ultimate tools maybe people will be able to better express what is going on inside their mind. What lovely case-studies concerning creativity creature creator creates!

  2. Yeah, you’ve got it, Paul. On the evolution side, what little reading I’ve done about Spore is that it makes two fundamental mistakes about evolution, first since you control one individual creatute, you miss the point that natural selection is really about populations (someone replied to that, and multiplayer? no idea if they plan that), and second, the built-in teleology or great chain of being, that there is progress from a single-cell creature up to space faring creatures.

    Given the ways some of the creatures look, I’m guessing there is not a lot of adaptive thinking either–of features matching a niche (which would come from Darwin’s basic three, variation in a population, inheritance, and a trait having a beneficial effect for survival and/or reproduction in a particular environment and population). So the game is not about evolution at all, except in a playful, metaphorical way. And my guess is that people will have lots of fun with the game in the ways you describe. Will Wright created SimCity, so I am expecting a design-life sort of game.

  3. Well, Spore has been postponed a few times for unknown reasons. When Will Wright announced it at what I think was E3 2006, they explained how the “multiplayer” would work. In fact, it’s not a true multiplayer. When you create a creature and play it, your creature is uploaded to the Spore servers. These creatures populate the Spore worlds of individual players – you’re playing against other people’s creations! So, in some sense, you’re not isolated in your own little world like SimCity; you must interact with other populations.

    Overall, ’tis a game. Will Wright is a genius, and even while we’ve been waiting for it and it’s been postponed “indefinitely” in the past, people still have predicted it will be the best game of all time. We’ll see this fall (which is going to be an amazing fall for games).

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