Spore: Video Game
So, you want to be God.
If you have ever played any of the Sims games, you know that you basically get to be God, dictating what all of the little Sims can or cannot do. You have the option of turning free will on or off; and, you can make them do outrageous things over and over. With the SimCity games, you can build great cities, but you also have the power to destroy. Now, EA Maxis and game designer Will Wright have taken it to a whole new level with Spore, which is set to be released Spring 2008.
When this game was first talked about, it was called “SimEverything” because it is all about the evolution of a universe. This single player game allows you to create unique creatures from single-celled organisms. These organisms can then evolve into intelligent space travelers throughout the five different levels, or phases, of the game. As God, you get to make the decisions for your creatures—will they be happy or miserable? Lazy or hard-workers? It is all about balance, but the control is all in your hands.
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Phase 1 – Cell Game
Will Wright has likened this phase to the Pac-Man games because the point is for your little creature to eat other cells while avoiding being eaten by bigger creatures. Once you have eaten enough cells, an egg is formed. You are now evolving, and can use DNA points as currency to alter your creature’s shape, appearance, and abilities (like evolving with a jaw to chomp other creatures so you don’t have to eat only blobs of plant-food.
As your creature grows and evolves, the scenery around you will change until you are given the option to crawl onto dry land.
Phase 2 – Creature Game
Now that you are on dry land, your creature can try to make friends with other creatures. The goals of this level are for your creature to hunt for food to earn DNA points. You also need to reproduce, but must find a mate this time—no asexual egg spawning in this level. And, as it goes in the game of survival, you have to avoid being eaten by predators. If you want to mate, you have to make friends (you can even befriend an entire species, and gain access to their nest). Some friends will join your pack, following you around to help you. Making friends or creating enemies with species now will affect your relationship with them throughout the entire game. Making friends will also help you earn DNA points, which allows you to attract a mate. Your creature will do a special mating dance with its lucky mate, and then you will lay an egg. Before your egg hatches, you will have the options to evolve the creature by using your DNA points.
Phase 3 – Tribe Game
Your brain is developing, so now you are building the strength of your tribe. With this level, you will gain a world map which shows the other tribes. Your goal is to get other tribes to join with yours—you can either befriend them, or take them over with force (it all depends on how you want your creatures to develop). Your tribe will have shelter in the form of huts. As the tribal leader, you can assign activities for the other tribe members to do. You will want to balance your time between recruiting members, and managing your food—which you can do by hunting, gathering, and fishing. Don’t forget that all work and no play makes for miserable creatures, so if you are a creature with a mind to have a happy tribe, initiate a dance around the fire.
In this level, you don’t get to control the physical developments of your creature anymore, but you can design tribal outfits. Fashion is born.
Phase 4 – Civilization Game
Your population has exploded, and your camp has now grown into a city. You can now create buildings to serve different functions (factory, entertainment, housing). Depending on how you played the tribal level, your city will either be cultural/religious, military, or diplomatic. Spice is now the currency, which you can use to build better vehicles. Once your city is self-sustaining, you can interact (take over) with other cities. Again, you have the options of taking them over by converting them with diplomacy and friendship or with military force. You can also just buy their city.
This phase is similar to the SimCity game, but your goal is to control the entire planet, Napoleon.
Phase 5 – Space Game
Your species has conquered your planet, now it is time to take over space. Your mission is to travel to other planets to learn more about them. After studying a planet, you can use it to support more advanced life. You can also populate it with plants and animals from other planets. The point of these missions is to interact (ahem, take over) the other planets.
Many of the planets will have inhospitable landscapes, so your job is to make them livable. Once you bring these dead planets back to life, you can support life and civilization on them. This phase of the game doesn’t have an end goal like the other players do, but can continue to be played…forever, if you want.
Ready to Play God?
I think the game looks interesting. It seems to have a lot of scientific ideas, but in a fun way. It is an open-ended game, so the ability and methods of replaying has no boundaries. Each time you start over, you can change one small aspect of the game that will alter the course of your species’ future.