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Spore

   
 
Spore
 

The great thing about Spore is that you can create an entire race of creatures, guiding them from single cell organisms to a complex, intelligent race. Starting from a single cell organism, the decisions you make as you struggle to survive directs the evolution of your race. Are you going to be a herbivore, or a carnivore? Do you select attributes that will give you greater attack abilities, or greater defense? You guide your organism in finding food, avoiding predators, and replicating. Eventually, as your simple cellular creature grows, you evolve beyond living in water and break out onto land. From there you must once again find food, avoid or fight predators, and find mates to reproduce. If you adopted the life of a herbivore, you may choose to evolving attributes that let you become friends with the life on the land you now live. The more allies you make, the more you evolve. However, if you choose to fight instead of finding allies, you quickly become conquerors, and must continue to fight more dangerous species. Eventually, your race becomes more than mere animals, adopting the life of primitive tribes. At this stage, you stop controlling just a single character, but control a tribal leader, as well as characters with specialized skills like warriors, fishers, musicians, etc. Now you must either make peace with competing tribes, or destroy them. The next phase of the game leads you to more advanced technology. If your evolution made you peaceful, then your goal is to convert neighboring cities to your religion. If you have become warriors, then you must conquer your enemies. Here, you also build custom buildings, land vehicles and aircraft. If you conquer your world, you now reach the final stage where your race develops space craft and travel to the stars, once again find more races to either befriend or fight. The space segment is far more complex. Not only do you have a huge number of worlds in which to visit, but the game assigns specific tasks you must undertake, as well as resources and technologies you must acquire.

The most interesting thing about Spore is that it operates online, and is tied to other people playing Spore. Creatures you create and share in the Spore community find their way to other people's games. And other people's creations find their way into yours. This keeps the races you play against constantly changing. And, you don't actually have to play a game to design your creatures. You can just use the tools provided within the game to design your beings and save them. You may also use the tools to create buildings, boats, land vehicles, aircraft or space ships. Then, when you play Spore again, when you reach the appropriate level, you may simply chose the objects you've already created for use. Below, you will find an image of some of the Spore Creatures I have created. If you click on the picture, it will open in a new window and show you a much larger image with far more details. The creator of Spore also released an expansion pack called Spore Creepy and Cute, which gives you more tools to give your creations even more flexibility, I plan to eventually get this pack.

Despite the fact that I'm a big science fiction fan, the space levels seem to be my least favorite part of the game. It's fun for a while, but because it has such a huge galactic map, it is easy to get lost, or forget where the planet is you need to go to, or just find what you are looking for. Plus, it is way too easy to be destroyed by a race you stumble upon. I've attempted the space level twice, and both time just plain lost interest. However, I've gone back to the beginning and played Spore quite a few time now. I've also came back just to make Spore creators time and time again. I sometimes use it as a tool to play with ideas for aliens for future books. (Check out the tiny brown rodent below.  I call his race Rodii.  He is the inspiration for a character in the novel I'm currently writing called Ravaged Worlds.)

Finding Spore in a disc form is currently hard to do. However, if you want Spore, you can sign for a free Steam account, and buy it online through them. Many new games use Steam, and you can occasionally get really good deals on games through them. Well worth downloading.

Spore Characters Created by Tom A. Wright
 
Copyright © 2012 Tom A. Wright