Spore: Evolution in Gaming

by Odette Barnes

Spore is the newest computer game to come from Will Wright and Maxis. The game itself allows players to play through the evolution of creatures from their primordial origins to their ascent into space. The so-called ‘massively single-player online game’ is a vastly open-ended game with seemingly limitless possibilities for expansion and customization.

The game forces players through five phases, each more difficult and larger in scope than the last: cell, creature, tribal, civilization, and space. Gameplay varies from phase to phase, with each one containing its own sets of objectives and stages.

One of the most unique aspects of the game is Spore’s level of customization.The developers have included several editors for each phase, with each serving different functions according to the phase they are in. Some allow players to make their own creature (called the ‘Creature Creator’), build buildings and homes, choose their tribal logo, or even design spaceships.

Where Spore really shines is with its player-based community. The high level of user-created content is easily uploaded and shared with other Spore players. Other players’ creatures, for instance, can be easily downloaded and added to their game. In fact, the in-game ‘Sporepage’ gives players stats on how their downloaded creatures are living in other Spore universes.

Players can easily record videos in-game, and a Spore YouTube community is already setup to allow easy posting, sharing and spotlighting. RSS feeds are also being implemented as a means to keep the community interactive. Some RSS feeds, for example, exist for certain players so that community subscribers can have up-to-date information regarding a specific players’ uploaded content.

In addition to any creations, the game’s so-called Sporepedia (which tracks virtually every gameplay development and experience made) allows players to upload any and all of their entries for other players to see.

Spore is certainly a revolution in online gaming. Although it lacks true ‘multiplayer’ gameplay, Spore has created an astonishingly intriguing game model that allows for heavy interaction with other players while maintaining a strictly ‘single-player’ game. The different phases of the game let players experience vastly different models of gameplay, which helps buoy the game’s replayability factor. And because players are encouraged to upload and interact with the Spore community, the game has a better chance of staying fresh for players.

Overall the game is a fun and intriguing attempt by Wright and Maxis, and certainly deserves a try. And the future only holds more promise as the inevitable inclusion of more and more content and players will only serve to better the game.

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