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The Media Loves Spore

September 22nd, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 8 Comments · Electronic Arts, Maxis, Media

I’ll have more to say once my review gets uploaded, but I wonder if Spore isn’t the biggest PC title ever released. It will certainly be dismissed by a lot of hardcore gamers, but it has been written about in all the major newspapers, many important newsblogs, and has been getting extended coverage in all the gaming media. This month’s PC Gamer has huge review from EIC Kristen Salvatore, Game Spy and 1up have had “Spore Days”…

The game media stuff isn’t anything new, of course. You will get the same thing when Blizzard’s next three games come out. But there won’t be the same mainstream media attention.

Part of it is that Will Wright is such a captivating figure. He’s a nerd, but he’s personable. A little mad. The internet has made the game one of the most anticipated titles ever since Wright’s first presentation about content creation in Spore. If he weren’t as good as salesman as he is, would Spore have been the hit that is undoubtedly is?

Spore is also, of course, getting this sort of attention because it is both innovative and topical. The innovation is mostly in the cute factor of creature creation – and Sporn – but the topicality of teaching evolution and/or creation (especially in light of a major party Vice Presidential candidate who believes the literal truth of Genesis) is what adds the extra oomph. It’s the same reason why the mainstream media loves Serious Games in a way that most gamers don’t. Why work hard to divine a connection between a game and the real world when it’s right there in the readme? Somehow people write about Ghost Town without worrying about that.

Once the review is up, I’ll tell you what I think about Spore. Do seek out Salvatore’s long review, though. I don’t agree with everything she says, but there’s a lot to chew on.


8 Comments so far ↓

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    I’m not sure I get the evolution connection. If anything, Spore models intelligent design. Not that I’m anxious for either side of the debate to take up Spore as a Champion of their ideals. It’s a freakin’ game. Personally, I like it, though after playing it awhile, I’m thinking it’s not going to have the longevity of Sims. We’ll see, though.

  • Troy

    I agree that the actual evolutionary stuff is pretty paper thin – it doesn’t even work as intelligent design as properly understood. But every mainstream media article makes the connection. It’s a hook – even it is dubious in its accuracy, it’s the entry point for mainstream readers.

    I also agree that it will not have The Sims longevity if it stays in this form. But I trust EA will find a way to keep people playing.

  • James Allen

    I was initially very excited about Spore, and then anticipation waned as the first reviews came in and it was what I expected: targeted to the casual audience. Plus, I didn’t get a free copy to review :) And apparently there is some sort of DRM associated with the game; I wish more people would talk about that. I’ve no interest in Spore now, and I’m too busy playing Multiwinia anyway.

  • JonathanStrange

    Spore’s on the Intelligent Design side if one insists on assigning it to any side. A fundamentalist plot?

  • Krupo

    These days, unless Stardock or an indie developer releases it I’m assuming it has DRM no matter what. My system is relatively stable at the moment, so whatever.

    I’m surprised you haven’t heard EA’s own little clip on the spore mainpage? They call it creatialutionsim or something like that, a kind of a nod and a wink to the chattering classes up in arms about that sort of thing.

    Evolution takes strongest form, I would argue, in the cell stage of the game where idiot design means you will die. So you will redesign the create into something with a chance of evolving.

    And while people claim “oh man, it sucks, you can do whatever with your creature and still surive”, well, no, you can’t.

    I watched a young relative playing Spore on my system for the first time. Putting your fighting hands at the back of your torso? Not a good call, especially if those arms don’t reach to the front of your creature’s body!

  • XXX

    “(especially in light of a major party Vice Presidential candidate who believes the literal truth of Genesis)”

    Huh, I didn’t know Joe Biden believed that. But he must be the one you’re talking about.

    (Please, keep politics outta here– or at least keep the sloppy digs out ;-)

  • Troy

    There’s lots of politics on this blog, though not a lot of election talk because that’s not what this place is about. But I’ve written about sex, race, images of history, political games…

    But leave me one or two sloppy digs. We have five weeks till we get a new president. I can’t get excited?

  • JonathanStrange

    Aren’t you Canadian, Troy? Get your own prez! :)

    As for Spore, I’m in at some point. It sounds different enough and fun enough for me to buy once it’s reduced. That’s not a slam of the game; I’m just not a Day One gamer.

    I sometimes flatter myself that my letter to Will Wright back in ’92 – I was thirteen then – about SimEarth and possible directions future games might take. I recall suggesting a game in which you guide a species, help it evolve, maybe you’re a vegetarian and adaptable, maybe you’re a carnivore and aggressive, etc. I went on and on; and Will Wright wrote me a letter – not an email mind you – thanking me and saying that he’d been thinking something along those lines himself.

    Anyways, that was my contribution to Spore. I’m hardly vain enough to really think it mattered but what if he remembered that handwritten letter and said, “Hmmmmm….”