Friday, September 5, 2008

spore is coming...

Holy crap! Spore will be released this Sunday and thank god I'm on sabbatical. I haven't had good timing like this since picking up Justin Fargas off the waivers in FF last year. Already, the reviews are rolling in and they're surprisingly critical. Here's what IGN has to say:

And there are many others saying very similar things: "Spore is a brilliant toy, but a mediocre game." Blah blah blah. Listening to these spoiled adult gamers makes me want to puke. It's like when Peter Molyneux's Black & White came out and everyone bitched about how annoying it was to get your people to collect wood, or how you couldn't build warriors, etc., etc. - ignoring entirely that the frickin' game was the coolest operant conditioning chamber EVER. I can spank my creature when he poops in the forest but pet him when he throws his feces at the villagers? And that'll actually change his behavior? That's awesome.

But I digress. Spore is not just a series of mini-games (arcade -> action -> RTS -> Civ -> 4X); it is a work of art and a technological breakthrough. Hell, it's a cultural benchmark. To judge it using the same criteria that you would use for, say, Mass Effect strikes me as desperately short-sighted. It's like saying that you don't "get" The Sims or even Second Life. Life simulation in a digital dollhouse? What's not to get? The future is here, man. Pretty soon we'll be surgically installing cybernetic brain implants in our babies so we can "playtest" our parenting techniques on shiny ubiquitous Macs.

Furthermore, you can't underestimate the value and power of an accessible, quality "cross-over." Gamers can whine all they want about how Spore's components don't compare well to dedicated strategy games, but they forget that Spore isn't merely aimed at the 30-something, male technogeek audience that clogs cyberspace with flaming rants on irrelevant minutiae, but also at 1) non-gamers who wonder what the fuss is all about, 2) children, and 3) women. If you doubt the clarity of Will Wright's vision, just go ahead and check out the annual sales records for anything called "The Sims."

Spore looks to be a galactic dollhouse. And that's fine by me. Now, let's all go out and buy it and give Mr. Wright our money.

(Oh, and here's a review by my favorite Brits who seem to "get" Spore in all its imperfect glory)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, lord. It comes out Sunday?

    I'd best clear my social calendar for the next three months.