How to lose a day

Friday, May 1, 2009
My new laptop has an inviting glow and comfortable warmth that make it hard for me to do anything else. Whether everyone feels that way about their first laptop I don't know but it's not important. What's important here is that I want to take it everywhere I go. To make matters worse I finally bought Spore and was barely able to tear myself away from it long enough to write this post. (The fact that it's taken me over a week to finish this post should be evidence enough.)

I was excited about Spore back when everyone still thought I was talking about fungus. Now that I finally have it I'll admit some disappointment. Why Maxis felt they couldn't start the creature stage in the sea or even bother furnishing the sea with anything more complex than cellular life is beyond me. I remember early tech demos with robust sea life, even talk of evolving your creature to live wholly underwater.

Aquatic issues aside, my biggest issue with the game is it's goal oriented structure. Every stage of the game pushes you to advance to the next. Even the space stage pushes you ever forward to the galactic core. Because of this I feel pressured in each stage to go forward, to move past it. It's a shame because there is so much depth in each stage to explore and create.

It's a Maxis Game, I shouldn't feel pressured. They've always been more about exploring your environment and your options. I suppose I could just ignore the constant nagging of the game but I've never been very good at that.

I love the creature stage. Something about the constant kill or be killed environs is terribly entertaining to me. I'm constantly on the lookout for new parts to put on my creature and evolve into an even more terrible lovecraftian nightmare. Currently I'm wandering the primordial swamps as an Elder Thing. For those of you unfamiliar with such a being, I refer you to "At the Mountains of Madness." Good reading.

When I reached the space stage for the first time I felt a little overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Suddenly the entire galaxy was open to me. I twisted through nebulae, streaking by fiery worlds and primordial moons, seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no Teleki-Li had gone before. Wait a minute. *several hours and thousands of legal papers later* Okay, it's different enough to avoid a lawsuit.

What I love about Spore is the same thing I've loved since I was a small child. Discovery and exploration. Finding a kind of ant you've never seen before, feeding insects to said ants, etc. It's the greatest part of youth (at least in my eyes) and easily the best part of Spore.

I can spend hours in the creature creator tinkering with the way my creature moves and looks. What if I turn these legs into arms? What if I put the head on the back end? I've experimented with most every little thing I can imagine. As it stands I only have a meager 36 creations, but they are each one completely different from the last.

Spore will keep me busy for a while, I'm sure. There are just so many creatures I haven't made yet, so many tribes I haven't conquered, so many stars I have yet to visit. I've got more on Spore coming up on Monday, so stay tuned.