This might be the way I spend this weekend…

The original plan for this weekend was camping at the Pinery Park in Ontario, a really beautiful and very tent-friendly campground and park about three or so hours northwest of here. We (meaning us and Jim and Rachel and fam) arranged this trip months ago, and– of course– the weather is not cooperating. We’ve had stunning weather this week and next week looks acceptable, but of course it has to rain this weekend.

Anyway, I am thinking I might interact with a whole different kind of “nature” this weekend, Spore. I’ve seen various commercials and such, but I have to say that Will Richardson’s post about playing the game has kind of sold me. Here’s a quote:

It arrived yesterday, and I’ve spend a total of about 90 minutes playing so far, and I’m pretty much blown away. I have little or no idea what I’m doing, I’m sure, but my herbivore (you didn’t really think my spore would eat meat, did you?) paramecium has now evolved into a two-legged, funky-eyed, green, fruit-eating creature who’s growing a family and trying to figure out how to survive in a world with equally funky looking creatures who might be friend or foe. And while getting past the cell stage was pretty easy, this creature stage is already proving to be much more challenging. Just a few minutes ago, I was killed by some purple dudes who ganged up on me and seemed to chew my head off. Luckily, rebirth is almost instantaneous.

Interestingly enough, Will posted this a couple days ago, and he hasn’t posted since. Perhaps a bit too much Sporing?

3 thoughts on “This might be the way I spend this weekend…”

  1. If you haven’t bought it yet, Steve, you might hold off until you read the Amazon reviews. Out of 2369 reviews, 2133 were one star. Apparently the DRM on it is awful.

  2. Too late!

    So far, I think it falls into the category of “okay.” Adjusting the settings down to “low” for everything still has some nice graphics (though not “stunning”) and it makes the game play a lot more peppy.

    I find the game only kind of interesting, but 10 year old game playing son has enjoyed it a great deal. So probably not a gaming revolution, but not a complete waste of money either.

  3. I don’t play these kinds of games — too much time and attention required for my taste. But Slate has a review that considers some of the science politics (Intelligent Design or Darwinian?) in the game:

    But the science in the game is wafer thin. Despite some overenthusiastic prognostications in reviews—”Spore could be the greatest gaming tool ever created to disseminate Darwinistic ideas,” says one critic—the game makes no room for random mutation, the real source of differentiation. And natural selection plays only a minor role. If you don’t bless your beast with a mouth or hands, you won’t fare well. Almost anything else goes. At one point, my creature’s legs and arms were connected by useless and mechanically impossible minilimbs. I did just fine. In Darwin’s world, I would have been a snack for a more efficient predator.

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