A reader sent me a link to this video of Spore by Will Wright—it’s the new simulation/god game/tinker toy by the maker of SimCity and the Sims. It looks very, very cool, and I think I’m going to want a copy when it’s available for my computer—but one thing has to be cleared up.
This is not a game about evolution.
It’s highly teleological, with a preset goal of achieving high intelligence—which is a painfully unrealistic and skewed perspective. Why shouldn’t we be able to play to become the very best squid we can be? I guess it’s necessary to constrain the advancement path of the game to something manageable, but I hope they’re crystal clear about the fact that they’re modeling something that does not resemble evolution much at all.
It still looks fun. It looks like they’ve overcome some of the limitations that made the old SimLife and SimEarth such bores, but there’s always the risk that every game here will also end up being the same, with just some more elaborate cosmetics.