‘Spore’ ready to bloom

By , Staff Writer for The Christian Science Monitor

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    Wright’s Menagerie: Three examples of what players can create in “Spore.” The video game, debuting this weekend, follows your creation from single-celled organism to rulers of the universe – or game over.
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“Spore,” the long-awaited (and long-delayed) follow-up from video game guru Will Wright launches Friday in Europe and Sunday in North America. Mr. Wright, who made pop culture history when he created the massively popular PC world known as “The Sims,” calls his new creation “the ultimate God game,” allowing players to guide a home-brewed species from primordial ooze up to galactic conquest.

Fans of the Wright way of looking at video games as a toolbox have watched in frustration for years as the master has tinkered and tweaked the game. During an early demonstration of the game, Wright explained that he wanted to give players an experience that was both fun and meaningful, allowing users to goof around with their creatures at the same time as they explored the metaphysical implications of running an entire galaxy.

Electronic Arts (EA) released “Spore Creature Creator” in June, a download that allows fans to build their own fantastical critters and share them through online social networks and fan minisites. But, the company declined to release a prelaunch demo that would allow fans to get a taste for the full game, presumably hoping that the pent-up demand would create more hype around this weekend’s retail sales. EA may have miscalculated by not pushing for a version that plays on all platforms. While cellphone and handheld versions are in the works, for now, the full game is only available on PC, which means that all those console players will have to brush up on their keyboard skills.

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