21
Sep
08

Spore: what it is and isn’t

Well, I think this will reveal me for the nerd I am. My girlfriend bought me the video game for my birthday, although I got it a bit late since it wasn’t released for a few months after my birthday, but who is counting? It’s only celebrating an arbitrary point from which I escaped the uterus, not my conception, not when the ovaries or sperm completed meiosis…. Anyway, enough of that rant. So I’ve been playing Spore, and it’s a pretty fun game. I particularly like the space stage, but it’s generally pretty fun. What does it demonstrate biologically? Well, nothing, really.

We’ll start at the cell stage: cells are three dimensional, not two dimensional. Anyone familiar with microbiology knows that a bacterial cell is 3D, archae is 3D, so are eukaryotes, etc. All cells exist in three dimensions. Those capable of movement move in all three dimensions. This part of the game reminds me of Pac-man. It is as much a lesson in science as it is a lesson as Pac-man. It’s still fun, but it’s not about biology, sorry.

Now for the cell-creature transition: No cell just grew legs, fish fins mutated into limb-like structures capable of moving about in densely vegetated water and were also polydactyl. The “coming onto land” of animals is more like sea robins walking along the bottom, only this animal lived in shallow marshy waterways, probably moving across land only to enter another pond. The Spore timeline has the cell growing legs immediately after reaching a certain size. Size, actually was likely an inhibition of Acanthostega-like animals since their weight is not supported by water when on land. Acanthostega, for example was maybe one meter in length, far smaller than some of the other fish, such as the placoderms, which could reach 20 feet! The video clip, however, is rather silly and fun.

Creature stage: Well, this is the final stage where purchasing parts with “DNA points” is allowed. After that, it’s all about dressing up your designed creature and editing the cities and such. Again, it’s not evolution, it’s modifying a character by whatever means you wish.

Tribal stage through space: These are remarkably similar to almost every RTS game with a few extra options. You’re not strictly limited to blowing up your opponents, you can buy their allegiance, or win it over with doing things for them, or many other possibilities. For this reason, I think this section is the most fun, but also the part least likely to be confused for “evolution.” Still, to appreciate the overall gameplay, you should really play from the beginning as certain attributes and bonuses are only available if you play from the very beginning of the game.

Overall, fun game, but still not evolution, however, a nice little touch I noticed was that when you modify your organism, you must do so to an egg, and when said egg “hatches,” its parents are the same as the offspring, making it much more like many generations passed rather than a single one. Now, I think a few extra options and stages should have been there, like the option to become aquatic or remain aquatic rather than forced into moving to land. I’d personally like an aquatic civilization, but oh well.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Spore: what it is and isn’t”


  1. 1 Stacy S.
    September 22, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    My son thinks the space stage is pretty boring … he likes the colony stage or whatever it’s called.

    I still haven’t figured out how to get my little dude how to eat. He keeps throwing up.

  2. 2 Michelle
    September 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    hes throwing up cause either you’re a carnivore and your eating fruit, or your an herbivore and your eating meat! Only an omnivore can eat both….look at your history and it will tell you which you are!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Join the best atheist themed blogroll!

RSS Adventures in Ethics and Science

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Blag Hag

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS denialism blog

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS ERV

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Greg Laden’s Blog

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Laelaps

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Lawful Good Wonk

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Pharyngula

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Tetrapod Zoology

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS White Coat underground

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Older stuff

wordpress stats

%d bloggers like this: