<< Portico: The Ultimate God Game

3/12/2005

The Ultimate God Game

If you haven't heard about Will Wright's latest project, Spore, do yourself a favor and check out his plans. As the Bard said, ambition can be a grievous fault and this design plan is high on ambition.

We've heard ambitious stuff like this before, mostly from Peter Molyneux, who sells each of his games as if it is the ultimate world simulator. Remember how Fable was supposed to have trees that grew dynamically? And how Black and White was supposed to be fun? The Movies promises to allow unprecedented freedom of action but even the claims made for it seem to have been scaled back in the last few months.

So forgive my caution when I hear about Spore. On the upside, this is Will Wright - not a guy known for his hyperbole. Not all of his games have been successes. In fact, when I read about Spore the first game that came to mind was SimEarth, an ambitious environmental/ecological/evolution sim that was more textbook than game. If Spore will allow me to mess about on the cellular level and check out what is going on on other planets, this will be the ultimate god game.

I doubt any game has serious theological implications, but this could be as close as we get. Players might be able to be either detached observer gods - cosmic watchmakers - or interventionst Old Testament deities that micromanage star systems. As the game progresses, players will be able to do more and unlock greater content.

This is yet another game to look forward to, but, by the sound of it it could be a couple of years off. It is a big gamble for Wright, and EA, if they choose to publish it. If it works it could prove as difficult to duplicate successfully as The Sims has proven to be - are there any good Sims clones out there? - and could cement Wright's place at the very top of the game god Pantheon.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Charles Lazaroo said...

When I was reading this, I cannot help but think back fondly of the days when I was playing SimEarth. The game may have been textbook, but I was captivated by two things: first the level of detail (considering it's type) and secodnly, the implementation of the Lovelock theory. Though it was just a theory, as a presentation, and an experiment, I believed that it was done very well.

I later learnt that SimEarth was designed for earlier computers, and as an attempt at the most exhaustive simulation of planets akin to Earth at the technology of the time. Of course, SimEarth takes up little space and memory these days, and the lack of detail cries out for more for today's demanding gamers. So, teh thought came to my mind: why don't they bring back SimEarth, and have one more go at simulating the world..... this time at a scale that will really challenge today's PCs ?

~

I don't know if Spore will feature the Lovelock theory, and the sort of planetary simulation that SimEarth gave. While the game seems more geared towards the development of Life (thus, a mixture of SimLife, Primal Scream, Civilizatiopn, and Alpha Centauri), I caq only hope they at least feature real-world conditions as seen in the Lovelcok theory.

12/25/2005 08:29:00 PM  

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