Spore reviewed by scientists: EA is spouting pseudo-scientific bullshit

I’ve played about 5 mins of Spore in a games store, so I’m in no position to review it. Draconian DRM issues aside, I wasn’t all that impressed with my brief time in the Cell stage, although I was distracted by the gross-out slimy controllers, caked in grease from the fingers of countless snot nosed kids that tried it before me. So while I can’t really judge based on my limited play I think I’ll let the review in the highly respected Science Magazine judge for me:

“Spore is essentially a very impressive, entertaining, and elaborate Mr. Potato Head that uses the language of evolution but none of the major principles,” conclude Gregory and Eldredge.

It sounds like some kind of Mii creator tied together with minigames. Apparently it rates high on ‘cute’, but very low on ‘fun’ or ‘science’. The conclusion is that EA is wrapping this game in marketing language that speaks of ‘evolution’, trying to push the educational aspects, but in reality there isn’t a scrap of evolution in the game. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe games require any educational value whatsoever .. pure fun is fine with me. But claiming your game has a basis in solid science when it is clearly based on cute graphics alone does players (and educators) a disservice.

“the breakthrough science that’s revealing the secret genetic machinery that shapes all life in the game Spore.” — Will Wright

Yeh, right .. thanks for that Will. As far as it’s use in science education … I can only see Spore being suitable for the education system in Kansas.


The Making of Astrorope: C# ported to Android Java SDK ported to iPhone

Here’s an interesting breakdown by indie developer Niklas Wahrman about the development process for his game Astrorope.

It’s a bit like a “Swedish” tunnel running game crossed with CluClu Land. What’s most interesting to me is how the game was effectively ported between languages and platforms twice before the final product emerged … first written in C#, then ported to the Android Java SDK, before finally jumping on the iPhone bandwagon. I also like the discussion about keeping productive through ‘ritual’ … get up early, drink water, eat healthy, execrise, don’t overwork and take a break if you become unproductive. Good Ludum Dare advice :).