So Spawn the Elder (my son) is an avid gamer in such milieus as World of Warcraft, Halo, Civilization, and Lord of the Rings Online, the latter of which, errr, I might have indulged in a few times -- I'm pretty hopeless with gaming so my foray into Middle-earth was an unmitigated disaster. So the elder Spawn was pretty excited to nab the Spore Creature Creator this summer, but he is really jazzed with the prospect of getting his nerdsome hands on the full-fledged game to be released on Friday.
Erstwhile Science Blogger Carl Zimmer covered the impending release of Spore in his excellent NYT article Gaming Evolves. From Carl's piece:
Unlike the typical shoot-them-till-they're-all-dead video game, Spore was strongly influenced by science, and in particular by evolutionary biology. Mr. Wright will appear in a documentary next Tuesday on the National Geographic Channel, sharing his new game with leading evolutionary biologists and talking with them about the evolution of complex life.
Brian Ries, PR wonk, sent a clip from National Geographic in which Will Wright, the principal designer behind Spore and The Sims, discusses "How to Build a Better Being."
And yes, this post is diverging into a free advert for the game, but it does look very cool. I was entranced with the Creature Creator; other Science Bloggers have fiddled around with this, too -- just type "Spore" into the search function on the main site. So I'm afraid hobbit burglers, elven loremasters, and dwarf guardians are going to slip by the wayside in favor of Tetris-like nucleotides and amino acids, bizarre microbes and arthrpods and Punctuated-by-Fun(tm) evolution!
I wonder if the infamous Zero Punctuation a.k.a. Ben Croshaw will deign to make a commentary on this. Probably not. But if the Beck Fan Club is pining for his full-on yammering, do check out Croshaw's video game reviews (video clips below - NSFW). Even if you're not a gamer, they're rabidly amusing, although his churning stream o' verbiage is but a pale and measured British-by-way-of-Australia (or some such sun sinking on the empire) version of kemibe's at his most shrill.
Very nice videos. Thanks.