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Spore fans spawn more than 3 million creatures

August 29, 2008 |  3:04 pm

Spore Face it. We love to play god. And Electronic Arts began tantalizing our inner megalomaniac in June by releasing a game called the Spore Creature Creator, made by the studio that also produces The Sims. The game can be downloaded for free here, although there is a more deluxe boxed version for $10.

Within minutes of firing up this title, players with no gaming experience can spawn a unique bouncing, gurgling creature of their own design. They can then upload their creature to an online database being kept by EA, called the Sporepedia.

This week, the number of creatures uploaded surpassed 3 million, according to Lucy Bradshaw, the game's executive director. Why does EA want all of these beasties?

The answer is simple: to colonize the universe.

On Sept. 7, EA will release one of its most important games of the year, Spore. The game, which can be played on a computer, iPhone and Nintendo Dual Screen console, will give players a virtual sandbox where these creatures can frolic, reproduce, form tribes, build cities and, eventually, take over the world. The iPhone version, called Spore Origins, takes place in a primordial soup and lets players fiddle with microbial evolution.

In the meantime, Spore fans must content themselves by crafting all manner of weirdly shaped critters.

"I’m fascinated by how players pushed the boundaries," Bradshaw said. "The magic of Spore is that you can run into anything."

How about a creature that looks like sushi? Or an airplane? Even though the software goes out of its way to prevent users from making things that resemble humans or real world animals, players find ways around that, making elephants, robots, gnomes and moose, to name a few examples.

It seems spontaneous generation, at least in games, isn't just a hobby for God anymore.

-- Alex Pham

Image courtesy of Electronic Arts