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Spore and the rush to judgment

Michael Abbott writes:

''Spore is a disappointment. That's the word on the interwebs and bloggoworld. Seven years in the making, the game generated unprecedented cross-media hype and sky-high expectations. Now, a full one day after most of us finally got our hands on it, Will Wright's magnum opus has been met by what feels like a collective 'meh' from the video game cogniscenti. Nice for the noobs, but too simplistic for us vets. Sort of an interesting toy, but where's the gameplay? Five so-so games "smushed together in a casual-player-friendly manner."[1] Actually, "Spore is kind of boring."[2]

The prevailing opinion seems to be that there just isn't enough game in Spore. As simulators go, it's incredibly ambitious, but most reviewers seem to think "real gamers" will find little to enjoy in Spore, at least until they reach the Space phase. The Sporepedia is interesting if you like looking at other people's stuff; and wow, people sure are making a lot of stuff.

I wonder, in the rush to judge the game and assign a review score to it, are we fairly seeing Spore for what it is, rather than what it isn't? How much do we really know about Spore at this point, given the intrinsically organic nature of the game, its content, and the many ways players will discover to mold, create, and play with its malleable universe? The standard process for evaluating games - advance copies sent to journos; hours spent playing through the game; reviews written and published in time for game release - may not be the best or most appropriate way to fairly evaluate every game. It seems to me a fair assessment of Spore should require more time.''

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