Jason Hill of Screen Play was very fortunate to have an appointment booked to see Spore first-thing Friday when most other journalists were still in bed recovering from demolishing one too many beer tankards the night before.
As nearby Electronic Arts staff kept reminding him during the session, luck ensured that he became one of the first people in the world outside of EA to get hands-on with the game, and for a whole hour - a rare treat at a packed gaming expo where games are routinely demonstrated in just 15 minutes.
Wildly creative, innovative and often amusing, the game is an evolution simulator breathtaking in both detail and scale. Players progress from creating individual creatures, to assisting a small tribe, then constructing cities and civilizations, to finally to exploring and colonising space.
Dubbed a "massively single-player" game, Spore populates your universe dynamically with other creatures, buildings, vehicles and entire planets created by other players but based on your own choices.