Special/Signature Issues » Greased Lightning

Intelligent Design

The latest from the creator of “SimCity” gets all evolutionary.



First, Will Wright brought us “SimCity,” which my college roommate “won.” Don't ask me how or why, but he somehow created a city with no crime and no pollution. He kept mumbling “light rail” into the wee hours of the night. He's a professor of philosophy at University of Massachusetts now, so I guess he knew something I didn't.

Then there was “The Sims.” My housemate in graduate school did pretty well at that one, but it cost him. “Yes!” he exclaimed after three days of solid Simming. “See, he has a nice house, and he can cook without burning it down. He has a good job. He is clean.” My roommate was filthy, hungry and raving. “My Sim is doing great! But I — I am dying.”

Soon, we will have “Spore.” Wright originally wanted to call it “Sim Everything” because, well, that's what it is. You start as a single-cell organism, pull yourself up out of the muck, develop hands and culture, start a tribe, grow to a nation, fight other tribes, develop technology, make the planet your own, and then you're off into the galaxy to search out colorful new worlds, a thousand, thousand other worlds populated with other creatures and cultures, created by other players who also once crawled out of the ooze and evolved themselves to sentience.

You can destroy them or befriend them, trade or conquer, dance and sing or bite them in the face parts. So go ahead, make your spore with a vicious spiked tail, a savage fanged mouth, and a poisonous sting on its tail. Lay waste to your neighbors, conquer the planet, forge on. Sooner or later, something more spikey will come along and show you who the real boss is. And then where will you be? Filthy, hungry and raving, but a mite more philosophical, perhaps.


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