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Spore

Now, I know there are at least a few Sims-heads on the IMAGinewS group, and probably a lot among you silent several out there. So what do you make of word on the latest game that Wil Wright is cooking up? GameSpy did a whole article on the damned thing, and it seems to be more about custom content than anything else.

Actually, let's be fair here. What it seems to be about to me is more than just skins. It seems to be more about effectively creating your own game, a custom content comcept right down to the very code. This looks very interesting - and if it can be made to work as Wright intends, it looks to be an interesting alternative to the multimillion-dollar budget games we're seeing nowadays.

Still, let's face it - although the Sims series is pretty much the most popular game around, it's the first-person shooters and the Grand Theft Auto games that are right behind it (followed by the big sports franchises). The concept of Wil's latest game, Spore, doesn't seem compatible with the sort of competitive gameplay that, nowadays, requires the big-ticket development, and I'm not sure whether the design ethos Wright is espousing could take the budget out of those games.

I also get the feeling that there'd not really be any real "multiplayer" in Spore. Sure,you can swap designs and content to your heart's content, but you can't really interact or contend against another player's live world/civilisation.

Finally, as you might've gathered from an earlier post, I'm a little cynical when it comes to "sandbox" games. Maybe I've just not given it a fair shake, but after creating my own custom character, I fond myself getting bored with The Sims 2 very quickly. I have no interest in watching my sim wandering around and doing mundane stuff for ages. I don't really know what I'm trying to achieve aside from have him wander around the fishbowl called his house and (maybe) learn stuff. I don't really care about his goals as there seems no readily-discernible way for him to achieve them, at least, not without a fair bit of meandering and going to the can. And they change every day as well.

Still, the Sims games have always sold like hotcakes, so maybe I'm just in some kind of unimaginative minority.

So for the moment, I think I'll just do what I did when I first read that article, and marvel at Wright's idea - and hope he can make a small game that uses little data sell in the era of the DVD-ROM and the movie budget.

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