From a scientific stand point (in this case a group of Biologists) the idea of a game based upon the principals of evolution must prove a tantalising prospect. With science and maths placements at universities at a low, and the general perception of science as not sexy. A multi million selling game based on evolution could very well boost awareness and understanding of the subject. Especially as the reviewer John Bohannon points out that roughly half of Americans still don’t accept Darwin’s theory of evolution as an explanation to the origins of life.
Unfortunately the scientists found Spore to be lacking even a basic representation of biology and concluded that not only does Spore get it wrong, it gets it horribly wrong. To make matters worse the scientists were wooed by a documentary where Will Wright and a collection of biologists discuss “the breakthrough science that’s revealing the secret genetic machinery that shapes all life in the game Spore.”. After some investigating the documentary proved to be nothing more than a marketing piece and the scientists involved claimed to have been tricked in to believing the documentary was about “developmental evolutionary” science rather than a video game.
I must admit I’m quite surprised by spore’s lack of intellectual presence, although not having played the game myself I can only go on what I’ve read. Which brings me to the equally worrying aspect of EA/Maxis/Will Wright’s seemingly willingness to deceive, or was it an over zealous marketing ploy.
Either way you can read John Bohannon’s full review for Spore at the link below which covers each stage of Spore in more detail and about the science (or lack their of) of Spore.