Why Spore Continues to Fascinate Sixteen Years Later

Luca Ferro ‘27 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Spore is a very strange but oddly beloved game originally released in 2008. In the game, the player takes on the role of creating a species. Beginning when their creation is a single celled organism swimming in a planet’s primordial soup, the player must cultivate and lead the species throughout its evolution. Eventually the creature can gain sentience, develop cities, and then even spaceships and a galactic empire. The core appeal is that as the player, you are bringing up your creations from the most basic lifeform to the rulers of the galaxy through the course of the game. 

Developed by Maxis Studios and published by EA, Spore was released in what would come to be known as a scattershot of developments, developers and publishers metaphorically throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what stuck. One such game that garnered a surprising following was Spore.

Spore boasts an admittedly janky but still very impressive creature creator system, some interesting designs and humor, and to be perfectly frank, that is about it. Though the unique aspects of the game hook people in the beginning, the end stages of the game seem unfinished, especially the space stage. There is not really a satisfying ending to close everything off. There is nothing else about Spore that merits rave reviews, and add on the game’s propensity to crash and glitch out, and the painted picture is not pretty. Despite this, despite all the jankiness and the rough around the edges final section, people love Spore.

To this very day, popular search results with “Spore” involve “will there be a Spore 2” and “Spore updates” despite the fact that EA essentially gutted and killed Maxis Studios years ago. Many newer games that follow a similar species creation model are often hailed as successors to Spore and people are always making new Youtube videos about the game, creating new challenges or storylines. Again, all this for a game that has not been updated or even supported in any way for almost a decade at this point.

There is something about the way Spore works that gives it incredible staying power, and even if players get bored of it, they still want to return to it after a couple years. Something about the nature of raising a species all the way from the bottom to the very top entrances players and keeps them coming back, wanting to remake that story. However, this type of game just seems too difficult to get just right, to be able to continue the excitement all the way through without ending in boredom. As previously mentioned, many games try to recapture the alluring nature of Spore, but they always seem to break down at one point or another. Spore itself was not exempt from this, and even back in the day it was known to be an incredibly flawed game. Despite that, people still are attracted to games like Spore, and as technology rapidly increases, perhaps one day a developer will finally crack the code and fully deliver the experience people have dreamed of since all the way back in 2008.

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