SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2018

Spore: Divine Recreational Micro-management

Last week I picked up a copy of Spore over at my local Best Buy. I was really, really psyched to get Spore installed.  Like countless others, I’ve read and watched videos about the game for at least the past year, so I have high expectations (of the creation tools).

As soon as I got home, I opened up the box and popped in the DVD-ROM.  Nothing happens. Nothing. Open up Windows Explorer, and it’s telling me that there is a write-able blank DVD in my drive.  Hmm, maybe my drive isn’t working? After all the hype, surely Spore can at least install.  After an hour of testing DVDs, reinstalling my drive (twice), and trying other DVD-ROMs I tried another computer and everything read perfectly.

I unhooked my external hard drive and put it on the other computer, then copied the DVD files into a new directory (I called it “Spore DVD”). I moved the hard drive back, and from those files installed the game easily, entered my codes, and got into the game.  I already had my Spore ID so I was off!

DRM: I later learned that the reason I went through nearly 2 hours of hassle just to install was because of the DRM (Digital Rights Management).  I’m pretty sure that having Daemon Tools installed (even though I wasn’t emulating a drive) is what caused my DVD drive to not see the files. I could be wrong.  But why even do that? When you can just copy the files to an external and have no issues? Makes no sense at all to me.  The install-limit is irresponsible. This is an expensive rental – disclose it.  People still have Nintendo games 15+ years old that work perfectly and I now own a game that the 3rd (or 5th?) reformat is a coaster by design!

Bad management decisions (AGAIN from EA) aside…

I’m loving Spore. My first ‘world’ I played through all the way to the space-age non-stop. It was just fun. Each era was short enough to not drag on too much, but long enough to be interesting and really get into it. The controls were a little too different on the tribal era, but I got used to it.

To start I played a carnivore, and throughout each stage was extremely aggressive, never made any alliances, cause I figured it would be the quickest. I think it was, I got to space in about 5 hours, maybe 6. It can be done much quicker, but I was learning and taking time to design unique buildings, cars, etc. Once I got to space I attacked a colony and made enemies fast and kept dying. So, I decided to start a new galaxy and do the exact opposite.

I was surprised how much harder it was being an herbivore. Creature era started out excruciatingly slow, but by the middle of the progression, I started moving along nicely into tribal. During civilization, blowing my enemies to smithereens was not an option, instead, you convert them to your religion. It was pretty funny to be projecting giant videos of your species to neighboring cities.

Space era has been… trivial. It’s fun but there definitely needs to be a patch, specifically to fix your cities always calling for help. And space is huge. Like, the timer missions can be upsetting when you are looking around the galaxy wondering, where the hell am I going?

I’ll play it off and on for awhile I’m sure, it’s a very good 1-player game.

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DRM UPDATE

Ars Technica published an article where they tested the DRM restrictions, and found out it may not be so bad after all!

“While the issue of the install limit is a touchy one, it doesn’t look like a normal install will do much to use up your limit, and in fact we surpassed the install limit by a few times before running into an issue. Even after being told that we were “renting” the game, EA was happy to give us a new key to run the game. In this case, customer service wins, and we left wondering if the DRM controversy might be more philosophical in nature than rooted in any real-world inconveniences.”

Click here to visit this Ars Technica article.