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Seeing 'Spore' on the Mac for the first time

At Macworld, it's finally possible to see a rendering of Electronic Arts' much-anticipated evolution game on the Macintosh.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
A kid playing with Electronic Arts' 'Spore' on a Macintosh at Macworld in San Francisco on January 17, 2008 Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com
A fully-formed 'Spore' creature. Though the game is single-player, it allows players to download creatures created by others. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

Earlier this week, I ran a story about how video game giant Electronic Arts plans to release its much-anticipated evolution game, Spore, on Macs at the same time as the PC version.

Unfortunately, at the time of the story, I didn't have any screenshots of the game being played on a Mac, and in fact, we had to rely on out-of-date images of Spore taken from game conferences in 2006.

Well, today, I finally was able to make onto the show floor at Macworld here in San Francisco, and while I was certainly interested in much of what was on display--OK, tons and tons of iPod cases and a few other things--what I really wanted to see was EA's small booth and, yes, Spore on the Mac.

After a little bit of searching--I went to the wrong hall at first--I found the booth, and there it was. They had the game playing on an iMac, and when I got there, a kid was playing around with it under the direction of an EA staffer.

Players must start out as a spore, otherwise known as a primordial cell. The idea is that the game has five major evolution levels: cell, creature, tribe, civilization and, finally, space.

The 'Spore' creature creator allows players to choose the various body parts they want for their creatures. They also must earn in-game currency if they want to use more advanced body parts. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

In order to begin, players must create a creature using the innovative Spore creature creator. This allows users to build their own custom character, choosing from a collection of available body parts. This ensures that each player's creatures are unique.

Though Spore is a single-player game, it allows users to upload the content they create--creatures and the like--to a large database that's accessible by other players. That means that while you don't play against other people, you could download creatures created by others.

This means that the game can be infinitely complex, with as many different kinds of creatures as its many players have and will create.

A Sporecast lets players choose from content created by others. That means that it is possible to play on a planet, say, with creatures created by many other players. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

One of the things that makes Spore innovative is the fact that the creature creator--which is the only part of the game that EA was showcasing at Macworld--is very simple to use. While it may take a player a significant amount of time to create a custom avatar in other games, it is possible to make a brand-new, unique, Spore creature in just minutes.

Now, we just have to wait until EA releases the game. The company hasn't said when that will happen, but it's almost certain to be this year. Spore has been in the works for more than three years, with its first public showing at the 2005 Game Developers Conference. Now, with GDC 2008 just around the corner, I think we can expect EA to announce details soon on when the game will be released. So stay tuned.

Players start at the cell level, creating a primordial creature in the creature creator. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com
Players can create spaceships on which they fly to other planets. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com