I’m not sure what the EA invitation meant when it said “creative black tie” but I guess porcupine guy here is it. I shouldn’t be too surprised – this is a Spore party, after all. The event was held at the as-yet unopened Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Attendees got the double treat of being able to see the brand new planetarium and the top part of the spiffy aquarium, where all the sharks and stingrays hang out. There were also tasty mini-burgers and surprisingly few stations where we could play Spore during our downtime.The main bulk of the event was the presentation given by Will Wright as a lead-in for scientist Frank Drake. Drake is the astrophysicist who came up with an equation to figure out how many different kinds of intelligent life in the galaxy there could be. This was Wright’s go-to for Spore inspiration when the basic premise of “sim-everything” wasn’t enough to get the design team going. The only reason I found myself caring about any of this (aside from the fact where I love Spore, and it was a swanky party), was that Drake struck me as a guy who doesn’t play games – and yet he was so passionate about Spore. Spore, he said, is a game that matters. It matters because as a tool, it helps people conceptualize what intelligent life in the galaxy could look like. And it matters as a game because it inspires a whole new generation of kids to dream about science fiction-y stuff, about what could be out there in the galaxy.
Above: Check out Drake's sweet Spore tie. I never really thought about it, but since the end of the space race in the 60s people just stopped caring about science the way they did when hover cars still seemed like a good idea. If Drake’s right in thinking that this game is significant as more than just a way to keep myself entertained for 25 hours or so, then maybe – just maybe – review scores won’t matter for Spore. (In which case, Germany can suck it.) Spore ships September 7. Sorry if some of these party pics are too dark.