Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spore is Coming

I'm eagerly anticipating the release of the video game, Spore:



Basically the game entails creating and nurturing a species from the cellular level as a microbe, and guiding it through it's development and evolution to a creature, a tribe, a civilisation and eventually a space faring race. I've already been busy at work creating a whole gallery of strange beings:



I know what some people might be thinking - "Nick you are a Christian! Isn't this game a bit dodgy?"

Well the first thing I have to say in response to such a question is that... it is just a game.

However, the creators of Spore also went to great lengths not to offend/isolate customers who subscribe to religious belief. They felt that if they were going to be realistic about the development of civilisation, they had to include religion... because the fact is even if you are an atheist, you live in a world that has been shaped by civilisations who did believe in God/gods. They deliberately leave the question of who or what created the universe, open (although in essence, you play a godlike character in how you relate to your creation). It is true that the game relies on the mechanics of evolution... but given the nature of the game, that is necessary; besides, as I have mentioned before, there are several different ways to look at the Creation account, without having to strictly adhere to a literal six day theory.

Intriguingly, the only group of people who have taken real issue with the game, are not theists... but atheists. I should clarify that I am referring to militant atheists and not merely people who don't believe in God. Militant atheists are those people who cannot tolerate the idea of open religion of any form - it must be silenced and kept within the place of worship or home. They simply do not understand that by peddling their world view in this manner, they are nothing more than "pots calling the religious thinkers' kettles black". They need to learn that they have to tolerate people of faith, in the same way that religion has learned to tolerate them.

So when they make silly statements about removing religion from what is little more than a fun computer game... we do well to ignore them.

I'm just looking forward to September the 5th, when I can get my microbe going and see how long it takes me to get him exploring the Spore galaxy... interfering in the development of other people's species. I actually get the impression when you reach this level, you can interact with the species on another planet... so I'm guessing that means you can try and help other players develop... or have a go at wiping their fledgling tribes out with laser beams, or perhaps introducing a non-indigenous species which would wreak havoc with their delicate ecosystem; although both these ideas which seem a little harsh to me, I much prefer being the benevolent sort.

However, I'm quite sure that I won't be among the first to go interstellar. There is a highly morally dubious practice among some gamers, who pay people in poorer developing countries, a pittance to go online as their character and level up quickly. This is known in the gaming community as "gold-farming", and it is on the rise.

I'll just be happy to get out there... among the sea of stars, before someone comes along and toasts my cute bug eyed monster!

If you are out there, I'll look you up one day!

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