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Who Is The Creature Creator?

I admit that when I learned about Spore, the new game out from Electronic Arts, I really wanted to get myself a copy. It’s a great creation, with an engine for the creation of a huge range of bizarre creatures that look really spiffy, and a broad-ranging application for letting those creatures go, to populate a world and eventually invade foreign worlds that other Spore users have created. Even just looking at the Spore Creature Creator, I was impressed, and found the whole experience to be a whole lot of fun.

But, when it came to actually getting and using Spore, it wasn’t so easy. It turns out that my best computer, which was top of the line just two years ago, isn’t good enough to run the program. A lot of brand new computers that you’d get off the shelf right now aren’t powerful enough to handle Spore, it turns out.

So, I could go ahead and enhance my computer, with yet more additional memory and graphics cards. That would end up costing several hundred dollars, plus the cost of the Spore software itself. For a short while, I was tempted to try to find a way to go that route.

Then I considered what I was doing. Spending hundreds of dollars on this game meant spending a lot of time working, just for the privilege of playing around with pretend monsters on screen. With the economy the way it is, that felt like an extremely irresponsible choice. I realized that there was a low-cost alternative that’s always been available to me: Getting out a pencil, and drawing a creature on the back of a piece of paper in my recycling bin.

Using my imagination, or a piece of less costly software, I can even animate the drawing.

alternative creature creatorThe issue is about a lot more than just a way to be frugal with limited amounts of money. It’s about the responsibility we take for our own urge to create. Who are you going to let be the creature creator? Will it be you doing the creating, or will you need to hire the software super geniuses over at Electronic Arts to give you a paint-by-numbers canvas?

Post Script: If you’re suspecting that this is all some kind of rationalization for the fact that I don’t have enough money these days to just go off and buy software like Spore, well, then you’ve got a really good point. But, I say that it’s going to take a lot of rationalizations, including a lot of sour grapes, to get us through these lean times, and if we can use this as an opportunity to spark the renewal of our culture, so much the better, I say.

5 thoughts on “Who Is The Creature Creator?”

  1. Elle says:

    But you have to look at the other side of the coin here. If you go out and purchase the upgrades, or even purchase a new computer, then you are helping in some small way to stimulate the economy. I mean now is not the time to selfishly hold on to your money, but to get out there and be a little economic engine that keeps the capital flowing in our consumer economy!

    Spend like there is no tomorrow!

  2. hendrixbot says:

    Sounds like there’s little doubt he’ll have to spend the money somewhere. It’s just a question of priorities. We need economic engines that give people more opportunities and flexibility, not engines to accelerate the flow capital back to speculators and corporate executives.

    I was excited by the Spore marketing and demos, but it doesn’t live up to the hype for many of those that can run it. I’ve only played with the creature creator, but the word is the early stages of evolution go too quickly and have too little impact on the final stage.

  3. J. Clifford says:

    I don’t see how spending money on computer equipment that is made overseas will have a strong positive impact on our economy here. Better to buy the bread that’s baked here in America with flour from grain grown here in America, I think.

  4. HareTrinity says:

    I think most of the hype comes from it having been in planning for years.

    I tried the demo and it DOES look cute, was thinking of purchasing the game for the household (family) computer…

  5. Elle says:

    Oh poo j.clifford, if you take everything so literal you will end up looking like a fundie!

    Sometimes satire just isn’t appreciated.

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