Sims vs Spore: Battle Royale!
Take a minute, if you will, and let’s talk about Spore and The Sims.
I recently wrapped up a review of The Sims 3, and was reminded how much I have enjoyed that series and relatively speaking, how little joy I’d derived from Spore.
And, since I didn’t have much else to do this weekend besides drink and ponder my own senseless existence, I started thinking, “What the hell? Why isn’t Spore as good as The Sims?”
First off, I want to discard the “Will Wright has lost his magic” argument. Spore is a wondrous piece of work. It shimmers like an exotic tropical fish with brilliance. I just find, that after playing with it for a few hours, it gets kind of dull.
Yet, I couldn’t wait to load up The Sims 3, customize my fat, uncouth slacker and hit the neighborhood in an effort to freeload and screw up other people’s lives.
Something seperates these two games and I wanted to come up with a plausible reason for it.
From a technology point-of-view, I imagine that Spore uses some of that alien tech pulled out of the Roswell wreckage and The Sims 3 is just a very clever, albeit, massive spreadsheet with some 3D art on top. So, it’s clearly not the technology that is the issue.
Both games feature a wonderful open-ended, make up your own story kind of game play that confuses gamers who demand a story, no matter how juvenile or pointless. So, it’s not narrative, or lack thereof.
Is it graphics? Sound? Animation? The quality of the manual ?No, no and no.
I’ve come to the conclusion, as "Solient Green" put it so eloquently: It’s people.
As cool as that flying eyeball creature I made, I just can’t identify with it as easily as I can a person. I find more in common with that saucy redhead down my Sim street, or the looser dude I made in the game more than any kooky kreature I have concocted in Spore.
Playing The Sims, any version, any expansion pack, I can reel out any soap opera storyline I that catches my fancy. In Spore, the tale is always: Freak I control dominates freaks that I don’t.
Funny, this recent interview in the New York Times tells it best. Will Wright is a student of human nature. Let’s hope in his next game he leaves behind the infinity of space for the infinitely more interesting world of people