Spore: Rejected

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 8, 2008

Filed under: Rants 77 comments

Of the current 158 customer reviews of Spore on Amazon.com, 134 are single-star reviews, most of which fault the game for its DRM.

See also here and here – apparently there have been problems with the activation servers.

I don’t fault folks like Strangeite, who picked up the game in spite of this idiocy. There are so few new ideas coming to us these days that it’s exceedingly difficult to just let something like this pass you by.

While a game with this much hype behind it can’t really flop, it can sell less than expected. But if that happens EA might just conclude that people don’t want new things and that they should go back to making more cookie-cutter graphics demos. Or they’ll just blame pirates. If the game sells they will either learn that we accept this sort of DRM, and if it doesn’t they’ll learn that we fear new ideas. Buy the game or don’t: There is no way your choice can push EA in a positive direction. No matter how things go, they are going to take home all the wrong lessons from this.

I take no joy in any of this. It’s such a massive, stupid waste of potential.


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77 thoughts on “Spore: Rejected

  1. Hugo Riley says:

    No matter how things go, they are going to take home all the wrong lessons from this.

    Heh, marketing guys always try to change people’s opinion but but it’s hardest for them to change their own opinions. If they believe in DRM, they will defend it.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Maybe if numerous people took pictures of their computers running spore with $50 next to the monitor and send those to EA with words “I am going to enjoy your game but you wont enjoy my money as long as your DRM is in place”,theyd take the hint.

    Or,more likelly,theyd hire assassins to kill those people.

  3. Iudex Fatarum says:

    is it not interesting that there is no way of correcting the perception that we refuse to buy the game because of DRM? and so history will record that EA went bankrupt because of pirates, not their own stupidity. In other words, it is not EA but us who will be blamed for it dying a slow and painful death.

  4. Kevin says:

    Wow! EA should be in the government!

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Iudex Fatarum

    Except EA will never bankrupt.Worst case scenario is that they switch completelly to consoles.

  6. GAZZA says:

    I’ll pick up the Wii version – maybe – but not the PC version. What sort of message that sends, I’m not really sure – probably not the best one.

  7. Factoid says:

    EDIT: Removed most of my comment. Upon reflection it was a bit vitriolic and I hate lowering the level of discourse. The jist of the post is that I’m not sold on Spore being a truly revolutionary game. It seems to me that it’s a bunch of disjointed parts strung together under the premise of an evolving lifeform.

    I’ve played games using all of the underlying systems before. Civ games, sim city, monster makers, even the single-cell spore phase is just a rehash of half the flash games ever made.

    It’s technical accomplishment is amazing, but I’ve never seen a compelling reason to believe the gameplay will be fun. Moreso than DRM, I think EA has done a very bad job explaining how Spore will be a fun game and THAT is what will hurt sales.

    Ultimately Shamus is right…the lesson they’ll learn is that people don’t want titles like this. They know that DRM is hurting their sales, but they can’t be seen as doing nothing to combat piracy. Best we can hope for is MAYBE a backdown on the online activation stance. I doubt it though.

  8. Snook says:

    I realize this makes me a heretic. I'll wait while everyone sharpens their sticks and lights their torches.

    Actually to a point I agree with you. As much as I enjoy the game (I’ll admit it, I pirated the damn thing last week. without the intrusive DRM I would have gladly parted with $50 – and that’s not said lightly) I can’t help but feel I’ve done some of these things before. However, the way the game *combines* all these pieces of gameplay into a cohesive game is what astounds me and keeps me playing.

    However, I cannot stand the tribal stage.

  9. yd says:

    I explained the problem with the whole DRM thing to someone on a mailing list I’m on and his response:

    Great, thanks guys! I’ll buy it and if I have to buy it again [after reaching the install limit] because it’s just that good, then no big deal. I do understand the argument against it though.

    My girlfriend wants to buy it, too, and I’m pretty sure I can’t really make her understand the problem.

    In general people don’t care.

  10. scarbunny says:

    Snook, I did the same.

    However I am already bored after about 4 hours play time, in space and dont see much point carrying on.

    The game held such promise, I expected a combination of Civ and Alpha centuri with maybe a little bit of sims. A huge impersive universe, and what I got was 6 mini games and a my sims style creature creator.

    Im glad of EAs DRM at this point other wise Id have lost £30.

  11. Snook says:

    Oh, I’m sure I’ll be bored with this game in a week or so as well but for now it’s a wonderful stress relief to go hunting for creatures as a superpredator after returning from a geology class…

  12. Fenix says:

    Unfortunatly if you want a real demo of the game for free, just pirate it. All the “games” within the game are mabye a half hour to an hour long, and that’s being generous. Trust me, I beat it in about 4 hours playing at a moderate pace. (I also beat it 1 day before it came out anywhere.) The customization of everything is fun at first but gets old after not very long.

    Oh, and when publishers start being console exclusive, all the pirates will just pirate the consoles. I looked up how hard it is to pirate on a console and it seems fairly pain free and easy. Not that I’ll be doing that, it’s just that the myth of consoles don’t have piracy is a load of $h!t.

  13. Primogenitor says:

    Fenix, the point is that consoles don’t have DRM, at least not at the moment and not in the same invasive way as on the PC.

    I pirated, played, and was disappointed too. For example, the number of limbs doesn’t have an effect, only the type…

    So I guess I’d say “nice, but I’ll wait see what it inspires others to make”.

  14. Zamalan says:

    Hi, First time writer here.

    I have to disagree with Snook about the cohesiveness of the game. Yes it’s the same creature you carry over, but there the cohesiveness stops. I can collect all the dna points i want in the cell stage but my starting creature won’t be any better from it in creature stage. I can try and collect all the parts but my tribe won’t become any better from it, ect. I can collect a million food but my civilisation starts with the same stats as any other civilisation.

    Each stage is a seperate game that wasn’t deep enough. I would have loved to have seen the seperate stages a bit wider and longer with more depth. With more stuff to do. You can waltz through to the space stage in an hour if you want to. Currency is plentifull and with enough “dudes” you can take over anything.

    I won’t deny that it is a fun game, but it’s tailored to casual gamers (except for the space stage wich is really hard). The editors are really fun at first. But once past the creature editor and into the building and vehicle editors I found myself just picking a stock building/vehicle from the sporepedia. I will prolly play it more if i have some spare time but i won’t be rushing something else just to play Spore.

    On a scale of “1” to “duck” I rate Spore “meh”

  15. Kritheon says:

    Wow. I just got done buying the game through direct2drive. EA wanted an additional $5 to download it from them…god I hate them. I hope most of the “bad” reviews are just the people annoyed at the DRM. I hate it as well, of course. Right now I’d pick the pirated copy over the legal because of the lack of DRM. But I’m too honest to do that. Can’t wait to get home and try it out. Hopefully the gameplay will make me forget the DRM.

  16. scarbunny says:

    I did actually have the game on order and paid for when I downloaded it as I didnt want to wait or deal with DRM. However seen as I was nearing the end of the civ stage after 4 hours I decided to cancel the order, Ill probably never play the game again, however if the missus likes it I may get her one of the many that will no doubt be filled the secondhand bins shortly.

    However if EA are to be believed second hand games are just as bad if not worse than piracy.

  17. edcalaban says:

    In general people don't care.

    I tried to explain to a friend and the only way I could get it to really make sense is by pointing out what some of the amazon reviewers said: you’re effectively renting the game for $50.

    I took my $50 for spore and used 37 of them to buy both expansion packs to GalCiv II. Even without the 20% off the 2(!) expansions would have been cheaper than spore and they’re DRM free!

    Edit: Broken tag.

  18. Zukhramm says:

    Some people do not seem to understand the problem unless it affects them personally. “Why are you complaining about the gaming having to connect to the internet every 10 days? You’ve got a good internet connection, it won’t affect you!“. That, is missing the point.

    Maybe, I should take the money that could be used to buy Spore, throw them away while recordning it, and then putting it up on Youtube.

  19. Jeff says:

    That, is missing the point.

    “Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Kommunist.
    Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

    Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
    habe ich nicht protestiert;
    ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

    Als sie die Juden holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Jude.

    Als sie mich holten,
    gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.”

    On a less serious note, the enemy of gamers everywhere remain the non-gamers running the gaming companies.

  20. Pat says:

    I suspect that the DRM they have is designed to work best for the average game buyer, who plays the game for a week or so until it’s completed and then never looks at it again. Thus hardware will not change during the week or so of the game’s “life”, and the number of people reinstalling it will be pretty low.

    Five years later it becomes a “classic” but by then the games developers will probably be out of business or doing something else, so won’t care about it.

    Probably explains why games are becoming more about flash and less about content -up to a point game-play and replay value may hurt your sales as people are still playing the first game instead of buying the sequel. Subscription-based systems such as WoW have massive re-playability and can be very absorbing, so it’s a natural fit for RPG fans.

    Case in point: Halo 3 on the Xbox doesn’t even have a “start new game” button (or if it does, they’ve hidden it well). I had to manually delete all the content on the hard disk before I could play it again.

  21. July says:

    In a lose-lose decision, I’d rather just keep my money.

    #6 (GAZZA) –

    That’ll tell them that gamers are moving from PC to console, and if things like that keep happening they’ll eventually stop making PC games altogether.

  22. Zukhramm says:

    I have started adopting the idea that we should let the companies do their thing. We will not stop them from making the market die. We will let them bring on the destruction, so a new, sane, market can grow from the old one’s ashes.

  23. Telas says:

    While a game with this much hype behind it can't really flop, it can sell less than expected.

    When a movie gets far more marketing than it would seem to otherwise deserve (Ghost Rider, anything with J-Lo, etc), it’s probably because it sucks, and the distributor is trying to build up some level of interest in the public, hopefully to minimize their losses. Good movies don’t need to be advertised heavily. Neither do good games.

    I’ve seen the buzz online and even TV commercials for Spore. lBy the above standard, I’d say that EA suspects that it’s going to need some help from their Department of Misinformation (a/k/a Marketing).

  24. Xian says:

    The only point that will drive the DRM issue home is when it starts costing them more than their perceived savings. Call their tech support lines – their support staff costs them money and if most of their calls are due to DRM issues, then that sends a clear message. Call the corporate office, call the better business bureau, call consumer protection agencies, just keep the pressure on them.

  25. henebry says:

    The game got a mediocre review at the New York Times last week, in a piece which made essentially the same points made here by Factoid. So weak sales may actually reflect an ambitious game which doesn’t fully realize its potential “” especially in later stages of “evolution.”

    You should check out the review, actually, Shamus, as it highlights graphical interface elements of the space exploration phase in a manner reminiscent of your recent ramblings on making the management interface fun rather than a chore.

  26. Nazgul says:

    I just looked and now it’s up to 215 (oops now 220 and counting) one-star reviews. I suspect that EA will simply write it off as another campaign by a small anti-DRM crowd, which is a shame. On the plus side, it should raise awareness of the issue to a lot of people that wouldn’t have otherwise known about it. A lot of the reviews that are higher than 1* also take the time to bemoan the DRM too.

    222 and counting…

  27. K says:


    Also quite interesting. One of the users wrote a review for Gamespot which got deleted by the admins, because he said something bad about the game (namely, he mentioned it has DRM). Gamespot artificially increasing rating? How unexpected!

  28. Justin says:

    I may be a polyanna optimist here…

    Maybe someone at EA will stop just short of the water cooler while on break and wonder, “This isn’t the first game to get a bunch of bad ratings on Amazon… what’s really going on here?” Then this person will go rooting around on the internet and discover what we all have been talking about. Then Shamus and other people with legitimate suggestions on reducing piracy can get a small consultant’s fee, and PC gamers can stop getting the shaft.

    Also, @ Pat: to start a new campaign in Halo 3, go to the campaign lobby, then choose ‘select level.’ The first level is Arrival. Voila! New game!

  29. scarbunny says:

    @ Justin, more likly they will look on the internet find hundreds of well thought out arguments and suggestions of improvment, then decide its all piratest rying to make cracks easier, then decide they need to improve DRM. Maybe they can think up a way to sell the game but not actualy give you anything.

  30. Justin says:

    Oh, I believe that the person who does this reading will get the pleas of us gamers. S/he won’t be able to convince the Suits of it though. Forgive the awful metaphor, but it’s like playing ‘Telephone’ with Helen Keller.

  31. straechav says:

    @Justin: Okay, I could sort of see the first part happening in a happy-and-hallucinatory-dream after I’d taken one of those sky-blue pills from the friendly street-vendor, but giving Shamus or anyone else a small consultants fee? Don’t push it, or you’ll wake up to reality. :P

  32. Adeon says:

    Yeah, I pirated the game early with the intention of purchasing it when it came out (I care about DRM, but not enough to skip on a game that I want). However while it is enjoyable it isn’t actually very deep. The first four stages are basically minigames (each of them can be easily beaten in less than an hour).

    The space stage is longer but doesn’t really have much depth it’s mostly a scavenger hunt for tools and badges. The tools for sculpting planets are nice and if you enjoy that it’s probably got some value but other than that…

    Honestly I was expecting at least four hours of gameplay from each of the early stages (except maybe the cell stage) and then a space stage with a bit of interesting depth.

    In any case, I’ll be uninstalling the copy I have and using the money to buy a copy of portal.

  33. Alleyoop says:

    The drm isn’t about piracy, though. It’s about forcing buyers into accepting limited activations and repurchasing and also killing resale of games, both of which have been stated by EA mucky-mucks:

    (scroll down to where Nucleus is mentioned)


    Spore is the vehicle today (MEPC was the vehicle a few months ago) by which EA is being justifiably slammed for this utter disregard for their paying public. They’re bashing apart the last line of defense against piracy, the people who still pay them for games.

    I shouldn’t feel like an idiot for paying for games, but with this insulting and chronically problematic drm in place, I’d BE an idiot to pony up for anything EA puts out anymore.

    THEY KNOW FULL WELL SECUROM IS THE PROBLEM. Don’t believe for a second they don’t.

  34. Fenix says:

    Point taken, however I was directing my comment more at the fact that EA and other publishers are learning the lesson that the PC isn’t giving them much profit from one reason or another and that if they jump ship to consoles the entire process will move over to consoles equaling more of the same problems and a second gaming depression may form. If thought of in this light if piracy is going to happen let it happen on the PC in order to let the consoles survive. Wow, gotta love twisted logic.
    (I apologize for my run on sentence. Any harm to ones brain was unintentional.)

  35. Pembroke says:

    I spent so much time enjoying Spore yesterday that I forgot to care about DRM.

  36. Illiterate says:

    Click http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=24213.0 for proof that gamers will pay money to support something that is fun, even if it is given away without DRM and looks like garbage.

    The numbers aren’t something that would make EA take notice, but they’re not bad for someone living in a rural part of washington state where rent is generally 3-500 a month.

  37. Illiterate says:


    Can’t edit when I posted through firefox.


  38. Corsair says:

    You know, at first, I felt kind of bad about pirating Spore. I mean, they were DRMing out the bum, but they’d worked HARD on this game…hadn’t they?


    No, they did not. This game is pretty much mediocre. Four minigames strapped onto a game that wants to combine Master of Orion with Destroy all Humans and does it REALLY badly. The first two stages are pretty fun, but they’re over really fast and they’re both basically games I’ve played before, the Tribal Stage is fairly tedious with almost no customization and only eight structures, the Civilization stage you get a grand total of FOUR structures and one of them is a bloody gun on your walls. The Space Stage, on the other hand, isn’t so much customization as it is cram as much crap onto your spaceship as you possibly can with the amount of money you have on hand. Each stage is fun for about the first hour, but all of them either A: finish within an hour or B: Get old.

  39. Zukhramm says:

    It’s moving upwards really fast, the reviews are soon at 600. Too bad you need to have purchased a product from Amazon before they allow you to write a review.

  40. Pat says:

    It has made the front page on Slashdot now, which may help them get publicity for the issue.


  41. Illiterate says:

    I believe we’ll be seeing “the coming of the great white handkerchief” soon, as amazon mass-purges every review containing the words “rent” “drm” or “petunia”

  42. Nathanael Phillip Cole says:


    The reviews on Amazon are all gone.

    EDIT: Ooops, I stand corrected?

    Weird, now when I look at the Spore page, it says “no reviews, be the first!”

  43. Sam says:

    Wow. I checked out the link to Amazon. I’d think this is probably the first time a game is both the #1 seller anywhere and has such a low rating by the consumers. I say good for everyone who gave Spore a 1-star review. Thanks to you, Shamus, if you hadn’t pointed out the idiocy that is DRM, I probably would be jumping through EA’s hoops in order to play Spore. Looks like I won’t be purchasing any EA products in the near future, PC or console. They really need to learn that treating your customers like criminals is NOT the right way to do business.

  44. Galen says:

    I’m reasonably excited about new types of games and spore has really got my attention. I’m not in favor DRM that EA is putting up but I’d do it for Spore. I’ve got a proxy which will prohibit the continual updates and only installing 3 times may end up a pain. My plan is to stick with the creator for awhile until the wii comes out. it boils down to: if you want the game then buy it, otherwise don’t. Not a hard choice to make.

  45. Carra says:

    I’m not going to buy a game that only lets me install it 3x.

    Some games I have are 10 years old, that’s 4 pc’s ago and some of those I still like to install now. Let alone that I just wipe games I finished of my hd and just install them later when I want to try them again. Or people who format their pc on a regular basis to keep it performant…

  46. Derek K says:

    Do you really “win” Spore?

    Isn’t the point that you play through it repeatedly, trying different things each time?

    Or is the variation just not interesting enough to do it again and again?

  47. Snook says:

    Play through the game twice and you’ve essentially seen all there is.

  48. MadTinkerer says:

    The current count is nearly 900 1 star ratings (out of almost 1000) and growing. Each of the other ratings barely register with less than 100 ratings from 2 to 5. (And a bunch of those positive ratings were from before the game came out.)

    If this trend keeps up, I think there is actually hope that EA will learn their lesson. I’m tempted to buy a copy just so the DRM won’t work for me and then I can rake EA over the coals as a paying customer.

    No that they paid any attention to me as a paying customer of Dungeon Keeper 2 who kept asking for Magic Carpet 3 and Syndicate 3, but I digress.

  49. Eric says:

    the reason why amazon users are giving spore a one star review, ia that they’re protesting the activation limit of only three. If someone already said this I apologize.

    Also some new Xbox 360 news:http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3169798

    It’s very interesting.

  50. guy says:

    You know, the one DRM scheme which might actually work to some extent without screwing over legit users too much is massive redundancy in the simplier security systems, so that the pirates have to go over line after line of (uncommented) code to find them all. preferably it doesn’t take very long to run the checks, and while running them it does somthing interesting in the forground, like an unskipable but cool-looking cutscene.

    I’ll grant that it would still be a major annoyance, and pirated copies would be objectively better, but it would be an absolute nightmare to try to take them all off it before mainstream games make a huge portion of their sales, and at least it wouldn’t screw you over because some water got into your cable (a relistic scenario for me.)

  51. Lanthanide says:

    guy – and as soon as it is cracked once, all of the extra code in there is completely worthless. Meanwhile you might delay the time it takes to crack it by a day or two, if you’re lucky.

    The most successful anti-piracy measures have been those that break the game in subtle ways so that the cracking groups think they have won because the game starts, so they release the crack straight away without bothering to do a thorough check to make sure the game really works. This sort of thing has been successful because it has seldom been done – if it became the norm, then the cracking groups would simply adapt to it. Also it is arguable that any crack, even if it is only partially functioning, is a victory for the pirates, and it can backfire on the studio in that if the problems introduced into the game are subtle the pirates will assume the game is buggy and give it bad reviews/forum posts which in turn scare away legit users – I believe this happened recently with a game (NWN 2?).

  52. Zerotime says:

    It’s interesting to note that the best-rated positive review boils down to “fun, but the DRM sucks”, and the best negative review is “the DRM sucks, and the game is dumbed-down”. 1016 one-star reviews and counting!

    My copy arrived yesterday, but I haven’t bothered installing it yet because Clear Sky should arrive Real Soon Now and I want to sink some time into that. Having heard that there’s only about eight hours of gameplay, though, I might as well install it when I get home tonight and finish it before I go to sleep.

  53. Suzene says:

    I wasn’t going to buy Spore due to the DRM, but well…from what I’ve seen of the thing, the graphics just aren’t the kind of thing I’d like to stare at for hours at a time. Meh.

  54. Avilan the Grey says:

    The DRM sucks. I have ordered the game…

    A slightly different topic:

    Looking at the reviews that actually deal with gameplay, most of them seems to be from the non-sims crowd. The people who actually expected this game to be a mix between Pac Man and Civ IV (with Civ IV’s AI, or better)… who actually thought this game would represent a 100% realistic view of Evolution, and at the same time miss what the game is really about.
    I have yet to see a review from someone who admits to love Sims 2 and rates the game less than 3 out of 5. The few swedish reviews I have seen by professional reviewers without an axe to grind (rightfully so towards DRM, wrongfully so if you have not understood what kind of games mr Wright actually makes) has been positive. I am looking forward to this game (it’s in the mail) and I am glad that the expected price has been dropped significally (I got mine for 429 SEK (about $66, which sounds a lot but it isn’t really, it is the dollar that has plummeted over the last year) instead of the expected 550SEK.

  55. Veloxyll says:

    The game doesn’t deserve that much more than a 1 really. It was fun. For a little. I admit I finished it, but when given the choice, I’d rather play Haegemonia (which I am replaying again. Who would’ve thought explosions could be THAT alluring)

    As for the game + DRM, it seems EA has gone “Okay, lets have crappy limited use DRM. BUT we’ll make the games so bland that people won’t want to replay them anyhow!”
    It’s like. Win-win. Sure the game can only be activated three times, but it’s not WORTH activating that many times.


    If I put 3 jets on my cell, it goes 3x as fast. WHY IF I PUT 3xHANDS on my cell does it not dance 3x as well! Or hit 3x as hard.

    tbh Civ 4 has more ACTUAL fun gameplay. The Spore gameplay quickly becomes repetitive and lame. So the DRM pales beside the failness of the game

    Unfortunately RA3 will probably have hoopy DRM and I am addicted to the cheesy C&C cutscenes

  56. Avilan the Grey says:


    You just proved my point above. I understand what to expect game-play wise, and I am really looking forward to it.

    Btw I don’t really understand your complaint about Exlusive Abilites? Every limb has a point value attached to it.

    Back to the reviews:

    “it is not as complicated as (insert RTS game here)”
    “it is not as deep as (insert CRPG game here)”
    “it doesn’t have as many different weapons as (insert FPS game here)”
    “the cities you build lacks options, unlike (insert your fav. version of SimCity here)”

    No this is not an attack on you, or anyone else. The hype of this game has made a lot of people who really probably would never like this kind of game buy it or think of buying it. If you (not YOU, Veloxyll!) are a gamer who prefers CalCiv, or Half Life 2, and looks at the Sims games and thinks “Oh great, another %¤&/( expansion pack my sister will want for Xmas” then you should have thought trice before pre-ordering this game.

    I didn’t have to think it over because I am quite frankly addicted to all games Wright has ever made. He hits a nerve in me and I will play this game DRM be damned.

  57. scarbunny says:

    Avilan: I actually like sims, sim city, My sims, I even liked SimCity Societies. However I didn't really follow the development of Spore so had no preconceived ideas on it depth/length.

    However going on Mr. Wrights previous games this is dumbed down to such an extent it losses everything it could and should have been.

    Unless EA intends to release a “Improved Depth” expansion next month, then it all makes sense

  58. Razhem says:

    Lets ignore DRM for now.

    What people seem to forget about Spore is it’s not about “beating the game” it’s about being creative and just having fun with your critters. At the moment I’m enjoying the game a lot and will probably replay a lot of times going into the creature period, I just find fun the whole animal sense of danger and amazement at seeing a new critter.

    Tribal is bland and civilization looks to be of the same sort, space I haven’t been to yet, but for me the real charm is just screwing around with the editors and frolicking around for a bit.

    I know this does not appeal to the “hardcore gamer”, but seeing how the hardcore gamer has killed gaming for me, I’m all over any game that is different or with charm or that at least brings me back to the good old days where being “hardcore” wasn’t about shooting the biggest gun and hissing on great games because they look “kiddy”. Hell, only games I’m remotely looking forward to were Spore, Megaman 9 and Smash Bros Brawl and only one is in a format I can play.

    The boycott in Amazon feels highly retarded from where I stand, like Shamus said, you are only going to turn of from the game precisely the people that would enjoy it the most, the casual gamers who think the rating is about the game itself, also, the run of the mill customer doesn’t give a crap about DRM (no matter how horrible an idea it is, and my pirated copy of Spore only confirms it).

    EA will not blame DRM if the game manages to not sell as expected (which it will, because any sane person already noticed that internet only acts aren’t worth crap in the real world, do a picket in front of EA’s office with angry letters being sent, call CNN or Fox on a slow day and then you might be on to something).

    Yes, I also think Spore could have been a lot more, and it certainly does not justify 8 years of work, but I still find it a nice little jewel in a sea of boring and a great base that can be improved upon, be it by patches, or by Wright making a sequel recycling the game but adding all that depth that would make it really shine.

  59. Avilan the Grey says:

    Scarbunny and Razhem:
    Exactly. I expect to play this game as a Toy, not a Game (to borrow the metaphor from the NY times review).

    Adding things:
    Apparently this game, thanks to the modified DRM (you don’t have to be online to play), the DVD is not copy protected. Which means you don’t have to download a no-cd patch, just copy the DVD on the harddrive and install from that directory.
    That, at least, is a good thing if it’s true.

  60. Chargone says:

    i bought it. played it. loved it. astonishingly the DRM has given me no problems at all [that i’m aware of. so far] and the game it’s self is actually really good. [lots of places it doesn’t live up to the hype, while still being good, and also lots of places where it does things a lot better than you’d expect]

    still the last PC game I’m buying that’s published by EA, and leaves a grand total of two EA titles of any sort that will be bought by me.

    i did have some problems though. not with the game, no, that was fine, but with EB games, who bought out my local/fav game store, discarded my pre-order without informing me because the deposit was currently ‘$0.00’ due to me ordering multiple games at once and using it all up on the previous one [the old organization allowed that, still kept the order]. upshot being that i had to place a new order, for the normal version rather than the ‘galaxy edition’ or whatever it’s called, wait longer, and pay more. they don’t give discounts for pre-orders, apparently.
    [fortunatly, my brother pre-payed his Entirely, and after some discussion i ended up paying more for the one with the feelies, now, while he gets to play it now on my machine, gets the normal version, pays less, and waits a little for his copy]

    so, yeah, is there a word for that? *sigh* it’s like the game is cursed or something.

    that said, while the DRM is a ‘deal breaker’ for me, for the company as a whole, this game’s probably worth it.

    it’s actually worth noting that, along the way, the game has a had a lot of things stripped out due to redundancy and/or being excessively complex [at one point the editors gave you an insane amount of flexibility, at the expense of needing to be a trained artist to get anything done, apparently]

    Will Wright has gone on record (more than once, from memory, though I’m not sure of that) saying that the goal was for it to be a toy, far more than a game.

    anyway, i can easily see it getting old quickly if it’s not your thing. i can also see it being highly addictive if it is. to me, it looks like one of those things I’ll play through once, muck around with a bit, then leave for a couple of months… then come back and do it again.

    whoever said the stages were too short was right, in a way, though. they Are too short if that’s the style of game you want to play and you understand what you’re doing and how to do it. on the flip side, if those aren’t true, they are just that little bit long. the first time i played through the creature phase it kinda dragged on. the second time was really fast. heh.

    about the lack of connection between the different games… it depends what you’re looking for in terms of ‘connection’. my only problem was the skip from tribal straight to that weird sort of schizo-tech in the civ phase. i sorta expected that phase to be a bit more than it was, and the tribal phase had less customization than expected.

    on balance, it’s a Great concept, hyped to the point of insanity [then left to simmer to avoid backlash] which resulted in a good game, which could be better, isn’t quite what everyone was expecting, and is loaded with Evil, Evil DRM.

    blah. am i still on topic here? go go random ramble!…err.. wait, no… stop stop random ramble. i’m done :D

  61. Kris says:

    @Telas (23)

    You mean the Ministry of Truth, don’t you?

  62. maehara says:

    The BBC apparently gets it

  63. RichardB says:

    Amazon UK is heavily censoring reviews of Spore: http://tinyurl.com/6fjnu4

  64. Kel'Thuzad says:

    What exactly is a hardcore gamer? I suppose I play games enough to be one, but I’m not good at games, which, I would expect, is another prerequisite.

  65. Kel'Thuzad says:

    Sorry for the double-post, but Amazon.com now has over 1,300 reviews with 1 star. WOW.

  66. Razhem says:

    Kel’Thuzad: when I say hardcore gamer, I’m not referring to the crazy people that do speedruns of doom with their eyes closed or anybody who is capable of finishing battletoads without cheating and breaking a controller, these types of gamers I find at least entertaining to see their antics.

    When I say hardcore, I mean the self-proclaimed demographic that bashes on “kiddy” games, only plays shooters, needs purty graphics to get a hard on, and doesn’t know crap about yeh olden classics. They scream quite loudly nowadays.

  67. Ciennas says:


    I play morrowind. I purchased the game a short while ago. Game of the Year Edition, even. It cost me twenty dollars, and I got everything short of a few plugins for the game, including expansion packs, not to mention the construction set, so I could build my own content.

    (Oh, and I got those few remaining plugins, with links to more plugins and game mods, free of charge off Bethesda’s official site. Nice.)

    I have been reading the shenanigans on Amazon thanks to the links Shamus has put up… Ug.

    The common theme is that EA is not trying to stop pirates, but rather resales of the game.

    They may have a point. If the common resaler is the local Gamestop, who then turns around and sells it again, then the publisher loses money they can’t get back, and they can’t sell a shiny new copy of the game and make back their investment, barring fatal scratches.

    Of course, I don’t like their DRM, even if I had a system current enough to enjoy the game created I still wouldn’t purchase it.

    I also don’t like that you can’t lend a copy of the game to a friend if they want to try it. That’s what got me playing Morrowind. A friend lent me the console edition, and I wanted the full game.

    Back when Starcraft was ‘The Game’, they gave you the option to create spawn copies- neutered multiplayer only versions of the game, perfect for LAN parties. If your friends wanted the full version, then they could go out and purchase a full copy, with access to Battle.Net and other cool features. Free advertising, in short.

    What’s wrong with that idea now? Starcraft still sits on store shelves, a testament to the remarkable staying power of a well constructed game with the ability to play friends in the same LAN.

    A related article on cracked, the seven commandments all video games should follow, is an interesting read that echoes this sentiment.

    ‘Thou shalt let us play your game with real-life friends.’

    And now with all this talk of TPM… How much Hard drive Space does Ubuntu need to run?

    (EDIT: Article here http://www.cracked.com/article_16196_p1.html)

    (EDIT: Also, Hi. Long time reader since DMoTR led me here.)

  68. lowlymarine says:

    So EA announced today that in response to the backlash over Spore’s DRM, for Red Alert 3 they will use a “more lenient scheme.” Does this mean they’ll be removing SecuROM, dialing back it’s invasiveness, slashing the online activation, maybe even removing the CD check?!

    No, they’ll be increasing the number of activations to 5. WHOOPDEE FUCKING HOO!

    EA once again misses the point by so much, they could not have missed it further had they shot in completely the opposite direction and the point was in another country all together. And it’s a damn shame, because the beta is really freaking good, and without this bull they would have had another $50 of my money. But instead it looks like Kane’s Wrath was the last dime they’ll get from me. At least until EA’s current pillocks of executives all fall off a cliff.

  69. Bogan the Mighty says:

    All I have to say is that the true gold is reading the 5 and 4 star reviews for Spore. I found someone claiming that the Spore tech support site says that the 3 activation limit got reset after 10 days. As for the actual game itself I’m not to depressed about not playing it. It looks like its really just a bunch games watered down so it fits into one. If I wanted to play any of them I’d go play those ones instead since they’ll have more depth to them.

  70. Avilan the Grey says:

    To everyone who plans on using this game in 5 years, or don’t have broadband…

    …Why would you want to play the game without the community-made content? I have been googling around and a lot of people has a problem because “I might not be able to play this game in 5 years”. The bigger problem is: Will there still be a user-based community then? And if you don’t have broadband to begin with, how fun is it to play with Maxis 20(?) pre-made creatures and your own, and nothing more?

    The DRM is unnecesary and really irritating, ethically wrong and a PITA, but there are things to remember:

    1) Thanks to the DRM you can install this on 3 different computers at once without violating the user agreement.

    2) Thanks to the DRM they have lifted the need for a DVD in the drive so you can run it anyway (with some minor manual labor; just copy the files into a folder and install from there).

    3) This is essentially a MSPOG (Massive Single Player Online Game). This means that without the servers and user made content on them, this game is quite pointless. IF you actually need to reinstall 3 times before the user community is no longer active then you have a problem. For us that has too little money to buy new hardware or new computers every year… Not so much.

    4) MMORPGs have used these kind of schemes before, and Shamus, you installed WoW despite it’s demands and spyware, didn’t you?

    Again: I am opposed to the DRM, but not enough to:
    A) Not aquire this game.
    B) Pirate this game (and miss out on 50% of the point of it, which is the user made content).
    C) Not activate it online and well… see B).

    Besides, there is always the hope that the DRM will be phased out with a patch when this game is not new anymore. It has happened before…

  71. Kel'Thuzad says:

    If you pirate it, you can still get the user-made content, you just have to download it out of Sporepedia manually from outside the game.

    The pirate version runs a little slow on my computer, does the normal game run better?

    EDIT- Now at 1,800 1-star reviews.

  72. Avilan the Grey says:

    I know. The problem is that all the nifty functions for online doesn’t work when you are not online. Like auto-balancing of echo systems (computer adds species that fits the stats needed, like “small plentiful herbivore” or “bigass predator”. And how fun is it to have a galaxy to explore when you have the same 50 creatures to choose from on all planets?

  73. Kel'Thuzad says:

    Alright, I get where you’re coming from. The problem that I might have is, with all that content being funneled in, you really might not have a choice as with what you want in there. Of course, I’m using the pirate version, so please tell me if I’m wrong.

    I like the game so far. It’s pretty fun, and the creature stage only felt like it dragged on a bit. I’m now in tribal. I’m a bit afraid, because I’ve heard that the space stage is much harder than the rest.

    Also, can someone help me with a question? I have to run Spore at low graphics, and sometimes it goes quite slow. Is the normal game faster or better-optimized, and by how much?

  74. Avilan the Grey says:

    About speed: I don’t know. I run on native resolution (1200×800) on my Dell 1520 laptop, an have most settings set on medium except creature details and something else (whatever it was) that I set on high. So far it runs good. I know these games might be a little weird; I know they say that if you can run Sims 2 with all expansions then Spore should run good on medium settings. (That was a comment from EA).

    As for the content, you have several options to regulate:

    1) only play offline (you do that).

    2) Subscribe to specific creators’ stuff. That gives a “high” (don’t know the math) possibility that a creature is picked from that / those persons sporepedia automatically, but other creatures will also appear.

    3) Block individual creatures: You see a SPORN (Spore slang for Spore Porn, aka penis monster, other idiot creation) or just something you don’ like: Click on it and choose to block it in the menu. It will be replaced by a creature with similar stats (I think). It will definitely be replaced.

    4) (I think): Block a specific creator’s stuff, period.

  75. Kel'Thuzad says:

    Never mind. I really think the game is fun.

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