Written by Colin on 9/11/2008

I spent almost all day playing Spore. I should have finished working on that stupid table that needs painting. I should have started to think about starting to think about packing to go back to Seattle. I should have done a lot of stuff. Instead I sat and played Spore. I'm well into the Space phase of the game and it's by far the best part of the entire game. Designing the creatures and running around eating stuff was fun, but this feels like the actual game now. It's like EV Nova or something except much larger and much more complex, which is excellent. It's still amazing to zoom all the way in back to the tiny little planet in the vast galaxy from whence I started the game. The size is astounding and I know this game will have great replayability. Too bad I can only install it one more time (screw you EA and your stupid DRM).

Will Wright said that he hoped people who played the game would come away from it looking at the world around them differently. I can see why he thought such a thing would happen. I know the game essentially demonstrates intelligent design (bleh) and isn't how Nature really works but the growth of a life-form into an intelligent, sentient being is absolutely amazing. We as a species have only existed for a scant 200,000 years in a Universe that is 14 billion years ancient. We have sent a probe (Voyager I) 9.87 billion miles away from our planet and put footsteps onto the Moon a scant 239,000 miles away. So far, we have discovered no other forms of life, no other intelligent creatures, and seen no evidence of another's existence in the void of space. If Carl Sagan described us as a "mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam" when Voyager I took a picture of the Sun and by sheer chance, Earth, at 4 billion miles away, what are we in the grand scheme of things? The earth is a mere 7,197 miles in diameter. Our solar system is around 9x10^12 (trillion) miles in diameter. The Milky Way galaxy (our galaxy) is 100,000 light years in diameter (5.87x10^17 miles). The Universe is estimated to be 93 billion light years in diameter (5.47x10^23 miles) and growing. Can you even imagine that? Humanity has only existed for about 0.0014% of the life of the Universe and inhabits a planet than is 7.6x10^19 times smaller. In the grand scheme of things, we truly are insignificant, if that's even an appropriate word for such a thing.

But Earth is the only planet we have and the only planet we know of capable of sustaining life. It's our only home and it's where everything we know exists. Spore doesn't really do justice to the complexity of life, but why should it? It's only a game simulating an un/intelligently designed creature as it advances from a cell to a intergalactic empire. But it makes you wonder what's out there in the mostly-empty void of space. There are somewhere near one trillion trillion stars and an unimaginable number of planets circling those stars, a handful of which are probably like our star and our planet Earth. And who knows, out of those handful, some may even play host to life. It's not impossible, nothing truly is, improbably maybe, but never impossible.

*Edit*
I was listening to a band called God is an Astronaut while I wrote that so I thought I'd make another video using the iTunes visualizer. Check it out:

The song is called "Fire Flies and Empty Skies" and is from their latest album All is Violent, All is Bright.








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