Secondary Systems Analysis of Spore

In this blog post I'm going to be analyzing the secondary systems in the game Spore developed by Maxis. I'll be analyzing how each system makes up different parts of the game play and their significance to the overall experience.

Spore was released to the market in 2008 by Maxis as a life-simulator and realt time strategy game. It is centered around the concept of evolution and the many differences life forms can have when they undergo the process of evolution. It is well known for its great amounts of customization and player creativity. There are several stages that game changes gameplay during. These stages include the cell, creature, tribal, civilization and space stages. Cell and creature mostly revolve around survival and basic social interactions. However from tribal and up the player tends to see much more complex social interactions that create alliances, trade routes and even planetary colonies.

There are three core systems that make up Spore that I want to talk about which are movement, social systems and evolution. These three main systems create a core loop that revolve in either direction as each system can possibly lead to another. I'm going to be analyzing the secondary systems that fall under these core systems. These secondary systems differ from the core systems in which they are not mandatory for the player to complete the game. The player has the option to complete or choose from different systems to complete.

Under the core system of movement, we have exploration. Moving about the world your creatures inhabit makes the player come into contact with all sorts of strange creatures living on the planet as well. During the creature stage certain groups of creatures may tend to stay in a certain area or may move about the area if they decide to migrate. As time goes on species may migrate, go extinct or evolve. The world is always changing and non mandatory exploration is always an option. It's important to explore your surroundings in any stage of the game as different groups or creatures offer different benefits that may suit the player better than others. Treasure hunting is another important secondary system to note. During the creature stage it is vital to find certain hidden bones that are buried beneath the dirt which essentially grant access to new body parts offering different abilities for the player to use. It's important to find these upgrades as they allow the player to progress through the creature stage and into the tribal stage. However, after a certain point the player has the option to keep searching for new less vital items. These items do not grant vital upgrades needed for success in the stage but rather serve for aesthetic purposes or slight improvements to other traits.

Next I'll be discussing the secondary systems under the core social system. You have four options when it comes to the social system. One being to befriend other creatures around you. Socializing with creatures is mandatory during every stage of Spore but the player is given the option on what they would prefer to do. Will they be a peaceful civilization wanting only prosperity for them and their allies? Or will they seek to dominate other species? Or perhaps will they create a blend of the two? You could also attempt to live in isolation and only mingle with members of your species. However, this will only get you so far as later stages get very difficult without the resources of other civilizations. These are the four options the game gives to us.

Lastly I'll discuss the secondary system of creative customization which is under the core system of evolution. Customization is a huge aspect of spore and is a big part of its identity. Throughout the game the player must change their creature's appearance in order to survive but these requirements are very minimal. There are so many body parts, armor and other clothing options that it's ultimately up to the player on what they wish to look like. Rather than simply building your creature or civilization optimally, Spore gives the player the option to customize your creations to have any traits you'd desire even when they may make the game more difficult. It is ultimately up to the player how difficult the game is going to be in that regard.

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