Evolutionary Applied Gaming (Literally)

It is one of the hottest new games in the App Store available for the iPhone and iPod Touch (also available for computer, etc.). Spore is a simplistic game following the progression of simple micro-organisms climb of growth all the way up to become intelligent and powerful alien forces. The creators of the game describe Spore this way:

Wondrous creations need but a single spark, or, in the case of SPORE, a single cell. Guide that simple cell through the hazardous primordial broth until it emerges on land, a creature that hopes to prove itself the dominant life form on its planet. Should your species emerge victorious, it forms a tribe that grows into a civilization and conquers other cities. Their planetary endeavors complete, your species reaches for the stars in their spaceship, exploring the galaxy and discovering the mystery that lies at its center.

I find the detail of graphics and the gameplay (user friendliness) to be extremely interesting and fun. If it wasn’t for the remarkable twist of evolution that the whole game is about I would recommend it for the very young to old.

The premise underlining the game is evolution. 100%. This is not a sin, but obviously an assumption of the creators of the game that they think is true to the real world. What they believe about the real world inspired them to make this interactive experience with their view of the universe’s beginnings. A say it is not a sin because they don’t officially use the game to promote Darwinian idealism. Still, the deep impact on any player is how cool it is to see what it might have been like if we could observe the past development of living organisms.

But this is funny, and extremely ironic. What I expect most gamers to do is to be absorbed into the gaming experience and not even think about what they are doing in playing the game. See, the game’s premise is evolution, and helping your evolving creature along. In the game, your even responsible to put together the parts of your micro organism to create it’s form and starting abilities and functions. Think about that. You have to… create the living creatures. You have to… help the helpless stupid things to make it in life. They have to be… intelligently designed, then guided up to make their highest evolved states.

So basically you have to be the creator to get the creation to come from nothing and make it in life. Sort of defeats the premise of evolutionary thought, don’t you think? Apparently not for many ignorant and wayward people.

Sure, there are many religious people that believe God created the world using evolution, but they believe this in error and ignorance. Specifically, the Christian and Jewish faiths based on the Old and New Testaments have the record set for us. An examination of Genesis 1—addressing the creation of the universe and all that lives—makes it clear its meaning in the original Hebrew to literally translate to mean that God created the world in six literal days. Any modern translation will also read this way if you don’t add to it your own presuppositions going into the chapter. And this six day creation is repeatedly confirmed in other books of the Bible referencing the creation. (Either take it for what it says, or don’t call it biblical when you add to it your own evolutionary thought. You can’t honestly call it biblical and evolutionary at the same time.)

So back on the game… I find it very funny. Sure, the way the designers made the game involves the gamer, which means it involves intelligent design from the part of the designers and it involves intelligent thought on the part of the gamer. You know, I can’t think of any way they might have avoided this. For shame. You may think the game is a terrible idea flying in the face of your faith, but in actuality it’s not. The game does not authentically disprove creation or prove evolution. It’s quite self-contradictory. Spore is defeated in the creation/evolution debate before gamers even start to play.

Here’s a little bit more the creator’s of the game have stated on the matter (again, it’s very ironic):

Will Wright consulted with several scientists during SPORE’s development, and you can learn more about that process in the National Geographic Channel special, ”How to Build a Better Being.” Wright incorporated several concepts from evolutionary development into the game, such as bilateral symmetry, which says that creatures are genetically hardwired to look the same on their right and left sides, and segmentation, which slices an organism into zones that handle different functions. The episode also delves into the idea of a genetic toolkit that’s the basis for all life on Earth.

Click here to check out more about Spore.

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