Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Evolution hits the big-time: Spore

You know your field has hit the big-time when they make it into a video game.  In the upcoming game from Maxis, Spore, you control evolution:

I'm not really sure how this is going to work, but it appears that you will be able to guide the evolution of a creature from the primordial ooze, onto land, and eventually into space.  There's more information on the wiki page for Spore.

It seems that every time evolution trickles into popular culture, it's basically the same story of progress up the ladder of life, from microbes to fish to lizards to man.  One of the goals of Spore is to crawl out of the water onto land; you can spend your "DNA points" to do so. Entirely nonphylogenetic, and I just out-dorked the videogame dorks.

Still, biodiversity prevails: before the release of the game, the company has released a creature creator that allows people to create critters of their own.  Currently more than two creatures per second are being created.  The maximum estimate I've come across for the total number of species on Earth is 100 million (but we have no idea). At this rate, it will take about two years for Spore to catch up with Earth.  But who in their right mind would create the Aye-aye? Or the ocean sunfish?  And, given enough time, will Virginia opposums evolve civilizations and space travel?  Only time will tell.

No comments: