Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spore! A bit of biology and computer gaming...

So we are on day 3 of Spore ownership. EA's new Maxis game, supposedly $50 million in the making, starts you as single-cell organisms working your way up the food chain, eating things to gain DNA points to add arms, legs, eyes...and mate, fight, eat, sing, dance, pose (pose??)...

What it is doing nicely with my 11 and 12 year olds is (a) getting them to talk with me and each other about biology and ecosystems and (b) play a computer game together. The graphics are cute and engaging, and one is always sitting over the other's shoulder enjoying their decisions and cheering them along.

Is singing, dancing, and posing accurate in nature? For a lot of species, perhaps, though the dancing here is a bit...odd? So far, my oldest has moved to level 3 and is thinking about societal/tribal issues. He also has learned that pie isn't the big mover of a culture (game inside joke).

So far, I do recommend Spore as something to add to the family gaming quiver. It isn't an accurate depiction of biology, but brings a lot of the concepts to the discussion forefront. Its design does imply that evolution is reality versus myth, but that's what I'd like my children to learn as well. :) And hopefully there isn't an 11 year old at the helm adding a third eye to a pink critter... :)

We'll see as we get further into tribal and planetwide conquest...

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