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Bad stuff:

1: The Mac port is being handled by TransGaming, not the original publisher. TransGaming has an awful track record, with lots of buggy, slow ports of Windows games for OS X to its name.

2: As mentioned, EA and TransGaming are both using some idiotic DRM called SecuROM. It's invasive, it's buggy, it's caused lots of security problems, and it's also pretty ineffective at doing what it's supposed to do (prevent copyright infringement.) It is, however, greatly effective at slowing your PC down and preventing legitimate customers from playing the game.

EDIT: Tried making a real link to the Wikipedia page, but Slog seems to think that one link = comment spam. See for more info on the DRM.

I also sent a letter to TransGaming's Marketing VP to tell them what a stupid decision it was to license SecuROM. He sent back a lot of BS in return, which tells me that no one with a clue is making important decisions at that company.

3: Most other reviews are giving it pretty low scores. It's a fairly short game, and while you can certainly spend lots of time creating new life forms, the end-game space experience is "too repetitious" to warrant any real replayability.

Three strikes. No purchase. And really, it doesn't sound interesting enough for me to pirate it either.

Posted by sociallytangent | September 9, 2008 2:20 PM

I was set to buy this game last night, but then I was shocked to see 1 star on Amazon. It made me uber-conscious that I was about to throw $50 at EA for a game that would be more of a headache to own than it would be to just pirate it. That and the apparent lack of depth have me questioning whether it's worth the investment.

Do I support an innovative game or do I boycott evil and stupid industry practice? hmmm....

Posted by Keo | September 9, 2008 2:26 PM

There are some real problems with stability for the game. I am in the creature phase and am facing the same kind of errors that people are facing in the Space phase; CTDs galore.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 2:46 PM

I think this is the first review I've seen that mentions the nasty DRM nonsense EA crippled Spore with. Regardless of how good the game is, I won't be buying it unless they get rid of or neuter the SecuROM.

3 installs for life is ridiculous. I can't even count how many times I've reinstalled my favorite games (like Starcraft) over the years. $50 for a game rental? No thank you.

Posted by The Tim | September 9, 2008 3:19 PM

The 3 Installs shouldn't really apply if you install on the same system without major hardware changes.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 3:29 PM

@5: Have you ever owned a Windows PC? My current machine is on its fourth format. And if they expect this game to have Sims-like years of success with expansions and such, the install limit might actually have a serious impact for single-PC players.

Posted by Sam M. | September 9, 2008 3:49 PM

The formats wouldnt matter. The hardware profile is the same.

And you can always contact EA if you have special circumstances.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 3:57 PM

And there are far more glaring problems with the copy protection scheme like only allowing one user account.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 4:00 PM

I've reinstalled games as I've upgraded machines. My original Sims install has gone through 4 machines, and that doesn't even count how often I restore a machine. If this is similar to the windows activation then it doesn't matter because it will always say that my hardware has changed. Its not about them okaying a call and unlocking it. Its the fact that I have to call. I have to take time out of my day to call and go through an automated system and authenticate my activation. If I pay for software I should get to do whatever I want with it. This just means I won't purchase their product. I make the same choices on other products and business. You don't get my money unless I agree with your business practice.

Posted by Sil | September 9, 2008 4:07 PM

Sil, if you pay for software you don't get to do whatever you want with it, legally at least. There are some good reasons for that. And you've clearly stated the customer's ultimatum; don't fork over your cash for something you don't like.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 4:11 PM

@5: I have to agree w/ Sam. I tend to format my Windows box at least once a year.

@7: With the typical PC upgrade cycle being around 2 years, you would use up your 3 installs in just six years. Do you realize how ridiculous a notion it is to contact EA to ask permission to install a game you already paid for?

Bottom line is that if I buy a game, I should be able to use it without it having to "phone home."

Posted by The Tim | September 9, 2008 4:14 PM

You should be able to do a lot of things that you can't.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 4:25 PM

@7: As with Windows XP and Vista, the activation hash is not solely determined by your hardware profile. And really, I don't feel like contacting a company to beg for the privilege of installing a product I already bought.

This is why I used a cracked copy of XP despite owning a legitimate one before I switched over to OS X. The process was just so much less painful and time-consuming (especially when it was farmed out to India call centers, zomg) and certainly less humiliating.

"Oh, please, great EA, wilt thou grant me, thy unworthy servant, grace enough to install thine Incredible Game once more?" ... no, sorry, not my style.

Posted by sociallytangent | September 9, 2008 4:29 PM

in 6 years we would see spore 2 come out.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 4:29 PM

@12: Awesome attitude. So let's just ignore it and embrace crappy, excessively-restrictive DRM then?

Posted by The Tim | September 9, 2008 4:45 PM

or download the game from BitTorrent. I don't really care about the cat and mouse game and who is the cat and the mouse. I'm just tired of people, capable people, bitching about it like they don't have a choice.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 9, 2008 4:49 PM

@16: I guess I don't see where you're coming from. If others complaining about the DRM are like me, they are exercising their choice by not buying the game. Simple as that.

I don't see what's wrong with voicing the reason for making that choice.

Posted by The Tim | September 9, 2008 5:20 PM

I would say that what was said about this game is mostly true. Not entirely, there is more depth in the first 4 stages if you try. I found the herbivore/carnivore game to be a bit boring, but then I tried to make an omnivore creature.

Let me tell you, this is where the game really shines in the beginning part. (I can't comment on space yet as I havn't reached that far in the industrious path)You get to be social to the nice creatures, and destroy the creatures that don't want to talk.

In the tribe phase, I played a juggling act with my buildings so I could impress a couple tribes, and then alternatively lull another into a false sense of security by offering them food, then steam rolling them with an assault shortly after.

I have spent many sleepless nights playing this game, which is really amazing if you play the way you want to play. Which this game really allows you to do.

There is also an amazing collect all the pieces element that I can't get enough of that really makes this an addiction for me.

Posted by person34 | September 10, 2008 12:43 PM

Anyone play the two iPhone versions of the game? They're harder to bittorrent.

I'm really happy at the trend of most new PC games that don't involve shooting army men being released for Mac.

PS Cry me a river about DRM. If you like a game to play it for 6 years straight and four computers, fork over $5 for a new copy in 2014. What a ridiculous petty reason to not buy a game that you predict you'll spend years and hundreds of hours playing. (not talking to Sam because it's worth mentioning at least.)

Posted by jrrrl | September 10, 2008 1:05 PM

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