In the weeks leading up to No Man’s Sky’s release, when the hype train was speeding heedlessly toward the collapsed bridge of reality, the gaming community’s collective neuroses coalesced beneath the ragged banner of another game – Spore. “Will No Man’s Sky end up being the next Spore?” fretted Forbes, while Quora quavered “Will No Man’s Sky become another Spore?”
It wasn’t just the latest batch of hot-takers who wound themselves into a tizzy either. NeoGaf needled that “No Man’s Sky could end up being the “Spore” of this generation”, while suspicious Steam forumites asked “Anyone skeptical of this game because of Spore?” Heck, even the developers of No Man’s Sky addressed the comparisons to Spore way back in the prehistoric era of 2014. “I actually liked it, and enjoyed it” said Sean Murray during an interview with Game Informer, “But I was kind of one of the few people. I know that I was.”
Poor Spore! The way people speak of it nowadays, you’d think it was a rogue copy of Duke Nukem Forever that had gone around the houses bludgeoning everyone’s nanna. The slightest mention of Will Wright’s white elephant seems to make the Internet angrier than a thousand Mass Effect 3 endings. I find this a little tragic, because there are few games in existence with better intentions than Spore. Whatever else you may think of it, there’s no denying that it made a genuine effort to find the joy in Life, where so many others only derive pleasure from death.