When I first heard about Maxis' upcoming video game called Spore I was a bit sceptical. A game where you create and guide a new species through the ages, "evolving" them by adding and modifying bodyparts like some kind of demented god seemed a bit ludicrous. But having played with the newly released Creature editor I must say this game might actually be quite fun to play when the full version is released.
The Creature creator is fairly limited and you can't see your creatures form communities, fighting for survival and competing for resources in a virtual world. What you can do is take a basic body plan and outfit your creature with feet, claws, eyes etc. You can then see what kind of moves your creature can make.
Here's Girra, a creature I just made. It's a basic bodyplan with a crocodile like head, some whiskers and eyes on stalks. Six-limbed, this creature will be able to run fairly fast and it sure can dance like a pro.
I see a lot going for this game when it's finished and released. You have a couple of stages to go through, you start out with a single celled organism, "evolve" that into multicellular creatures. Then you get a tribal stage, eventually outgrowing that and colonising the galaxy.
When you're happy with your creature you can upload it to a community site, where others will be able to download it and integrate it into their own game. In a way it's a very limited kind of MMOG, a single player computer game with extra stuff downloaded from the web.
I'm looking forward to this because let's face it, the creatures you can create in just a few minutes are so darned cute.