Is Spore a Game or a Toy?

Spore is coming to stores tomorrow (well not here in Finland, especially for the reason that supermarkets cannot be open on Sundays…) is in stores now (just saw it while went out) and I’m wondering what kind of game is it.

Check out their 60 seconds tv ad for starters:

I realize there’s all kinds of objectives, but I wonder if the game is more about creating different life forms than completing to objectives. In Black & White it was fun to just train the creature and play the game without necessarily focusing solely on the main objectives.

It looks really awesome and I have no trouble believing that it will be fun to play, but I wonder what Spore will be: a game or toy of some sort?

Or perhaps something in between?

Your thoughts?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I think it is important when it comes to market analysis. See, Sean Malstrom to me is a perfect example of this: He views “hardcore” and “casual games” as being not only opposites, but bent on destroying each other. I honestly can’t see why and he never explains. You can only see things this way if you think games and toys are competing in the same market (which, given their different target demographics is ridiculous imho).
    But from analysts it goes to game companies who think that there is “gaming” which is really unified and thus “gaming” becomes more and more unified via self-fullfilling prophecy.

  2. It’s both to be honest. Sure it is a toy as you can use it to play around, build things and see it evolve. It is a game because of the game rules and the goals. I’m only in the tribal phase yet, but its clearly a goal in ‘collect this, evolve, migrate to your new nest, wipe out that tribe or make communication’ etc. I don’t know if the game has a clear ending, but I assume you can ‘finish’ it :).

  3. Good points guys. Angus says an interesting point “Toy. There’s no particular goal”. I suppose that’s something required from a game…

    Anyway – agree with you guys on the fact whether it’s a game or a toy doesn’t matter, as long as it’s fun.

    Neat concept nevertheless.

  4. I believe it to be a toy, though it does have game qualities. We have enjoyed playing with the character creator, and look forward to playing with the full version when it is released.
    Actually if I were the shady type I would just download the leaked copy. I feel that the authors deserve to get paid for their work, and I plan to buy the full version when it is released. Thanks for such a great post.

  5. Toy. There’s no particular goal, even though there’s a progression of sorts. There are rules and structure to the world, but that’s true of a rubix cube as well.

    That makes it no less awesome. I’m not sure why we care about the distinction. You are being digitally entertained.

  6. Toy. I’m glad that seemingly, finally, people start to realize that it’s not a game just because it’s interactive entertainment. This is like saying something is a soap opera just because you can watch it on TV.

    Will Wright always had a toy-approach to “games” (often enough annoying me with his statements about games which I felt he knows nothing about because he does not do games, he does toys), so this is no surprise at all.

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