Spore is a game of evolution. The main goal is to creatively design a creature using the creature creator interface, and to then have that creature develop an empire that dominates the galaxy. The game has 5 main stages: Cell, Creature, Tribal, Civilization, and Space stage. Each stage is different in play style but the usual goal is to gain dominance over other species through different tactics. In civilization stage, the goal is to either use economic, religious or military means to capture the other cities. It may sound complicated but it is really simple.
Each city in civilization stage is either religious, military, or economic. The one city that the player starts with is either, religious, military or economic depending on how the player chose to play tribal stage. However that isn’t important. Also, the city can only spawn vehicles (cars, boats, or planes) of the city type. And although the different types of vehicles may look the same they are very different in function. While economic and military vehicles are relatively self-explanatory, religious vehicles are fascinating and unique.
Religious vehicles shoot out colored beams that attack the targeted vehicle or city. When attacking other vehicles of any type of city, the colored beam shoots out at the vehicle(s) and it does a certain amount of damage. Religious vehicles tend to do less damage than military vehicles, yet they do area of effect damage. This is interesting since it suggests that religious people fighting aren’t as dangerous or damaging as people in the military. This was obviously a choice of the creators, and was most likely chosen since they wanted the religious cities to be peaceful, to be able to defend themselves, and to still have offensive presence like religions do. Here’s a screenshot from some of my game play of how religious attacks on other vehicles in spore look:
The most odd thing in this image is likely the holographic bottom of a creature shown on the left. This hologram is a hologram of your creature (the one you create) and it appears as projected from one of your vehicles whenever you begin a religious assault. Claiming other cities as a religious city is interesting. Here’s a rough screenshot of what it looks like:
The main concept of the religious attack is that the vehicles you assign to attack the city will go to the city and then begin to shoot their rainbow beams at the town hall, entertainment buildings, or turrets. Unique to the religious vehicles, their rainbow beams disable entertainment buildings or turrets when they focus on them. Disabling a turret causes it to be unable to shoot your other vehicles. Disabling an entertainment building makes the enemy city’s population unhappy, which speeds up the process of taking over the city. The progress in conquering the city religiously is marked by the bar seen above the city’s town hall. The vehicle’s ability to disable the entertainments and turrets suggests that religious people are persuasive and can persuade people to stop shooting or having fun, or it suggests that they have the technology to stop fun and guns. Either way this game mechanic is significant and suggests that religion has some unique powers over not just the state of the city, but the state of the inhabitants of the enemy city.
Another interesting choice that the creators of this game made was to make it so that during a religious assault, one of the vehicles involved in the assault takes constant damage back, and a rainbow beam is shot from the town hall at the rainbow beams your troops are shooting in order to show conflict. Since your vehicles one by one take significant damage during the process of conversion, even if all turrets are destroyed or disabled in the enemy city, it suggests that religious assault is somewhat harmful to those trying to convert others to their religion. This is fascinating since it suggests that in real life religious conversion of others isn’t easy, and oftentimes people trying to convert others to their religion receive a lot of backlash.
Overall, I think that Spore does an interesting but not perfect job of conveying religion in a gaming environment. I was excited playing the game myself since there was a religious option which I was fascinated to explore. Remember that all of this is just a game analysis and any conclusions that I’ve made are solely based on what the game content suggests about religion, and not necessarily what I believe. The game is fun and it explores fascinating topics about world beliefs, evolution and the whole universe, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is excited about evolution or domination of the milky way galaxy.