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Spore: Viva la Evolution!

We attend one of the most feverishly anticipated presentations of the year - and are summarily blown away

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And so the colourful vessel went out - farther, and then farther again. His own solar system had nowhere particularly habitable, so he travelled to another - with two unsuitable planets and a gas giant with a green and pleasant moon. Here, first contact took place - the ship hovering over what was apparently an alien planet's capital city. Amazingly, Wright explained, the internet-friendly design of Spore meant that the culture below him, come release, wouldn't even be concoctions of some design wizard in his secret lab, but of another Spore player somewhere on Planet Earth. The game will even come packaged with a friends list of sorts that lets you keep track of any new creatures made by a Spore player whose Godplay particularly amuses you.

But back to the glorious meeting of civilizations. The locals were busy worshipping Wright's craft as a God, and so it was deemed appropriate to beam one up for a chat. However, an accidentally-on-purpose slip of the mouse cut off the beam with the alien only halfway up - resulting in both a Lemmings-style red splat as the creature fell to earth and the onset of interstellar war.

Laser defences appeared from nowhere and started blasting at the UFO, which in turn gave as good as it got and razed the entire city. Later, as Wright flew off into the ether, a message came in from the home planet that invasion was underway - the minor skirmish turning out to have been with an alien colony rather than its almighty homeworld. And then Wright simply rolled his mouse-wheel back - further and further until the star his craft sat next to became lost in a myriad of other stars, all swirling together in the haze of an indescribably beautiful galaxy. The room was briefly silent, the lights went up and Matt Groening looked as if he'd enjoyed the whole thing as much as we did.

Spore is a big game. It's a big, important game. It's potentially the biggest, most importantest game at this year's E3 - and perhaps even this decade. Pay attention whenever you hear it's name.

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