Controlling The Universe - Virtually

Parents take heart - perhaps the most ambitious computer game ever conceived is considered good for boys and girls, CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports.

"You use your imagination to explore all the different things that might happen, unfold in the universe," said video game creator Will Wright. "Really, the subject of 'Spore' really is life."

Spore is the latest creation from Wright, who for 20 years has made games that don't offer the typical shoot-'em-up fare. Rather his games let players - in a sense - play God, from building cities to controlling little people.

"I found it was just kind of more satisfying creating these little worlds than just blowing them up," Wright said.

With Spore, there's no "game over." Instead, the goal is to create your own species, personalizing your creature, from skin color to arm length, then evolve from a tide pool to a functioning civilization - to explorers in space.

Dubbed "a universe in a box," it took about 90 people more than five years and $50 million to create.

It's a game so anticipated, even before it was released, eager gamers have already made more than three million creatures online - and no two alike. And they've posted about 100,000 videos of them on YouTube.

"When the players create stuff in the game they get much more emotionally connected to it," Wright said.

Wright has developed almost a cult following with his number of family-friendly games - including a substantial number of young women.

"I definitely think that women are more interested in creating something than destroying it," said video game player Katy Khalsa.

Ultimately, Spore allows anyone to control their own universe. And who couldn't use a little more of that.
  • Daniel Sieberg

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