After taking Spore's creature editor for a spin at the ICE 2008 conference and watching the average, non-gaming public's response to the editor, Ian Bogost has some opinions on the universal appeal of Spore (or lack thereof). Unlike The Sims, Bogost says, Spore is facing a significant challenge in getting to the general public:
... The observation that surprised me the most was how people totally unfamiliar with Spore reacted to the very idea of a creature editor. From my perspective, it's a brilliantly engineered, elegantly constructed content authoring tool. But from theirs, it's an unfamiliar interface to an almost deviant act.
... Among the newbies, there was a significant amount of uncertainty and performance anxiety. People weren't sure they would be able to build something, even with encouragement and example. One even said, over my shoulder, "I'm not sure I'm creative in that way." I found this reaction fascinating.
Bogost says that Spore is undoubtably going to be influential on a number of levels, but whether it's going to be a massive commercial success remains to be seen. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but Ian always give good food for thought.
Is Spore 'For Everyone'? [GameSetWatch]