Gamers Are Appreciating Spore Again

Gamers Are Appreciating Spore Again
Image: Kotaku
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If you haven’t looked at the front page of Steam lately, you might have missed that something rather old has appeared out of nowhere. That game is Spore, the same game that became one of the most pirated of all time due to an online protest over the game’s draconian DRM policies.

It’s one of the top sellers on Steam right now; it’s even got more players than The Sims 3 and H1Z1’s Just Survive.

Games getting a slight resurgence because of a huge discount isn’t new. But what’s odd is when the resurgence is for a game that was at one point the most pirated title of all time.

Hell, even the DLC for the game is more popular than Valve’s ongoing license to print money, Counter-Strike:

Good God.

The latest reviews have been astonishingly good too, particularly when you consider how heavily Spore was panned for its lack of depth back in the day. Over the last month, the game has gotten a 91% user rating on Steam. There’s just under 400 reviews recently, although the overall rating of 87% from 8,379 reviews is still better than the vast majority of games on Valve’s marketplace.

Players are also using their reviews to draw parallels with No Man’s Sky:

Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku

Aah, Spore. It’s currently selling for $US5, and while I don’t have any compulsion to rediscover its world it does provide a great excuse to rewatch one of the greatest videos to come out of E3, featuring the late Robin Williams.


  • …whenever a huge discount comes along isn’t nothing new.

    Please fix.

    That said I found Spore to be pretty boring when I played it.

  • Intrusive DRM – the exact reason i never bought it on release.
    is the DRM still there (not the steam “drm” i mean)?

    • I believe that (SecuROM?) was only a part of the retail release, and they have since released a patch to remove it from that.

    • I was curious about this too since I own both an (unopened) original copy and a pirated copy (same as ME1, because ME1 had the same stupid restriction)

      based on and

      it looks like the only “DRM” is that it’s tied to an EA Account (or Origin now I think is since it got consolidated). Honestly it might just be better to wait for Origin to have a sale and get it on that

      • This wasn’t originally the case.

        When Spore first launched, a restriction was applied that meant you could only install the game on 3 PCs, which was pretty dire for the time. After that was expired, EA would review further activations of the key on a case-by-case basis.

        You also had to authenticate online every ten days, as opposed to just having to authenticate online when installing.

        As a result of the backlash there were quite a few changes; the DRM in place now is vastly different. SecuROM was removed from the Steam version of Spore in 2008, from memory.

        • The real question is, why would you need to install it on more than one PC, let alone 3…. Like, who cares?

        • oh yes I totally forgot about the phone home. I just found my deactivator for ME1 haha

          not sure if there was ever one for Spore. I didn’t realise that steam ME1 and Spore is for the most part quite tame in terms of restrictive DRM (i.e. there really isn’t any aside from needing an EA account).

  • another of those games which people damned based on what it wasnt, not what it was. sure hardly the most brilliant game ever, but had some interesting ideas. Just sadly it was one of them games where the idea of what they were trying to do was better than the actual playing it.

    However the way gamers acted at the time it was the greatest gaming crime of the decade. These days that goes to No Man’s Sky ignoring all those truly bad games made by like digital homicide and the like. I replayed it recently and it really bought a smile to my face.

    Spore’s main problem is a gaming story as old as time (well the computer era) gamers let their expectations based on hype balloon to such epic levels all reality leaves. So nothing it could do would ever match the picture in their head.

    Plus, like we still have now days, a behind the scenes corporate choice (the DRM thing) really overshadowed everything and sealed its fate.

    • One main difference is that Spore actually did have an internal dev team schism that radically changed the entire premise and style of the game, and the final product was even more different from early promo material than the differences in No Man Sky, with less to non-existent communication.

      It went from an actual evolutionary sim with a semi-realistic style to a googly-eyed cartoon playdoh creature creator game. Granted, the editors were easily the best part of the final product, but the sheer amount of gameplay that was scaled back is breathtaking.

      • My problem with spore was that despite every tier of the game being presented differently, it all felt the same. You also got to the main game far too quickly, so those first 3 (4?) tiers were essentially tutorials that didnt really do much tutorialing.

        Having said that, I’ll probably load it up again now. I didnt actually mind the game, it was just one I ended up playing randomly, and at some point it just fell off the radar and never returned into play rotation.

          • I had a few mates that played it, and a couple of them have passed away since then, so for me, when I see their creations pop up in my game, its a nice memory.

            We all get different things out of gaming, and for me that made the eventual repetition worth doing.

            In general, that sandbox of making stuff was what I enjoyed originally as well. Its what got me interested, and why I am lenient on the whole game.

            As I’ve said to others about NMS, and Spore originally, they arent BAD games, they just dont meet the expectations most had. Which is a shame, because with both Spore and NMS, whats there is actually quite an achievement.

            But they arent the first games to do that either.

    • It seems like its already been touched on, but the spore that was presented during the old E3 presentations was very different from the game that shipped. So you cant blame it all on consumer hype.

  • Bought this for my daughter last year on Origin (where it was $5 AUD) she got onto it because of YouTube – don’t know who exactly but it was one of those people who generally make Minecraft videos

    • Yeah, I bought it back when I watched Minecraft videos and a guy called GenerikB covered it. That was much longer than a year ago though.

      I found the game to be pretty boring in the end and stopped around the time my creatures got to space.

  • Still confused as to why people keep comparing this to No Man’s Sky, they are such fundamentally different experiences.

  • I remember the endless dick creations people made with this when it first came out. It was all over the internet kind of like Pokemon Go was last month although not quite as bad.

  • Spore is an extremely bland game, especially considering what was promised & shown in the early videos. That said, for what is at the moment a $5 game, it is good value and will entertain you for a while with its bare-bones gameplay. Still sad that the game got progressively boring as you ascended through the different ages…

    • The end-game was the most tedious thing I’d ever encountered. Trying to uplift civilizations to try and resist the Grox was painful in the extreme. Trying to cultivate planets you could use as pit-stops, terraforming along the way… and then one of your fledgling races would come under attack and be unable to repel, so you had to fend off the Grox manually at great personal expense of time and fuel, then start heading back inward and… man. It just got to be a boring-as-fuck chore.

      The only way to approach the end-game really was, “Become self-sufficient, to hell with all the other races/empires, fly your ship to the centre.”

  • I was so excited to play this when I was in like grade 8. I don’t think I’ve ever found a piece of entertainment more boring and tedious than Spore. I didn’t even know what to expect from the game, but god it was such a let down.

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