Spore is a 2008 life simulation real-time strategy game developed by Maxis, and published by EA exclusively for PC. The game was enormously ambitious, allowing you to take a species of your own design from a single microscopic organism, all the way to the vast expanse of space and intergalactic travel. Spore is so far the most recent title from designer Will Wright, best known for creating The Sims, and is another strong addition to his video game legacy.
At its core, Spore is about creating a brand-new species from a tiny organism and developing it into a complex society to rule and conquer planets. In practice, it’s not quite as speedy a process as we’ve made it sound. The game takes you through this process by separating it into Stages, which is at the heart of the gameplay.
The first is the Cell Stage, which takes place on a 2D plane. Here, you must guide your organism through a dangerous environment filled with predators, while consuming enough plants and smaller creatures to continue to grow. As you kill other creatures, you gain some of their abilities before you eventually gain the ability to move to the next phase. You have to take great care of what you eat during the Cell Stage, as it directly affects your creature’s diet during the next Stage.
Next is the Creature Stage. We move out of the 2D plane and into a 3D environment here. This is where your species become numerous, with a home nest where the rest of your creatures reside. Here, you’ll deal with the harsh realities of the world as you have to hunt or be hunted.
You’ll encounter other early-stage species during the Creature Stage, and you can choose how you interact with them. Be friendly, and you’ll earn yourself an ally. Be aggressive, and you’ll have a tougher time progressing through the game. You can continue to evolve during the Creature Stage by spending DNA points on new body parts, making it easier to move to the next phase.
Once you’ve evolved enough, you’ll automatically enter the Tribal Stage. At this point, you can no longer change your species’ design, and the focus shifts toward managing huge groups of your creatures. The Tribal Stage is a pretty significant shift in direction for Spore, essentially turning the game into an RTS.
You’ll equip your tribe, sending them on missions to collect resources or defeat other species. That said, the socialization aspect from the Creature Stage remains important as you look to build more powerful allies to survive.
When you begin the Tribal Stage, there will be five other tribes in the world alongside your own. The win condition here is simple – either ally or conquer these five tribes. You can go full-pacifist, and befriend everyone, decide to rule the world yourself or have the best of both worlds with a mixture of the two. Once this is completed you can then progress to the penultimate Stage.
The Civilization Stage is where things get extremely interesting. From here, you find yourself as the dominant species left on the planet, with individual nations now established. It retains the real-time strategy approach, as you take control of a single nation looking to conquer the entire planet. How you do this is up to you. You can do so with force, talk things out diplomatically, or use religion to take over.
Along the way, you’ll be maintaining your nation by building houses, factories, and entertainment venues, so you’ve got to keep track of how your species is doing. World domination doesn’t happen overnight!
Once you’ve conquered all of the nations in the world, then you move on to the final Stage in Spore.
Finally, there’s the Space Stage. Here, you take charge of a single spaceship where you can travel to other planets and stars. As you move about the galaxy, you’ll terraform and colonize different planets, which in turn increases your power and money.
You’re not the only species in the galaxy though. Conflict is a universal language, and if you’re not careful you can find yourself in the middle of intergalactic warfare. As on your own planet, you can continue to attempt a diplomatic approach, although this won’t work for everyone.
All of this is in service of one end goal. At the center of the galaxy, there’s an enormous black hole that you’re attempting to reach. Once you achieve your goal, you’re rewarded with the Staff of Life, at which point the game concludes. However, you can continue playing after the game technically ends, interacting with the rest of the species that space has to offer.
Spore Main Characters
If you’re looking for deep character development, then Spore might not be the game for you. The focus here is on the broader species you create, as opposed to the individuals within. As a result, Spore technically has no “main character” beyond whatever species you bring to life.
That said, the game’s species creator is remarkably versatile, allowing you the freedom to do nearly whatever you want. If you want to create a species that walks on its 3 hands, with eyes on its knees, and eats through its bellybutton, Spore lets you do just that.
Regardless of what you create, the animation system will figure out how it’s supposed to work and do the rest. It’s definitely easy to get attached to your species as they progress through the phases of life. Once you start a save with one you like, they’ll be your Spore main characters for life.
Spore Titles in the Series
When Spore was first conceived, there’s no doubt that Maxis and Will Wright expected it to be a mega-hit. The hype pre-release was enormous, with promises that arguably the game had no chance of ever fulfilling.
A few companion releases would follow, but nothing as ambitious as the original game. A revival of the core concept of Spore was attempted in 2011 with Darkspore, but its failure was the final nail in the coffin for the franchise. A theatrical film was in the works at 20th Century Fox, but it was canceled.
- Spore (2008)
- Spore Origins (2008)
- Spore Creatures (2008)
- Spore Hero (2009)
- Spore: Hero Arena (2009)
- Darkspore (2011)
Spore Cheat Codes
Maxis’ The Sims series is famously known for having plenty of cheat codes for you to use, so it makes sense that this would carry over to Spore too.
You can activate the following cheat codes by pressing Ctrl + Shift + C, which opens up a hidden console. Beware – any cheat code that gives you an advantage in gameplay marks that save file with the Joker Badge, which makes it permanently locked from earning achievements.
Ironically, if you use the save cheat code 50 times, you’ll earn the Pathological Cheater achievement, so the Joker Badge doesn’t block every achievement.
- help: Shows a full list of usable console commands.
- clear: Clears the console.
- capturePlanetGIF: Captures a GIF of the rotation of the planet you are on, and places it in the AnimatedAvatars directory in your game folder.
- help (command): Explains what the specified command does.
- help -full: Shows a list of all the possible console commands.
- quit: Quits the game.
- killallhints: Removes all hints.
- SetTime (h, m): Sets the time of day.
- freeCam: Toggles free camera mode which allows you total control.
- rename planet [new name]: Changes the name of the selected planet.
- rename star [new name]: Changes the name of the selected star.
- blocksmode: Turns creatures into blocky representations. Re-enter to disable this cheat.
- levels -unlock: Allows you to unlock every stage for new games without completing them in-game.
- colladaexport: Exports a 3D mesh of the currently viewed creature in .dae format to the Creatures folder on your PC.
- highresTextureLevel [off/low/medium/high]: Changes the texture quality of vehicles and buildings.
- adventureLook -none: Removes all visual filters.
- adventureLook -norainbows: Adds a filter that dulls the colors.
- adventureLook -watercolor: Adds a watercolor visual filter.
- adventureLook -sepia: Adds a sepia (old photograph) visual filter.
- adventureLook -sixteenbit: Adds a blocky visual filter.
- adventureLook -eightbit: Adds an even-more blocky visual filter.
- adventureLook -filmnoir: Adds a black and white visual filter.
- styleFilter -none: Removes all visual filters.
- styleFilter -oilPaint: Adds an oil painting visual filter.
- styleFilter -filmNoir: Adds a black and white visual filter.
- styleFilter -microscope: Adds a chalkboard-esque filter.
- styleFilter -norainbows: Adds a filter that dulls the colors.
- styleFilter -nextgen: Adds a foggy visual filter.
Joker Badge Commands
Any of the following commands will give your save file the Joker Badge command, locking you out of earning achievements:
- addDNA: Increases DNA by 150.
- moreMoney: Increases money by 2,000 in the Civilization Stage and 1,000,000 in the Space Stage.
- freedom: Disables creator complexity limits – lets you create more complex creatures.
- refillMotives: Refills health.
- unlockSuperWeapons: Unlocks all super weapons for the player’s Civilization type.
- spaceCreate: Unlocks all creation tools in Space Mode.
- evoAdvantage: Makes it possible to start a new game with one of your evolved creatures.
- universeSimulatorPirateRaidFrequency [number]: Changes the number of times pirates can raid your system.
- universeSimulatorPirateRaidPlunderFrequency [number]: Changes the number of times pirates can steal spice from your system.
- universeSimulatorPirateRaidAllyFrequency [number]: Changes the number of times pirates can raid allies in your system.
- levels -unlockAdventures: Unlocks all Maxis adventures.
- SetConsequenceTrait [trait]: Changes one of your creature’s Traits.
Spore Cheat Code FAQs
How Do I Cheat DNA on Spore?
If you missed it in our long list above, you can cheat DNA in Spore by using the console command “addDNA” which increases it by 150. However, you can use this over and over again for free DNA in Spore.
Are There Mods For Spore?
If Spore isn’t quite living up to your expectations, and the cheat codes aren’t helping to improve the situation at all, you can use mods for the game instead.
Over on Nexus Mods, Spore has a relatively active community that has continued to improve the base game in plenty of different ways. The potential of the game was always clear, and at this point, modders have been doing their thing for well over a decade now. You might not find fixes for every single problem in Spore, but there’s enough to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.