Spore

Looks like Maxis' evolution sim has sprouted roots and chained itself to the pits of developmental hell. But, despite the fact that its been in the works since 2000, Maxis isn't feeling the pressure to release Spore before it's ready. And quite rightly too, because this is a labor of love for Maxis and their head designer, Will Wright. This god game represents the pinnacle of over twenty years of simulation game evolution from the Californian software company, the logical culmination of their legion of Sim games.

From cities to safaris to helicopters to towers to ants to... well, the Sims themselves, Maxis have artificially-generated every last one of them, with varying degrees of success. But it's always been their larger, more ambitious concepts - wave to SimLife and SimEarth at the back there, people - that have somehow managed to elude success, both critically and commercially. Therefore there's a certain sense of poetic irony that their most ambitious game is shaping up nicely to be potentially their biggest hit yet.