Spore - hands-on

It's almost like a scene from the start of an early Warcraft RTS map at first, with a few characters on screen doing odd jobs - your little ocularly arsed (or whatever) compadres heading out to fish or kill off the still-small-brained species who you rubbed nose-attached shoulders with formerly. All of which are designed by other Spore players, remember.

This is a family game, though (a very, very family game), so rather than gnaw on their guts, your beings bend down and create a neat platter of their bodies, before wandering back to the food-storage area like snooty waiters.

Meanwhile, you, Mr God himself, will be busy upgrading the tribe with better equipment and facilities in your quest for the magical 15 members that will signal the start of a more civilised age.

To do this, you must either send those of anal eyes (or whatever) over to wreck the main hut of a nearby opposing tribe and fill some of them with spears - after which, those remaining will be forced to kowtow to your wishes - or act all sociable. Obviously, your decision will depend on just how you've brought up your little entourage, since carnivorous, pointy-toothed savages bearing clubs won't be quite so good at small talk.

To make nice, you put on your user-defined recruitment glad rags, gather up your food supply and deposit it at the homestead of your rivals, before striking up some sweet, sweet music - with the bum-eyed band (or whatever) tooting away on pipes, banging on drums and doing cutesy-pie dances.