Like many nerds, I got excited by Spore. I loved Civilization, enjoyed messing with people in the Sims, and tweaking creatures to suit my nefarious plot seemed like an insanely great idea. So, on launch day, I dutifully went out and bought a copy of the game. I knew that my computer(s) might have a problem running it, but it sounded like a good enough game that I was willing to risk it.

So, 11:30 found me down at EB Games. I waited in line for a few minutes, and then was able to happily proclaim, “I’d like Spore, please!”. The cashier then asked if I had reserved it, and my heart fell for a moment. I hadn’t. Luckily, this was no problem, and I was soon clutching my copy of Spore, eager to get back home to install and play.

I booted up my PC. My 2002 PC. The one that I built before going to college, with mid-level parts. 2002 mid-level parts. This particular machine has run everything from Win ME to Gentoo Linux. Right now, it’s a pretty streamlined XP install. However, my CD burner is shot, and I’m lucky if the DVD drive works on any given day. Today, it was nice to me. I put in the Spore disc, and started the installer. While that did its thing, I folded some laundry. Half an hour or so later, the install finished. I gleefully put in my serial code, and started the game.

ERROR.

My 2002 mid-level PC didn’t have a good enough video card to run the game. Why does it only check this AFTER installing, and AFTER registering?

Grudgingly, I went to grab my MacBook (2006ish, Tiger), and restart the install process all over again. This time, Spore did start, and I got to swimming around as a little blob, munching on other creatures. A few minutes in, I had accumulated enough DNA points to evolve, so I did the mating call and laid an egg. When I entered the creature creator, however, I couldn’t see my thing as I worked with it. The only I could see it before exiting the creature creator was to go to the paint screen, and check what I had done. I got in the habit of randomly dropping parts on my guy, but that didn’t last very long.

Now, my MacBook only has a 80gig drive, and much of that is taken up with music, a few movies, and all my applications. Spore is a 6gig install, so I had to uninstall it. After searching online for a while, I found a little rumor that you could actually run Spore on a 2006ish MacBook - if you were willing to boot into Windows to play. Alright then, I’ll give it a go. I went and purchased Leopard, and upgraded my MacBook. Then, I dug out my Windows install discs to get going on that.

Now, when I started college, I didn’t want to spend $200 on WinXP. Instead, I got the less than $100 educational upgrade version. Normally, when I’m installing XP, I wait until it says that it can’t find a valid Windows installation to upgrade, and put in my old ME disc. However, the Apple eject button doesn’t work during an installation (I suspect it’s a software feature), and the SuperDrive lacks a manual eject slot. So, my disc is now stuck in the drive, and I can’t boot back into OS X, because I’ve forgotten the key-combination to select your OS at boot. (It’s the Apple key). Now, I have to wait until the next day when I get to work to continue installing it.

The next day, get the disc out, and try a few others. Most are too old, so they don’t have the necessary software to boot on a Mac. Luckily, one of my coworkers has a disc laying around, and I am able to use that. Windows installs. Yay. Spore installs. Yay. Spore WORKS, and at lunch, I’m finally satisfying my god complex.

However, I still have to activate Windows, and because I used a different disc (from Dell) from the one that matches my keys (my Edu copy, one I got from my CS department, and my old HP laptop key), it won’t activate. I guess I need to call Microsoft. yay…