Lately, videogames seem to suggest the planet is in dire need of a do-over. In one of 2008's best games, Civilization Revolution, you build Earth from scratch, evolving all the way to astronauts.
Now comes Spore, which evolves us even further. You begin by choosing a planet to inhabit. Then you decide how you want to create its species, starting with a microscopic, single-cell organism. You swim around. You hunt for food. You avoid getting eaten. You mate in a G-rated way with similar creatures.
Once you've picked up DNA residue lying in your path, you buy legs to get out of the muck. Once you're on legs, you are allowed to buy sharper teeth, faster legs. This evolution continues until you reach the next stages: tribal groups, civilization, the space age.
This can all be entertainingly distracting, except when it becomes redundant. It's a gorgeous, interesting adventure.
As remarkable as Spore is, you might wonder what the point is of redoing life. In Spore, to evolve is to eat, mate and kill. That's an exciting game, but as a metaphor for life, it's a downer.