Then the trouble started. Spore has the most demanding system requirements of any computer program I have ever seen. I installed it on Cromercrox Minor's Dell Dimension 2300 desktop - not too long ago, the family's sole computer. Although 7 years old, the 512Mb of RAM have proven up to all tasks I've thrown at it. Spore, though, once installed, wouldn't play - in the (very) small print I read that it required a minimum of 2 Gb of RAM and would support only a small range of apocalyptically powerful graphics drivers. I have need of such things less frequently than a turbot needs a tricycle.
After wondering whether I could stump up the several hundreds required for a new machine, (and, a Mac beyond my means, wondering whether I'd have to succumb to Vista, which I have heard, is something of a chocolate teapot amongst operating systems) just so Cromercrox Minor could play Spore, I had a brainwave. I loaded it into my 2-year-old, 2Gb Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop. This has just enough oomph - but only just enough - to support Spore. And only if you don't run anything else at all at the same time, and restart the machine before loading the game.
So I traded my laptop for my trusty old old desktop (of which I was always very fond) -- and now everyone is happy.
But is Spore any good? Was it worth all that trouble? Let me tell you, brothers and sisters, it's bloody marvellous. I can see me sneaking up to Cromercrox Minor's room when she's not around for a good old-fashioned session of descent with modification.