If you cannot get your copy of Spore to work on your PC for whatever reason or you don’t own a copy yet, then you can find a “Do-It Yourself” list over at PC World for a small taste of what Spore is like.  Their list:

Cellular stage. Get a small taste of protozoan life in flOw. This free-to-play game could very well have been an early inspiration for the first part of Spore.

Creature Stage. An old strategy game called Impossible Creatures lets you assemble parts you’ve collected to craft your own menagerie army. Sound a little familiar? It’s not quite as peaceful as Spore, but if you’re hankering to see what happens when you mate a tiger with a crab, this game demo can answer all your questions.

Tribal Stage. Here’s where Spore starts moving toward real-time strategy. You aren’t exactly building tanks and dropping nukes on warring nations, but I had to at least let you know that the original Command and Conquer: Red Alert is available for a free download. That’s right, completely gratis, no strings attached.

Civilization Stage. Tired of getting your war on? It’s time to focus on building a better society. LinCity is a freeware tribute to SimCity–and I have to confess that it not only looks great, it’s fairly deep.

Space Stage. Time to spread your wings and explore the galaxy. Try the classic exploration and action game called Star Control II. The open-source tribute, The Ur-Quan Masters, is the full game. Now, I’ve written about this game before–I’m a huge fan–but one warning: There are two 3DO files listed in the downloader, for the advanced sound and music files. If it downloads them, great. If not, the downloader will keep looking for places to grab the files from. In that case, uncheck the two 3DO files, and the game will still work fine.

They also touch base on a few solutions if you can’t get your game to work, mostly troubleshooting the internet connection issues.

PC World:  Casual Friday – Why Spore Won’t Work