Reviewed for High School, 2008

Spore

This much-anticipated computer game will give your teen exactly what he's been hankering for--the chance to control his own universe! With a few clicks, your child is on his way to creating a civilization, starting from a single-celled organism and moving all the way up to a galactic super power. When he wants to add limbs, larger jaws, or underwater jet propulsion capabilities, he need just go back to the creature creator tool, his virtual "workshop," and have at it. The game allows players to follow their creatures' development, explore the planet they inhabit, and eventually have their world populated by other people's creations through an online server. Besides the fun of playing God, this game teaches teens about the central concepts of biology and anthropology: survival of the fittest, evolution, and the political instincts inherent in all higher-thinking beings. Who said computer games can't be educational, too? (Electronic Arts, $50)