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Actually it IS all progress. Every misstep is a lesson learned. Sure, maybe the technology is not ready to turn every bit of information digital yet, but one day it will be. Books will still be around for a long time though, so relax.
I've actually finished the game (as much as it can be) so I'll tell you this. You've missed the best part of the game. The cell phase is fun, but too limited. The creature phase is OK. The tribal phase sucks and the Civ phase is way too simple. But the space phase is fucking amazing. However it does start a little slow. I felt like the game was rushing me through the other phases to get to the space phase, then when it got there it suddenly slowed way down. But once you get a decent variety of tools for your ship it's all they promised.