Jurassic Park It is, in addition to being my favorite movie of all time, one of the most important movies of all time. One that has inspired a multi-million dollar franchise that continues to expand to this day. While the sequels have been a mixed bag, it is a world full of opportunity. Dinosaurs and humans don’t mix well. Uniting man and prehistoric beasts results in disaster, often with horrific results. That being the case, it’s downright puzzling to me that we haven’t really been offered a survival horror video game set in this world yet.
Video games have been part of the Jurassic Park franchise since the early days. Many of us likely have fond memories of playing Steven Spielberg’s original blockbuster-related game on the 1993 NES and / or Sega. But video games have come a long way since then. We recently entered the next generation with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X hitting the market. So, as much as some of us had fun with those early 2D games, there is a great opportunity to make the most of a story-based, high-definition game set in this universe.
A sense of wonder has been instilled in the Jurassic Park movies, along with a sense of danger and adventure. But, at times, it has turned into sheer horror. The “don’t go to the tall grass” scene from The lost World. The cold start to Michael Crichton’s original 1993 adaptation that started it all. Just imagine being stranded on an island with prehistoric animals that, for all intents and purposes of unprepared humans, are well-oiled killing machines. This world is ready for a full-blown survival horror adventure. What if people stayed on the island after the disaster of the original film? How would they defend themselves? How would they get around danger and everything for help? Imagine being in that person’s shoes, having to carefully navigate Isla Nublar without being killed by a dinosaur.
Horror video games, such as Demonic residentFor example, it works so well because the player is in control. They are immersed in danger. It’s not just about watching the horror happen. It is an active participation. Merging that concept with the horrors inherent in the Jurassic Park universe seems like a no-brainer. Especially at a time when studios are doing their best to exploit franchises in multiple forms of media. Just look at what Netflix is doing with Jurassic World: Cretaceous Camp. A survival horror game is another way to do it.
This is not to say that no attempts have been made over the years to do something else with Jurassic Park in the arena of video games. There you have. It’s just that a lot of them have been decent at best (Jurassic Park: The Game) and, at worst, downright terrible (Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor). But improvements have been made more recently. Jurassic World: Evolution It was released in 2018 and in many ways fans of the game had been waiting for a long time to play. I like it Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis before, this theme park builder, which is essentially Zoo tycoon With dinosaurs, it allows you to build and operate your own version of Disneyland full of dinosaurs. It is one of the best, if not the best, JP games ever produced.
While Evolution I did a lot to try and weave a narrative, especially with some of the DLC, it was still a theme park sim. This was not a story-based game. It did not put the player in the shoes of someone who deals with these dinosaurs firsthand in a dirty and close way. The biggest swing (and mistake) in this regard came with the infamous disastrous Intruder. The first-person game was released in 1998 and served as a sequel to 1997. The lost World. On paper, it was a great idea, but it was ahead of its time. It was a disaster on arrival and the technology of the day just couldn’t handle the ambition contained within it. Much like the original John Hammond theme park. But the technology is there now. Video games are not only technically wonderful achievements in many cases, but they are also a source of tremendous storytelling. And they can serve as brilliant additions to established universes.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is a premium example of a recent video game that told a story, within the canon of that franchise, that worked incredibly well, as well as serving as a great experience for the player. Universal could, theoretically, partner with a top-tier video game studio and do something similar with Jurassic Park/jurassic world. Surely it would not be difficult to find a creative partner for such an endeavor.
Sure we had Dinosaur crisis back in the 90s (another game that, by the way, calls for a modern reboot / remaster). Yes, Jurassic Park has had more than a few video games in his day. But that code has yet to be cracked. It is a code that deserves to be cracked. Preferably, in the humble opinion of a fan, with a horror theme in mind.
Topics: Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Videogames
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