Dinosaurs are extinct. Yes, there are numerous myths and tales recounting scaled creatures which still roam this third rock from the sun, but the creatures themselves are gone. Huge roaring behemoths which once dominated the landscape, now stand exonerated from their rocky prison to reside within museums the world over. Dusty journals slowly rot on shelves, going the way of the subject matter inside. Don’t be confused here I’m not talking about dinosaurs here. No no, this is the fate which dinosaur games have been subjected to in recent years.
The terrible lizards from millions of years ago still have the ability to excite even the bleakest of imaginations. Just thinking for a moment about a scaled creature with a face full of swords for teeth ripping apart whatever poor sap decides to get close should give everyone a tingling sensation. You know the one, that little pins and needles-y feeling you get in special areas. Maybe that’s just me. Anyway…
In the past decade or so, developers have started to walk away from prehistory. All that remains of this long-forgotten realm are the footprints left behind. Titles like Dino Crisis 1 & 2 (3 was a travesty ), Trespasser, and Turok all have a special place in the heart of dinosaur lovers. In that case then, why the hell aren’t there any dinosaur games roaming around the store shelves any more?
Well, there are a handful of possible reasons for this but chief among them is likely the one that follows.
Much of the excitement about dinosaurs in the 90’s and early 2000’s was born from movies like Jurassic Park and TV series such as the BBC’s landmark CGI documentary Walking With Dinosaurs. The former alone brought about more games based upon the intellectual property than many could count. Even now, at least 50% of the dinosaur games you think of right now will have Jurassic Park in their name. Without this rolling around in popular culture the desire for dinosaur games is diminished.
That shouldn’t be a big issue, right? Let’s be frank here, there haven’t been any huge popular culture shifts towards hacking traffic signals, but that didn’t stop Ubisoft squeezing Watch_Dogs out in a tight coil on the floor. Nazi’s using robotic dogs haven’t been portrayed in film or television, we still saw Wolfenstein: The New Order come blinking into the world. Well, the thing with those two properties is they have a constant underlying appeal. Dinosaurs simply don’t have that same pull that long standing staples like these two have. Then, of course, we look at the latest baddies to become popular in media; zombies.
Zombies are everywhere. Television series like The Walking Dead have catapulted the shambling undead into the heart of the world. You can’t sneeze without seeing another zombie-slaughtering title hitting the stage on PC or on consoles. People love them, therefore publishers love them. This is why we don’t see as many dinosaur games as we used to. Publishers have lost faith in dinosaurs. That is until now, perhaps.
Thanks to a bustling scene of developers independent of publishers, twinned with the rise of popularity in games websites and the soaring success of Twitch/YouTube creators, teams can create whatever games they like without the need to please a rabid throng of shareholders or a huge advertisement budget. A pretty large collection of gamers want dinosaur games. Even more developers probably want to make dinosaur games. It’s a match made in heaven. Screw you eHarmony, the independent development scene has created a much better relationship match than you ever could.
As far as smaller developers go, there are a handful of titles available now or soon to be release for dinosaur game fanatics to keep their eyes on. Don’t believe me? Well get onto the next page and see what I mean.