Have You Played… Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I just watched Jurassic World, and came away deflated that it was a dinosaur film in name only. Mad made-up monsters, no sense of an ecology, not even much time spent getting across that this was a super-safari park for nature’s most startling creations. So, for me, the most Jurassic Parky Jurassic Park experience other than Jurassic Park is Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, best described as ‘theme park with dinosaurs.’

It follows the same arc as most things JP: the people in charge of the park are certain they’re in control, until they’re not. Initially it’s all cooing at delightful dinos, but rest assured that nature will find a way to bust the deadlier thunder lizards out before too long.

In this instance, you are the park’s manager, and so the inevitably-spilled tourist blood is on your hands. It leans towards this kid-friendly, naturally, but it does a great job of conveying that foolish collision of murderous giant lizards with a happy, clappy theme park, and the inevitable descent into disaster. It also gets across the idea that the people behind it all are heartless bastards only interested in the bottom line: even after everything goes to hell, you’ll recover, the park will recover and you’ll do it all again. Money, money, money.

Though clearly not everyone wants money – sadly JPOG isn’t currently sold anywhere, so you’ll need to scour the second-hand market. Or some other means, perhaps. I’m simply saying that life, uh, finds a way.


  1. jarowdowsky says:

    I was really disappointed by the same things in the movie. It was especially jarring how quickly they rushed through the experience of arriving at the park at the beginning of the film.

    The magic, for me, of the first Jurassic Park is that it really is about a park full of dinosaurs, just how incredible that is, how it would actually feel to visit.

    I know there’s an element suggested in the script that people are growing bored of the same dinosaurs but then the kid is clearly incredibly excited, we just don’t seem to be given the opportunity to experience what he’s going through.

    Rather than assuming we’ll appreciate it I’d rather the movie took much longer with the Park and a lot less time with the backroom dealings that just don’t really pay off that well.

    Ah hell, guess I just wish there really was a Jurassic Park…

    • PoulWrist says:

      The kid was also autistic or something similar.

      The movie in general was a comment on the extreme consumerism, down to pretty much everything in it. Amusing to see a stupid summer blockbuster make that kind of comment on itself.

    • JimmyG says:

      Kinda RPS-relevant: the Jurassic World review on John’s blog. He had that same sense of frustration with the movie’s self-contradicting insistence that dinosaurs are dullosaurs.

      link to botherer.org

      Still, I’m surprised how many people around the internet are saying, “Eh, I went to see some dinosaurs and I saw some dinosaurs. I liked it.” I mean, nobody looks fondly at the Star Wars prequels and says, “Eh, I went to see some lightsabers,” etc, do they?

      • HopeHubris says:

        I’ve definitely heard people say that about the prequels, not very often, but it happens

      • Elliot Lannigan says:

        That is literally my exact feelings and why I have watched each prequel 10+ times despite finding the story and acting to be utterly inane :)

      • Xzi says:

        It certainly didn’t deserve to have the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. I think they just got lucky with the release timing. That, and Chris Pratt equals instant billions.

  2. Sarfrin says:

    It’s not really one a day now, is it?

  3. Keiggo says:

    A quick Google later and I’ve discovered a petition for Steam (of all people) to sell Operation Genesis. Yeah, Valve! Why are you deliberately not selling it? Huh? Huh?

    link to change.org

  4. Solidstate89 says:

    I have some memories of playing a game with Dinosaurs in it, but I can’t remember if it was this or Zoo Tycoon.

  5. PoulWrist says:

    Dinopark Tycoon all the way.

  6. Elliot Lannigan says:

    Oh my God. Have I played it?

    Yes. Yes I have. Oh I have.

    Someone really ought to make a sequel with state of the art graphics. Doesn’t have to be licensed, in fact it would offer more freedom for paleontological accuracy and variety if it were not tied down by the license. Let us make 100 different species of dinosaurs, let us choose to go realistic or featherless, let us MAKE DINOSAURS and then let them roam free on a beautiful island and see what happens in the ultimate game of Life (finds a way). I would kickstart the shit out of that. And I have never even kickstarted anything.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Well, there’s Prehistoric Kingdom, which is clearly aiming to be a successor to the game, down to piloting helicopters and driving jeeps. It’s not far into development at all and could easily fall apart well before release (or worse, at release).

      Not a park simulator but seemingly more fleshed out at the moment is Saurian, a survival sim where you get to play as the dinosaurs. Aims for an almost snooty level of scientific accuracy, but they seem to be further past the concept stage than Prehistoric Kingdom.

      • Cinek says:

        Wow… this game looks like something from 2003. Apparently they got more concept arts than the actual game done.

  7. Jac says:

    Best Jurassic Park game was the one on the snes, which was top down until you entered a building then it turned into a doom type first person view.

  8. Elliot Lannigan says:

    And I’ll add, this game is so engaging and deep and worthy of obsession that it still has an active mod community more than a decade later, despite not being in a particularly moddable or well-known engine.

  9. iainl says:

    Ooh, ahh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running, and screaming.

  10. WhiteHawke says:

    I read this article hoping to find that there is now some way to buy this game from a digital source. I was as disappointed as anyone might expect.

  11. BlackeyeVuk says:

    Since we are into Jurassic stuff, why not Paraworld?

  12. Fnord73 says:

    This is a feature you could really flesh out, RPS, staff, a la the fantastic Saturday Crapshoots. Write one text a week that really goes into depth about a game, not just gee whiz but the old forgotten classics as well.

    As an old C64 head, *wich strangely gets no cover at RPS, even though it was definitionaly a PC as good as anything*, I would like to see the old classics dug up. Begin with Mercenary and Laser Squad from the C64 among others, the real precursors to a lot of what would come together with Civ. ANd Colonial Conquest was a great up to 6 player hotseatgame for it as well. Burning Rubber and commando, with a good joystick. And Apache Helicopter sim. If you want to explore the first steps of sandbox etc, as well as roguelike actiongames (Burning Rubbers changing lanes!) as you seem to do now and then, they are defintely the shit.

    The Amiga games were polished derivates at first.

    • Fnord73 says:

      You need a edit button, seriously.

      The sentencepart ” the real precursors to a lot of what would come together with Civ” was supposed to be after the colonial conquest riff.

    • jarowdowsky says:

      “Begin with Mercenary and the adaptation of Spectrum classic Laser Squad”

      Fixed that for ya’ ;)

  13. frenz0rz says:

    Picked this up in a bargain bin years ago, cracking game and haven’t had any issues running it on Windows Vista / 7. Highly recommended. Plus hanging out of the helicopter in first person and shooting dinos running amok was awesome!

  14. Jenks says:

    I played this on Xbox, it played surprisingly well with a gamepad.

  15. Bobtree says:

    No. And I’ve been waiting for a digital release since the last RPS article about it in 2010! link to rockpapershotgun.com

  16. Bastimoo says:

    For all of you who want to play a new zootycoon, this might be worth a look:

    link to prehistorickingdom.com

    It’s early early alpha, but there is a tech demo out, looking forward to new releases :)

  17. OscarWilde1854 says:

    “Or some other means, perhaps.”
    This “wink* wink*” was so loud I heard it… literally, heard your eyelids closing…

  18. jarowdowsky says:

    If anyone’s interested just got the finished edit of an event I ran with one of the Jurassic World producers. Does talk a bit about the film and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed he’s working on