Remake This… Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
Life finds a way, but will Operation Genesis find its way to a remake? If you thought there were no good Jurassic Park games… think again
Life finds a way…
Right, we know Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis isn’t technically an old game and wouldn’t necessarily require a complete remake, but with the news that Telltale is heading back to John Hammond’s prehistoric park, now is the perfect time to take another look at this management sim. Operation Genesis is far from a perfect game, but it’s probably the most successful and well-produced title that used the fertile dinosaur licence… the less said about Trespasser the better. But here was a game that took the incredibly addictive gameplay from Theme Park, sprinkled it with elements from Sim City and the Tycoon series, slapped the Jurassic Park logo on it and threw in some rampaging dinosaurs for good measure.
There’s something truly exciting about making your own Jurassic Park work. Just as all the pleasure in Theme Park came from design a pleasing and aesthetic park, here, with the added bonus of it being a zoo with prehistoric inhabitants, just laying out enclosures and researching the animals was enough to keep players interested for hours. Making sure the mundane aspects of the park are in place – such as toilets and the like – is just as much fun as making sure your perimeter fences are fully charged. You don’t want those velociraptors getting loose again.
It’s all well and good designing your own park, making sure it’s stocked with the best and most impressive dinos, but as is usually the case with these things, life happens and everything can go wrong. That’s when Operation Genesis changes gear and becomes more about saving lives and damage control. Any number of things could go wrong in the park, but it was usually a storm or hurricane that did the most damage. Ripping up fences and setting loose all the hungry animals. That the game doesn’t necessarily need these exciting elements to work is testament to how engaging it can be to simply tinker with your park. From making sure the animals don’t get sick to taking Pokémon Snap-style photos of them to promote your new holiday destination, there’s a surprising amount to do.
Granted, this game isn’t that old and, if you can find a copy, is actually backwards compatible (though we’re not sure how reliable that service is these days). But it’s proof that an intelligent use of licence can lead to good, interesting games. We wonder what Telltale will do with Micheal Crichton’s greatest work.