Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Dinotopia CD-Rom Game

 In 1996 Turner Interactive produced a CD-Rom game called Dinotopia: Living the Adventure.

 

This YouTube review by Simone de Rochefort of Polygon explores the history and the gameplay.


The game was and is unusual because it wasn't based on killing dinosaurs. Simone is so right that it was hard to get any game company to imagine a way to develop rich dino/human interactions without combat. 

We had similar issues dealing with the toy industry. The industry experts would tell us that "boys only want battles." The movie business leaders said the same thing. 

Conflict, peril, and risk in some form really is necessary for most games and dramatic presentations, but there are so many ways to present those elements without having the good guys trying to kill all the bad guys. 

5 comments:

Stephen and Nyree said...

Great point. The world could use more games without killing.

Bob said...

James, this post brought back some fond memories. Dinotopia: Living The Adventure is still occasionally available from various eBay sellers. Since it's from 1995 you'll have to install a DOS simulator like Dosbox, yet it runs fine that way. I didn't get very far until finding a cheat sheet -- but that's just me. After all, Arthur Dennison needed a guide, too. Gameplay is, well, quite Dinotopian. The saurians are intelligent (and one in particular is a card shark!). And at least as far as I have found, you won't get eaten. Ever.

Unknown said...

This is still in my collection and fondly remembered. Ironically, and JG will probably have more insight into this than outsiders, this game was released right at the death knell of classic adventure games as they were stampeded into obscurity by a flood of violent first person shooters and action games on PC that appealed to mainstream gamers. The idea of a family sitting around the computer solving puzzles and figuring things out was very much a common occurrence with the genre the Dinotopia game was part of.

What's also extremely unappreciated is the fantastic puppet work and acting this title included. This was also right at the point where CG and blue screen was coming into favor to overtake practical sets and special effects. The dinosaurs have genuine and lovable personalities (your little neurotic Dimorphodon buddy is a high point) as much as the humans. It's a true shame that this title is so obscure, because it IS a gem.

Kessie said...

I remember that game! The puzzle where you drop onto the Skybax in flight was HARD.

Bells said...

We need more games like that.