Jurassic World Alive, Day 1

Today was the worldwide release of Ludia’s Pokemon Go-like augmented reality game, Jurassic World Alive! Canadian JP fans have been able to play the game for months, but there was a lot about the game that I didn’t know and that I got to experience for the first time today.

My game began with Claire personally congratulating me on joining the DPG and helping them with their conservation efforts.

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This message of conservation immediately became ironic when I realized that the game requires you to capture dinosaurs by literally putting out drone strikes on them, infrared heat signatures and all.

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Granted, you’re not killing the dinosaurs– you just drop darts on them (while they try to run away from you) to capture their DNA, which you then use to create those same dinosaurs in your lab. It’s the same principle as the arcade shooting game that came out along with the first JW– you’re not really shooting the dinos, you’re just firing tranquilizer darts at them!

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Presumably you’re also cloning these dinosaurs in your lab for conservation purposes, which of course has nothing to do with the movies’ ethical questions about dinosaur cloning in labs. Most of the dinosaurs I saw today required 50 DNA to create, and the amount of DNA you collect from them depends on how well your drone attack aim in the DNA collection process goes. You get about 10 seconds to shoot at each dino, and targets appear on different parts of its body as you shoot; the closer to the center of the target, the more DNA. A perfect hit gets you 12 DNA, so if you’re an amazing shot, you could theoretically get a dinosaur in one turn with 5 or 6 darts. It usually took me two or three turns per dino, though. Also, these counts are by species and not individual animal, so if you get 20 DNA on a raptor, your next raptor will already have 20 DNA towards it. This especially helps with rare dinos, which we’ll get to in a moment.

There’s a really amazing variety of dinosaurs to capture. Here are most of the ones I saw on my outing today.

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I really and truly love that they included so many prehistoric reptiles, synapsids, etc. These animals also have some really gorgeous designs that I would buy a toy of in an instant.

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I didn’t say I wouldn’t feel uneasy with some of them staring at me from my shelf, though.

It’s fantastic that these creatures are getting exposure in the public eye and a place in the JP canon. It’d be cool to see them as inhabitants of the fan-speculated non-dinosaur JP parks, even in fan works. (An aquatic Paleozoic park, a jungle-filled Mesozoic park, and a wintry Cenozoic park side by side. Make it happen.) On the other hand, now we’ll never be able to convince people that animals like Nundasuchus aren’t dinosaurs.

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Euplocephalus is to JWA as Pidgey is to Pokemon Go: as common as dirt. Stegosaurs are also incredibly common, but they don’t appear to move in herds as much as Euplocephalus does. You’d think that dinosaurs that appear more often in the JP movies would be the ones that showed up the most, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not so far in my area. I saw maybe two trikes the whole time I was out, and in contrast, this is just one small part of my town:

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As you can see, I only caught wind of two rare dinosaurs today, and they require a lot more DNA to capture than the common ones. I saw no indication of Rexy anywhere I went, so I’m not sure about her rarity level yet, although I’m sure it’s fairly high.

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I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the game has several feathered theropods in it (not Velociraptor, only ones that have never been in the JP canon before). Some of them are more sparsely feathered than others, but it’s a notable inclusion, especially alongside this feathery therizinosaur toy that was recently leaked:

I even got to fight one of them, which brings me to the battle segment of the game. You get to use dinosaurs in battles that you haven’t captured yourself, or at least you do at first. As you gain rank and evolve your dinosaurs (using coins) you’ll be able to assemble your own elite dinosaur fight club.

 

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Each dinosaur has special moves, which obviously get better depending on the dinosaur’s health and ranking. I am certifiably terrible at video games, and I found it pretty easy to learn how to do battles, especially with the recharging system that keeps you from doing certain attacks more than once every few turns, and therefore leaves you pretty often with only one attack option. I’ll admit that I’m much more interested in collecting dino babies than I am in making them hurt each other, so I probably won’t participate in this part of the game very much. The game allows you to do dino battles with other players in your area, but since my town isn’t exactly full to the brim with JP fans, I just fought the AI today.

And speaking of location: I live in a college town and therefore an area with a lot of Pokemon Go activity, so there were plenty of dinos around for me to catch, and plenty of supply drops, which allow you to replenish your darts and coins. I took a drive out into the neighboring town and the concentration of both decreased, but there was still a decent amount. However, my boyfriend who lives near a major US city played today and said there were barely any dinosaurs in his area. I found that pretty weird, but it’s still day one after all, so there’ll probably be more game activity in densely-populated areas as more people join. The prevalence of activity in my small college town makes me think that data from Pokemon Go influenced the amount of dinosaurs and stops in certain areas, which would definitely make sense as well. I’ll be going out of town a few times in the next few months, so I’ll eventually see what the situation is like in different areas.

At the end of the day, this was my team of completed dinos:

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I had a pretty great game experience. Again, this is probably skewed by where I live, but there were a lot of places in the game to stop, all of which were close enough that I didn’t have to do a ton of walking, but far apart enough to get me moving. It’s very easy to learn and beginner-friendly, and you can spend exactly as much time playing as you want, without feeling obligated to check on the app when you’re not going out anywhere.

That was my game experience. My overall experience doesn’t reflect on the actual app, but Ludia chose a very rainy day to release it. I spent about half an hour in a building in the rain with a dinosaur, which sounds familiar somehow:

And on the subject of my experiences, this weekend was an anime convention called Momocon. Although Jurassic Park can only technically be considered an anime, it was still well-represented.

 

 

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