It’s a cliché, but boys love dinosaurs. FBT and TheMorty agree on that. What they didn’t agree on was the best dinosaur. Those are grown-ass men.
TheMorty – Ah, Jurassic Park. A ground-breaking movie that has spawned a series of bang-average sequels… and games. Trespasser?! Tuvok? Even the first Jurassic Park game on the Sega Genesis was just Aladdin reskinned with an 8-bit Sam Neill.
FBT – Funny you mention Genesis, when Jurassic World Evolution came out, I instantly flashed back to Jurassic Park Operation Genesis. Evolution is just a rip-off reboot like that Jurassic World nonsense. Genesis, like Park, is a classic.
TM – Genesis was great but, just like the fossils who played it at the time, it’s ancient. What I want to see is a giant Triceratops poking it’s horns out of my screen in all its 4K glory.
FBT – Did you just call me a fossil? I knew you’d be the standard Triceratops fan, the Michael Bolton of the dinosaurs. It was such a pretender; it wasn’t even around in the Jurassic period. For me it was the Stegosaurus, the Sid Vicious of the Jurassic.
TM – Cretaceous… Jurassic… Punk… they’re all ancient. In a management sim, realism counts. Evo has the edge, it’s not a trillion years old like Genesis. Okay, how’s about this. You do Genesis, I do Evolution, first to have an open park with their favourite animal wins.
FBT – Cute, but let’s go big. King of the Lizards - first to create a T-Rex is crowned King.
TM – The T-Rex? You mean that famous dinosaur from the late Cretaceous period...? Who’s the pretender now? Okay, I’ll humour you… You’re on.
FBT – Genesis is old. It’s not aged well, but it runs. I don’t need hyper graphics to start humming the Jurassic Park theme. When those doors open, I’m John Hammond.
TM – Evolution looks amazing but for some reason I’ve employed Jeff Goldblum to constantly warn me what a mistake I’m making. We’re not talking cool, Lost Word Goldblum either… I’ve got Independence Day Goldblum… sooooo annoying. I hired Science, Entertainment and Security departments but I can’t make everyone happy. Marketing are furious that I’ve increased the research budget and the numberbods can’t stand that unnatural, purple stegosaurus I just commissioned. I can’t win!
FBT – I can’t assign research or dig sites until I open the park? Surely some preparation is in order? I create sickly frog-o-saurs and open the park just to get moving but then folks complain about the threadbare park and sickly dinos which I can’t cure cos I don’t have anything researched yet. This should be called Jurassic Park Catch-22.
TM – Similar problems here. One of the research projects is … fences. We invented dinosaurs but not fences?! And I have to lay power cables myself! It’s like playing Sim City. I can’t get my head around the cost of cables. Why is a quarter-mile strip of steel more expensive than creating a goddam dinosaur? I’m having flashbacks to building my settlement in Fallout 4. Hang on, overhead wires? Doesn’t anyone see the inherent danger in what we’re doing here? High-voltage pylons around a 12-metre-tall Brachiosaurus!?
FBT – Yeah there is padding and over-complication here too. My research team is currently inventing umbrellas. But at least I’m free to act like a god, or a billionaire. I just create mountains, remove lakes, chuck pathways where I like. I’m in capitalist overdrive, creating straight boxy paddocks with attractions placed for maximum return on investment.
TM – I know the entire game is about creating hybrid dinosaurs but even that sounds more realistic than destroying mountains with the click of a mouse. Evolution is environmentally friendly at least; I build into the land rather than demolish it, but problem is, I need to build smaller parks to unlock more space and in turn build bigger parks. What kind of leasing agreement is that?! Far too much hassle when I can’t even connect a fence panel to a gate. On the plus side, one of my dig sites just uncovered a triceratops! Early lead.
FBT – I’m constantly being pestered over email about this and that when I want to do the fun stuff. I get this is management and at least I hired an electrician, but surely menial tasks and dino panics can be figured out by my staff, or Ellie who constantly emails “Do something!” Yeah, you’re the expert, do something.
TM – Feeling like Jeff Bezos stood in front his $28bn rocket, My $230,000 triceratops is born! I shall name him Terry. He might be the popular vote, but come on, look at him. Oh, sorry, her. I shall name her Terri. Take that FBT with your Blobbyland brutalist monstrosity. My park is nestled in natural surroundings and looks beautiful … and I’ve got MY favourite dinosaur… how’s that stegosaurus coming along FBT?
FBT – Well, I’ve resorted to cheating. It’s fair, that’s what Hammond did. He spared no expense. I just leave the park to rot while the Research teams investigate and extract DNA from Dr Grant’s digs. Once it’s all done, I boot everyone out the park, kill all the craposaurs and start again with my 100% Stegosaurus DNA!
TM – I knew FBT would shortcut this. As always, he was so preoccupied with whether or not he could he didn’t stop to think if he should. To be fair, I’m supposed to be building a park and I’m behaving like a guest! I want to be present for the birth of every little creature on this island not dealing with management politics. I feel corrupted by what I could achieve, create something more at home on the SyFy channel than in a play park, but I can’t because this game is forcing me to manage the team not the park - which is sinking into debt. While FBT makes like that lawyer who gets eaten on the toilet, I’ll have to have a coupon day.
FBT – My park is blazing now, the only problem is the actual process. It is frustrating that the game can’t just let you attach attractions to a fence, you have to destroy it to place it, while my velociraptors are getting close to the hole I just made. Its fussy, and a bit binary. Whatever you do, the game complains. There’s always something wrong. Ay ay ay ay...Why didn't I build in Orlando? As I wander, I spot a goat on the pathways. That’s … not right. The Allosaurs’ fence was destroyed during a storm? Really need to read my emails. One mentions 4 visitors have died – FOUR! Someone getting killed should have provoked more than an email?!
TM – Hope your lawyer hasn’t been eaten on the toilet, sounds you’re going to need them! I’ve not killed any tourists, because I don’t have any. It’s incredibly frustrating. Contracts cost money, how does that work? And some don’t even make the same amount back. And if you cancel a contract it’s a wait for the next one. How can they be vying for your attention if they’re also like “Ask me later”? The economics make no sense, how can a gate cost 80k, more than some dinosaurs?! And when you factor in recovering from 'random' storms and environmental events, you start to wonder when is this gonna get fun?
FBT – Eventually though, my centrepiece paddock has a new exhibit. We have a T-Rex! I created five just to annoy TheMorty, but one killed all the others. That’s one bad mother-lizard-king. I am the king.
TM – You’re the Jurassic-Tiger King. And I’m at risk of losing my park to Carole Baskin… I’ve been made bankrupt! So much for “life finds a way”. If this had just been a little more relaxed with the construction elements, a tad more generous with the funding, Evolution could have been an extraordinary game. It’s beautiful and I enjoyed the balancing act more than FBT did, the moral implications of money over safety, nature over science but I just can’t face it anymore. That’s it… I’m out. Run free Terri – I’m demolishing your fences!
FBT – Genesis is an equally fussy game but it knows what we’re here for, and gives it up early; it’s mostly broad strokes, letting me progress quickly and get attached to my park, take pride in folks enjoying the experience, and that’s a good management game even if it’s ancient. Wait, what did TheMorty just say? I was too busy taking pics of my T-Rex from my hot air balloon. My Park won?
TM – Okay okay, no need to gloat. I did create my Triceratops first which was the original challenge... shall we just call it a draw? By all accounts, Evolution does get better – with the teams devolving into in-fighting and even going Dennis Nedry on the Park, but the effort required… I am starting to realise that the glossy veneer of Chris Pratt’s Jurassic World isn’t all that. Half the dinosaurs I was creating I didn’t even know the name of…
FBT – The manager of TheMorty’s park sounds like he was less Chris and more Prat.
TM – I walked into that one – which is more than I can say for the visitors that didn’t want to attend my park. While it looks magnificent, this is a painful game. FBT’s Genesis probably just pips the age before beauty argument. We set off to make dinosaurs and that’s what FBT got to do while I ended up bogged down in wiring and moralising.
FBT – Yes! I celebrate by putting a Spinosaurus in with my mega-T-Rex to settle that nonsense in Jurassic Park III. She wins it easily. Then I shoot a triceratops to celebrate.
TM – Not even a Chaotician can explain FBT’s inability to handle a victory with restraint and reflection. Evolution is a slow-burn, steep-curve game which gets more rewarding the more you put into it, but I was here to make dinosaurs. I did love the look of it, and it’s a lot more complex and realistic than Genesis, and Terri is the apple of my eye, but Evolution is a lot of hard work for little reward. It is literally 65 million years in the making.
FBT – Here’s a screenshot of me shooting a triceratops I named TheMorty.