Remembering the Insane ‘Jurassic Park’ Arcade Game

Friday, April 30, 2021

Very few movies from the last few decades have had the lasting cultural impact of Jurassic Park. The 1993 film was an awe-inspiring — and occasionally terrifying — peek into a world where dinosaurs roamed once again. But forget about all of that. Why? Because who needs a well-made film stuffed with childlike wonder when there exists a Jurassic Park arcade game where you drive around like a maniac shooting dinosaurs?

The ‘Jurassic Park’ arcade game: death, uh, finds a way

A year after Jurassic Park hit theaters in 1993, an arcade-game adaptation of the film was released. This game may have had the Jurassic Park name on it, but the “plot” owed nothing to the movie. Instead, the game was — believe it or not — a super-intense, absolutely insane driving/shooting game.

After sacrificing a few quarters to the cabinet’s coin slot, you took on the role of Dr. Grant from the film. However, instead of standing in awe at the sight of living dinosaurs, Grant sits in the passenger seat of a fast-moving car shooting dinosaurs in the face. Armed with what appears for all the world to be a machine gun, you control Grant as hordes of dinos appear to attack you. As your vehicle moves forward through the island, more and more creatures jump out and have to be gunned down.

The action is nonstop, and the situations your vehicle finds itself in are completely bonkers. At one point, you literally pilot your car onto the tail, along the back, and up the neck of a perfectly innocent Brachiosaurus. You then fly over the scenery, collide with the ground, and just keep right on driving and shooting.

However, the strangest part of this entire game isn’t that you’re driving around murdering dinosaurs. It’s that — and hear me out on this — you’re actually not killing them at all. As it turns out, the “machine gun” Grant is using is actually just a tranquilizer gun. None of the beasties are dead; they’re merely unconscious, and ready to be transported to safety where they can live their lives in peace. What a twist.