Dinosaurs in Video Games 2012

Not dead. Just coming out of a winter torpor but what is this? It hasn't been a proper winter. Ut ohs. This will cause problems for the circle of life.

Raving Rabbids Travels in Time added to list! Also why didn't you guys tell me about GameBoy Advance game A Sound of Thunder, DS game Digging for Dinosaurs or Dinosaurs Vs Alamo? Are we keeping secrets from each other now?
But enough about the warming globe. How is 2012 shaping up for dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in video games? Well the last issue of EDGE has confirmed that a popular racing game series will feature a roadside Tyrannosaurus rex. I got a copy of Dino Strike and have played it (review pending) and I'll be keeping my unblinking eyes out for more dinosaurs in games whilst trying to play through Syberia 2.

Wii Play Motion

Wonderfully, over Christmas I found myself with some surprise Christmas money giving me the unusual opportunity for some guilt-free video game purchasing. Normally, splashing out on a video game means taking money away from some other serious and always more important budget (savings, food for the kids, new shoes etc.). Christmas money is guilt free, indeed it is given with the express intent to be spent on something fun, plus the kids could do with losing some weight. So I found myself in a fine Belgian video game vending establishment with euros to spend. 

Oh my lordy! Shop bought video games are expensive. Dreams of a purchase of two or possibly three games with the aforementioned Christmas credits were realistically adjusted to possibly one. My options were either Metroid: Other M (I read mixed reviews but wanted to see for myself), Super Mario Galaxy and some change (I know, I know why don't I own this already), Super Mario Galaxy 2 minus some extra money (why do Nintendo games stay so expensive?) or Sin and Punishment 2. Or it turns out Wii Play Motion

You may have gathered I opted for Wii Play Motion. WHY? You might cry. Well yes all those other games are good or very good and belong in any discerning gamer's library but I figured it was time to get on the Wii Motion Train. Plus the Wiimote that comes bundled with it is sexy red to match my sexy red classic controller that came with Xenoblade Chronicles. Also, the swing factor was I spotted this on the back of the box:

What do you mean What the hell is that? That is an unmistakable* screenshot of the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus rex with targets on it probably from a light-gun shooting game. See that marketeers? Nintendo would have missed a sale if it wasn't for the box art. Who says you should never judge a game by its box art? Much to my joy, Tyrannosaurus rex with targets on it probably from a light-gun shooting game is exactly what it turned out to be. New Year Dinosaur gaming in motion plus extravaganza! Also, another nice benefit of buying this game (I mentioned sexy red wiimote already right?) is that some of the mini games are quite good. Like my GOTY 2011 good.

For those of you not au fait with Wii Play or Wii Play Motion, these two games are essentially tech demos for what the Wii and more recently what Wii Motion Plus can achieve. The mini games on offer in both games are a mixed bunch but sadly, it seems other game developers don't take more inspiration from the Wii Play gamelets. There's some tantalising uses of motion controls and ideas in the rather shallow games that others could have taken and run with. Could have run with is operative here, or you know, instead they could make buggy shovelware, poor Wii Sports clones and light gun shooters. Sigh. Tanks!, for example, in the first game is amazing even as a mini game and significantly better than most full price games. Wii Play Motion has some corkers (and some stinkers) on it. I've already mentioned Star Shuttle but completing level 30 of Teeter Targets was tough, emotionally draining and spine tinglingly good in the way that games used to and should be. Human and controller needing to become one in order to master what on the surface looks like an unchallenging premise. 

 Anyway, it also has Dinosaurs in it. Specifically, one of the levels of Trigger Twist a sequel, if you like, to Wii Play's Shooting Range sees your Mii dressed in Safari Khakis and sporting a musket tasked with helping a bunch of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures on their way to extinction. Right about now I'd post an image from the game but can you believe there isn't a single decent screenshot within a quick google? There's plenty of videos on YouTube but I don't want to ruin it for those of you as 'purist' as myself. No wonder the game hasn't flown of the shelves. Rule number one of video game marketing, if your game has dinosaurs in it, put out screenies of dinosaurs and the sales (at least one guaranteed) will explode. You'll have to make-do with this image, again from the box art (IMAGE NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF IN GAME DINOSAURS):

The Trigger Twist game itself isn't particularly innovative. It is a fairly standard light gun shooter except Wii Motion Plus allows you to look around 720 degrees (?) by moving the controller around you. However, this concept is limited in that it is pretty hard to aim when you've got the Wiimote pointed over your shoulder and this is acknowledged by the game makers as targets rarely appear beyond 180 degrees of vision. Still a nice idea that another developer might run with....  So what do we have?

Dinosauriness: There's no 'Dinopedia' but I'm going to hedge my bets with the IDs here. For example I'm going to assume that the iguanodont you grease isn't intended to be Mantellisaurus or Muttaburrasaurus but is in fact a vanilla Iguanadon but if a developer interview comes out that states otherwise I'll be more than happy to change the details here. We appear to have a very typical assemblage: BrachiosaurusIguandon, an ornithomimosaur, a Plesiosaur, Pteranodon, Blue, Red and Gold 'Raptors', Stegosaurus, Triceratops and drum roll please....... Tyrannosaurus rex.

Scientific Accuracy: All the usual bum notes- temporally distributed genera appearing together (Stegosaurus I'm looking at you), a classic example of a freshwater plesiosaur is also a highlight. Scale is hard to determine from a first person perspective but as ever it feels a bit off. There's not a feather to be seen either. Lastly, unless a new discovery confirms that dinosaurs were neon coloured, the skin colour seems a bit too 90s rave scene. Did I expect anything different? No. God forbid fun be scientifically accurate. GOD FORBIDS IT.

Buzz Bonus: I've really nothing to say here except I also received a copy of Dino Strike for the Wii over Christmas. Don't worry it wasn't a present I bought it myself. Otherwise I'd never tell you that it is awful. Awful and less fun than Trigger Twist. Expect a full review soon.....!

*Well I do have my eye in for spotting this kind of thing. Endless trawling the internet for smidgens of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in video games means I can spot a virtual dinosaur in a screenshot from at least 50 paces in a mild fog.