Jurassic Fandom: An Ethnographic Study
Internet fandom itself is a widely held presence on numerous Internet communities and message boards from Star Wars, Star Trek, and Stargate to various other science-fiction related series. The fact is, so little know about the Jurassic Park online fandom. … Continue reading →
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News Archive - February 2011
Telltale Surprises and Promises Great Experience!
Date: Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 18:45 (Eastern) Author:Tyrannosaur
Telltale game Jurassic Magnitude event was held in the Shrine Room at the Temple Night Club in San Francisco this Thursday the seventeenth at four in the evening. I was invited out to San Fran to see the preview and represent the Jurassic Fandom.
Jurassic Park or rather the next expansion to the series is set to debut on the PC and Mac at the moment with possible (and likely) porting to other game systems later (XBox360, PS3, and eventually iPhone/iPad).
The PC and Mac distribution is set to come out this April. Telltale has done a superb job with laying down a vibrant story for the Jurassic Park storyline that will not disappoint. As apparent from the demo played at the event an accurate experience with this game to the films is meant to be had by you as you play. Telltale Games focuses on also providing a rich tapestry to tell a story many fans wanted to see explored. Guests were shown the same highly anticipated trailer that fans were shown the other night and given an assets disc along with the ability to play a demo of the game exclusive to the event.
All in all the detail in the demo to the environment and the story they are telling is going to blend well into the events of the first film from first impressions. The game feels to be a genuine "Jurassic Park 1.5" and some of the continuity issues in it that may be present can be easily and most likely have a retcon made unlike with the other media out there specifically other games and the comics. In fact Telltale's game is set during the events of the first film and goes off to it's own direction without the appearance of altering canon. It will engage you with even up-to-date paleontological theories out now. The best part about this? It works because Jurassic Park's science is far beyond our own and they would be making these discoveries about these animals before we would. Sure the Jurassic Park dinosaurs are still inaccurate you can see the blog post regarding this here. So how are the dinosaurs? In a word, excellent! I did inform them though about the obvious mistake of using the T. rex roar from the Carnivores/Dino-Crisis series of games. Generally though Tell Tale is doing the same magic that Spielberg and ILM did with the original Jurassic Park in their film. So fans I hope can rest easily over this error being corrected and that the fact great care is being take care in. The demo game played is turn/event based with having to press a particular button order in order and at a particular speed to get out or into a particular event. It is engaging as well as fun with a clear story to tell and excellent moments for character development.
In the demo you start off trying to solve a puzzle of getting a baby Triceratops back into her pen, but once you do you find yourself are now in the middle of fight between two dinosaurs and you have to press a couple buttons at a particular time in order succeed and save yourself. The fight you can probably tell from the screen capture to your left and it's probably one of the most anticipated fights since JP came out. The style in the game is very similar to The Force Unleashed, but even that does not accurately compare to how engaging the game is going to be in the end from what was said to me.
I had asked them not to spoil us too much, but I did convey the community's concerns of canonicity. Needless to say, rest assured it shows in Telltale's work behind this and their other work that the highest quality and care is going to be taken in regards to our favorite film property and their promise of a quality story I am sure is going to make many fans - and this one in particular - very happy. All-New Jurassic Park Game Roars to April 2011 Release
SAN RAFAEL, CA. February 17, 2011 – This April, fans of Jurassic Parkcan experience what really happened to the Barbasol can of stolen dinosaur embryos lost during the first film. Developed through a publishing agreement with Universal Partnerships & Licensing, Telltale's new game based on Jurassic Park will shed light on thismystery and much more.
The world premiere trailer and a special pre-order offer are now online at the game’s official site: http://www.jurassicparkthegame.com. Customers who pre-order for PC and Mac can save $5 and get the game for just $29.99. The full purchase price will be $34.99 when the game series launches in April.
An episodic adventure in five parts, the game is set during the events of the first film. The story unfolds through a film-inspired cinematic adventure crafted to stir mystery and tension while building to exciting climactic peaks. The game storyline picks up on the stormy night as Jurassic Park began to fall apart –when Dennis Nedry stole a Barbasol can full of invaluable dinosaur embryos. He died trying to deliver it. He never knew it contained a tracking device. That same night, a desperate smuggler infiltrates Isla Nublar, hunting the canister and its precious cargo. She collides – literally – with park staff trying to evacuate. They are trapped together as the park collapses, left behind with the newly-freed dinosaurs. When InGen launches a perilous rescue operation, mercenaries, saboteurs, and survivors are thrown together in the struggle to escape the island. They confront T. Rex, Velociraptors and other dinosaurs in spectacular showdowns. As human agendas clash, secrets of the park are exposed, and a new threat emerges: an eerie, nocturnal predator stalking the group, hunting them relentlessly across the island. Visitors to the Jurassic Park game site will want to be sure to sign up for timely news and updates on the game at http://www.jurassicparkthegame.com as Telltale releases new information leading up to the game’s release.
About Jurassic Park
Since Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment first joined forces to unleash an adventure over 65 million years in the making, Jurassic Park has become the “premier” and “authentic” dinosaur brand the world over. When Jurassic Park was released in 1993, it became an instant phenomenon. In the years that followed, two additional films were released – The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III – bringing the trilogy’s worldwide box office total to more than $2 billion. The franchise continues to resonate with consumers worldwide via consumer products, popular attractions at Universal Studios Theme Parks and annual airings of the three films on a multitude of television networks.
About Universal Partnerships & Licensing
UP&L oversees Universal’s consumer product licensing, film and home entertainment promotions, and all corporate alliances for Universal’s theatrical, home entertainment, theme parks and stage productions. This dedicated division is also responsible for monetizing the Studio’s vast library of films and characters through licensing, branding and marketing opportunities. UP&L is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.
About Telltale, Inc.
Telltale is a leading digital publisher of cinematic adventures playable on every major gaming platform. Telltale has also pioneered episodic delivery of scheduled content, developing games as series to create longer consumer engagement. Founded in 2004 by LucasArts veterans with decades of experience, Telltale has quickly become an industry leader, establishing the model for successful episodic game creation and digital publishing with over 5 million episodes sold since 2005. Telltale’s reputation for quality has been established across more than 35 published releases that have cumulatively earned an average Metacritic score above 80%. Telltale's titles have won numerous awards including, "Adventure Game of the Year" from publications such as IGN, PC Gamer, GameSpy, and Adventure Gamers, and have been recognized by mainstream outlets ranging from USA Today, to The New York Times to Variety. Telltale currently develops and publishes games for PlayStation® 3, Xbox 360TM, WiiTM, PC, Mac, iPad and iPhone. Learn more at www.telltalegames.com.
Telltale Jurassic Park Game Trailer, and More!
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 22:02 (Eastern) Author:Veritas
The trailer for Telltale's Jurassic Park game was officially released! Also, Telltale is pre-selling the game online for $29.99. You can view the trailer, screen shots, pre-order, and more here. Also, keep an eye out on the forums. JPL's own Terry Davis Jr. (A.K.A Tyrannosaur) is in San Fransisco now at the Telltale Jurassic Park press event and will be giving all of us a play by play of the nights events!
"What Everyone Should Know About Paleontology" by Thomas R. Holtz Jr.
Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 0:47 (Eastern) Author:Tyrannosaur
While browsing the Dinosaur Mailing List and the various paleoblogs out there recently I stumbled upon this gem of an article by Dr. Thomas Holtz Jr. in regards to what everyone should know about paleontology. I've been an aspiring paleontologist for years and it's nice to see something that could be used a point-by-point done by one of the professionals out there. Personally, he's one of my favorite paleontologists out there around and actually worked on the Jurassic Park Institute Dinosaur Field Guide a while back. The question was posed by Roberto Takata from the Dinosaur Mailing List. Project Dryptosaurus even posted a copy of this on their site.
“What Should Everyone Know About Paleontology?” by Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
I think that is a good question. What really are the most important elements of paleontology that the general public should understand? I took a shot at coming up with a list of key concepts, based on experiences with teaching paleontology and historical geology and with less-formally structured outreach to the public. I have offered this list (cross posted at the Sauropod Vertebrae Picture of the Week, Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings, andSuperoceras blogs) as a way for it to reach a wider audience. That this is Darwin Week makes it even more appropriate, as we should use this occasion to encourage a better understanding of the changes of Earth and Life through Time for the public at large. Much as I might like to think otherwise, the specific details of the hindlimb function of Tyrannosaurus rex or the pneumatic features of brachiosaurid vertebrae really are not the most important elements of the field. Understanding and appreciating the nitty gritty details of the phylogeny and anatomy of any particular branch of the Tree of Life are not really necessary for everyone to know, any more than we would regard detailed knowledge of bacterial biochemistry or the partitioning of minerals in a magma chamber to be significant general knowledge. (Indeed, these latter two items are actually far more critical for human society than any specific aspect of paleontology, and so from a certain point of view really more important for people to know than the History of Life.) That said, all human societies and many individuals have wondered about where we have come from and how the world came to be the way it is. This is, in my opinion, the greatest contribution of paleontology: it gives us the Story of Earth and Life, and especially our own story. I have divided this list into two sections. The first is a list of general topics of paleontology, touching on the main elements of geology that someone would need to know for fossils to make any sense. The second is the more specific list of key points in the history of life. (NOTE: as the idea of this list is that it should be aimed at the general public, I have tried to avoid technical terminology where possible.)
That rocks are produced by various factors (erosion à sedimentation; metamorphism; volcanic activity; etc.)
That rocks did not form at a single moment in time, but instead have been and continue to be generated throughout the history of the planet.
That fossils are remains of organisms or traces of their behavior recorded in those rocks.
That rocks (and the organisms that made the fossils) can be thousands, millions, or even billions of years old.
That the species discovered as fossils, and the communities of organisms at each place and time, are different from the same in the modern world and from each other.
That despite these differences that there is continuity between life in the past and life in the present: this continuity is a record of the evolution of life.
That we can use fossils, in conjunction with anatomical, molecular, and developmental data of living forms, to reconstruct the evolutionary pattern of life through time.
That fossils are incomplete remains of once-living things, and that in order to reconstruct how the organisms that produced them actually lived, we can:
Document their anatomy (both gross external and with the use of CT scanning internal), and compare them to the anatomy of living creatures in order to estimate their function;
Examine their chemical composition, which can reveal aspects of their biochemistry;
Examine their microstructure to estimate patterns of growth;
Model their biomechanical functions using computers and other engineering techniques;
Investigate their footprints, burrows, and other traces to reveal the motion and other actions of the species while they were alive;
And collect information of the various species that lived together in order to reconstruct past communities.
However, with all that, fossils are necessarily incomplete, and there will always be information about past life which we might very much want to know, but which has been forever lost. Accepting this is very important when working with paleontology.
That environments of the past were different from the present.
That there have been episodes of time when major fractions of the living world were extinguished in a very short period of time: such data could not be known without the fossil record.
That entire branches of the tree of life have perished (sometimes in these mass extinction events, sometimes more gradually).
That certain modes of life (reef formers, fast-swimming marine predators, large-bodied terrestrial browsers, etc.) have been occupied by very different groups of organisms at different periods of Earth History.
That every living species, and every living individual, has a common ancestor with all other species and individuals at some point in the History of Life.
SPECIFIC: Honestly, despite the fact the specific issues about specific parts of the Tree of Life are the ones that paleontologists, the news media, the average citizen, etc., are more concerned with, they really are much less significant for the general public to know than the points above. Sadly, documentary companies and the like keep on forgetting that, and keep on forgetting that a lot of the public does not know the above points. Really, in the big picture, the distinction between dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and crurotarsans are trivialities compared to a basic understanding that the fossil record is our document of Life’s history and Earth’s changes. Summarizing the key points of the history of life over nearly 4 billion years of evolutionary history is a big task. After all, there is a tendency to focus on the spectacular and sensationalized rather than the ordinary and humdrum. As Stephen Jay Gould and others often remarked, from a purely objective external standpoint we have always lived in the Age of Bacteria, and the changing panoply of animals and plants during the last half-billion years have only been superficial changes. But the question wasn’t “what should a dispassionate outsider regard as the modal aspect of the History of Life?”; it was “What should everyone know about paleontology?” Since we are terrestrial mammals of the latest Cenozoic, we have a natural interest in events on the land and during the most recent parts of Earth History. That is a fair bias: it does focus on who WE are and where WE come from.
That said, here is a list of key concepts in the history of life. Other researchers might pick other moments, and not include some that I have here. Still, I believe most such lists would have many of the same key points within them.
Life first developed in the seas, and for nearly all of its history was confined there.
For most of Life’s history, organisms were single-celled only. (And today, most of the diversity remains single-celled).
The evolution of photosynthesis was a critical event in the history of Earth and Life; living things were able to affect the planet and its chemistry on a global scale.
Multicellular life evolved independently several times.
Early animals were all marine forms.
The major groups of animals diverged from each other before they had the ability to make complex hard parts.
About 540 million years ago, the ability to make hard parts became possible across a wide swath of the animal tree of life, and a much better fossil record happened.
Plants colonized land in a series of stages and adaptations. This transformed the surface of the land, and allowed for animals of various groups to follow afterwards.
For the first 100 million years or so of skeletonized animals, our own group (the vertebrates) were relatively rare and primarily suspension feeders. The evolution of jaws allowed our group to greatly diversify, and from that point onward vertebrates of some form or other have remained apex predators in most marine environments.
Complex forests of plants (mostly related to small swampland plants of today’s world) covered wide regions of the lowlands of the Carboniferous.
Burial of this vegetation before it could decay led to the formation of much of the coal that powered the Industrial Revolution and continues to power the modern world.
While most of the coal swamp plants required a moist ground surface on which to propagate, one branch evolved a method of reproduction using a seed. This adaptation allowed them to colonize the interiors, and seed plants have long since become the dominant form of land plant.
In the coal swamps, one group of arthropods (the insects) evolved the ability to fly. From this point onward insects were to be among the most common and diverse land animals.
Early terrestrial vertebrates were often competent at moving around on land as adults, but typically had to go back to the water in order to reproduce. In the coal swamps one branch of these animals evolved a specialized egg that allowed them to reproduce on land, and thus avoid this “tadpole” stage.
These new terrestrial vertebrates—the amniotes—diversified into many forms. Some included the ancestors of modern mammals; others the ancestors of today’s reptiles (including birds).
A tremendous extinction event, the largest in the age of animals, devastated the world about 252 million years ago. Caused by the effects and side-effects of tremendous volcanoes, it radically altered the composition of both marine and terrestrial communities.
In the time after this Permo-Triassic extinction, reptiles (and especially a branch that includes the ancestors of crocodilians and dinosaurs) diversified and became ecologically dominant in most medium- to large-sized niches.
During the Triassic many of the distinctive lineages of the modern terrestrial world (including turtles, mammals, crocodile-like forms, lizard-like forms, etc.) appeared. Other groups that would be very important in the Mesozoic but would later disappear (such as pterosaurs and (in the seas) ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs) evolved at this time.
Dinosaurs were initially a minor component of these Triassic communities. Only the tall, long-necked sauropodomorphs were ecologically diverse during this time among the various dinosaur branches. However, a mass extinction event at the end of the Triassic (essentially the Permo-Triassic extinction in miniature) allowed for the dinosaurs to diversify as their competitors had vanished.
During the Jurassic, dinosaurs diversified. Some grew to tremendous size; some evolved spectacular armor; some become the largest carnivorous land animals the world had seen by this point. Among smaller carnivorous dinosaurs, an insulating covering of feathers had evolved to cover the body (possibly from a more ancient form shared by all dinosaurs). Among the feathered dinosaurs were the ancestors of the birds.
Other terrestrial groups such as pterosaurs, crocodile-ancestors, mammals, and insects continued to diversify into new habits.
During the Jurassic and (especially) the Cretaceous, a major transformation of marine life occurred. Green-algae phytoplankton were displaced by red-algae phytoplankton (which continue to dominate modern marine ecosystems). A wide variety of new predators—advanced sharks and rays, teleost fish, predatory snails, crustaceans with powerful claws, specialized echinoids, etc.—appeared, and the sessile surface-dwelling suspension feeders that dominated the shallow marine communities since the Ordovician became far rarer. Instead, more mobile, swimming, or burrowing forms became more common.
During the Cretaceous one group of land-plants evolved flowers and fruit and thus tied their reproduction very closely with animals. Although not immediately ecologically dominant, this type of plants would eventually come to be the major land plant group.
The impact of a giant asteroid—coupled with other major on-going environmental changes—brought an end to the Mesozoic. Most large-bodied groups on land and sea, and many smaller bodied forms, disappeared. The only surviving dinosaurs were toothless birds.
The beginning of the Cenozoic saw the establishment of mammals as the dominant group of large-bodied terrestrial vertebrates. Early on mammals colonized both the sea and the air as well.
During its beginning the Cenozoic world was warm and wet, much like the Cretaceous. However, a number of changes of the position of the continents and the rise of mountain ranges caused the climates to cool and dry.
As the world cooled and dried, great grasslands developed (first in South America, and later nearly all other continents).
Various groups of animals adapted to the new grassland conditions. Herbivorous mammals became swift runners with deep-crowned teeth, often living in herds for protection. Mammalian predators became swifter as well, some becoming pack hunters.
Other new plant communities evolved, and new animal communities which inhabited them. The rise of modern meadows (dominated by daisy-related plants and grasses) saw the diversification of mouse-and-rat type rodents, many frogs and toads, advanced snakes, songbirds, etc.
A group of arboreal mammals with very big brains, complex social communities, and gripping hands—the primates—produced many forms. In Africa one branch of these evolved to live at mixed forest-grassland margins, and from this branch evolved some who became fully upright and moved out into the grasslands.
This group of primates retained and advanced the ability to use stone tools that its forest-dwelling ancestors already had. Many branches evolved, and some developed even larger brains and more complex tools. It is from among these that the ancestors of modern humans and other close relatives evolved, and eventually spread out from Africa to other regions of the planet.
About 2.6 million years ago a number of factors led to ice age conditions, where glaciers advanced and retreated. Various groups of animals evolved adaptations for these new cold climates.
The early humans managed to colonize much of the planet; shortly after their arrival into new worlds, nearly all the large-bodied native species disappeared.
At some point before the common ancestor of all modern humans spread across the planet, the ability to have very complex symbolic language evolved. This led to many, many technological and cultural diversifications which changed much faster than the biology of the humans themselves.
In western Asia and northern Africa (and eventually in other regions), modern humans developed techniques to grow food under controlled circumstances, leading to true agriculture. (Other cultures are known to have independently evolved proto-agricultural techniques).
This Neolithic revolution allowed for the development of more settled communities, specialization of individual skills within a community (including soldiers, metallurgists, potters, priests, rulers, and with the rise of writing, scribes).
From this point we begin to get a written record, and so the historians can take up the story…
This list is obviously not comprehensive, and there are many elements that I had to ignore to keep it relatively short. Still, I hope this overview helps put where we as a species fit into the larger perspective of Life’s long voyage, a voyage that could only have been traced by the study of fossils.
By far truly awesome and a big thank you to Dr. Holtz for making this awesome post to help people out there.
Message Boards Down For Repair are back online
Date: Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 13:23 (Eastern) Author:darkraptor
At this current time the Jurassic Park Legacy Message Boards are down for repair. Currently there is no time set for when the boards will be back online but we are trying our best to get it back up and running again as quick as possible.
We will keep you informed if there are any further announcements regarding the Message Boards.