Claim a Key for the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection from Limited Run

Claim a Key for the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection from Limited Run

A long time ago, dinosaurs walked the earth. A little bit later, we made a movie about bringing them back into the modern world. Then, years later we made games about that movie. Now you can play a collection of those games, by grabbing a key for the Jurassic Park Games Classic Collection, which we are giving out as part of IGN Plus.

IGN Plus Monthly Game: Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection

The Jurassic Park Games Collection is a curated group of games based on the classic film, Jurassic Park (which is, in turn, based on the novel by Michael Crichton).

Games in this collection include:

  • Jurassic Park 8-BIT
  • Jurassic Park PORTABLE
  • Jurassic Park 16-BIT
  • Jurassic Park GENESIS
  • Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues 16-BIT
  • Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues PORTABLE
  • Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition GENESIS

Whether you have nostalgia for these games or you’re looking to jump in for the first time, this collection of seven games spanning the 8 and 16-bit genres lets you hunt, escape, and even become cool dinos, which is what I think we all want, if we’re being honest with ourselves.

Developer Interview – Josh Fairhurst (CEO/Co-Founder – Limited Run Games)

The team at Limited Run is steadily building more quality of life improvements like rewind, save states, screen filters, music players, and more as they continue re-releasing games through their Carbon engine, making it easier and more fun for players to experience games from every era of the medium.

For this interview, I spoke with Josh Fairhurst, the Executive Producer on the Jurassic Park Games Collection. He worked to secure the licensing for both the software and IP, dealing with both sides to make this collection possible. He spoke about the difficulties of locating source code for games from the 1990’s, an era when preservation was not something the industry thought about, as well as the passion that drives the team at Limited Run.

We spoke about retro games, building collections, the importance of creating and saving physical copies, how Limited Run determines which projects to work on, and a whole lot more.

I hope you enjoy the games, and this excerpt from our interview. Cheers!

Brian Barnett: I am a huge fan of physical games. I just got an Analogue Pocket and I’ve really enjoyed going back to a bunch of Game Boy-era games I hadn’t played before. I’m playing Dawn of Souls: Final Fantasy II right now. I like the ability to do that, and that the games Limited Run works on get similar ‘second opportunities at life.’ What goes into the team’s decision to work on a project, whether it be re-releasing something that’s older or partnering with developers who are working on new things?

Josh Fairhurst: There’s a lot of things that go into it. I would say the primary thing is us having a lot of passion for whatever we work on. Somebody on the team has got to be passionate for it, or it’s not really going to turn out well. That’s the number one thing we look at. But sometimes there are other factors where… ‘this is a really big game,’ or it’s culturally significant. For whatever reason, a game that we have coming out soon is a remaster of Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. Obviously, no one on our team is passionate about the worst game of all time. But there is something about it that is historically significant. It is the worst game of all time, that is historically significant. So we chose to re-release that. We’re like, ‘let’s wrap this in all sorts of context and documentary footage and whatever, presented the best way possible.’

And then sometimes for me, there’s like a challenge to releasing games that interests me. A lot of the time, it’s licensed titles, where you have to find whoever has the software rights, whoever has the IP rights, and then you have to tie all those things together. Sometimes it can go deeper than that. Maybe there’s music, and that has to be licensed… and I find that to be a very interesting puzzle that I like solving. So sometimes we’ll re-release the title and people will be like, ‘I’m not sure why you re-released that.’ But it is because I wanted the challenge of figuring out the IP puzzle.

They may have one or two licensed [music] tracks that you then have to go back to the recording industry places to try to license. There could be likenesses inside the games that have to be re-licensed. Voice acting. There’s one particular game we’re working on where we’ve had to go back to every voice actor and get permission to re-release it. So this is a game where I’ve had to get, I think, 9 to 10 contracts signed by different people or organizations just to make happen. I had to go to the composer, all the voice actors, the software holder, the IP holders, so it’s this huge list.

There’s any number of complications that can arise. And beyond that, there’s also code within the game that could have been licensed, licensed technologies that are in the game. You have to go back and figure out, ‘Scaleform, do they have a perpetual license to that? Maybe not.’ Those kinds of things have to be looked into. So there’s a lot of things you have to ‘cross your t’s and dot your i’s’ on to get these games back out. And it can be really challenging…

Brian: I definitely respect that. “Why did you climb that mountain?” Well… because it was there. I wanted to see if I could do it.

Josh: There was a GDC talk by a guy that I work with a lot, Frank Cifaldi, at the Video Game History Foundation. He said that you would never see a re-release of Home Improvement on the SNES, because of the license. He was like, ‘it’ll just never happen.’ And I took that as a challenge. Now my ultimate dream is figuring out ‘how can I re-release Home Improvement on the SNES?’ Nobody wants it, everyone’s gonna be like, ‘Why are you doing that?’ But for me, it’s the challenge. It’s like, I want to make something happen that nobody else will bother to make happen.

But there’s also an aspect to that, that I think is kind of interesting. These are the games that most people assume will be permanently out of print. And I think that there is something to be said about trying to make every game accessible again, in whatever way you can. And that is one of the things we strive to do. We want to bring these games back and make some of these games accessible again. On the physical side, when we’re choosing something that’s ‘digital only’ to bring out, the biggest thing that goes into that is our passion for it, because we want to be able to have that game in a package so that 30 or 40 years down the line when the servers are gone, that game we love will be on some kind of physical media to play and enjoy. So when Analogue, in 2050, makes a Switch that needs Switch cards to go inside of it, we’ll still be able to play these games that we love.

Brian: And that’s great. Then that does make preservation easier as well. Even if an individual wasn’t able to grab one of those copies from your runs, it’s okay, because it’s in the world, for the archives.

Josh: The way that I look at it is; I will never make the claim that we are a ‘be-all, end-all’ solution for preservation, because we are not. But I think on the digital side, a lot of these games are out there for people to download and get, and they’re backed up in the digital sense. But sometimes those links go down, the torrents go down, and you can’t get these files anymore. And that’s the point where having a single physical backup somewhere comes in clutch, because you can then take that thing, you can download it again, and you can restore that digital backup. And it’s kind of like your backup for preservation. It ensures that there’s always something, somewhere that can make that thing accessible again. Even if there’s only one copy, it’s still backed up somewhere.

Brian: Yeah, that’s happened in the film industry. You may have heard this, but the film ‘Nosferatu’ was actually ordered to be destroyed. But because there were a few copies that survived, we can still watch that movie. It became incredibly influential, even though it was supposed to be expunged from the annals of film history. I don’t know that there’s a bigger argument for something like that.

Josh: People know what it is, even if you don’t care about the movie itself. Even like my daughter, she’s nine, she has watched the SpongeBob episode with Nosferatu. She knows who that is, there’s a cultural significance to it.

Brian: On that same note, I know there have been some remasters, or collections of games that have come out where it was unsure whether the original code actually even still existed. Have you worked on projects like that, where you had to figure that out?

Josh: I mean, that happens super often. That’s why our Carbon engine is built around emulation technology. Because it’s so rare to find source code from the 90s. Very few people thought about keeping that, because the way that games were looked at is, they were products, they were coming out that one time, for that console. Nobody thought, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna re-release this in 20 years.’ Nobody knew that would be a business, so people were not saving source code. So the most effective way to be able to bring back these classic games is through emulation. Because with that, you only need a physical cartridge that can then be taken and dumped. And then we get the ROM that way, pop it in the carbon engine, and we’re able to re-format and re-release on modern platforms. But I would say it’s very common that we go to re-release the game and the source code no longer exists, just because nobody was thinking about storing it.

Brian: We’ve talked about building collections, and the struggles that can go into those. What about this Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection? Specifically, how did this come about? I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to find somebody on the team who was passionate about Jurassic Park.

Josh: Yeah, I mean, I grew up in the 90s, I was going into my first year of elementary school when the first movie came out. And it was everything to me for that year. All my school supplies were Jurassic Park. I was obsessed, and I still love Jurassic Park to this day. So in my mind, one of the first IPS I wanted to work with to re-release as a collection was Jurassic Park. And this also worked with that challenge aspect that excited me, where I wanted to get as many games as we could in this collection. And there were multiple parties for that. There was Ocean Software and Sega.

Sega in particular was a pretty big challenge, because this was a game produced by their American division. And most of the documentation for that is really difficult to find now, because that’s all the way back in 1994, it was a licensed title, which made it even more… I don’t want to say ‘expendable,’ but this stuff was kind of difficult to figure out. So that was an interesting challenge to tackle and approach. So there’s a lot of aspects to this that really appealed to me. But the biggest part of it was just that passion that I had for Jurassic Park.

Brian: You mentioned wanting to get as many Jurassic Park games in here as possible. We’ve been talking about licensing, and other things that go into the re-release process, but I imagine some of those hurdles are just too high to clear. What goes into determining which games make it into a collection and which ones don’t?

Josh: Yeah, you’ve got one, one side, the licensers need to approve and be comfortable with everything. Like you said, some license titles didn’t necessarily do the most justice to the IP. So sometimes, you may have something that’s just too far from what the IP is now, for that to actually even be up for consideration. That wasn’t really the case with Jurassic Park. But it is the case with a lot of other IPs, where we’ll run into where it’s like, you know, this game just doesn’t meet what the license or would want from a game with that license anymore.

Brian: Quality-wise or subject-matter-wise?

Josh: Subject-matter-wise. I’m trying to think of like a specific example, off the top of my head, but I can’t come up with any right now. But I know there have been some issues in the past where I’ve looked at something and it’s just too far of a shift from what the IP is now to what it was back then. We didn’t actually try to license this game for the Jurassic Park Collection, because I think the rights to it are with Activision and I didn’t even know how to approach that, but there was a Jurassic Park game for the 3DO called Jurassic Park Interactive. I have a feeling that if I tried to include that, it’s just way too far off from the current standards for the brand. That’s a ‘quality wise’ thing, because it’s got all sorts of corny FMV in it… it’s very early 90s. It’s cheesy and it doesn’t present in the best way possible. That’s an example of some of the challenges we have sometimes.

What we really try to look for is games that present the IP in the best way possible, and that the most people played and most people enjoyed. There’s budget things that we have to consider, because every time you license one game, typically you’ve got to pay an advance or something to secure the rights. So we can’t go hog wild and include everything, because of that. But we try to be pragmatic and select the things that we really feel like are going to have the best impact.

It’s easier when all the software is under one publisher. If all of these games had been under Ocean, it would be much easier for us to get it, because all those rights would go with the same person, so you can go to them and make a bundle deal for it. But when you’re starting to include, you know, 2, 3, 4 companies, it gets really difficult because you have to start splitting the revenue share, splitting your advance, and at the end of the day, everyone wants it to be worth their time. So it becomes expensive in that regard, and difficult. But with Jurassic Park, I felt it was really important to make sure that we had the kind of pinnacle, keystone games, which I felt like were the SNES and the Genesis games. The Genesis games in particular are the ones that I grew up with. I remember playing them a lot because you can play as a velociraptor. And as a kid, nothing was cooler than getting to run around as a velociraptor.

Brian: One final thing, before we go. A lot of people are going to be checking this out, getting ready to jump into the collection. Is there anything you would tell them before they jump in?

Josh: Yeah, so you wouldn’t necessarily think this, but I think one of the most playable games in the collection today, that’s very approachable and… I don’t want to say easier on the difficulty curve, but… ‘not frustrating’ is Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues on GameBoy. I think that’s one of the best games in the collection by today’s standards. I think a lot of people would overlook it, because it’s one of the two Game Boy games in the collection, which I think people would look at and be like, ‘Oh, those are probably disposable spin-offs,’ but it’s legitimately really good. It’s a side-scrolling platformer, but it’s a lot of fun. And I was surprised by that one.

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Brian Barnett writes reviews, guides, features, & more for IGN & GameSpot. You can get your fix of his antics on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Bluesky, & Backloggd, & check out his fantastic video game talk show, The Platformers, on Backloggd & Apple Podcasts.

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