There are several problems with Jurassic Park: The Game, but none bigger than its ending, and I’m going to discuss it at length in this post, so if you don’t want to be spoiled beyond Spoiled City, get out now. Just go. Put in a VHS copy of the 1993 classic Jurassic Park, play with the tracking buttons, and then sit back, soak in, and be at peace. Trust me, you’re better off; I mean, I wish I wasn’t thinking about these things, but I am. And the only way to get rid of them is to dump them here.
::insert Tyrannosaurus Rex roar::
As the remaining survivors–Gerry Harding, Jess Harding, and Nima–race to reach the boat that can take them off Isla Nublar, a choice is presented, one that’s extremely easy to make: save Jess or save the Barbasol can of dinosaur embryos. If you go for the can, Nima dies. If you save Jess, the can is stomped flat, but everyone lives to see another day. The latter is deemed the “good ending” and was what I earned first, later going back to see what would happen if you tried to grab the can before Mean Ol’ Mr. T-Rex caught wind of your antics. Right. So, they all live and are motoring away on the escape boat as that familiar tune plays. Hooray. Except Nima is pretty downtrodden and not because her partner in crime Yoder got eaten: that Barbasol can represented a way to get her and her daughter into a new life, with food and security and all the things that a mother/daughter combo need to survive. Without it, she has nothing. Gerry promises her that he’ll do whatever he can to help the both of them, but before he can work out a plan, his daughter Jess interupts to inform them about a bag full of cash she just found.
And that’s where Jurassic Park: The Game ends. No, really. It’s that, followed by the boat scooting away into the sunset and a flock of Pterodactylus passing by overhead. Roll credits. Put the controller down.
Which means we–the viewer, the player, the puppet master–are left to interpretation. And the game seems to imply that Nima will take the money found on the boat. That Gerry Harding will totally be okay with Nima taking all that money, that it’s for a good cause. For the entirety of Jurassic Park: The Game, Harding has been constantly reminding his daughter that stealing is wrong and trying to teach her to be a wiser teenager, to make good, wholesome choices. To not smoke or talk back to elders or, y’know, steal stuff. And he did all of this while dinosaurs of varying sizes and skins tried to eat them. Good for him.
But here, at the end–and granted, he did just outrun a T-Rex–he says nothing about the bag of money. Nothing about going to InGen about what happened on the island and Dr. Sorkin or anything like that. Maybe he actually does. The scene cuts away after the literal money shot, and we don’t know what other conversations the trio have as they make their way home, but that’s the game’s fault. Again, it doesn’t tell us, and so we have to go off of what is presented, which is that Nima is going to get all the money, the money she was originally going to get anyway from stealing from InGen. If Harding lets Nima take the money, he is again approving of stealing, which I’m sure Jess would find contradictory.
It’s an atrocious piece of writing, that doesn’t make sense, but comes across as extremely unlikely and Hollywood-like. I’d rather have seen them sail away without a bag of money, happy to be alive, promising each other that they would get through whatever came next, especially considering what they just survived. Maybe even Nima would become a motherly figure to Jess since her parents were not going to work it out. Of, if anything, as a wink to the first film and a meta joke to the fact that Jurassic Park: The Game is in itself a wink to a throwaway plotline, Harding could’ve acknowledged the bag of money, zipped it up, and tossed it into the water–y’know, for someone else to find. As is, the game’s “good ending” is far from good.
And all of this makes me extra nervous about Telltale Games’ forthcoming The Walking Dead game. The only light there is that in a world overrun by zombies, a bag of money is pretty much useless.