With my gun ready, I jolt through a gray pixelated labyrinth of corridors and rooms that defy all architectural logic, whose interior furnishings seem to consist only of barrels and giant cable drums. What are they doing here? It doesn’t bother me at this moment. I am highly concentrated. The music still holds back, but already creeps threateningly under my skin, so as not to let me forget that the calm is deceptive.
Then suddenly it happens! The music becomes faster, more aggressive. There’s nothing creeping anymore, but adrenaline rushing through every pore of my goosebumps. The pixel graphic of a jumping velociraptor zooms towards me at dizzying speed and a bloodcurdling scream rings out! Behind me, my best friend, who had already huddled on the bed in tense anticipation of the moment of terror, jumps up. And I, too, break into a sweat, shoot forward in an uncoordinated manner, and am relieved when the dino goes down, oozing red squares. The music and our nerves slowly calm down again. A deep breath, then the exploration continues. We’ll discuss who needs to take control next, and who gets to watch from a safe distance.
The adaptation of the first Jurassic Park movie as a PC game was never one of my favorites due to its frustration potential, but it did introduce me to something I couldn’t put a name to until many years and horror movies later: Jump Scares. While the first levels for the outer areas of the park still used the unspectacular bird’s eye view, the view in the visitor center changed to a first person shooter. And that was a sensation for us at the time! However, it was also pretty creepy. The use of music and sound effects when the repeating raptor graphics attack you may seem ridiculous from today’s perspective, but as a first interactive horror experience, it didn’t miss its impact. Therefore, it didn’t matter to us that there was only this one type of enemy, and that the level design didn’t shine with variety either. We felt like in a movie.
Despite this formative experience, a special preference for first-person shooters did not take hold in me, but I still like to be scared and creeped out. And even though jump scares don’t have the best reputation today, I still appreciate a cleverly used shock moment. The recipe for this hasn’t changed since Jurassic Park: Tense silence is followed by a sudden increase in volume and something moving quickly towards you. Timelessly effective. BOOM!
When Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park hit the screens in 1993, the film was accompanied by a sea of merchandise. Separate video games were released for each platform, and this included the DOS and Amiga versions developed by Ocean Software.
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