Dinosaur Fossil Hunter feels like an accurate portrayal of the archaeological process of recovering and reassembling dinosaur skeletons. By accurate, I am not referring to the exact process involved but more in giving an honest representation in the amount of tedious and hard work it takes to recover and restore relics from more ancient times.
The demo starts off with recounting the main protagonist’s relatable childhood obsession with dinosaurs. You complete tasks like connecting the dots on a dinosaur picture, assembling dinosaur models, and even finding a fossil. All of these narrative segments also serve the double purpose of being an early introduction to some of the mechanics available in the game later.
Once the main portion of the demo beings, you start off at a small camp before heading off to a dig site. You have available a tablet which will provide you with messages giving you direction in the game as well as a handy map to help with navigation and also to provide additional information about dinosaurs.
The game tries to cover all areas involved with archaeology including traveling through the wilderness to the dig site. You can chainsaw through trees blocking the path, smash apart boulders in the way, use four wheel drive to get through rough terrain, and even stop to refuel your jeep when running low on gas.
Once at the dig site, you use a scanner to determine possible fossils underneath the ground and start digging in the area. You examine all the rocks you come across for possible fossils, and when found, you cover them in plaster and place them in shipping containers to be ready for transport.
Once at the museum’s lab, you go through the very tedious process of breaking apart the plaster, and then break the rocks apart to recover the fossils themselves. Once recovered, you brush them clean, spray them with some kind of substance, cure it, polish it, and spray it once more with what I assume to be some sort of protective sealant. This is a long process.
Once completed, you can now assemble the fossils and attach it to the main skeleton. You do this multiple times until the entire skeleton is completed and then you can put it out in the museum and design the exhibit for it by picking the terrain type and placing decorative items such as rocks and plants.
While the game might not be for everyone due to its repetitive and tedious nature, it certainly left me with a greater appreciation for those who work in the field of archaeology. I felt like the game only opened a small window and gave us just a brief glimpse into what real archaeologists do. It made it very apparent that it takes a lot of perseverance, dedication, and true enthusiasm for people to dedicate their lives in uncovering history. Here’s a small thank you to all the archaeologists out there for the underappreciated work they do.