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OK, this is a little different.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a lot of hunting games out there. Most of them take place where there are a lot of dangerous animals, like the African Savannah, Alaskan wilderness, you get the idea. But who wants to hunt boring old modern-day animals. Many have tried to remedy this situation by giving us a plethora of dinosaur hunting games.
I’ll be reviewing these eventually.
As you can see, the concept has been done to death, and it doesn’t help that most of these games are average at best. However, I can only think of one or two game where you can track and hunt Cenozoic animals.
Even then it has few creatures, unrealistic environments (from a scientific standpoint) and creatures it picks and chooses from all across the Cenozoic era, even if they didn’t leave remotely near ice.
A Diatryma? Really? It lived in a time that didn’t even HAVE ICE CAPS!!!
So, what about a hunting game with period accurate animals in a period accurate environment? And thus, I came up with my idea. A hunting game that takes place in Southern California, 15,000 years ago, with animals only from the La Brea Tar Pits.
Los Angeles in the Pleistocene was one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet, putting modern-day sub-Saharan Africa to shame. And because of the La Brea Tar Pits, we have almost a complete picture of the ecological environment at the time. It may not be the classic “Ice Age” tundra, but you would still get to see some familiar faces.
Imagine a big game hunter in the future, who is no longer able to hunt big game in his current time. He is, however, filthy rich and has access to time traveling technology. He uses it to go back in time to Southern California 15,000 years ago, and hunt the big game of that time. You know how much respect you would get in the hunting community if you had a mammoth or a Smilodon mounted on your wall?
However, while he’s there, he has to survive as well. He must find food, water, shelter, make fire, and fend off dangerous animals. Doesn’t that sound cool? Period accurate animals in a period accurate environment, and surviving there like you would in a modern wilderness.
In order to visualize the concept completely, I’ll give you some images of the animals that used to live in this area.
Many hunting games have you track down predators, which are always fun to see. Well, lucky us, Southern California in the late Pleistocene had a huge abundance of carnivores. These include the Smilodon, the famous sabre tooth cat.
But Smilodon wasn’t the only predator of the land, nor was he the biggest.
Panthera leo atrox, or the American Lion, also lived in the area. Not only that, but it was one of the largest big cats ever to live, and quite a bit bigger then Smilodon.
Oh, but that’s not all. There were even more big cats around in this area. We also have the smaller Homotherium, also called the scimitar cat.
We also have Miracinonyx, more commonly known as the American Cheetah. It had the body type of a cheetah, and probably held the same niche, but was closer related to the modern cougar.
The final big cat that lived in this time was the North American Jaguar, which used to inhabit most of the United States.
If you think that’s a lot of predators, we’ve barely even begun. That’s just the big cats! We’ve also got wolves fighting for the same resources. But not just any wolves, we’ve got Dire Wolves.
Just imagine all the predator confrontations!
However, the biggest, baddest, and meanest predator of them all was Arctodus, the Short Faced Bear.
The short-faced bear was huge, about the size of a modern-day polar bear, the current largest carnivore. Imagine this guy fighting a sabre tooth!
Wait, you don’t have to imagine. Here it is!
Now, even though there are a lot of predators, there are just as many large herbivores to hunt as well. I think it’s time to go through them. For starters, we’ve got two species of elephant in the area. First we’ve got the Columbian Mammoth, one of the biggest elephant species ever to live, and quite a bit bigger then it’s more famous northern relative the woolly mammoth.
Second we’ve got the Mastodon, which is actually smaller than modern day elephants, but still impressive in it’s own right.
Man, this place is starting to sound like Africa’s and Alaska’s love child. That kind of environment is just asking for a hunting/survival game!
We are far from done though. Bison were still around in those times, but some where a little bit different then they are today. Sure, the Ancient Bison probably looked very similar if not identical to the modern day bison.
But the Giant Bison was like a hybrid between a bison and a Texas long horn.
Dude! Look at those horns!
Although bison are decidedly America, there were other plains animals in those days that would look seriously out of place in the Wild West. For example, the American Camel.
Yep, camels also lived in America during those times. But that’s not even the weirdest of animals there. The giant ground sloths probably take the cake in that venture.
There were three species of Ground Sloth found in the La Brea Tar Pits, and all of them were downright weird looking.
Oh, and they were way too big to hang on trees. In case you were wondering.
Many of the other plains animals that lived in this time may seem somewhat familiar, but may or may not feel out of place in the American west.
Pronghorn still roam some parts of the American plains today, but they would have been much more common in those days. There was also a species of dwarf pronghorn, which would have probably stayed in the forests instead of the plains.
Euceratherium, or the shrub-ox, was another species of bovine animal that lived in the area. They were a species that was in North America quite a bit before bison came along.
Horses were also common in the area. There were to species, the Western Horse and the Mexican Horse.
Peccaries were also around, but they were a little bit larger back then then they are now.
Llama’s were also present in the fauna of the day. The stilt legged llama was quite common at the time.
There was even tapir’s in California back in those days. Yes, the California Tapir was a thing.
Despite the time difference, there still would have been a lot of wildlife then that wouldn’t look too out of place there today. For example, the elk and the mule deer were still present.
As was the big horned sheep.
Many smaller predators, such as coyotes (although they were slightly bigger back then), bobcats, gray foxes, and badgers were also present.
Small squirrels and rabbits have also been found, which could still be added to the game as a food source to hunt.
Before I forget, there was also an array of very interesting birds that lived in the area at the time. One of the more impressive ones was Teratornis, the giant condor.
This condor’s wingspan was up to 12 feet long, much bigger than any flying bird in America today. It was a truly impressive bird.
Another bird of interest was the La Brea Stork, which was actually quite tall. Whopping cranes also existed in the area as well.
An extinct species of turkey also inhabited the land, which I can also see being hunted as food in the game.
You know, bald eagle skeletons have also been found in the pits. Now, I’m not sure if they existed in that time, or if the bones are from more recent times, but what the heck. Let’s add them as well!
Look at that variety of wild life. Doesn’t that sound like an awesome template for a hunting/survival game?
You know what would be another interesting aspect. Rattlesnakes! They were around in those times. what if you’re walking around in the plains, and suddenly hear the rattle. You have to determine where it is before you get bit, and decide what to do when you see it: either kill it or walk away. A smaller yet unseen threat in the game would probably be really cool.
Just imagine all these creatures living together in an accurately portrayed game environment.
Now, if this idea does come to fruition, I’m not going to claim they stole my idea. I’m putting this out on the internet just for fun. Heck, I hope someone does this, I certainly don’t have the skills or resources to pull it off. Heck, I hope someone has already done it, and that it’s awesome. If something like this exists (and I’m not talking about a hunting game with a generic Ice Age backdrop with creatures from all over the Cenozoic), please let me know.
Now, join me next time as I do my last full film review for a while, while I once again take a look at Disney’s Dinosaur.