My proposed paper will develop two interrelated points. First, I will suggest that the business simulation Jurassic World Evolution (Frontier Developments, 2018) confronts player-entrepreneurs with the necrocapitalist logic undergirding today’s economic system (cf. McBrien 2016); second, I will argue that the video game exposes the necrofuturist nostalgia the Jurassic Park franchise taps into. Concerning the first point, Jurassic World Evolution asks players to perform a cycle of creative destruction consisting of serialized processes of de-extinction and re-extinction, as dinosaurs are deextincted only to be re-extincted when a successor that is “better, louder, with more teeth” becomes available. The revenue players generate is thus founded on a cycle of extinction, de-extinction, and reextinction. As to the second point, de-extinction is at the heart of the virtual entrepreneurship experience. To be sure, de-extinction promises a solution to our extinction crisis by offering a means to re-establishing natural harmony through techno-scientific means. Accordingly, de-extinction employs a past characterized by natural abundance to assuage fears produced by a future devastated by mass extinction. However, by confronting player-entrepreneurs with the necrocapitalist logic they engage in, the video game suggests that de-extinction will bring about a future characterized by an exponential growth in serialized extinctions.
Michael Fuchs is a postdoctoral researcher in the project “Interpreneurship: Styria Meets the USA” at the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz, Austria, and a postdoctoral researcher in the “Science in TV Series” project at the English and American Studies Department of the University of Oldenburg, Germany. For details on his past and ongoing research, see www.michael-fuchs.info.