Boring Lizards: Ludic Management, Affect and Ambivalence


  • Merlyn Seller University of Edinburgh



Animal , Boredom, Game, Captivity, Jurassic World: Evolution


This chapter utilises Game Studies, Animal Studies and Affect Studies approaches to explore how videogame adaptation Jurassic World: Evolution (Frontier 2018) mediates Jurassic World’s (2015) themes of captivity, anxiety and boredom in a time of routinised risk and perpetual crisis management (Bhattacharyya 2015; Beck 1992). Critically, the game has been denigrated as boring and repetitious (Stapleton 2018; Freeman 2018); dinosaurs sleep more than fight; and players balance variables to meet minimum thresholds of dinosaur contentment and their own enjoyment. If the film’s hybrid dinosaur signals the increasing banality of ‘terrible lizards,’ I argue that Evolution explores boredom systemically through simulations of banal park maintenance where the speculative animal might ‘respond’ to the player through shared affects and constraints. As W.J.T. Mitchell asks of the dinosaur’s ambivalent meanings of power and extinction, “Are we to scream or to yawn?” (1998:69). This is not a break with games of exploitation and manipulation of the animal, but rather an articulation of our complicity and enmeshment in loops of captivity that embrace human and animal but neither completely. Unable to see the animal itself, filled with tantalising contradictions and distance, we instead become-bored-with the animal.


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How to Cite

Seller, M. (2023). Boring Lizards: Ludic Management, Affect and Ambivalence. Cinergie – Il Cinema E Le Altre Arti, 12(24), 37–51.