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Westworld vs Jurassic Park

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey
Script written by Nick Roffey Thunder lizards... or robot gunslingers: which theme park offers the most thrills, spills . . . and chills? Join, and in today’s installment of Versus, Westworld and Jurassic World – two fictional vacation destinations at the cutting edge of science – go head-to-head to determine which offers the experience of a lifetime.

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Thunder lizards... or robot gunslingers: which theme park offers the most thrills, spills . . . and chills? Welcome to, and in today’s installment of Versus, Westworld and Jurassic World – two fictional vacation destinations at the cutting edge of science – go head-to-head to determine which offers the experience of a lifetime.

Round 1: Attractions

The brainchild of eccentric visionaries Robert Ford and Arnold Weber, Westworld is a theme park that’s populated with synthetic androids indistinguishable from humans. These hosts are programmed to serve your every need – whether that’s a helping hand on the path to a particular narrative, or in fulfilling other more illicit desires. In this way, the park allows you to indulge your heroic… or villainous side. Westworld is an ideal destination for those looking for a truly immersive experience. One of the park’s more prominent sections is a romantic reconstruction of the Old West, complete with mysterious gunfighters and sultry saloon girls. From the rustic town of Sweetwater, to the libertine decadence of Pariah and the perilous fringes of the park, Westworld has something for everyone. And don’t even get us started on Samurai World…

Jurassic World also brings visitors back to a time long past. But the attractions couldn’t be more different. On Isla Nublar, prehistoric animals that were once thought to be gone forever wander vast plains and forests. Floating downriver on the Cretaceous Cruise, or heading out on safari through Gallimimus Valley, you’ll be given a glimpse millions of years into the past to a time when giant reptiles roamed the earth. Got kids? Bring them to the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo – but maybe leave them behind for feeding time at T-Rex Kingdom. Jurassic World provides a unique and unforgettable experience that allows us to appreciate our place in Earth’s history and the food chain.

Although the gunfighters, saloon girls and bandits of Westworld’s Old West world are convincingly realistic, robots pretending to be human can’t compete with living breathing dinosaurs. Jurassic World takes this one.

WINNER: Westworld 0 / Jurassic World 1

Round 2: Activities

Billing itself as a world of “infinite choices,” where you can “live without limits,” Westworld boasts a huge range of activities. Follow grizzled old timers on the hunt for lost gold, go gun-to-gun against Westworld’s Most Wanted, embroil yourself in civil war or pick up a weapon and engage in a little friendly Samurai swordplay. If danger isn’t your middle name, choose to see the beauty in the world – and find yourself a pretty face in town. Your experience can be as romantic – or as debaucherous – as you desire; it’s basically a real-life open-world RPG. Westworld caters to refined tastes too: after your adventure, kick back at Mesa Gold, sipping cocktails by the pool with a panoramic view of the park’s sandstone spires and rolling hills.

In contrast, Jurassic World offers a more guided experience. In the original park, activities were restricted to a presentation at the Visitor Center and an automated jeep tour around the enclosures. But in the latest iteration of the park, you can stroll through the food of the ancient megafauna in the primordial Botanical Gardens, or roll through herds of herbivores in glass gyrospheres. The science-minded can educate themselves at the Innovation Center and Hammond Creation Lab. What’s more, there are also activities unrelated to dinosaurs: a world-class golf course, an aquatic park, and shopping on Main Street.

Jurassic World may offer more family-friendly options, but it just doesn’t provide the same variety of activities as Westworld. With its “choose your own adventure” approach, Westworld wins this round.

WINNER: Westworld 1 / Jurassic Park 1

Round 3: Accessibility

In Westworld, you’ll be given unlimited movement. From the moment the train drops you off at Sweetwater, for example, you have the run of the park – with grounds spanning hundreds of square miles. Set out for adventure on foot, horseback, wagon or train. Before you go, however, one variable to consider is the astronomical price tag. In keeping with another one of the park’s taglines, “exotic, exhilarating, exclusive,” access costs at least $40,000 a day. Once inside however, you’ll be free to roam as you please. Although the silver and gold packages offer to take you into “deeper narratives,” with the basic “standard package”; the park is already essentially all-inclusive.

Jurassic World now allows some freedom of movement within certain enclosures, either by jeep, kayak, or gyrosphere. However, for safety reasons, you’ll need to keep to paths, tracks, and visitor areas, often behind protective glass or fences. Visitors are warned not to tap on the glass, cross barriers, or call out to the dinos. Transport between attractions is provided by air-conditioned monorail, affording spectacular views of the park. For those who prefer to walk, there are also several paths winding through tropical forests. In line with creator John Hammond’s original vision, the park is affordable for families and welcomes some 20,000 visitors every day.

Despite improving on the old park, Jurassic World still can’t rival the unlimited accessibility of Westworld, where visitors are free to go wherever they please without restriction. Westworld takes another round.

WINNER: Westworld 2 / Jurassic Park 1

Round 4: Health & Safety

The hosts in Westworld are not only programmed to not harm humans, but also to protect them in genuinely dangerous situations via a “Good Samaritan” reflex. Sure, getting shot can sting; but only hosts are vulnerable to live rounds. Out in the fringes, the park becomes more dangerous, but these fundamental rules remain unchanged. “The only person truly safe,” Westworld’s marketing tells us, “is you.” Nonetheless, the park’s Terms of Service admit accidental deaths in the past, from causes like buffalo stampede, accidental hanging, self-cannibalism, drowning, burning, blunt force trauma, and manslaughter. One also has to wonder about the possibility of host malfunction. What would happen if the hosts ever became self-aware of their role in the park?

Jurassic World’s “teething” problems, on the other hand, are public knowledge. The park’s previous incarnation suffered a power outage prior to opening that disabled the electric fences and led to a number of deaths. Then there was that whole incident in San Diego… But when Masrani Global Corporation acquired InGen, the Security Division was upgraded into a world-renown paramilitary organization. Jurassic World has subsequently been named “the safest theme park on Earth.” As Masrani Global puts it “safety without condition.” Of course, accidents do happen, and fears of park malfunction have precedent. But which is actually scarier: a vengeful robot hunting you down through remote wilderness, or a wild animal breaking loose in Jurassic World’s crowded and well-monitored Main Street?

It might seem counter-intuitive, but in the case of a total system failure, you’d probably be better off with the dinosaurs. Jurassic World wins this round.

WINNER: Westworld 2 / Jurassic Park 2

Round 5: Immersion

Westworld aspires to be completely immersive: you’ll feel you’ve really travelled back in time from the moment you step out onto the hot sand and dusty streets of its Wild West world, for example. But Westworld is much more than an open-air museum; unlike costumed performers, the hosts actually believe they’re living in another place and time, so there’s no breaking character. Adding to the immersion of the experience is Westworld’s emphasis on freedom. Nothing is taboo – the park is a completely open sandbox environment, encouraging you to lose yourself in it. Whether you choose to white hat or black hat it, your progress in the park is as much a personal journey within. You’re not just exploring a new location... but also your innermost self.

Jurassic World is laid out more like a traditional theme park. Like Disneyworld, it has a Main Street with gift shops and restaurants, scan-able wristbands… and line-ups. For the sake of the animals and visitors, attractions are located in enclosed habitats spread out across the island. Fortunately, the aforementioned gyrospheres allow you to get up-close and personal with many of the herbivores, while still feeling safe behind protective glass. If being a human hamster isn’t your thing, paddle past Apatosauruses in your own kayak. For the star attractions however – the T-Rex and the velociraptors – well, would you really want a fenceless experience?

The gyrosphere is certainly a nice touch, but when it comes to total immersion, Jurassic World can’t beat Westworld.

WINNER: Westworld 3 / Jurassic Park 2

Westworld wins this duel, beating Jurassic World by the skin of its teeth with a narrow victory of 3 to 2.


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