|Big Al Game|
Big Al Game was a text adventure-like game created by Alex Freeman, who was scientific researcher on the programme, to accompany The Ballad of Big Al.
The game has since been taken down by the BBC and replaced by the "Planet Dinosaur Game".
In May 2018 a UK based analyst/developer called Jennifer Edwards has re-created the then lost game using the Unity engine, the finished project can be accessed from her portfolio in both browser based and downloadable versions. http://www.jenniferedwards.co.uk/portfolio/#bigalgame
You play the Allosaurus named Big Al with the objective of simply surviving in Late Jurassic North America. There are four levels that Al has, starting as a hatchling growing into a juvenile, subadult and adult. As a hatchling, the player starts out in their nest and the game recommends to follow Al's mother as her large size can scare away larger predators. At this level, the young Al can only hunt small animals such as centipedes, scorpions, and lizards. When the player reaches Juvenile and subsequently Sub-adult, their mother disappears and the player can defeat larger animals like Dryosaurus and Ornitholestes as well as being able to consume dinosaur eggs. At the final level, Adult, Big Al's objective is to find mates to breed with and is able to defeat even larger animals, including adult Allosaurus.
The player had three statistics, score, weight, and fitness. Weight served as the progress bar for the player's level and fitness served as a health bar. Reasonably, given its the later, losing all energy or fitness would result in Big Al's death. The player had to keep eating to stay fit as energy is lost from even moving on the map and to add more weight to gain a level. The older Al became the more energy he would use and need to replenish. Since fitness serves as the health bar of the game, fitness could be lost from an animal attacking the player or from a counterattack against the player.
The map was 17X10 squares with the square that Big Al was on being yellow while his mother was red and the nest was brown. For each level, the player had 20 moves they could make these being travel, wait and attack. For traveling, the player moved one square at a time via a compass that had the following directions: north, northwest, west, southwest, south, southeast, east, and northeast. "Wait" was located in the center of this compass and made the player stay on the current square they were on. Waiting near a large animal or predator, however, was a risk as they could potentially attack Al and drain his fitness or worse, kill him.
Finally, each Non Playable Character/Creature (NPC) had their own statistics: fierceness, agility, and energy like the playable character has. Fierceness was how dangerous an animal was and if an animal's fierceness meter was red, this meant that they were more fierce than the player. There were two buttons that each NPC had to attack it and to view its fact file.
- Allosaurus (male, female, subadult, juvenile, hatchling)
- Dinosaur eggs
A petition is available in change.org to make the Big Al game available again. It has already 150 signatures.