Indie Tsushin 2023 May issueThis article was featured in our 2023 May issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.

Website of Virtual Dinosaur Museum

When I was a kid, I burned through my Dinosaur Phase the same as everyone else. I scooped up armfuls of books I checked out from my school library and greedily pored over artist renditions of Brachiosaurus (not to be confused with Apatosaurus!) and marveling at how tiny the humans were in comparison. I remember feeling scandalized when I found out that Oviraptors were not, in fact, egg thieves, or that there was an even bigger therapod than the mighty T. Rex. I'd pour out these facts rapid-fire at inopportune times, pestering my poor teachers and interrupting class discussions with all my enthusiasm for these terrible lizards. And I was in good company: I don't know of a single kid my age who didn't have a whole speech prepared about why Pterodactyls aren't real dinosaurs, or that the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park should actually have stood at waist-height and been covered in feathers.

Close-up model of a Parasaurolophus

Step out of the 7F elevator and you are immediately greeted by this very good Parasaurolophus.

Once upon a time, we all used to be a knowledgeable expert in something, whether it was dinosaurs, or trains, or fish, or video games. And I think that for many people, there comes a day when they realize that they are no longer the walking encyclopedias that they once were. For others, however, they carry that passion well into adulthood. When we look upon their works, it rekindles something inside of us that we thought had long been extinguished. And so it was with バーチャル恐竜館 (Virtual Dinosaur Museum) by Kakeru Fujimiya.

A Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex facing off on a stage with dramatic lighting.

Sometimes you turn a corner and get hit by really dramatic stages like this.

Virtual Dinosaur Museum is exactly what it sounds like: a digital museum filled with 3D dinosaur models presented to scale. You can "walk" around and view the exhibits from a first-person perspective and read up on the dinosaurs from their plaques or the wall-mounted signs. You can even set your actual height in centimeters to get an even more realistic sense of what it would be like to approach one of these bad dudes in person.

A Pachycephalosaurus charging forward with a grinning visitor NPC standing in front of it.

Watch out! That Pachycephalosaurus is coming right at you!

The museum is broken up into seven floors featuring dinosaurs from different continents and epochs. The displays are very cool and varied, with the dinosaurs lovingly rendered and striking dynamic poses against colorful backdrops. I've never been to a dinosaur museum in person, but now I sort of feel like I have. My favorite floor has to be 5F. As soon as you enter, you are immediately greeted by an Argentinosaurus and Dreadnoughtus towering over you. It's so great.

A Coahuilaceratops against a desert background.

Ceratops are so good and so extra.

Walking down a long hallway, I spotted the prominent horns of a Ceratops peeking into view and made an immediate beeline for it. Seeing that figure come looming into view as I "sprinted" toward it reminded me of being a child again. It was pure delight. Although this is not a game in the traditional sense, there really is something to be said about this experience being in a user-controlled 3D environment, instead of static images on a website. That sense of "being there" brought out the dinosaur nerd in me that I didn't know still existed.

Floor map of 7F.

Each floor has a map, with suggested 順路 (walking course) signs pointing the best path.

Virtual Dinosaur Museum is free to access, but you can also visit the Gift Shop on Floor B1 and pick up dinosaur swag to decorate your meatspace. There was a real effort to preserve the feeling of walking around a museum, complete with floor maps, the "elevator" (the menu where you choose which floor to visit), and the other "visitors" (static humans posed next to the dinosaur models for scale). It's these little touches that really bring out the charm of the whole experience.

A Mapusaurus looking up at a towering Argentinosaurus.

The sense of scale on some of these exhibits is really something.

Whether or not you think you've outgrown your Dinosaur Phase, I encourage you to check out Virtual Dinosaur Museum. It might just melt you back down into being a giddy little kid again.

You can access the Virtual Dinosaur Museum in your browser and check out more of Kakeru Fujimiya's dinosaurs on their Linktree. And you can watch us walk around the museum on stream!