Let’s face it, life would be better as a dragon.
There wouldn’t be any midterms or finals, there’d be piles of gold everywhere and you could just eat all of the people who annoy you. Unfortunately, science hasn’t quite advanced far enough to make this dream a reality. But while we wait for some ace team of scientists to get on this, there’s always “Choice of the Dragon.”
This text-based game opens with a small paragraph of texts on a light-gray background telling the player that a mighty knight is charging straight towards them. Below are four options to allow for your escape and/or victory over him, ranging from the benign taking “to the air with a quick beat of [your] wings” to the slightly more violent “rush into his charge and tear him to pieces with [your] claws.” Whichever choice is chosen sets the tone for the dragon’s gradual rule over this world.
After this, the player has more power to develop their dragon’s path by picking their favorite out of typically three options. After establishing your dragon, there’s always the matter of customization. Throughout the first 25 or so questions, the dragon acquires skills such as “disdain,” “brutality” or “cunning,” and the player can decide on every aspect of the creature’s physicality. Then the real adventure begins.
Beyond this world-building and the fun of living vicariously as a dragon, there’s something charming about a game that asks the player to identify their gender, then gives options of response such as “do not pester me with impudent questions,” or asks about the sexism in only kidnapping princesses. By the way, the dragon can respond to this part with a strict “you dare question my actions” or a slightly off-beat answer such as “you know, I never thought about that before. In fact, I think I kidnapped a prince, just to avoid being sexist.”
Don’t expect any of the flashy graphics of mainstream games like Halo, or even the quirks of indie games like Meat Boy. In fact, don’t expect much in the way of visuals beyond the black texts on your screen and your imagination. But that’s part of the appeal of “Choice of the Dragon.” By toning back the visual theatrics and calling back to simple, open-ended role playing games, it allows for greater submersion into the story itself while additionally allowing players to explore a new avenue of gaming.
Dan Fabulich and Adam Strong-Morse, founders of Choice of Games LLC, created “Choice of the Dragon” in 2010 and there are dozens more of their text-based games available for play on their website, https://www.choiceofgames.com/category/our-games/.
Play “Choice of the Dragon” at https://www.choiceofgames.com/dragon/.