I spent the whole last weekend at a con (having a lovely time—what up, Colossalcon!), and the whole, like, month before that working on cosplay stuff, so although I really need to sit down and review the rest of Arrow’s Season 2 for you all, I’m not thinking critically enough to whip out something that complicated. Instead, I want to introduce you to something lovely I came across while procrastinating writing about Arrow.
I use the “like” function on Tumblr in a somewhat dragonish way, hoarding stuff like videos and long posts there until I have a chance to watch or read them. One of these hoarded posts turned out to be about dragons, and how there should be more games where you get to play from the dragon’s perspective:
Choice of the Dragon is a nifty little game produced and hosted by Choice of Games, a company that produces multiple choice choose-your-own-adventure games for web and mobile gaming. It starts you out by letting you pick the appearance and personality of your dragon before setting you loose on the generic fantasy world at large. It’s your choice from there how and when to find a lair, start a hoard, menace or ally with humans or goblins, establish your own religion, and/or battle wizards.
As someone with a pretty curvaceous learning curve when it comes to game controls, I had a lot of fun with the text-based format since it meant that all I had to do was read and pick my outcomes. There must be some pretty impressive back-end coding going on, though, because unlike a choose-your-own-adventure book, the game remembers all the choices you’ve made before and references them when you make new choices. For example, it once called me out on the fact that I kept choosing “kidnap a princess” when it was given as an option. It also keeps track of them in a leveling sense; I had focused my dragon on maxing out her Finesse stat (as opposed to Brutality) and I was only able to defeat my final villain because my Finesse was so high.
Tumblr has an infatuation lately with feminist reimaginings of dragons (among other mythical creatures) and, while I’m not sure if this game was created in response to that fascination, Choice of the Dragon definitely meets my criteria for a feminist dragon game. At the beginning when you’re creating your character, it allows you to choose from not just two but rather a variety of gender options, including a neither-male-nor-female one and an unknown one. Dragons are soooo over the gender binary, after all. Later in the game, there’s also a subplot where you can decide whether to look for a mate. If you decide that you’re interested, it offers you the choice of male, female, or “it doesn’t matter”. All I’m saying is that it’s pretty cool that somewhere out there is a game where you can create a genderqueer bisexual dragon.
Furthermore, the general language of the game lends itself to promoting a wide variety of female characters. I often found myself surprised to read female pronouns associated with stereotypically-presented-as-male fantasy types such as paladins, wizards, and knights.
All in all, this was a delightful find and a pleasant and enjoyable way to spend a half-hour or so. (That was just one play-through; I’ll probably go back and try some alternate outcomes later.) I highly recommend you check out Choice of the Dragon, and send me any recommendations for any other feminist text-based games, dragon-related or otherwise.