Re: Dragon

A short, mostly choice-based game by Jack Welch. I’ve posted a review at my blog.

Re: Dragon, by Jack Welch (review with spoilers)

[spoiler]So, there was a 2017 game called ‘The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now’. It had an off-kilter decadence, was well-written…and left the player literally banging their head against an insoluble door. And now someone has written a metagame about it? May the Great Scaly One have pity on their pathologically ingenious soul. And mine, since this is what the randomiser has picked next for me to play.

One possible issue: I think that the message headers in my inbox tell me that they’re ‘To:’ the person that they’re actually ‘From:’, but apart from that, the email-based structure is a neat device.

The litigious Mr. Cragne wishes to sue me for ONE MILLION DOLLAHS on behalf of his draconian client, who really exists, is really a dragon, is fuming that his reputation has been soiled by mere contact with the Interactive Fiction community (join the queue, wyrm), and consequently wishes to immolate me.

Sadly, as the (quite funny) emails accumulate, I can’t forward junk mail to Cragne, or go full 419 Eater and put an irate, omniscient dragon directly in touch with the people running an IF vanity press, presumably because anyone afflicted with enough optimism to set up an IF vanity press starved to death circa 1992.

The perfidious Cragne infects me with a mindworm (by email!), rendering me clairvoyant. At once, I am able to effectively become a dragon soothsayer. I’m not very happy about this, neither is the dragon, and Cragne should invest in some asbestos undershorts. The mysteries multiply, like bills sent in by importunate dwarves. Do owls need surnames? Can someone be incorrectly assigned Gnorc at birth? What is so specially fascinating about that hellish table lamp?

OK, although there was no actual gameplay, this was pretty ingenious in fitting a new story around the old one. It didn’t take itself seriously. It made me laugh, and I also learned something about how Vorple can work. If it had allowed me to mess people about by forwarding emails to inappropriate recipients, I’d have given it an extra point.

Though I am also still idly wondering how an owl can be naked.

Prize: a peanut-scented parcel containing most of an infernal Tiffany lamp, with assembly instructions in Gnomish.[/spoiler]

Thanks reviewers and players!

I’ve posted a post-mortem on my blog:

  • Jack

A few thoughts from me on “Re: Dragon”:

• It is the only IFComp 2018 game I have played so far. In a way it is my own personal “Being Andrew Plotkin” and I felt unironically honored and humbled to see it. (Also slightly alarmed.)

• Andrew Plotkin himself said something like “Jack’s got your email-voice dead to rights, jmac”, regarding the contents of the game’s outbox.

• My wife had to explain the joke to me re: “MacBraeburn”.