Review: Yes, Another Game With A Dragon!

(After engaging with Spring Thing’s many choice games, I found myself craving some old parser goodness. I dove into the treasure chest that is the “published:1996-2005”-search command on IFDB and resurfaced with an old gem I had played ten years ago but never reviewed. So I replayed it. And I laughed
Yes, Another Game with a Dragon! - Details (ifdb.org))

In Defense of Scaly Monsters

                            Y A G W A D
              \||/       Yes, Another Game
              | @@__oo     With A Dragon
    /\  /\   / (___,,)
   ) /^\) ^\/ _)
   )   /^\/   _)         by Digby McWiggle   

(Start screen ASCII art. In the game it’s animated!.)

In olden times, shrouded from memory by the mists of time, darkness had fallen over the Land of IF. There was bitter strife amongst the ranks of Text Adventurers. One powerful faction looked down with disdain upon the ancient traditions of Knightly Quests and Magick Incantations. One archetype above all others was the target of their loathing: the once Noble and Fearsome Dragon.

These Renewers of IF landed blow after blow on the olden ways, diverting attention and admiration towards their newfangled, even experimental games. So harsh was the barrage that Dragons and their traditions were left behind, all but cleft in twain.

One determined Author stood steadfast against this brutish barbarity that guised itself as “Modern IF”. He set out on a Quest to restore the Dragons’ honour and created Yes, Another Game With A Dragon.

To fend off all criticism of being a dated cliché, the game employs the gleaming blade of superb literary quality, as evidenced in this extract:

“The shelves are well stocked with an assortment of dried herbs and pickled embryos.”

Or this shining pearl of evocative conciseness:

“The oily swamp farts wetly.”

Within the confines of a compact map, the different locations are coherent yet richly varied. An open woodland with a well in the clearing, a mighty oak and an abondoned monastery, bordered by fields of grain and green pastures. A deep gorge with an impassable river, blocked by a monstrous guard.

There is a deceptive atmosphere of carefree sunny summer over these lands, for there are dangers and discombobulating obstacles in our hero’s way. For most of these puzzling circumstances, he will have to sort out the workings of a convenient Magick Machine.

Our hero, by the way, is of the rather hapless sort. He is drawn away from his habitual daytime occupation as the town drunk by the promise of richess in the form of half the king’s land and happiness in the form of the princess’ hand in marriage. These prizes will be his, if he can be the one to rescue said princess from the cluthes of…, yes,… The Dragon!

Needless to say, many others want these prizes for themselves. Many True Heroes™ that is. During the game, there are many instances of “A Wild Adventurer Appears!” These lend the normally calm and silent woods the amusing and confusing air of the busy playful competition at a summer fair.

The final confrontation in the endgame mirrors a heroic dream our protagonist had in the introductory sequence. But can he twist it round?

It is not often that I, your humble reviewer, make explicit comparisons between games, but in this case a certain family resemblance should be pointed out.
YAGWAD feels and plays like a sibling to Augmented Fourth and Wizard Sniffer, and it may well be a distant cousin to Lost Pig. It shares with these games a playful whimsicalness, while being robustly implemented and competently crafted under the hood. There is a great attention to atmosphere, tone, the feel of the world and the details of the surroundings.

The joy and amusement of the author shine through this entire adventure.

Another Game With A Dragon shows conclusively that yes, there is still room for Dragons in the Land of IF. (At least, there was 22 years ago when this game was published.)

10 Likes

There had better be room, because my current TALP game has a dragon, and dragon ASCII, in it.

5 Likes

I saw! Very cool.

I haven’t gotten around to TALP yet. Still 8 days until voting closes. I’m sure I’ll manage to play some of the games.

2 Likes

Whoah. Only 8 days? Time flies. I thought it was until the end of the month. Thanks for the reminder.

Also I remember enjoying YAGWAD myself years ago. I imagine the humor will be more than fresh enough if/when I come back to it.

1 Like