How To Raise A Dragon


Gregory Weir, he of the peculiar and splendid I Fell In Love With The Majesty Of Colours, has created another exquisitely minimal, decision-led adventure. This time it’s about raising a dragon, obviously. But what might be entirely obvious is that what you dragon eats, and how they decide to interact with human beings, is going to ultimately decide their fate. As with Weir’s previous games, it’s got a distinct beauty to its pixellated, multiple-pathed tale. You can play it here. And you should.

49 Comments

  1. jsutcliffe says:

    The Mrs. showed me this last night. I raised a lovely green dragon that helped people and became my fwiend. <3

  2. Gap Gen says:

    How many homes can you find? And how many behaviours? I could only find two homes on my first look.

  3. Sic says:

    I get retro, but EGA retro is a bit harsh on the noggin. Why not do mid nineties VGA retro like Blackwell Chronicles?

  4. Gap Gen says:

    OK, I found all the homes (the two available do different things).

  5. mike says:

    I also went for friendly green. Not sure if I can be assed to go through it all again. Well maybe once more… for the breathing fire on everything =p

  6. Gap Gen says:

    There’s a rather excellent option involving the heal breath and a more evil intent.

  7. Ging says:

    I screwed up the nice green by growing plants out of peoples houses… I also helped their crops grow – that particular dragon died.

    I did evil flame breathing and evil blue too… I clearly cannot make a “good” dragon.

  8. Christian says:

    Hmm…as nice as these games are: when do people learn and accept that it’s not very convenient for everybody to have the ‘z’-key bound to something important?
    You know, some people have their ‘y’s there and need to perform quite impractical gestures (or a third arm) in order to play.

    So please, don’t try to be innovative concerning your control-scheme, standard arrow-keys or WASD plus Space is fine, thank you.

    Looks nice, but can’t really enjoy due to the finger-acrobatics I would need to perform :(

  9. Ging says:

    Christian: I’m confused as to why you’d need to do any finger acrobatics – the ‘z’ key is used for jumping, the only other buttons you might need to press while using it are the arrow keys, even with a QWERTZ board, you need to reach your finger up and across a bit to hit z… hardly acrobatics!

  10. houseinrlyeh says:

    As another owner of a QWERTZ keyboard, I also feel left out of the experience.

  11. Christian says:

    Yeah, it might be that I’m over-reacting a bit. But I need to use the ‘c’-key to eat, and it just bothered me to keep my hand stretched over the keyboard (I like to have my fingers on the buttons all of the time so I can press then quickly when needed, I guess it’s a habit from FPSs *g*).

    Having them nicely next to each other as on a QWERTY-board is just more relaxing. I just think it’s a bit unnecessary to have it layed out like that.

    Mind, I do enjoy free games (and respect these fine people devoting their time to make them), and “I Fell In Love With The Majesty Of Colours” really was a nice experience..it’s just these small things that sometimes ruin it a bit..

  12. Wilson says:

    I see ZXC controls in quite a few ‘old fashioned’ style games with only three controls. I’m guessing that’s the feel he was going for, it’s just a little unfortunate that your Z is in a different place. It’s why we like being able to remap controls I suppose.

  13. Gregory Weir says:

    I’m going to add Y as an alternative in the next update.

  14. Z says:

    The walkthrough is a massive piss-off. Don’t tell me to have fun finding the 6 different behaviours. I’m checking the walkthrough because I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT THE BLOODY 6TH ONE IS!!!11!!eleventy!

  15. Z says:

    (is overstating his rage)

  16. Baka says:

    Well, the Zett-Thingy is easily fixed.
    Just press ALT+Shift simultaneously and you’re switching between QWERTZ and QWERTY on the fly. Works like a charm, at least under Windows Something.

  17. Bret says:

    Dangit.

    Can’t find the fourth fire. Played through twice so far, once as a saint, once as a sociopath. Fun!

  18. chiablo says:

    As much as I enjoy retro games, and games that provide a good solid retro throwback in their design… I have to wonder if they sacrifice playability in order to try to cater to the retro crowd.

    One game in particular is Tomb of the Aztecs (link to rockpapershotgun.com). The game obviously was created with a powerful graphical engine with ray-traced lighting… but they they display it in ridiculously low resolution.

    I do enjoy games that were built from the ground up to be simplistic in their presentation, such as Dwarf Fortress, or Spelunky. But it almost seems like developers are taking the lazy route and just calling their games “retro” in order to get a larger audience and avoid creating graphical resources.

  19. Christian says:

    @ Gregory Weir: Wow. That would be very nice indeed :)

    @ Baka: Hmm, I must say I feel a bit embarrassed now (working in IT and all). But then again I think I learned something today. Thanks for the hint..works fine.

  20. Bonegnawer says:

    @Bret
    Fires
    – the oven in the kitchen room
    – candle in colourful spiders room
    – lamp on the top room of the right tower
    – torch in the well / wine cellar
    HTH

  21. Ian says:

    Nice, but I don’t see me going through to try different things like I did with “I Fell In Love With The Majesty Of Colours.”

  22. Bret says:

    Found all five regular behaviors, and all the basics.

    Are there just 4 endings, or are there more?

  23. Dan says:

    I don’t get quite the feeling from this that I did from Majesty that he has thought of all the possible outcomes, but I love it anyway. I admit I tend to confuse Weir’s games with those of that other artsy pixelly guy (I Wish I Were The Moon), which probably isn’t helping.

    Anyone figured out what the flower is for in the hero stage? The dragon seems to reject it no matter what, regardless of what type of dragon I’ve made.

  24. Jeremy says:

    It’s for the Wild Guardian, he’s my bud. We trade flowers.

  25. Carra says:

    I was going to be a goodie good dragon. Then some naughty guy caught me. Then I breathe fire on all the bad man. Fun!

  26. FunkyLlama says:

    I’m just not feeling the love for this one :(

  27. Caiman says:

    You people complaining about crazy control schemes have clearly never played Halls of the Things. Or any Design Design game for that matter. If you’re going to do retro, you have to do a completely unintuitive control design to get the feel right.

  28. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    I’ve gotten Fiery, Necromantic (by an amusing accident), Reclusive, and Wild behaviors and am still wondering how the get the others.

    Maybe I ought to try greening up the forests without redecorating the town.

  29. Aldaris says:

    Same as Dorian, olny I did necro completely on purpose.

  30. Aldaris says:

    damm, green forest-helping without hurting the town gives you a wild watcher.

  31. The Hammer says:

    Whilst it’s not as dreamlike as the Majesty of Colours, it’s also very agreeably retro in what it’s doing. I can’t say I like the jumping around in the wizard’s house much, but asides from that it’s very engaging. I mean, it’s about dragons! Yay!

    Also, I love the ambience.

  32. Billzor says:

    Love it. At first I was a little disappointed that the hero has very little interaction with the environment, even after reading the little stop-scenes that explain what your currently trying/going to do. My making him jump around reminded me of the Terrance & Philip show characters from South Park, but I digress. I think now I’m seeing that hero level is still about the dragon, like the narrative says, but it’s also about you the player taking responsibility for what you created. Under the cut-scene narratives, you know what will happen after eating people or generally disrupting their society (bad dragon), and you also know what happens if you help their society (good, although I did get a necromantic watcher-type dragon, which didn’t seem either good or bad. Didn’t see that coming).

    Sad, though, that if you created an bad dragon you can’t have your bad hero choose to be a villain. During the game I didn’t really think about it because of the word “dragon” and the word “hero.” Traditionally the “hero” kills the “dragon,” because bad dragons are just bad dragons, right? Can’t reason with monsters. Only recently has there been any narrative about the dragon not being the bad guy.

    Still think the hero level needed something more. Not sure what, though.

  33. Lukasz says:

    @Bilzor

    My hero became my evil fire tyrant servant so he kinda became a villain

  34. CakeAddict says:

    First time around I was a red fire breathing dragon killing everybody, he died with a swift arrow.
    Second time A necromantic ruler of some sorts.. the hero joined him in his evil pursuits.

    I like these kind of things you can’t go wrong with me when there are nice choices to take in a game.

  35. Lucky Main Street says:

    I liked this one, but not as much as Colours. Mostly, you can amass an army of zombies, but then they do nothing to defend you! I would’ve liked some interaction between them, and the townfolk in general, and the hero.

  36. LionsPhil says:

    Hmm. It’s no Colours. Oddly, the graphics are a massive step down, too: it’s got the horrible mismash of pixel sizes, and sub-pixel positioning, that usually mark out much shabbier efforts. And the dragon’s tail when it takes the flour is shoddy as heck next to Colours’ unfurling tentacle.

  37. LionsPhil says:

    *ahem* Flower, even.

    Completionists: don’t forget that you can be a completely ineffectual dragon who never eats, heals, burns, grows, or stomps on anyone or anything.

    (This is about as interesting as it sounds, though.)

  38. Lucky Main Street says:

    I guess I was also hoping for the different permutations of stages (colour, power, interacting with village, hero) to have more of an outcome on each other and on the final ending. Both Colours and Dragon, in their simplicity, really lend well to exploring permutations. I was never bored or uninterested in finding the different abilities or colours here, but it did seem like the previous stages should’ve had more of an effect on the hero stage, which they don’t seem to. Which is too bad, because XX does a great job of allowing influencing you to explore and create your own narrative. The little things like armour in the basement, the noose, the bloodied villagers, really allow you to think that there’s more going on than is explicit, but the surface narrative and limited interactions leave me feeling a little unsatisfied.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what Weir does next.

  39. Lucky Main Street says:

    Shit, that XX should’ve said “Weir”. Bad editing on my part.

  40. Saeder says:

    All of the behaviors and titles (SPOILERS, duh):

    Behavior
    Fertile – Leaf – Grow fields, trees
    Fiery – Fire – Burn everything
    Necromantic – Heal – Raise the dead
    Rampaging – Any – Jump on people
    Reclusive – Any – Do nothing
    Wild – Leaf – Grow everywhere (buildings)

    Title
    Guardian – Town – Fertile, Necromantic, Reclusive
    Tyrant – Town – Fiery, Rampaging, Wild
    Watcher – Cliffs – Fertile, Necromantic, Reclusive
    Scourge – Cliffs – Fiery, Rampaging, Wild

  41. KafkaTamura says:

    Jumping on commoners makes a really satisfying sound.

  42. Jim Rossignol says:

    And in the game?

  43. kevin says:

    Can you link us to his personal website? Armorgames blocked at many workplaces and I imagine it would draw attention to his other good work more efficiently than linking to works you’ve reported on previously.
    Really, I just want to play it on lunch break.

  44. Sky Jack says:

    The music is oddly reminiscent of Brokeback Mountain.

  45. hi says:

    how the hell i get 4th fire?!?!?@@@?!?!?!?@@?!?!;’

    =]

  46. Nick says:

    yeah how do you get the 4th fire!?

  47. Jayteh says:

    Played it a few days ago when it came out. I was disappointed that collecting all of the elements(?) didn’t produce a special breath.

  48. Thorkarvald says:

    I have been playing for days and can’t find out the 5th behavior…if anyone can help out.

  49. mwahahahaha says:

    the game is fun i think the graphics are a great tribute to what gaming was. I liked the colors just as much. I made a pretty pink dragon, got the fiery breath killed, the evil wizard that captured me and became a fiery watcher ( burn the forest but not the city then head to the mountain). A lot of people are struggling with the titles and behavior so ill make a list of all SEVEN behaviors, how to get them and the titles. WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS

    behaviors
    fiery: get the fire breath and burn everything in your path
    healer: get the healer breath heal the people of the city. DO NOT heal the people in the war there can be no zombies
    necromantic: get the healer breath head to the war zone and make a bunch of zombies
    wild: get the leaf breath grow the city, the crops, and the forest
    fertile: get the leaf breath grow the forest and the crops but not the town
    reclusive: get any breath type and do nothing
    rampaging: get any breath type and jump/eat people
    titles
    guardian: do no harm to the people and make your home the castle . if you want a fiery guardian burn the forest wild guardian grow the forest and houses. necromantic guardian heal everyone but do not hurt the people . so there are some slight variations on the behaviors to get the title you want
    tyrant: kill everyone and everything then land on the castle
    watcher: same thing as the guardian except you land on the mountain
    scourge: kill everyone and everything in your path then land on the mountain