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Scaled Up: Choice Of The Dragon

I was 'at death's door' almost immediately. Sigh.

It’s hot text time, you. Choice Of The Dragon collided with my consciousness the other day, and after initially sneering at the concept of a multiple choice question-based game about pretending to be a fantasy stereotype, I quickly discovered that the only thing a narrow mind brings me is a lesser gaming life.

Hidden under this free browser game’s superficially shallow, box-ticking presentation is a smart roleplayer-lite. The thing about being a dragon, see, is that it gives you free license to be a bit of prick. So the the titular choice in this game is about what kind of prick you want to be.

The kind of big lizard that goes and razes towns and snacks on anything even slightly alive, or a scheming snake invisibly pulling kingdoms’ strings, with a goblin army at your behest? Different stats (including brutality, honour and, brilliantly, disdain) mean different strengths, and the wrong choice means mounting wounds and, eventually, death.

There’s more than conquering and looting too – my dragon singularly failed to woo a mate, and thus wound up rich but oh-so-lonely and grumpy.

It’s essentially a fighting fantasy book, but with a sensibly smart chunk of the raw luck element replaced by common sense strategising. It’s rather endearingly pithy, too.

I realise saying this about any text-based game is the height of heresy, but a low-key visualiser, depicting a simple, static image of your dragon and his lair that alters slightly depending on key events, would probably elevate it from Rather Interesting to Massively Charming. Never mind, that’s what our imaginations are for.

Now, go play, and share your drag-o-stats below.

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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