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Freeware Garden: The Matter of the Great Red Dragon

Count on Jonas Kyratzes to play with the tropes detailed in The Hero with a Thousand Faces and deliver a brilliant Twine-powered text adventure that simultaneously examines traditional heroic literature values and revels in retelling the classic save-the-world fantasy tale. With The Matter of the Great Red Dragon taking place in the Land of Dreams one can also expect a subtle yet incredibly novel critique of modern societies too. Also a bit of well-placed humour.

The game, originally an entry to the 2014 Fear of Twine exhibition, has you preparing to join Ibrahim of Sadaqah, Faolan the Noble, Vana of Intethi, Halvard of the Wolfkin, Eamhair the Swift and Zhomm the Inscrutable in defeating the Great Red Dragon. The beast that every one hundred years rises from the Clawed Mountain to terrorize the people of the Land of Plenty and serve the Darkest of All Evils.

Fleshing out your character is a delightful experience that may be executed in the traditional choose-your-own-adventure way, but comes with a subtle yet lush historical backdrop and some fine aesthetic choices. Just like a book, a text adventure should never ignore the way it actually looks and Kyraztes knows this. Apparently he also knows how to implement smart development bars that track your character’s progress.

[Disclaimer: Jonas Kyratzes is a friend of mine and I do irrationally adore the Lands of Dreams — oddly, they are the only games I show my non-gaming friends.]

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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