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About the Story
Something went dreadfully wrong in last year's IFFComp. Now a diabolical lawyer representing a cabal of angry dragons threatens to sue the Interactive Fiction Technological Freedom Foundation into oblivion over content on the IFFComp website.
Nominee, Best Use of Innovation - 2018 XYZZY Awards
26th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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I did not in any way participate in or follow the 2017 IF Comp, so I had never heard of The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now, the game to which Re: Dragon is a sort of unofficial 'sequel' -- if that's the right word, which it almost certainly is not. But since Welch's game is quite insistent about our playing that 2017 game first, I decided to do so. Given how low it placed in the competition, The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now is surprisingly fun. I especially liked the way that it goes from 'ominous' (better watch out, if I make the wrong choice I'll be killed, that owl is out to get me) to utterly zany (let's try a flying ninja kick by first ricocheting off of the opposite wall, the shocked expression of the owl be damned). The fact that you can't open the door is... yes, unsatisfying, but that is part of the deal. Not a great game, but certainly not bad.
This means that I entirely sympathise with Welch's wish to rehabilitate the 2017 game through his own 2018 game, which puts it in an entirely new context and thereby gives everything in it an entirely new meaning. I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. I love it. (My own game Nemesis Macana contains a long non-interactive essay in which the fictional author gives a bizarre sex-obsessed reinterpretation of a whole series of famous IF games. Very different from Re: Dragon in form and tone, and yet, there's some underlying similarity.) Of course, this is also why the 2018 game is not really a sequel to the 2017 game. A better image would be that of phagocytosis: Re: Dragon eats up The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now and incorporates it, turning it into something else in the process. You can never read the original work again in the same way.
As a game, it's quite enjoyable. I especially liked the weird e-mails we got as a competition organiser, and if there's one thing I was disappointed about, it was that the e-mail interface sort of stopped being relevant as soon as you got to the choice-based dragon story. It could have been a lot of fun if weird mail had kept coming in, and perhaps also some mail based on the choices we make in the story. Now the two parts of Re: Dragon feel a little disconnected.
Still, playing through it was a good time. I'm not sure the final story makes complete sense -- it certainly doesn't seem to fit all the fictional details of the 2017 game -- but that's fine, since it is in keeping with the essential zaniness of the original. Re: Dragon wants to be fun, and it is fun.
(Though one thing was, alas, missing: a cameo by Stiffy Makane!)
Strap on your meta-goggles, indeed! In Re: Dragon you play as long-suffering IFFComp organizer George MacBraeburn. A lawyer representing a group of dragon oracles is threatening IFFComp and its parent organization, the Interactive Fiction Technological Freedom Foundation, with a lawsuit. The offense: "the outrageous and vile misrepresentation" of the dragon oracles' professional activities in a game from last year's IFFComp, The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now.
The thing is that there really was a game entered in last year's IFComp called The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now. I didn't play it, but apparently it was a bit of a joke game: You can't progress very far in the game at all - and you certainly can't have the dragon tell you your future - because you can't get through the dragon's office doors. No wonder the American Association of Professional Draconian Oracles is upset!
As can probably be told from this setup, Re: Dragon is a comedy that repeatedly makes reference to the IF community. It is, in many places, hilarious.
The gameplay is mediated through George MacBraeburn's email account. It's well-done technically, using Inform and Vorple. I'm quite impressed with one feature in particular, the fact that (Spoiler - click to show)you can actually play The Dragon Will Tell You Your Future Now within Re: Dragon itself!
While it's fun to catch the references to IF and the IF community, Re: Dragon sets its parody sights on other targets, too: gossip magazines, lawyers, weather forecasts, even those forms they make you fill out at the doctor's office.
Some of the funniest parts of the game are incidental to the plot. Make sure you read MacBraeburn's "junk" and "sent" folders. The email to Lorentz Umbert is a masterpiece.
Overall, a little comedic gem that's worth your time, even if you haven't been in the IF community long enough to catch all the references.
This game is a response to the 2017 game The Dragon Will Tell Your Future Now, a sort of troll game that promised an ending that never came, despite it's clever writing.
This current game, Re: Dragon, an unauthorized sequel, purports to tell the true story behind the earlier game. Like the first game, it dabbles with a blend of modern-day language and esoteric magical and astrological terms.
It is presented in a novel format using Vorple to create a false e-mail inbox. Other games have used other methods to do this, both before and after Re: Dragon (including Alethicorp and Human Errors). This is a particularly complex version, with several inboxes, timed messages, and mutating formats, as well as some pictures and sounds.
Overall, the one area I found a bit lacking in the game was emotional investment. It was presented with such irony, absurdity, and complex language that I felt more like an outside observer than an earnest participant.
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