Jonas Kyratzes’s The Matter of the Great Red Dragon is a parable in Twine form. The game is featured as a part of Richard Goodness’s Fear of Twine exhibition and is perhaps one of the more complete experiences I have played so far. It takes about twenty minutes to play through once, and at the authors suggestion, that is all you should play.
In Red Dragon, you play as an adventurer hoping to rid the world of evil and to fight off the Great Red Dragon. This is a story type that has been elaborated on many times, from the works of Tolkien on down to Brian Jacques Redwall series, and fans of that style of story will find the game easy enough to get into. However, for those more accustomed to modern fiction, the thick prose might be difficult to handle. While not quite to the level of “thee” and “thou,” the text is not as tight as more contemporary fiction and that stylistic choice might throw some readers off initially.
As you progress, you choose your weapon and your symbol, the pieces of your identity that will define you in the coming quest. You seek the skills and tools that will help you someday best the Great Red Dragon, while your fellow adventurers do the same. You do not interact with these other adventurers, and you might even forget they exist entirely. Their quests are personal as well, and take place on a different stage.
The world you interact with is populated with lizard men and river gods, the magical kind of world that only seems to exist in fantasy fiction. Some interesting naming choices (a lynx named Epiphany comes to mind) sort of threw me out of the action for a bit, but the characters they are attached to fit into the fable-like atmosphere the game seems to strive to make.
This is a world of magic and myth, and you are a questing adventurer. The ending is interesting, and worth the time spent playing the game. I won’t spoil my ending here, in case there are others. I don’t know if I could classify it as a “good” or “bad” ending, instead perhaps an ending that suited the story thus far.
Overall The Matter of the Great Red Dragon was an interesting read/play, and worth the time. You can play it on the Fear of Twine website, Room 1.