Edit: Turns out, we’ve already reviewed this game and I’m a totally forgetful person and wrote about it again. Please read Brinstar’s full review of the game here!
Choice of the Dragon is a text-based multiple choice roleplaying game that has a full web version along with an Android and iOS version. One of our readers, Patrick, has submitted screenshots of a few of the questions in the game. Similar to Echo Bazaar, Choice of the Dragon allows players to have more than just two binary gender options. The game also questions the sexist nature of RPGs always using princesses who need to be rescued as plot elements within their games.
The game actually allows you to play as whichever gender you want, pick mates regardless of gender, and make conscious decisions to be avoid being sexist. This sounds like a Border House win to us. While doing some digging, I came across a blog post by one of the Choice of Games designers who identifies as feminist.
Many video games assume a male protagonist, and I actively wanted to avoid that presumption. At the same time, our games require a certain amount of identification between the player and the character. A game that’s written in the second person runs into problems if the player can’t accept that “you” means both the character and the player.
Once we settled on a dragon as the protagonist of our first game, “Choice of the Dragon,” many of the gender issues became easy. No need at all for us to assign a sex to the player’s dragon—it’s perfectly easy to ask the player what their dragon’s sex is. Likewise, even the mating scene could be done
The biggest sticking point was really the most iconic. Dan was committed to the idea that dragons kidnap princesses. From his perspective, that was a necessary trope in the fire-breathing dragon genre. I was equally committed to the idea that kidnapping princesses but not princes conveys a message of dependence and incompetence about women that was not acceptable. We ended up deciding to directly confront the player with it with a choice, which we thought was sufficiently amusing to put into our screenshots for promoting the mobile versions. Working on balancing the issues between using tropes and avoiding the long and ugly history of patriarchy in fantasy ended up producing fun gameplay.
The company has a few other games available in the same format, including Choice of Romance, and Choice of the Vampire. I haven’t had a chance to play those yet, but feel free to play them and report on their inclusiveness as well in our comments.
Choice of the Dragon is free-to-play online and is definitely worth the time it takes to run through and make your dragon. Give it a try and let us know what you think!