Play as you read. Don't read ahead. For too long, the dragon has terrorized your village. Name your village. Think on the people who have died, and on those you must still protect. Name them all. You have come to the entrance of its cave to slay it. Describe your weapon. Place a D6 in front of you. Ready yourself for battle. The dragon must die. This ends here. Everything ends here, in fact. When you kill that dragon, this story ends. This world simply ceases to be. Every life you've saved dissolves into the static of your memory. And, in time, memories fade. Maybe you'll hear a joke, or have a rough commute, and this world will drift into nothingness. You could walk away though, leaving that dice on the table to remind you of the world you let live, in peril but alive. Choose now. Stop reading and walk away, or keep reading and enter the cave. I suppose I knew you'd make this choice. Roll the D6. That's how many hits it takes to kill the dragon. Picture them. You did it. You killed the dragon. You saved the village. I hope you had fun. The end.
Inspirations for this game include: Aura Belle’s A Real Game (https://auramakesgames.itch.io/arg), which beautifully explores similar metatextual territory; The Tragedy Of GJ 237b by Ben Lehman and Aura Belle (http://www.tao-games.com/the-tragedy-of-gj-237b/), which shares some mechanical and thematic ground; the video game Save The Date (http://paperdino.com/save-the-date/), which reaches a similar ending through a wildly different set of circumstances, and which I played years ago, and have been haunted by ever since; and Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man, which is a brilliant meditation on the stories we tell and how we tell them.
If you play this game (which, thank you!), please don’t spoil it for anyone, BUT, I would love it if you would tweet at me, @PartyOfOnePod, and tell me simply, if you read the game to the end, yes or no. That would make me very happy.
And, in the name of full disclosure, because I couldn’t ask you to play this, and to answer that question without opening up to you in return, know, if I played this game… my answer would have been a yes, whether I wanted it to be no or not.