Green Dragon

Green Dragon is a videogame by me that you can read about and play (for free!) on this very website. Presently it comes in Windows, OSX and Linux versions. I made this game for Ludum Dare’s 48 hour Compo, where it placed 55th out of nearly 1500 entries.


One night in university I experienced a fever dream that I still think about every day. In the dream I was an adolescent who’d spent his life stargazing through a telescope. I’d been trying the whole time to discover the location of one particular celestial body: A giant, dead green dragon floating somewhere in deep space. Its existence was rumoured, but never confirmed.

On the night of the dream I finally found it. Through the telescope I could see only fragments: a leg, a wing, a neck. Its corpse was disintegrating gracefully out there, scales trailing off into blackness as they blinked in the starlight. I felt I had to go find the thing; to touch it, to commune with it. This was a task of spiritual importance. In my dream the dragon was everything. It was me; the real me. Somehow I assembled a group of vague companions resembling the cast of a late-’90s Final Fantasy game. We departed from our home planet in search of the dragon, a flock of human forms drifting upwards from the Earth.

I could hear a melody that I remember to this day, plucked from the strings of a harp, which guided me between thousands of stars. I lost my companions somewhere up there; they couldn’t hear the song, I think, or they didn’t want to continue. Maybe they were imaginary. I floated through a field of pixel stars for what felt like many months; all the while, a little green dot in centre view grew larger and larger. Soon I could make out details. Something had built structures on the dragon’s corpse: Metal platforms, I thought, or maybe restraints. They tainted the dragon’s majesty. I felt compelled to break them apart.

When finally I approached the dead dragon the stars went dark. A pair of eyes opened in the blackness, which I knew instinctively to be the eyes of God. The universe itself glared at me, and I froze in place. The world began to rumble as if spacetime were suffering an earthquake. These tremors were the voice of God; I received from them a series of ideas. The dragon was not meant to be touched, they said; God brought it to existence so it might never be found. It was by its very design a stillborn thing, made of features that suggest animation but which would never themselves move. It was a myth born of no history; a monument to imagined life; a divine stillness. A dream for idle children who knew only of telescopes.

When God finished screaming it cast me backwards with cosmic force. My inner ears bent and strained as if I were falling at millions of miles per second; stars whipped past me, and the dead dragon receded into the distance. I found myself on Earth once again, alone and defeated as was the form of the dragon itself.

I’d been meaning to make an actual videogame about this for several years. This is one attempt, likely the first of many. It differs in many important ways from the source material, but I think some of the spirit is there.

This was a good game jam for me. Of course, making a Ludum Dare game is only half the fun of Ludum Dare; the other half is playing everyone else’s Ludum Dare games! I’ll be publishing a list of my favourite entries after judging ends.

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