Dragons hold a special place in the origin stories and mythologies of cultures across the world, from ancient China to Europe and everywhere in between.
While dragon lore has always had a place in storytelling, the fantasy genre is the natural place for stories about slaying and befriending dragons, and with movies and TV shows like Game of Thrones, The Hobbit and even Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon holding dragons front and centre, it is no surprise that dragon-themed games are a popular choice for people.
The origin of the dragon stories is unclear. Some think that humans made up stories about dragons because they combined the dangers that early populations would have faced – deadly poisonous snakes, huge cats etc. However, most historians and scientists believe that dragon fables came from the misidentification of bones and fossils that were dinosaurs. Gigantic, fossilized lizards, in the days before we had any understanding of dinosaurs could have been dragons, with the stories about fire breathing and gold hoarding added for extra pizzazz.
The reason we are so obsessed with dragons as part of storytelling though is because they are such malleable characters. The lore related to dragons is simple enough that every child knows what a dragon can do – fly and breathe fire. For fantasy creators, however, the dragon can represent a heroic battle that the hero must win, or a way for the heroine to show she has enough guile to trick the dragon out of their horde. Of course, there are the stories about taming a dragon to follow the hero, whether that is into battle or simply as a mode of transportation.
If you want to get in on the dragon gaming action, below are the top five games to play (and most of them are free!)
The Skyrim series of games are massive open-world adventures full of magic and myth – so it is no surprise that dragons feature prominently in the stories. Dragons in the Skyrim world are a reptilian race that used to be widespread but were thought extinct, and once they show up players learn that not only are they not as beast-like as one would assume, but they are also profoundly intelligent, able to speak and understand different languages, and able to cast their own magic.
Much of the game revolves around fighting and beating the dragons, but in Elder Scrolls V players can temporarily tame and ride dragons to help them complete quests.
2. Dragon Spin
Dragon games don’t have to be complicated role-playing games – you can have all the excitement of a slot machine game with a fun and attractive dragon theme at Jackpot Party.
Much like other slot machines, the Dragon Spin game is based on a five-reel progressive jackpot system with 30 paylines, and it is designed by Bally so you know the game is going to play nicely (and pay out well).
In the game, you have different symbols that mean different things, but the main theme of Asian mythology, dragons, and precious gems are the backbone of the game. It is beautifully designed and easy enough for even beginners to play.
3. Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming
These days you can’t mention dragons without thinking of the beautiful and deadly Daenerys and her brood – and perhaps unsurprisingly, dragons play quite a big part in the Game of Thrones MMORTS (massive multiplayer online real-time strategy) game.
The basic premise is that you control a lord or a lady who is looking for power following the death of Eddard Stark, and you need to make decisions about wo to trust and who to kill to get what you want.
In the game, each player gets access to dragon eggs, so you can hatch and nurture your own dragon to be part of your army and help you defeat your enemies in battle.
4. Genshin Impact
Avid gamers might feel like they recognise the world of Genshin Impact – and that is because it is so close to being a replica of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in style.
Genshin Impact is an open world role-playing game that features breath-taking anime style environments with an interesting elemental magic background. You can travel through the detailed landscapes and complete tasks and quests as well as compete in epic battles.
Dragons are a big part of the storyline in Genshin Impact, and they often interact with the humans and gods in the tales (and not always as friends, either). Be prepared for some epic dragon fights!
Neverwinter is an officially licenced game based in the popular Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms. It is a free-to-play MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) where players can explore and play around in one of the cities from the popular desktop game.
It is heavily dragon-influenced, of course, with specific campaigns and quests dedicated to slaying dragons, big boss fights where the baddie is a dragon, and tons of dragon loot stashed around the map for you to find and use.