Remake, Reboot, or Rest in Peace? Dragonriders of Pern Game

For over thirty years, master storyteller Anne McCaffrey entertained us with her epic science fantasy series the Dragonriders of Pern. The settings intrigued us, the characters grabbed us, and the stories–oh the stories. Two trilogies initially, two short story collections and over 22 novels. I’ve listed a few of the main titles below.

  • 1968 — Dragonflight
  • 1971 — Dragonquest
  • 1976 — Dragonsong
  • 1977 — Dragonsinger
  • 1978 — The White Dragon
  • 1978 — Dragonriders of Pern (Omnibus)
  • 1979 — Dragondrums
  • 1983 — Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
  • 1984 — Harper Hall Trilogy (Omnibus)
  • 1986 — Nerilka’s Story
  • 1988 — Dragonsdawn
  • 1989 — The Renegades of Pern
  • 1991 — All the Weyrs of Pern
  • 1993 — The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall (a collection of short stories)
  • 1993 — Dragonrider’s Dawn (Omnibus)
  • 1994 — The Dolphins of Pern
  • 1997 — Dragonseye (published as Red Star Rising in the UK)
  • 1998 — The Masterharper of Pern
  • 2001 — The Skies of Pern

Will we ever see our beloved dragons on the big screen or binge them on streaming media? Warner Brothers apparently owns the rights. They brought us Ready Player One and are focused on Fantastic Beasts. Still, I wouldn’t hold my breath on the movie or series any time soon. So why a Remake, Reboot, or Rest in Peace? Why not? And why not a game?

Waaay back in 1983, flash in the pan 8/16 bit computing company Epyx began bringing us a bevy of sports games to play. Amongst them some solid titles like Winter Games, Summer Games, Pitstop & Pitstop II. But they all came after a daring release that blended arcade action and political strategy, Dragonriders of Pern.

“As a game, Dragonriders of Pern is unique.”

Computer Gaming world review by David Stone

Unique, yes. Good, yes. Popular? Not so much. Players found it difficult to master both the fast and frenzied thread fighting segments and the patient strategies needed to succeed in the diplomatic portion of the game. It failed.

Epyx would also fail, killed by lawsuits, piracy, and just bad luck. A sequel for the Commodore 64, Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, was never completed.

A buggy, cut scene heavy and generally frowned upon Dragonriders: Chronicles of Pern came out for PC and Dreamcast in 2001. It was more interactive story than game, and had canon issues as well. Avoid.

A pretty good board game by Mayfair Games also came out in 1983. Mayfair brought us Pern, Settlers of Cataan, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, and not much else. They were acquired in 2016 by French gaming powerhouse Asmodée. They own the rights to Diplomacy***, the third-best game ever after Chess and Go.

Decision time. Remake, reboot, or RIP?

What does basing a game on Dragonriders give us? Intricate world building on a massive scale. Science Fiction and Fantasy elements. Factions, frenemies. Dragons as characters. Wait, what? Yup. Dragons. As. Characters. Sold.

Let’s take a hint from Horizon Zero Dawn and provide a visually stunning experience.

Make it multiplayer, maybe a Black Desert-inspired offering from Kakao Games or something like with the feel of Age of Wushu by Snail. Or stick with solid gaming giant with deep pockets and a player base ready for a new adventure. Yeah. Talking Blizzard here.

Save me an Apprentice Harper slot.


***One of the biggest–literally and figuratively–attractions at the 1981 ZerCon in Huntsville, Alabama (at the Kings Inn Hotel) was the giant Diplomacy game. Buy it. Play it. Now.