Choose Your Own Adventure. Just that name brings fond memories to many of my generation. You would read through the story, making decisions as you went. I read some of them, and enjoyed them. But, not as much as I might have. Most of them were more real world, and I enjoy fantasy a lot more. It’s a pity I didn’t find any of the RPG style gamebooks. I hadn’t heard much of this style of story in years, and thought they were pretty much dead. It turns out I was wrong.
I ran across them in the last year, or so, because they are seeing a bit of a resurgence. As I said, they were around before in the form of Fighting Fantasy and Fabled Lands titles. I can’t speak for the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, but I have played around with one of the Fabled Lands books. Definitely worth checking out.
I’m not sure why they are seeing a resurgence (not that I’m at all sad, it’s entirely the opposite). It could be related to touch devices like the iPhone and iPad and some digital gamebooks that have emerged. In any case, a few of them have been released as apps. For instance, the first book in the Fighting Fantasy series, as well as the first in the Fabled Lands series is available. They have also re-released some of the each of those series in book form. For instance, the first of four Fabled Lands books is available on Amazon here.
I’ve been following some recent entries into the gamebook universe, though. The first is a series of iOS device (iPhone/iPad) games called Gamebook Adventures from a company by the name of Tin Man Games. The first is titled An Assassin in Orlandes. The whole series is a lot of fun, and the system they have created for iOS devices works great.
The other that I found is a physical book. Although, it might be better to call it a tome, because it is extremely thick! This one is Destiny Quest, written by Michael J. Ward. Some people have described it as an MMO in book form. I don’t know if I would call it that, but the influence is evident and the book is a lot of fun.
Who knows, you might see a gamebook from me sometime in the future. I have always been intrigued by games, and have tinkered with designing them. I love the idea, and have a few ideas floating around that might lend themselves well to a gamebook style adventure. We’ll see.
As for the last two series I mentioned, I intend to do some reviews of them. I need to get through Destiny Quest more before I would feel comfortable doing so, though. I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I would like on that one yet.
This style of book is alive an well. At this time, I don’t see it going away, just changing form slightly, with the advent of tablets and smartphones assisting in that process.
I should mention another place that Choose Your Own Adventure has popped up for me recently. Writer Jen Kirchner has been posting a story where we the readers get to choose the next path. The story is almost done, but she has hinted that there might be another one on the way. So, if that interests you, head on over to her site here and join in the fun.
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