Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Choose Your Own Adventure

***********Just for the sake of clarity - the theme for my A to Z postings is gaming in the 1980's with my friends.*************

Choose Your Own Adventure books



The concept of these books is pretty simple.  The reader assumes - some later series added minimal character generation rules - the role of the main character in the story and the decisions made at certain points of the story determined the direction of the story.  The reader usually read between half of a page to several pages and then was given a list of choices.  Following the choice would lead to an outcome and you would then arrive at another list of options. 

This series of books was widely available in my local area.  The library had a whole section of them in the middle school, the book fairs at school always had several of them for sale, and the weekly readers from grade school would have several of these listed in them on a regular basis. 

When the gaming group was not gaming, we often did other things in our spare time.  One of those activities was reading through one of these books.  I read a ton of these things as a child and also branched out into other series such as Pick a Path to Adventure, Lone Wolf, Sorcery, and Zork just to keep the list small.  Of course, we would usually buy different books and then swap them when we were done reading them.  I remember keeping a notebook that would list the choices made in the book and whether or not they led to victory  or defeat.  I would pull these books out at a later date and read through just the victory choices so I could have a smooth read without backtracking after defeat. 

I believe these have somewhat come back into some level of popularity now.  I would read new ones today but I would probably want one of the series that included a limited form of character creation before beginning the read.  Of course, I may still have a small box of these in storage at my parents.  I wonder if that notebook with all of the solutions are there also?  Hmmm.... 

29 comments:

  1. Hi Charlie,

    You are right that gamebooks are making a resurgence. If you want some that include character creation, try Choice of Games (http://www.choiceofgames.com/) or possibly some from the Choose Your Own Adventure Wiki (http://editthis.info/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure/Main_Page).

    Also all the Lone Wolf books are online for FREE! (www.projectaon.com)and there are some amateur Fighting Fantasy books at www.ffproject.com.

    There's lots to choose from.

    Stuart

    Lloyd of Gamebooks - virtualfantasies.blogspot.com

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    1. Hey Stuart,
      Thanks for the info! I WILL be checking out those links and getting the hookup on some gamebooks!

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  2. This brings back memories. I still have a pile of old Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy on the bookshelf - each and every one of them complete with furiously rubbed out flow charts and angry notes to myself. I never stumbled across Choose Your Own Adventure, alas.

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    1. Hmmm...the funny thing is that I don't remember reading the Fighting Fantasy books. I have seen some but I need to try one out.

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  3. Read of a lot of this type of book as a kid! Good memories associated with those times!

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  4. I loved those books as a kid and now my daughters are getting into them as well! Even better is that American Girl also came out with a series of Pick Your Own Adventures. Actually that's a judgement call I'm not sure of because I love fantasy a bit more and I haven't read the American Girl ones yet but my youngest seems to love them!

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    1. I will track down the American Girl books for my daughter. Thanks for the heads up!

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  5. C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

    Been waiting months to use that. I feel better now.

    As for the choose your own adventure, I had a really cool one. You actually had to create your own PC using d6. Then there would be combat in the game and you had to roll dice and do combat.

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    1. Cookie oughtta be good enough for everybody! lol

      That does sound like a cool book you had. I need to find that one.

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  6. I read these as a kid, too... I loved the Star Wars ones. Those were the stuff.

    Matt

    matt-maverick.blogspot.com

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  7. I've actually never read a "choose your own adventure" book, but I've always thought it an interesting device.

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    1. Hmm...maybe you should read one and let everyone know what you think?

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  8. I used to write my own CYOA books when I was younger... I've never actually read any of them, though.

    I've seen some new ones at the library where I work. American Girl is putting out a few (that are supposed to teach "values and life choices"). I think they're rather boring, but my little sister enjoys them. :)

    - Lauren @Word Art

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    1. Very cool. I may have to look in to getting those American Girl ones for my daughter.

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  9. Now I did get to read these when I was a kid. I didn't really like them that much because I often felt like the choices I made leading to my survival only depended on luck, not my careful attention to detail. Maybe I just read bad ones. Some choices made no sense at all.

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    1. That's a fair assessment. There are some some really good ones and there are also a ton of them quickly slapped together after their popularity soared.

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  10. I used to read those but I usually ended up dead, rocks, falling, swords. Loved them. Ah memories. :) Great post!

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    1. Oh yeah! lol

      That's why I kept track in a notebook so I could figure out how to get through the book!

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  11. Stopping by as part of the A to Z Challenge. I read a lot of Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was growing up -- loved them!

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    1. I read a ton of these books also. I could probably read all of them again now because it's been long enough that every thing would be new.

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  12. I stumbled onto your blog through the A to Z challenge. I used to have about 50 of those books. My mom gave them away after I moved out. I still don't forgive her!! What a great memory. I need to find one to read now.

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    1. Bummer :-(. I hear that giving someone else's CYOA books away is considered a crime in some areas! Seriously, I agree about finding one to read now because I need to do the same thing!

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  13. Nice! I used to write books like that. First I did it as a hobby, later I actually got paid to write it :) It is not easy to create one, the plot gets out of hand easy, but I loved doing it anyway :)
    Happy A to Z! :)

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    1. Cool! Nice to hear from an actual CYOA-type author. Thanks for the comment and I am off to check out your blog.

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  14. Ooh I remember these! I used to read through all the possible endings to make sure I didn't miss anything. Haha... (sorry it's a few days late--finally got around to clicking around the top of the A to Z list!)

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  15. Hello,

    Edward Packard - the originator of Choose Your Own Adventure is actually giving a rare interactive reading from 'Return to the Cave of Time' this Sunday June 24th in New York. Full info is here: http://bit.ly/Mn9ONI - he's now 81, but spritely, so it should be a memorable event.

    I'm not sure where you are based, but it sounds right up your street!

    Nathan

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    1. I would LOVE to attend this event but it's a little bit out of the way from my location - Oklahoma - or I would definitely be there!

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