Monday, April 4, 2022

A to Z 10 Year Update: C is for Choose Your Own Adventure

This post has been updated since originally being published on April 3, 2012.

A to Z 2012: Gaming in the 1980s 

Choose Your Own Adventure books

The concept of these books is pretty simple.  The reader assumes - some other 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 have seen a board game of some sort at Target.  I've been tempted to buy it but I never have. I would read new ones today, but I would probably want one of the series that included a limited form of character creation before starting the book.  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 is there also?  Hmmm.... 

I used Choose Your Own Adventure to fill the "C" entry, but I probably could have just as easily used the Zork books for the "Z" entry.  I preferred the Zork and Sorcery books because the consistent fantasy elements compared to the reality elements - ok, maybe "Hollywood reality" - of the Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Make no mistake about it.  I still enjoyed them and would give them a read today.

As far as the box of old books and the notebook with the paths leading to the solution?  Without going full Springer on you, it is highly unlikely that I will ever find out due to real world drama.  I'll just leave it at that.  Besides, we're here to discuss gaming instead of dishing on nonsense.

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