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Choose Your Own Adventure Books

Posted by Big Boo on May 13th, 2009

choose your own adventureThe Choose Your Own Adventure series of books were incredibly popular during the 1980’s as they gave you, the reader, the chance to alter the story you were reading, at least by a limited degree anyway, as you were obviously limited to what the author the book had written.

Each book in the series took a story concept and set you as the hero.  After reading the first page of the story you would be given a number of options for what you could do next, each with a different page number assigned.  You made your choice, then flicked to the indicated page to continue reading, and so the story could unravel in a slightly different manner with each reading.

At some point your story would come to an end, but how the story ended was obviously up to the choices you had made during reading.  However, for the most part the endings were generally either successful or open ended.  By this I mean that you generally never ended up dying, but you might find yourself in a situation where you were lost in a maze or trapped in a big hole waiting for some monster to come and get you.  This was quite a good idea as it gave you a chance to invent your own way out of the situation.

There was one exception to this, which was the book called Inside UFO 54-40.  The story here was that people were trying to find a way to a fabled paradise, and indeed there was a satisfactory ending where the reader achieved just that.  However, none of the other entries in the book actually led to this page, so the only way to reach paradise was to flick through the book to find the correct entry, which congratulated the reader for bending the rules!  In all the other books this would be considered cheating!

To be honest, whilst I enjoyed reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books I must say I was a much bigger fan of the Fighting Fantasy series, which took this concept and added a bit of dice rolling from the roleplaying game world.  Of course, with those you did tend to cheat a bit on the dice rolling, but I personally just found the stories more interesting.

These books still live on today, but the magic of the Interwebbynet has given us a new way to enjoy them – one which is harder to cheat at (though still not impossible).  The Choose Your Own Adventure Wiki site has a huge number of such stories which you can play simply by clicking on links in your web browser.  What’s more you can help contribute to these stories yourself if you so wish, given the collaborative nature of the Wiki system.