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Your adventure ends here. Badly.
July 22, 2012 6:42 PM   Subscribe

YOU CHOSE WRONG. A children's treasury of horrible "choose your own adventure" story endings.
posted by lalex (73 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
As terrible as these books were, I only now realized that there really is some value in having stories that (temporarily) end with the hero dying, period, THE END. And I just realized video games have the same value, which TV and movies and (traditional) books lack.
posted by DU at 6:47 PM on July 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was surprised by how few of these entries were from actual Choose Your Own Adventure books. I mean, there were just tons and tons of them, right? I remember the grim endings vividly.
posted by hermitosis at 6:56 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's nothing for you to do here.
You grow bored.
Very bored.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:57 PM on July 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


My all-time favorite gamebook ending is from Wizards, Warriors & You, Book 17: "Conquest of the Barbarians."

Without the Wizard to intercede, this drama can have only one conclusion.

Goldenhair's magic has turned your heart into a well of blackness. Your Battle-Axe is poised in the air, and soon you will make certain that the King has nothing on which to wear his crown. Then both the crown and the kingdom will pass to the bronzed barbarian.

So your twisted mind believes. Alas, foolish Warrior, your eyes are blinded by a sorcerer's deception. Evil has not granted you the power to triumph over a King's courage and heart.

King Henry's lance flies through your armor before you can bring down the Battle-Axe.

"You have pierced my heart," you gasp to the King.

"Your pain will soon be over," King Henry says, in a voice trembling and sad. "But for this deed, my heart will ache forever."

Your vision dims even though your eyes do not close. You cannot see the life-and-death struggles around you. You can only feel your own.

Who is victorious at the battle's end — King Henry, or Goldenhair? Does the Wizard live to defend Henry again?

These are the questions you will take unanswered to your grave. The dead have no use for answers.


END



...there are a lot of really gruesome deaths in that book (there is only ONE "good" ending) but that one has stuck with me for nearly two decades.

I own two copies.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:05 PM on July 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


"The students rise. Looks like you'll make medical history on this planet. Whether you like it or not."

.
posted by lalex at 7:07 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ooh when I get home from vacay I'm going to submit a few from Woman Up The Corporate Ladder. As I recall one of them has you go insane after the media attention your product has received goes away, and you are reduced to wandering the halls of your office naked whilst pretending to be interviewed. That book is something special.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:07 PM on July 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was surprised by how few of these entries were from actual Choose Your Own Adventure books.

I recognized several on the first page.
posted by DU at 7:09 PM on July 22, 2012


Choose Your Own Adventure #45: You Are a Shark, 1985

what
posted by Gator at 7:12 PM on July 22, 2012 [19 favorites]


I love the Freeway Warrior ones.
Suddenly the windshield shatters and you feel something burn deep into your chest. The broken glass spins before your eyes and a terrifying numbness spreads from your chest to your limbs. Kate screams in terror, then silence engulfs you as your roadster slams into the side of a derelict gas station and explodes in a brilliant ball of orange flame.
Just the way I wanted to go!
posted by Kevin Street at 7:13 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


As terrible as these books were,

I don't think I agree with this statement. Some were strikingly imaginative.

Growing up I only had the chance to read one, #3, "Space And Beyond" by R.A. Montgomery. At the start you're told that, having been born on a deep space research vessel, you are given the opportunity to choose your home planet and then travel there. There were all kinds of weird things that happened on the way there.

I remember a particularly non-intuitive thing about the story. One of the possible plots that could develop features a place where you are brought up against a spreading plague. In this plot at one point you are asked if, as an alien, you think that you are immune to the plague. Oddly, whichever way you choose turns out to be the true.

Additionally oddly, the only way to get a positive outcome in this plot, in which you discover a cure and are hailed a hero, is to choose not to be immune to the disease. All of the ways in which you choose to be immune end up in failure.

Well, it's been around 30 years since I read that thing so I could be remembering it wrong. If I have it right, it was an interesting design decision.
posted by JHarris at 7:13 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also: Is this the thread where we talk about how awesome the Ultima Ending in Inside UFO 54-40 was?
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:17 PM on July 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, man, I gobbled these up as a kid. I think I was doing it wrong because I kept searching for the goriest and most terrible ending. The things authors got away with in books disguised as "kids' books."

The one I remember most is some take-off of Fantastic Voyage where you were inside the human body and a white blood cell was after you as you raced to escape before your submarine got huge again. You made it out okay and your sub got big again, but the blood cell somehow also got big and went on a Godzilla-esque White Blood Cell That Ate Manhattan rampage. That shit was fucked up.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:23 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I played a few of these books as a teenager. It seemed that many of the endings were deliberately arbitrary, some kind of commentary that even the greatest warrior may stub his toe and get a blood infection and die, or get too curious and touch a random cursed statue and become a slave to an ancient god for all eternity.

A couple of them had sensible consequences: like in one, if I recall correctly, you journey to the underworld to slay some demonic enemy, with a holy weapon you needed to keep hidden up until the last moment, and you were SPECIFICALLY WARNED that drawing this weapon early would alert the entire demonic plane to your existence and that YOU SHOULD NOT DO SO because you would be completely overwhelmed and killed. Yet the game book gives you several opportunities to do so, of course, leading to your immediate demise.

I'm intrigued by failure, and the permanence of failure in games. I believe failure becomes trivial when there's no consequence. On one hand it seems like modern designers believe that no one should fail (I don't think it's possible to fail to finish Diablo3 on "normal" difficulty, for example - you simply can't. You can get bored, but that's another story.). Yet, on the other hand, many games like Monopoly, have essentially 1 winner and 5 losers - the overwhelming experience of people who play Monopoly is one of failure, and it's pretty permanent at that (very rarely do people play several Monopoly games back to back, so once you've lost... you've lost). There's probably a really clever game mechanic involving failure and permanence that is waiting to be discovered here.
posted by xdvesper at 7:29 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Do I love these books? Does a bear jog in the woods?
posted by arcticseal at 7:39 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, you chose wrongly. Goddammit, America. Why do you hate adverbs?
posted by Decani at 7:40 PM on July 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a kid, I felt like getting to the last page of these books somehow constituted victory. So I'd work backwards from the last page, and I'd choose my own adventure in reverse.

I guess what I'm saying is that I had/have issues.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:41 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: You chose wrong.
posted by Huck500 at 7:42 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


you were a shark.
truer words.
posted by camdan at 7:43 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband, Mr Fighting Fantasy, thanks you for this post.
posted by Catch at 7:44 PM on July 22, 2012


I like this one which seems to be basically admonishing you for not working on your homework right now.
posted by maryr at 7:51 PM on July 22, 2012


xdvesper: The 12th Lone Wolf book was like that, where you had to keep the overpowered magic sword sheathed or every Darklord would descend upon you immediately--until you got to the evil capital city to destroy the McGuffin with it. Don't know if you're thinking of that or another one, as part of the trick was that nobody knew Lone Wolf was back from the alternate dimension.
posted by stevis23 at 7:51 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Among my other favorite "bad ends": from CYOA #55: The Trumpet of Terror (where you play a Viking youth) there is one ending where you die and get a "The End" page, but the book continues in an epilogue where you go on to Valhalla.

It blew my middle-school mind.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:55 PM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh god, I loved CYOA and Fighting Fantasy as a kid, to the point that I can still recognize several of these by the distinctive fonts. So awesome! Thanks for posting!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:57 PM on July 22, 2012


My favorite death from Grailquest 8: Legion of the Dead.
89

Swiftly you drop on one knee, spin on your right foot, reach back with your left hand, bend your left elbow, drop your right shoulder, shift the weight of your body forward, grip the hand on your mouth and use your opponent's superior strength to hurl him through the doorway and almost fifty feet along the corridor.

Unfortunately he was biting your neck at the time and so has taken a hefty chunk of your throat with him.

Beaten once again, Old Bean
and on your way to dread 14.
posted by zamboni at 7:58 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I loved CYOA, but I especially loved a series of books called Time Machine, which were essentially choose your own adventure books with a time travelling frame narrative. On the first page there was a picture of a button that said something like "start the machine!" and then the next page was a spiral.

I always actually pushed the button.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:00 PM on July 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


Was Time Machine the series where there was almost no way to die?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:01 PM on July 22, 2012


What? No Cave Of Time?
posted by sourwookie at 8:04 PM on July 22, 2012


Looks like there was even a rock star variant. Endings presumably including, drug overdose, plane crash, suicide, murder by psycho stalker fan, and the ever popular bus plunge.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:04 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there were no negative endings, you were just sent back in time so you'd have to make different decisions.

My favorite book in that series is the one where you were sent into the future 21st century to discover mysterious signals from Saturn's moons. Future Earth was a fascinating place.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:05 PM on July 22, 2012


I remember finding a Doctor Who CYOA-style book at a used book store back in undergrad. It was depressing to be the companion who needed to be rescued, even if was the Fourth Doctor where that sort of thing happened a lot.
posted by smirkette at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2012


No, you chose wrongly. Goddammit, America. Why do you hate adverbs?

I'd go with poorly, myself.
posted by zamboni at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes. What I loved was the unpredictability of these books, the arbitrariness. I don't know why, but it always tickled me (still does) that no matter how hard you thought about your decision, the consequences were likely as not to be something that you could not possibly have predicted. Much like real life, and yet very few types of play illustrate this point – as others have mentioned, it doesn't come up in regular books (usually), or video games, or most anything. And when it does, it's usually unsatisfying – but in CYOA books, it was somehow fun.
posted by Scientist at 8:10 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are people going to start using these as commentary on other subjects like they do with GIFs and rage comics?

smirkette:I remember finding a Doctor Who CYOA-style book at a used book store...

Yeah - our school library had one of these but it was a sixth doctor one - didn't stick with that one long. My primary school mind couldn't handle The Doctor losing.
posted by Start with Dessert at 8:11 PM on July 22, 2012


Probably worthy of mention is that one of the more famous of the Choose Your Own Adventure-type books, the Lone Wolf series, was released for free by the author, Joe Dever. The full text of all the books has been released online, and there's a really nice program to run you through books 1 through 12, Seventh Sense, which is fully Win/Mac/Linux compatible. Not open source, sadly, but it's good.

What I particularly like about it is the 'no take-backsies'.... once you make a choice, you're stuck with it. No bookmarks, you're stuck with your choices. It makes the games much more interesting, in my opinion. With paper books, exploring that world is largely a matter of willpower, but with the program, willpower isn't a factor.

Recommended. And don't forget to toss a few bucks in his tip jar if you like it, he's been working away at that program, off and on, for years now.
posted by Malor at 8:12 PM on July 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


"See you in twenty years, Jem."

Eerily prescient.
posted by maryr at 8:23 PM on July 22, 2012


And when it does, it's usually unsatisfying – but in CYOA books, it was somehow fun.

I think I have an answer for why this is.

It has to do with the degree you take the game as a simulation that you watch and participate in, or if you closely identify with the game's protagonist, like it's kind of an extension of "you."

In the latter case, failure becomes a judgement on you -- you failed, you messed up, you should have played better but you didn't, and so there you sit with the big L branded on your forehead. Ha ha, look at the loser, he lost.

In the other case, it's more like you think, "huh, that's interesting. Let's try it again." By having some arbitrary times when you fail through no real fault of your own, the book helps you not to take it so seriously. And in front of and behind the pages where your character's fate is related are the same character, either succeeding or failing through no less arbitrary decisions. Maybe this time we'll find one of those.

I think this is a big thing in computer gaming especially. In Roguelikes, death is so common, and sometimes arbitrary, that you're laughing at the hapless @-sign more than thinking, even for a slim moment, "oh my gosh I've died haven't I?"

Although the books are all written in first person, they still help to keep some distance between the character and the reader, and that makes reading them almost like performing an experiment -- if we make this kind of decision, maybe things will turn out better. Not this time? Well, let's do the other thing next time. It's not like we have a lot to lose by trying it.
posted by JHarris at 8:29 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dirk the Daring had it pretty rough too.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:30 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here it is!

Responsibility for saving The Doctor is a heavy burden.
posted by Start with Dessert at 8:30 PM on July 22, 2012


Now I'm imagining a variant of Lemmings with just one creature to save, but he's a Time Lord.

Click on the "3" role to use the sonic screwdriver against Daleks! Click on the "4" to deploy jelly babies! Click on the "6" to piss everyone off!
posted by JHarris at 8:32 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm more used to the modern Who. Click '8' to commit genocide.
posted by maryr at 8:41 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dirk the Daring had it pretty rough too.

I loved Dragon's Lair! (And Space Ace.) But at fifty cents a pop, they were too expensive to play very often. So it was usually more fun to watch other people play and die horribly.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:46 PM on July 22, 2012


Amaaazing. Thanks for posting.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:57 PM on July 22, 2012


Fuck Facebook let's float to Africa
posted by jcruelty at 9:20 PM on July 22, 2012


God I could post all day on CYOA's of various stripes. Can't find my earlier comment from an earlier thread. I collect em and saved a bunch from my youth for my daughters, who no doubt will disdain them when old enough to care. But man. Choose Your Own Jewish Adventure. Choose Your Own Erotic Adventure. Grailquest (Legion of the Dead one of the funniest ever. So dry.) That infamous fighting fantasy or whatever that breaks the 4th wall and you have to cheat to win and it's impossible-- not like UFO 54-40 impossible but like REALLY impossible, nobody ever beats it--

I flog Life's Lottery at every op, it's really the only "adult" CYOA and it surprises me there aren't more. But interactivity and dramatic impact are directly and inversely correlated as Tom Bissell et al have explained at length. If you can put your finger in the book and flip back from death what is death but a lark

But man I loved the CYOAs, Interplanetary Spy, the Zork gamebooks (grim endings there! grim woodcut illustrations as well) Check Damien's gamebooks page, hell check my collection for some of the more estoeric ones... there were so many.

R.A. Montgomery you terrible writing crypto-metaphysical bastard... you taught us all about the pointless and arbitrary nature of life and death with your sudden pit-trap death endings

You Are a Shark is good btw. One of the better ones.
posted by jcruelty at 9:29 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also related (??) : Video Game Death Scenes
posted by jcruelty at 9:37 PM on July 22, 2012


I cannot have been the only kid who kept a finger in every single branch point until I had exhausted its options so I could a) backtrack from my inevitable gruesome death and b) explore all the options without having to start from page 1. I devoured CYOAs like candy at the library - I wouldn't even check them out, I'd just sit down and run the gamut of being crushed by spikes, floundering in quicksand, and disappearing forever with an unkempt stranger. Also I'd read through the book and then swap it for another. When bored, I'd read them in a linear fashion to see how much sense they made. I may have spent too much time in the library.
posted by sysinfo at 9:38 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish this one were real (Metafilter comment self-link)
posted by zippy at 9:46 PM on July 22, 2012


I still remember one of the endings from "The Race Forever" as you die horribly somewhere on the African savannah: "The ants have a field day."

Man, I still want to visit Africa someday. I'll bring some Raid.
posted by smoothvirus at 9:51 PM on July 22, 2012


Choose Your Own Erotic Adventure.

!!!!

preemptive best post nominee for sure.
posted by lalex at 9:52 PM on July 22, 2012


Creature of Havoc - this is the impossible FF adventure. Quite interesting, I mean it forces you to be a beast and fight against your bestial nature in a visceral & compelling fashion... but impossible though, you can't tell me ANYONE ever beat this without walkthrough (which didn't exist back then!! pre internet)

The Classics Professor: Create Your Own Erotic Fantasy. (Eh. As I've said elsewhere, I find You Are a Shark more erotic)

Escape From the Holocaust

posted by jcruelty at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Mystery of Chimney Rock, now available to play-read on your computer, through the magic of HYPERTEXT.

(I still have my first-edition copy of Cave of Time.)
posted by tzikeh at 10:14 PM on July 22, 2012


I still remember the ending in The Magic of the Unicorn where the girl becomes trapped in a tunnel too narrow to turn around in, and if suffocation in total darkness in a state of near immobility is not bad enough, there are also lots and lots of spiders.

Fuck I'm hyperventilating.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 10:29 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


How I loved the Interplanetary Spy books. They may have been my favorite series, though the Dungeons and Dragons books had a bunch of grim endings.

Pillars of Pentegarn, for example, has one where your companions turn into a skeleton and attacks you.

I seem to recall one of the Choose Your Own Adventures (Space Patrol, if memory serves) has an ending where you go insane and sing "Henry the Eighth I Am" along with your computer. (Also I was just trying to think of the name of the Ultima ending in Inside UFO 54'40" the other day.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:52 PM on July 22, 2012


Relevant, I think: Whirlwind World, a CYOA rap album. Your family turns into robots and attacks you... and then things start to get weird. There are loops, there are deaths, there is a chance to discover the secret of all reality. It's a luridly condensed version of all the CYOA books mashed together.
posted by egypturnash at 10:59 PM on July 22, 2012


Loved the CYOA books as a kid. In the "Learn to Use a Computer" class, my friends and I had lots of free time after finishing the assigned work early - we spent most of it making Hypercard stacks of our own (generally much more violent/obscene) CYOA paths.

Thinking back, I think they deliberately gave us so much unstructured time so the curious kids could get the opportunity to explore. I hope.
posted by porpoise at 11:00 PM on July 22, 2012


Do kids still like these books? I was thinking about giving some of the original CYOA to my nephew, but they don't seem very popular any more. I thought they would be immortal!
posted by Surprised By Bees at 12:13 AM on July 23, 2012


Between those CYOA endings and the threat of Impending Thermonuclear Holocaust, is it a surprise that Gen X grew up to be such a pessimistic, surly bunch?

Looking back, it is obvious that the gruesomeness and arbitrariness of some CYOA plotlines reflected the existential anguish of a myriad young aspiring authors forced to write gimmicky children's fare to earn some money. I wonder whether some of them got a break in "serious" literature and are now respected authors. Surely most of those CYOA books were written under pseudonyms?
posted by Skeptic at 1:57 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I suspect full over half of the Metafilter community and 100% of the mods would hate this, but I would love to create a Choose Your Own Adventure scattered through Mefi comments in different links.

I would also love to be able to post pictures of my kitties in every single FPP, but that's not going to happen either.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:21 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's interesting you should ask that, Skeptic. Ellen Kushner herself (author of critically acclaimed fantasy Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer) got her start writing various Choose Your Own Adventure books (Mystery of the Secret Room and The Enchanted Kingdom were my favorites).

In fact, when I met her a few years ago, I even got her to autograph one of them for me!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 3:30 AM on July 23, 2012


tzikeh:
"The Mystery of Chimney Rock, now available to play-read on your computer, through the magic of HYPERTEXT."

Squee! This is the one I remember best.
posted by Catch at 3:44 AM on July 23, 2012


I cannot have been the only kid who kept a finger in every single branch point

No, no you were not.

When bored, I'd read them in a linear fashion to see how much sense they made. I may have spent too much time in the library.

O. M. G.

Not that I'd wish this on my worst enemy, but I'm pretty sure that one of us was separated at birth.

I'd read them linearly as well, and then go back to see if I could pick the "correct" path by memory.
posted by Blue_Villain at 4:35 AM on July 23, 2012


I am friends with Andrew, who is the genius behind this site. A while back on my blog, I invited all six of my readers to choose their own adventure with a recent Doctor Who CYOA-type book, Claws of the Macra. (results are here.)

After Andrew started this I went back through that book to get him some failures out of it and was shocked and enraged to find that...there aren't any. You can't fail.

Is this what our world has come to? CYOA books you can't meet horrible deaths in? No wonder our children are such delicate lily flowers.
posted by Legomancer at 4:48 AM on July 23, 2012


I used to get the Fighting Fantasy books out of my school's library (they were easier to transport around than the Asterix and Tintin books, which were my other go-to). Couldn't get away with rolling dice in class, though, so I tended to just make the choices and assume I won all the battles/collected enough treasure/did whatever you needed to do to reach the end.

Some of them were ridiculously hard - I remember one where you could very easily die in the final room, where the correct sequence was 1) Refuse to give the MacGuffin to the villain; 2) Wait for the Elemental Evil Of Evilness to get really close; 3) Give the MacGuffin to the villain, but slowly enough that it would pass through the forcefield around him; 4) Wait for the EEoE to kill him instead of you now that he has the MacGuffin. Got any of that wrong? Instant death, play the whole book again.

In terms of gruesomeness, the one I remember best was a space-themed adventure, when you could die by getting trapped in an entirely mirrored room with a single laser gun. It fired once, at which point the beam bounced around the room and blew off all your limbs in turn. Kind of unpleasant for a book ostensibly written for kids...
posted by ZsigE at 5:04 AM on July 23, 2012


My mom used to read the books before I could and tell me which adventures I was allowed to choose.
posted by orme at 7:03 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember winding up on the Titantic in one of these books.
posted by orange swan at 8:09 AM on July 23, 2012


Godzilla-esque White Blood Cell

Blobbo, the White Cell Menace. I have that one.
posted by BeeDo at 8:17 AM on July 23, 2012


You made the wrong choice!
Everything blows up.


I can see why that inspired the whole thing.
posted by Drastic at 8:23 AM on July 23, 2012


I used to devour CYOA and the Wizards, Warriors, And You series. My favorite ending is from a Wizards book that I'd um, borrowed from the library and was completely absorbed in, hiding in a corner of the playground to ditch P.E. After a long struggle and a hard-won victory, my party of heroes was on the way home when a roar and a tremendous crash from the forest alerted us to a dragon's approach. We fought hard and nearly lost, but eventually defeated the dragon with our last ounce of strength.

And then, the ground shook, the sky grew dark, and we raised our weary heads to look up as an impossibly massive dragon rose from the trees and screamed in sulfury breath, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY CHILD?"

Good times.
posted by xedrik at 9:57 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chimney Rock had the most haunting Bad Ending that I can remember. The one with the broken knick-knack that can never be fixed. I haven't read that shit for like 25 years and I still remember it.
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember a Robin Hood themed CYOA, where you started out as a kid at summer camp learning archery. Then when you accidentally shot an arrow into the woods and went to retrieve it time travel happened. That had some fucked up death scenes.

Well sure, I hear you say, par for the course in medieval England, right? No, there were like eight different ways you could die at your well-supervised modern day summer camp and NEVER EVEN GET AS FAR AS THE TIME TRAVEL PAGE.

I know this, because like sysinfo and Blue_Villain I was a compulsive finger-bookmarker.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2012


My all-time favorite gamebook ending is from Wizards, Warriors & You, Book 17

Wait. Book 17?

*google, google*

Oh, I see: they only published the first 6 in the UK. Damn. I loved those books. I particularly liked the part that pure chance played: you could lose because it was a Tuesday not a Wednesday, or because when you shut your eyes really tight, the first colour you saw was blue not green.

On the bright side, maybe we only got six books, but at least those were six books with really awesome Josh Kirby cover illustrations. [Sadly, I can't find a photo of book 6 online.] Josh Kirby is perhaps best known in the UK as the original cover artist for Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (everything up to and including Thief of Time).

I had a few of the TSR Dungeons and Dragons ones too. Which was the one with the unhappy ending involving all the spiders dropping from the ceiling? *shudder*
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:14 PM on July 23, 2012


it's really the only "adult" CYOA and it surprises me there aren't more.

There are lots if you count the type of visual novel game that's structured this way.

Mostly in Japanese, though.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:13 PM on July 23, 2012


Ha, I loved these too. My mom thought they were trash but my second-grade teacher had a whole bunch in the classroom library and I definitely played through every ending available, all my fingers holding the branch points open. I believe my favorite ending ever was the one where I was on some other planet and after some misstep I was, I believe, flash-frozen and sold as meat? It was definitely the most graphic, creepy way to die that I could possibly imagine at the age of 7 and I adored the concept.

Thinking back, I was a pretty violent little girl.
posted by town of cats at 10:16 PM on July 23, 2012


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