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June 14, 2017 12:02 PM   Subscribe

The last installment of the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” series came out in 1998, but since 2004, Chooseco, founded by one of the series’ original authors, R.A. Montgomery, has been republishing classic volumes, as well as new riffs on the form of interactive fiction that seemed ubiquitous in the 1980s and ’90s. The new editions also carry an additional feature—maps of the hidden structure of each book.
posted by Lexica (25 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
Disappointed they didn't map Inside UFO 54-40 (though they do talk about it)
posted by leotrotsky at 12:10 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]

Ooo! I didn't realize the new editions mapped the stories' nodes.

What I find interesting is that, in choice-based fiction like the CYOA series or stories written in Twine, you see a number of patterns show up time and time again. Sam Kabo Ashwell broke down these patterns a few years ago. Most of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books tend to use the Time Cave pattern, named after the first CYOA novel, where each choice creates a branch that never merges with other branches.
posted by sgranade at 12:11 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]

I still want to know why, in "Space and Beyond," the planet was first called Zermacroyd in the original and then just Croyd in the reissue. Why?? What part of child education theory am I missing??
posted by Melismata at 12:27 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

Also came to note the missing map for UFO 54-40. Although maybe if I just keep typing in URLs, I'll find it.

(There's a bit earlier on in UFO 54-40 about how the only way to find the right ending was to "break all the rules", too. It was in effect expecting you to cheat. That book was my introduction to metafiction, and I'll always love it for that. Also, I remember an ending where you get chopped in two when only half of you teleports, which is kind of bleak for a kid's book.)
posted by phooky at 12:32 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]

I used to get these in great stacks from the library, poring over the pages and bouncing back and forth to find all the endings. I can practically smell the glue in the bindings.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:37 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]

I think I still have a hundred or so of the original books from the 80's at home.

I'm goddamn drowning in ephemera here.
posted by GuyZero at 12:40 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]

"You never know when an old calendar might come in handy! Sure, it's not 1985 right now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?"
posted by Chrysostom at 1:00 PM on June 14

My bookhound daughter absolute did not enjoy her first experience with this sort of book, feeling personally responsible for its bad outcome. Loves 'em now though, chip off the old block. It made me think perhaps she was ready for Colossal Cave Adventure.

Those maps seem like a a great add for everyone who has learned the joys of gaming the plotlines (== everyone?).
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:16 PM on June 14

The world was a scary place to me as a kid so I had a lot of rules for myself and thus a very regimented approach to Choose Your Own Adventure books. First I read through making the choices I thought I would make in real life. Then I read through again making what were, to my mind, progressively worse choices until I'd gone through every possible outcome, then I'd read the whole book front to back to make sure I'd experienced everything possible (a combination of regimentation and anxiety about missing something).

The happy planet in UFO 54-40 FREAKED ME OUT because I was sure I would have gotten there before and I couldn't find the page that led to it. I felt like my grasp on reality was already sort of tenuous and I KNEW the books had rules and so the problem must be that I was crazy in some way? But I wasn't, right? I checked over and over! I hadn't missed it, there really wasn't a way to get there, so was the book breaking the rules or was there something wrong with me? Eventually I assumed that there just wasn't a way to get to that page but I found the whole thing kind of unsettling.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:32 PM on June 14 [23 favorites]

And, in case you hadn't seen these, Wil Wheaton is running/reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books on his twitch channel. He did a few live readings at this year's Joco Cruise Crazy and it was a freaking blast!
posted by blurker at 3:05 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]

I never did get around to mapping To Be or Not To Be, even though I kept telling myself that I would when I read it. I especially wonder if any of the choices in the big pirate battle actually have any real effect on the outcome.

Of course, the best part about that book is all of the snide comments it has when you follow the marked actual Shakespeare path.
posted by ckape at 4:18 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]

Shoulda saved this for July. This is great.
posted by Night_owl at 4:55 PM on June 14

Which ones were the cyo where you had to roll dice, defeat creatures, collect trinkets etc?
To this day I still can't find my way out of the temple with my onyx egg and I mapped the shit out of that labyrinth.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:06 PM on June 14

Which ones were the cyo where you had to roll dice, defeat creatures, collect trinkets etc?

Steve Jackson's Sorcery!.
posted by Hatashran at 5:11 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]

Which ones were the cyo where you had to roll dice, defeat creatures, collect trinkets etc?

Steve Jackson's Sorcery!.

Also the Fighting Fantasy books, of which Sorcery is sort of a spin-off. These were my gateway drug to D&D.
posted by 256 at 6:39 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]

Now I have an urge to map out the Dungeons and Dragons books. Pillars of Pentegarn has some really bleak endings, as I recall. (Though the Interplanetary Spy books are even more bloodthirsty.)

And I went through every single page and decision of Inside UFO 54-40 looking for that path when I was a kid. One of my favorites as a kid, along with Space Patrol and Journey to Altair.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:34 PM on June 14

Yes ! That's it - Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston.

Vault of the Vampire - accidentally solved in an afternoon
Temple of Terror - remains unsolved, it's impossible

Thanks for the memories!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:29 PM on June 14

I have some vague memory of reading about a film, significantly pre-dating the CYOA books, in which the audience voted at the various decision points. You'd think this would result in a massive quantity of footage you'd have to script, shoot, and distribute but! The Trick! was that either decision took you to the exact same subsequent decision point, albeit in a different way. The graph of this might look something like:


Thus you only needed about twice as much footage as a normal movie.

Does this sound familiar to anybody?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:02 PM on June 15

Clue had multiple endings.
posted by GuyZero at 7:22 PM on June 15

There was this Czech film.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:15 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

That must be the same branching-rejoining movie that is referred to in Ted Nelson's Computer Lib/Dream Machines as "The Czechoslovakian Branching Movie." (Page DM64 of the 1987 edition.)
posted by enf at 10:40 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Yes, that's where I must have read about it. Perfect.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:40 AM on June 16

posted by zamboni at 9:09 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]

Holy comprehensive collation, Batman! Looking for maps of the Grail Quest books, I found gamebooks.org, which is an outstanding example of finest kind internet cataloging.
posted by zamboni at 9:34 AM on July 7

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