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Choose Your Own Adventure Books Return 199

KermodeBear writes "Eight of the original 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books are to be republished this summer. From the Article: 'First published in 1979, the books let readers remix their own stories - and face the consequences. [...] the original titles return to bookstores, revamped with 21st-century references (cell phones!).'" For me, it's all about 1987's Space Vampire , by series originator Edward Packard. "Do you eject the vampire through the airlock?"
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Choose Your Own Adventure Books Return

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  • Adventures Rule (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SpeZek ( 970136 )
    I remember reading these books... Unfortunately, I was always so unlucky with my choices I ended up not getting any good endings.
    • I actually mapped out all the stories of a few of them. (in fifth grade.)

      I remember one of them having a loop. I stopped trying to count the total number of stories after that. :-)

      • Before the adventure books came out, I had an electronic quiz book where the quiz book can be replaced with different quiz books. After going through four different quiz books, I came upon a remarkable discovery about the electronics: it only had one set of answers. For example, the correct answer to question number 1 is A -- in all of the quiz books. Needless to say, I didn't get any more quiz books after that.

        On a programming note, I don't remember if there was a particular pattern (i.e., 1 = A, 2 = B,
    • I read the 3 Investigators Choose Your own Adventure knockoffs even.

      I'd keep my fingers in the previous choice page, so I could go back and try the other endings without missing any. Sometimes I'd end up flipping through the book after I'd thought I'd read everything, and I found a new page with an alternate bad ending.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:35AM (#15464982) Homepage
    There's last year's "Escape from Fire Island" []: "If you ask the lifeguard to bring you to the sheriff's office, turn to page 108. If you ask the lifeguard to warn everyone at the night club, turn to page 32. If you ask the lifeguard if he'd like to work out sometime, turn to page 140."
  • I always prefered the "Fighting Fantasy" series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston. It was like D&D for people without friends!

    (...or, in my case, D&D for when the group is busy going stupid things like "learning"...)
  • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:38AM (#15464987)
    Every time I looked at Hypercard -- and HTML -- I thought "gosh, what an unnecessarily complicated Choose Your Own Adventure Book!"

    "If you look at hard core porn, turn to page 12.

    If you post to Slashdot, turn to page 14."
  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:39AM (#15464995)
    Choose Your Own Adventure books introduced me to the concept of memory limitations in early computers.

    Back when I was single-digit aged, I thought it would be pretty cool to "program" a CYOA book into our Vic20. A buttload of print statements, with function keys acting as the choices at the end of a section.

    Needless to say, when you get your first "?Out of Memory" error, just when entering in a program, you start thinking hard about just how this computer is storing things. Pretty much started my obsession with computer architecture at a very low level.

    Even with only a few dozen pages of large print text, these books were well over 3500 characters :) I ended up "porting" my attempts to the C64, but never bothered finishing after realizing how boring that much typing really was :)
    • During the summers I teach at a computer camp and our programming class teaches how to make a mad-lib and a choose your own adventure.
    • I had a 48K Spectrum and for some reason I didn't try (I wanted to make games with things moving and shooting - I ended up being a game dev after all). What I did was map the choices so I effectively found out what a tree/graph was. Knowing how to reach a particular ending took some of the fun out, of course.

      My own favorite was one called... I don't remember, it wasn't an actual "Choose your own adventure" but a copycat, these were hardcover books, wider than the red original ones, an the storyline includ
      • I had one that was a space adventure where you were in command of a small floatilla trying to cut off the alien invasion. Your floatilla had to rush through space to make it in time (each segement of the book was timed, and if you didn't get there in time you'd lose!). Eventually you got to dice rolling with charts and tables and everything, how well you did usually determined how much time you lost (or sometime if you just lost the campaign right there).

        I thought it was really cool except that I was
    • I made a C64 game that used the "Random Dungeon Generation" tables at the back of the 1st Ed. Dungeon Master's Guide to cobble together a dungeon crawl on the fly.

      No graphics, but since when did D&D need graphics?

      VERY dungeon crawl, but pretty fun since no one besides me would EVER be DM. No geopolitical intrigue or interpersonal drama, but a TON of "what's behind door number 1", see the monster, kill the monster, collect the treasure and xp. In other words a fun side diversion.

    • Choose your own adventure books introduced me to the concept of the call stack.

      I actually remember being really frustrated every time I wound up at a crappy ending, and didn't want to have to start going all the way back to the beginning to start again, so I would wind up holding my fingers in between four or five different pages corresponding to the last several jumps I had made, so I could recursively backtrack when I wound up in a problem situation..
      • Anybody remember the book where right at the beginning it told you that the good ending was on page 78 or something. You could even flip to it and read about how you were in paradise and the universe was at peace or something. After playing the book a few times I decided to see what course of action was necessary to get the good ending, turns out there were no "turn to page 78" references anywhere in the book, the best ending was impossible to achieve.
        • Anybody remember the book where right at the beginning it told you that the good ending was on

          That one would be Inside UFO 54-40, which was my first introduction to the series. As you might guess, I really skewed my perception of the franchise. I did get more into the Lone Wolf [] books mentioned elsewhere under this article; I completed volumes 1 through 12 before not being able to find the books locally anymore.

    • Back when I was single-digit aged, I thought it would be pretty cool to "program" a CYOA book into our Vic20.

      Heh, I tried the exact same thing on my TI 99/4A. I discovered that not only does the TI only have enough room for about 17 pages of text (rendered as PRINT statements), but it also gets very very slow as you near the memory-full point...

    • A friend of mine and I did this, too, and our way around it was classic Commodore.

      To take the left path, press RETURN.
      To take the right path, PRESS PLAY ON TAPE #1.

  • by johnnywheeze ( 792148 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:41AM (#15465000)
    Isn't that pretty much what RPG console games are now? A series of canned responses to a limited choice of options, but with some combat graphics thrown in?

    These were fun when I was a kid, but that was before computer games really took off. I don't see the young whipper-snappers these days being excited by a book with simple either/or choices.

    Still if the came up with a good story that was interesting and compelling, (I seem to remember the plot of these things being pretty weak, even as a kid) I don't see why they wouldn't be successful.

    Actually having an interesting and compelling story could sell a few console rpg's too, or movies, or tv shows, etc. etc. It all comes back to that in the end, not the gimmick.
    • Isn't that pretty much what RPG console games are now? A series of canned responses to a limited choice of options, but with some combat graphics thrown in?

      Ya but with the RPG's the story doesn't end for me in 3 pages. Progress is wonderful, and KOS-MOS kicks ass.
    • Apparently, interactive fiction is a lot more popular in Japan than over here: []
    • In a word: No (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sysrpl ( 740738 )
      RPGs usually present you with a series of linear game choices. You can either accept, or refuse a quest/mission/whatever series. The steps along the series are almost always the same with no choices offered except maybe choosing the reward of a wand or sword at the end.

      With choose your own adventure, the paths that you take close other paths, and you are offered two or three or more choices on about every other page. Some choices lead to a happy endings, some to a sad endings, with varying story lengths a
  • EJECT! (Score:5, Funny)

    by iGN97 ( 83927 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:42AM (#15465002) Homepage
    "Do you eject the vampire through the airlock?"

    If yes is wrong, I don't want to be right.
  • by wan-fu ( 746576 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:42AM (#15465005)
    [Page 3]
    To read the article on "Choose Your Own Adventure Books" turn to page 117.

    [Page 117]
    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

    You have died.
    The End
    • This one is rather old, but one of the funniest things I've read on the internets. It's a transcript of a hypothetical version of Adventure, but set in a college dorm.

      College Adventure []

      There is a militant lesbian here, blocking your path.
      kick lesbian
      She enjoys it. She points out that you are a fascist sexist bastard.
  • Yeeeeep! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:42AM (#15465007) Homepage
    Those were the days! Tiny oil eating shrimp that grew larger than a house, did you find all the possible endings?

    Maybe those books lead me into computers... Taught us loops and branching as kids, no wonder I used GOTOs for so long.
  • If only they could find a way to make these electronically, so I didn't have to search through all those pages. And since I'm always losing books, it would be nice if they could be publicly available, accessible from almost anywhere at anytime. Ooh, and they could add media like videos and songs.

    Naaah. What a silly idea. It'll never take.

  • Bookmarks! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Comen ( 321331 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:48AM (#15465018)
    I used to read these alot, and bookmark all the big choices, so I could go back when I didnt like what happened, or maybe was just to curious of what might happen if I chose a certain path.
    After about 10 bookmarks its gets out of hand!
    I do think these kind of books help kids think think about the way a simple pc program works.
  • by LaurenBC ( 924800 ) * on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:53AM (#15465030)
    A Selection from the Recently Discovered Jack Kerouac Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, Bop Affirmation, c. 1955

    You're trudging in the riverbottom sand when zoooom, there goes a flatbed truck and you're suddenly on the back of the truck with two Nebraska farm boys and you're weeping, "Y-e-e-e-e-e-e-s," yes to the blue swing swing of the Bird, yes to Charlie Parker, that shimmering saxophone, yes to the original mind, yes to this uncompromising romp through the heartland, you who labored on the railroad with crimson sun on your back, you who know the palabra, you who look right into the blowin' breeze and cry and moan and shout


    a. Discover a rainbow.
    b. Go off to pick oranges with the Mexican girl.
    c. Sing in a rising crescendo, "Y-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-s."
    from Mcsweeny's []
  • I've always been a bigger fan of the Long Wolf [] series myself, but CYOA books were what got me into reading in the first place. I wonder how they'll fare in the face of the almighty Playstation, however. Maybe they could stand to have some technical sprucing up as well -- I could see these being done as cell phone games, for instance.
    • 'Lone' Wolf, that is. Accursed spell-check, you've foiled me for the last time!
    • Would author- and artist-approved scanning, proofreading, and HTMLization (to say nothing of an excellent Javascript app that can handle inventory management, skill advancement, and combat) meet your definition of technical sprucing []?

      Granted, Project Aon is the first link at the bottom of the above-cited Wikipedia article -- but just in case, I thought I'd point it out. I was a huge fan of the series when I was younger, and as such it's good to see the books preserved so well.
    • I first started to enjoy reading with the Lone Wolf series of books. After those, and a few other series i can't remember the names to i just started reading fantasy. Before you know it, I just wanted the thick books, the thin ones didn't last long enough.

      I guess most people grew up on D&D, i grew up on Lone Wolf type books.

  • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:17AM (#15465092)
    I always thought it was really entertaining (and funny) to read them as if they were a normal book. The confusion that ensues if you read it out loud was always hilarious, especially if "you" die, but then are fine on the next page. This was especially amusing with the Goosebumps CYOA books.

    About halfway through, though, it gets boring because you know all the storylines.
  • by Skevin ( 16048 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:17AM (#15465093) Journal it's the *only* genre of books I can think of told in Second Person.
    • There's a fair deal of written pornography on the internet that's in the second person. Most of it is very, very poorly written, however.
      • There's a fair deal of written pornography on the internet that's in the second person.

        You wouldn't happen to know where any, would you? I'm looking for some...for...scientific research...


        For science...

        Wonderful science...
        • Not mine, taken from: []

          You stand on the second hand of a clock and ravage the next thousand years. The entire world crumbles in front of your big prick, the dawn breaking on a broken world of your creation, and you send up a prayer demanding more light.

          In the window across from you, a woman stands knock-kneed with her cunt pushed forward, holding the edge of her dress with greasy fists. Marvelous if she were to suddenly fall through the glass! Dream of the men blee

        • There are a few works of this nature in the Interactive Fiction competition archives. Try Blowjob Drifter, but be warned: it actually has some difficult guess the verb puzzles. I recommend a walkthrough over reading the author's mind.
  • by boomgopher ( 627124 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:20AM (#15465110) Journal
    Pg. 101
    You did not make a choice, or follow any direction, but now, somehow, your are descending from the Internet - approaching a great, glistening website. It is Slashdot - the website of paradise.

    "Welcome!" says the man. "My name is Cmdr Taco. You have reached the forum of joy and beauty. All our treasures are yours to share with us. All of us here are your friends forever."


    • Re:INSIDE URL 13-37 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by v1 ( 525388 )
      HAH! I was looking for someone to post about that! (and wasn't it page 107 or 108?) I wanted to find how to get that ending so I went page-by-page three times through the book looking for the page that refers you there.

      Did you know, there is no page that directs you to that ending?

      They are very serious when they say you did not get there by making a choice. You had to turn to the wrong page to get there!

      What got me started looking is one day I found myself at that ending and was tearing my hair out tryin
  • Gregory Bateson in his book 'Mind and Nature' suggested that a computer would be equivalent to a human when it began to speak in stories. The brain searches out pattern, but it's society that provides us with the linkages that join isolated patterns into stories, allowing us to navigate the new.

    The once rich variations on folk stories have been taken hostage by the large media corporations. In high school a group of us got together to watch silent movies. From the earliest silent movies to come out of Holly

  • If reading about this has started you jonesin' for the good ol' days, you can always play interactive fiction [].

    It's like Zork, except literary. I heartily recommend anything by Adam Cadre [], especially Photopia (actually made me cry - it's an amazing piece of art) and Shrapnel.
  • Hated them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caseih ( 160668 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:38AM (#15465159)
    I absolutely hated Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was in junior high. Instead of spending 200-300 pages on plot and character development, these books were basically just a serious of 4-page stories. Even if you did find a longer path through the book there was just no substance there to keep your attention. Besides, I ran out of fingers trying to mark all my places so I could go back whenever I died. Basically the books had all the plot and storyline of a first-person shooter game without any of the graphics or weapons.
    • Better alternatives (Score:4, Informative)

      by caseih ( 160668 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:46AM (#15465182)
      As I submitted my last comment, I remembered that during this time when the choose your own adventure books were all the rage, I was showed a bunch of very well-written books from a Canadian author named Gordan Korman. These books are targeted to teenagers mainly, and are at a much more advanced reading level than the choose your own adventure books. But kids are a lot smarter than they look and they do take well to intelligent, well-written fiction. Korman's books include a number of series aimed at, I'd say 12 year olds, called the McDonald Hall series, and then a bunch of very good books aimed at slightly older teenagers including "Losing Joe's Place," "A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag," "Don't Care High," "No Coins Please," and so forth. Great books. I also remember reading "Interstellar Pig" by William Sleater. Around that time I was also introduced to a great collection of science fiction short stories by various famous authors, edited by Asimov. I can't remember the title of this book, but it has some great thinker stories in it.

      In short there are *lots* of good books out there that are intellectually stimulating as well as entertaining and won't insult kids' intelligence. Although perhaps the age of shoot-em-up games and FPS have ruined kids for that kind of thing. So maybe CYOA's 10-page stories will be well-received.
    • just a serious of 4-page stories.

      What? Were the stories that serious?
    • Re:Hated them (Score:3, Insightful)

      by djrogers ( 153854 )
      Perhaps your boredom was due to the fact you should have been reading them in third grade rather than junior high? These books set a pretty low bar for their target market... I recall reading them in second and third grade along with the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and my Hardy Boys collection. Not at all boring when you're in teh right age group.
      • You're right. I'm not remembering correctly. I was probably closer to that age when I read them. That's a long time ago so I'm pretty hazy...

        I'm with you on the Encyclopedia Brown and Hardy Boys. They were very good. At some point I also remember reading a series (along the same vein) called "The Three Investigators"
    • Funny, I loved them because they actually explored possibilities. Yes, it's hard to actually have character development -- that's why we have our GTAs and we have our RPGs. But, it means you can get answers to some of the questions of "What if this character did something else, instead?"

      As far as running out of fingers, I feel your pain, but I just tore up post-it notes and pieces of paper and made bookmarks, whenever I actually did run out of fingers. Which wasn't often, I'd usually end up eliminating f
  • I remember reading these books as a kid and would always have a stack of Post-Its (my form of bookmarks) because if I chose a bad path, I can always go back. In order to do that, I had to number these Post-Its. As you can imagine, sometimes I had 30+ Post-Its scattered through out the book.
  • You come across a comment that seems to be mysteriously both grammatically correct and adds additional information to the discussion

    If you mod the comment +1, insightful, turn to page 15

    If you suspect the comment of Karma Whoring, mod it -1, overrated, and turn to page 29

    If you were too young to remember CYOA books and the format of this comment confuses you, rate it -1, Offtopic, and turn to page 39.

    If you remember checking each possible result of a decision fork in a CYOA book, check pages 15, 29, and 39,

  • I'm not sure which was first (too lazy to look it up), but I remember reading both of them in 1st or 3rd grade. CYOA books always seemed somewhat -- I don't know -- slim to me. Not much there beyond the gimick, and often times it was only a few pages between "choices". Twistaplot books [] seemed to have more narrative substance there, longer periods that allowed for the choices you made to develop in the plot before being forced into another one page branch.

    But perhaps that's just time making things all fuzzy.
  • I think it was "The Third Planet from Altair" (find the complete list here: ture [] where there was one ending where you ended up on some utopian planet. The thing was there was no choice that actually got you to that page.

    I am still haunted by that book. It was my introduction to the disillusionments of the universe.
  • I read some of these books when I was 6 years old. It was my formal introduction to the English language. I managed to understand about 40% of the words, however, since the stories were so compelling to me as a child I, armed myself with a dictionary and devoured those books.

    Those books were not great pieces of literature, they were cheesy. They were pulp fiction. However, they were empowering and fascinating. They marked the beginning of an enduring love of reading.

    It makes me happy to know that thes
    • Perhaps a non multiple choice adventure story will motivate them to read more in the future.
      - non

      Remember kids: Always preview before posting. ;-)
  • "Do you eject the Cylon through the airlock?"
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
    I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure books, and some of the knockoffs weren't bad either. Had a go at writing one once. Of course, now there's MediaWiki which makes it easy to create a computer-based one.

    I was writing "VERB NOUN" text adventures in BBC BASIC since long ago. I had another go recently; this time in perl and using a database for the room and object descriptions. Then I got distracted and tried to make it multi-player. Ended up learning more about select(2) than it's good for a mere
  • There's also a new series of Choose Your Own Adventure interactive DVDs [] coming out soon.
  • I must get them clean!!!!
  • W3b 2.O Kr3w (Score:3, Insightful)

    by obsol33t ( 550660 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:12AM (#15465373)
    "the books let readers remix their own stories"

    Can we please stop using unnecessary buzzwords and buzzimplementations-of-words in article descriptions?
  • Lone Wolf Lives! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jinxidoru ( 743428 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:18AM (#15465395) Homepage
    I loved the Lone Wolf books. I periodically pick them up and read one when I am in a particularly nostalgic mood. I loved the cross between D&D and CYOA. What a brilliant masterpiece they were. Fortunately, in the vein of open source software, the author, Joe Dever, has graciously given the rights for the electronic distribution of his books free of charge by Project Aon [].
  • I figure this is on topic since we're talking about CYOA, but here's some of the more "bastard" choose your own adventure stories online. New Orleans [] World Trade Center []

    I can't believe nobody posted these already.

  • I saw Ian Livingstone [] talk at Hay Literary festival on Wednesday - he said that the original Fighting Fantasy series is also being republished, together with one which never saw the light of day. The talk had an interesting subject, "Geek to Chic", supposedly about how computer games are now extremely fashionable rather than the province of shy geeks. However, it was more interesting to hear his life story, as he developed from geeky, bearded entrepreneur selling Dungeons and Dragons from the back of a van,
  • I spent what felt like years trying to find the path to the 'Best single ending' in that book. I tried to map out every option so I could find the legitimate path.

    Never did, it was very disappointing.

    Inside UFO 54-40 was one of the few CYOA books that had 'a best ending', the others were all pretty open ended in the first series.

    There were also the RPG CYOA style books where you had to write in the books, maintain hit points etc. Those were -incredible-.
  • If you want Calculon to race to the laser gun battle in his hover-Ferrari, press 1.
    If you want Calculon to doublecheck his paperwork, press 2.

    1) Violent Lasergun Battle
    2) Tedious Paperwork

    Enter now.

    - You have pressed 2.
    - No I didn't!
    - I'm almost positive you did.
    - Add in the carryover from form 16A, then deduct line 2B.

  • The Third Planet from Altair

    Edward Packard seems to have been the best writer of the series. The Cave of Time books were good too. It's nice to see the series being kept alive for a new generation of children.

  • First of all, I always loved those books when I was growing up, and I still have a few. But I have to say, I preferred the "Which Way" books over "Choose Your Own Adventure," and I have one "Forgotten Forest" book ("The Master of Mazes" by Carol Gaskin) which blows them all away.

    I wonder what would have happened if "Choose Your Own Adventure" would have created patents on that type of book, and the others never would have had a chance. I guess the world is a different place today.
  • by typical ( 886006 )
    I'm kinda surprised that they're doing these as physical books. Seems like it would be a lot easier, cheaper, and more convenient to do this on the Web. Hypertext is pretty ideal for this sort of thing, and I've seen people do collaborative authoring projects in with choose-your-own-adventure style structure before.
  • I preferred the Time Machine series to CYOA. They seemed more detailed and in depth. The one I remember most in the one with the pirates.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser