Author Topic: Any thoughts about Gamebooks?  (Read 3035 times)

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Offline ejamer

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Any thoughts about Gamebooks?
« on: September 06, 2019, 07:49:47 PM »
So Gamebooks were a thing way back in the 1980s.

Kids wanted to have adventures, but mainstream video games weren't really up to the task yet - certainly not like they are today. RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons or board games were good substitutes if you had a group of wiling players, but when that wasn't an option Gamebooks came in handy.

Each book is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure story, usually with a fantasy setting, with a simple character attached that would have some basic stats and equipment. During the adventure, you would engage in combat against a variety of different foe, trying to survive until the end of the story.

One of the most famous series of Gamebooks was Fighting Fantasy which has even seen one book - Warlock of Firetop Mountain - ported to Nintendo DS. It's a relatively rare and collectible game, by the way... just buying the book is much cheaper right now.

Anyway, Gamebooks have seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years. Not only are the classics getting reprinted and made available to a new generation, but the genre as a whole is seeing new (often better) content being created.

Recently I've found it really enjoyable to sit down and go through some of the Fabled Lands series of books. Unlike other stories, this is much more of an "open world", where you can choose to travel across the land and have adventures in distant lands by moving to the edge of the map and then switching to a new book with your current character intact. There are quests and keywords that carry over between books, and all kinds of details you might not find unless you are able to explore outside your immediate surroundings. Unfortunately that series had intended to publish 12 different books... but it came out late in the lifecycle of Gamebooks and only the first 6 were actually written. Not that a long ago, the seventh book became available thanks to KickStarter.

I've also been looking at the latest DestinyQuest book: Raiders of the Dune Sea. This series attracted me because they use a different structure; you are essentially given three sections in the book that must be completed, but within each section you have freedom to explore and make choices that will alter how prepared you are for the challenge before moving to the next section. This gives it much more narrative value than the very open and light Fabled Lands series - although both are enjoyable!

Has anyone else tried reading any Gamebooks, either now or in the past?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 08:09:14 PM by ejamer »
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Offline Stratos

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Re: Any thoughts about Gamebooks?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 05:57:55 PM »
I never head of those, but I did love Choose Your Own Adventures books, and also had some knock-off books that followed the CYOA formula. Might be fun to look into one of these now. Not a bad idea for a book as it could be a way to play a D&D/roleplaying game solo and keep it somewhat entertaining.
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