A compendium of bad endings from what-you-would-call-CYOA-if-that-weren’t-trademarked. (Including a few authentic CYOAs.)
I’m going to find a way to work that dead-unicorn ending into everything, from now on. Including supper.
I took a bet with myself before I even clicked this that there would be a bunch of Interplanetary Spy endings there. And I won my bet, as there were two on the first page I visited.
Be An Interplanetary Spy and Fighting Fantasy ‘bad’ endings (IE where you die, which is 99% of the endings) were always my favourites. The former were often goofy or quixotic, but sometimes grisly or scary too, usually with a good illustration to boot. The latter tended to be far more grisly. The endings of official CYOA books weren’t as fixated on reader death as those other two series were.
Choose Your Own Adventure is often fixated, rather, on the reverse: many of the books are downright squeamish about death endings. You find a lot of endings that really look as if they should be death endings, and then they end with mealy-mouthed ambiguity or a cop-out where you somehow escape death but fail anyway. Even the ones where your death is unambiguous tend to carefully avoid ‘death’ or ‘die’.