You Chose Wrong

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.

  • Wade

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’.