I remember the first time I picked one up - it was in the school’s library in 7th grade. As a concept, the idea of a CYOA book was brand-new to me, and I loved it! They had two more, and I read and enjoyed those as well, come to find out there’s at least 28 in all. Though it wasn’t int-fic in the digital sense, it was my first exposure to CYOA. What was your first?
Goosebumps CYOA novels. I loved those things…
Oh I definitely remember and enjoyed those too!
I think the Lone Wolf books just hit me in the right spot because I was going through a Dungeons and Dragons phase (it never ended)
The Goosebumps CYOA were a classic, anyone remember the one entitled “Tick Tock Your Dead”?
Literally, it scared me.
I started with the Choose Your Own Adventure books and later played a lot of Fighting Fantasy. I was gutted when the series ended, though it had certainly gone downhill a lot in its later years. I liked Lone Wolf as well, though that was another series that went downhill. From about book 11 onwards, they all seemed to get very linear and that put me off them a lot because I liked being able to replay them and linearity doesn’t equal replay value. After that I played Bloodsword and finally Fabled Lands, the best gamebooks ever written (in my opinion). I’m still hoping we’ll one day see the remaining books in the series even though I know after all this time that no matter how good they are, they won’t be able to live up to the hype.
Well I guess it’s time to hit up amazon or ebay! LOL
All the original Edward Packard Choose Your Own Adventures and then the rest of the series. I thought his books were always the best in the series. I remember sitting on an airplane when I was 9, flipping to random pages and trying to trace the story backwards to the beginning to see how I could get to that page in the future.
I have a large chunk of the series in paperback (the original books from the 80s). Love them.
Similar story here to many of you.
I had some of the CYOA series, but I quickly got into Fighting Fantasy, which was much more violent and scary, and those were and remain my favourites on the whole. And the Sorcery books, too.
I only had one Lone Wolf book back in the day (#5, Shadow on the Sand) but my friend and I were nuts over it because it had more sophisticated RPG content than the FF books. And overall we just thought it was sooooo cool.
I also have the Way of the Tiger ninja gamebooks. I loved the portrayal of the warring factions and gods in those (like the Shieldmaidens of Dama et al) but the adventures seemed super hard to clear compared even to FF, which were at least consistent in being erratic in difficulty. Way of the Tiger admittedly felt like it was a fairer kind of difficulty, but unrelenting.
Also loved the Be An Interplanetary Spy books, which were unique in having no stats but lots of videogamey style trick visual puzzles.
My first gamebook was Mudworm Swamp from the Adventures of Goldhawk, and I did read some of the Lone Wolf series, but my true love was the Fabled Lands series. I adored the FL setting!
My first entry into the series was actually the companion series, Grey Star the Wizard. But Lone Wolf 2-6 and 8-10 are on my bookshelf right now, and I never got my hands on any of the Grey Star sequels.
Anyone interested in Lone Wolf / Grey Star (or other books by Joe Dever) should check out
Quite a few of his books are freely available on that site as downloadable PDFs or you can also read them online.
Awesome! You just saved me over a hundred dollars, haha.
On that same site, there are five books available for the Nintendo DS. These homebrew editions can be played if you own a flashcart of some sorts.
My first were Packard’s Choose Your Own Adventure as well (the very first one was that one where you flew a hot air balloon over the Sahara, I remember it well). And then Way of the Tiger, I had the awful Spanish translation, except some pages were blank for random reasons. I pieced together things by reading the entire thing back to back, then working backwards to reestablish the links and write the blank pages myself, in my 10-year-old handwriting. Great stuff.
Way of the Tiger: A gamebook series about a fantasy Asian culture, written in English, translated to Spanish (badly) and then finished off by a 10-year-old.
Someone should review them in Klingon
Jackson and livingstons FFG books.
For anyone interested, the 7th Fabled Land book - The Serpent King’s Domain - should be out soon. A mere 20 years after book 6.
I remember my brother and I owning a collection of CYOA type fiction, including four or five Fighting Fantasy books, one of the Lone Wolf books, and one of another series about a time travelling future warrior type that was pretty interesting. We had butterfly minds, forever seeking the next novelty, and never could stick with one series if there was another to be sampled. The branching narratives interested me more than the dice-rolling battles and whilst my brother made some effort to play these through with pencil and paper, I’m afraid I just skipped to the “if you win” page.
I completed very few of the books, and very few text adventures for that matter - they were just fuel for my imagination and usually the lure of writing my own silly parody was too much to resist.