Choose Your Own Adventure

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My favorite ending was the one where I turned into a unicorn. This should not be a surprise.

How great are these books? Someone in my writing group did a Choose Your Own Adventure-style submission this week, and it was so much fun to read. Took me right back to being a kid again!

I loved these books any old time, but they were my go-to for when I was home sick from school. I’d sit down on the couch in the TV room with a pile of Choose Your Own Adventures next to me and read them all day long. Some were the standard ‘CYOA’ brand, but others were a Dungeons & Dragons collection. I think we had others that actually had a character sheet involved, but those were far too complicated for my tastes at the time. And would be now, really–if I want an RPG, I’ll play an RPG. CYOA is the time for making arbitrary choices and finding out where they took me.

What better way to make yourself feel better than getting lost in the life of someone else? Saving villages, kingdoms, friends and family! Traveling through time and dark forests! Keeping your fingers in the last few pages you make decisions from because you want to go back easily if you die; and seeing the totally unrelated

I never got into Hero of Washington Square. I blame the lack of dragons on its cover.

development on the opposite page from yours and desperately wanting to figure out how to get to that one!

I’m confident that I never found every path in these books, despite reading them over and over again. Though I’d try to find new ones each time, there were some favorite paths that I couldn’t resist taking a second, third, or fourth time. They were as much a comfort as the chicken soup, my mom, and my blanky. Having been reminded of them, I’m tempted to dig around in my parents’ attic until I find again now in anticipation of my next sick day!

Really, is it any wonder I grew up to love role-playing games, computer adventure games, or that I’m a writer? That I love the idea of branching storylines and endings? (I just finished Heavy Rain, which has numerous possible endings. It’s amazing. And I want to go back and get all the other endings now, too!)

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4 responses »

  1. I was JUST going to recommend Heavy Rain, then saw that you played it. Isn’t it cool? I’d like to play it again too.

    Also, *news alert: Gina played a video game*

  2. It was so good! I loved it. I knew ahead of time what the twist was, but still, loved it. Now to find time to play and get some additional endings!

  3. WOW Nostalgia kicking in there. Great to see you still have these. I remember Hero of Washington Square, only because I loved “Top Secret” the role playing game. Thanks for posting!

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