m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

My Gamebooks

I suspect I like gamebooks because I bought and read them at the beginning of the fad, when they were a new and exciting genre. (Now they seem to be deader than westerns, if that’s possible.) As a result, I have a collection of first editions and nearly-first editions. My gamebooks were evicted from my mother’s house when she moved and spent ten years in a medium-sized box in storage, along with a few supporting pencils and dice. Even after they arrived in my current home, they had to wait for the game shelves to be set up in order to get themselves unpacked.

But now they’re just sitting there on a couple of shelves, tempting me, so I catalogued them using Demian’s Gamebook Web Page. One thing I learned in the cataloguing process is that I have a Which Way Books edition of the oft-published classic Sugarcane Island (after which the Twine story format Sugarcane, predecessor of SugarCube, was named), but I don’t have the final Choose Your Own Adventure version.

I also learned that many of the books were reprinted in other series (or under the same series title but resequenced), and that many of the series went on much longer than I recalled. I lost interest relatively early on, probably because the books were below my reading level from the start, and I was never as interested in the RPG-style gamebooks as in the CYOA stories—though I learned I have more of the former than I thought.


I forgot to mention that there are also some links to choice maps in Demian’s listings, e.g., this huge flowchart of Life’s Lottery. I was reminded by a NaNoWriMo forum post that linked to some interesting ChooseCo maps in a recent Atlas Obscura article.