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The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:21:37 am

This is much more of an european thing than american, but maybe some of you guys have played these?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamebook


In the US, there was Choose Your Own Adventure.
Some (10?) Fighting Fantasy books were published.
And I know about the "butchered" versions of the EXCELLENT Lone Wolf series by Joe Dever.

But the UK (and the most of europe) had the big slice of the pie. Gamebooks were HUGE in the 80s around these parts. I was a maniac fan as a kid, then, like my comics reading, became a memory of my childhood until I slowly started getting back to my "geek roots". Fighting Fantasy was the only series readily available around here (these books sold at one point 12 million copies around the world), so that's what I collected. I had every book up until 16 or 17, don't remember.
I adored Fighting Fantasy (FF) books: they were almost always set in the same medieval fantasy setting and these were my first expositions to RPGs- because they are basically scripted solo RPGs.
The memories of that period? Defeating Zagor, the Warlock. Choosing the right ingredient to end Zambar Bone's reign of terror in Silverton. The duel with Balthus Dire, the sorcerer/warrior of the Citadel. Being crushed to death the first time I met the Pit Monster (T-Rex) in Deathtrap Dungeon. Finnishing the Deathtrap Dungeon. Being scared as *SQUEE* when reading The House of Hell, which was set in the modern days involving a satanic cult. I was floored by the awesomeness of these books. I started missing my Karate lessons because I HAD to finish a certain book. In short, I was a sick FAN.

So, many years after- in the summer of 2003- I started collecting'em again; one night I was surfing the web, when I remembered those green-spined books I loved so much.

A few minutes later I was opening my eyes to a brand new, yet familiar world: it looked like all I had read as a kid and was available in Portugal was a mere sample of the whole series. There were 59 FF books (not counting the spin-offs or the various manuals) published by then, and only 39 of them saw a portuguese printing. I chased every info I could get, and learned that some of the most revered books were never published here, and that there was a massive loyal fanbase that had been gathering since the early days of the internet. Next day, went to the pawn shop and bought every FF book I found. The following days were pure nostalgia kicked.

But I wanted more. I was *SQUEE* because VERBO didn't care enough to print the (generally regarded as) best books of the series.
I learned about the Sorcery mini-series by my fav FF writer, Steve Jackson and his other fanloved book, Creature of Havoc. I wanted to read these books so bad.

I started my ebay account and that is how I aquired most of my 100+ gamebook collection. But I also visited the same bookstore I went as a kid and saw that almost 20 years later, they still kept these books on the same spot of the store. A true nostalgia kick.

I got all of the FF books I wanted (the ones related to Titan*, that is, with a few exceptions- I never was a fan of the sci-fi books, like the majority of fans I thinkl SCI-FI and FF don't mix well), and then was also when I started looking at other series of the genre.
Enter Lone Wolf, the best written series of gamebooks. And one where - this is pure awesomeness, be ready- you got to carry your character from a previous book (stats and equipment) to the following. A PERSONAL CAMPAIGN OF 20 BOOKS!!!
And then 21 starts with another character that you carry on until the end of the series (to be published soon, for the first time after decades).

Another great series was the Way of The Tiger, where you played as a Ninja. These are really good and innovative as well. The fighting system is unique.

Sooooo... anyone here reads gamebooks?

*Titan is the world. It is formed by the continents of Allansia, The Old World and Khul.
Last edited by ShadowTuga on Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:41:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:32:37 am

I LOVE these books. I was also addicted in my youth.

I actually just a few days ago was talking to my wife about how I thought it was odd that not only do you not see these published anymore, but how great an opportunity is being missed by replicating these (with actual interactivity) in the ebook market - I mean, how awesome would it be to be able to just have truly random events with each read through?

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:07:05 am

lorddunlow wrote:I LOVE these books. I was also addicted in my youth.

I actually just a few days ago was talking to my wife about how I thought it was odd that not only do you not see these published anymore, but how great an opportunity is being missed by replicating these (with actual interactivity) in the ebook market - I mean, how awesome would it be to be able to just have truly random events with each read through?


FF is doing exactly that: the line now is more about kindling the old stuff. Their catalog is pretty neat by now. Just google it and you'll find it- Fighting Fantasy kindle.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:15:16 am

AND YOU CAN PLAY lone wolf for free HERE:
http://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/Books

NO WORRIES, IT IS LEGAL.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:31:27 am

ShadowTuga wrote:
lorddunlow wrote:I LOVE these books. I was also addicted in my youth.

I actually just a few days ago was talking to my wife about how I thought it was odd that not only do you not see these published anymore, but how great an opportunity is being missed by replicating these (with actual interactivity) in the ebook market - I mean, how awesome would it be to be able to just have truly random events with each read through?


FF is doing exactly that: the line now is more about kindling the old stuff. Their catalog is pretty neat by now. Just google it and you'll find it- Fighting Fantasy kindle.


So hyperlinks in the books? Because that would improve the experience if you didn't have to thumb through to get to the specific "go to page X" page.

I might have to check these out. Thanks, man.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:39:12 am

lorddunlow wrote:
ShadowTuga wrote:
lorddunlow wrote:I LOVE these books. I was also addicted in my youth.

I actually just a few days ago was talking to my wife about how I thought it was odd that not only do you not see these published anymore, but how great an opportunity is being missed by replicating these (with actual interactivity) in the ebook market - I mean, how awesome would it be to be able to just have truly random events with each read through?


FF is doing exactly that: the line now is more about kindling the old stuff. Their catalog is pretty neat by now. Just google it and you'll find it- Fighting Fantasy kindle.


So hyperlinks in the books? Because that would improve the experience if you didn't have to thumb through to get to the specific "go to page X" page.

I might have to check these out. Thanks, man.


Don't need to thank, mate. Yes, hyperlinks. Paragraph-Click-next paragraph. I can already tell you, you will love this. If I may suggest a particular book, try the Sorcery! series... of 4 books. AMAZING.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:51:30 pm

I still have some of the original books that I bought when I was a kid. From Fighting Fantasy, I have 1, 3 and 6 (Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Forest of Doom, and Deathtrap Dungeon). I also have two Dragontales books, Sword Daughter's Quest and Runesword!

A few years ago I was getting nostalgic about CYOA books, so I bought a bunch on eBay, which came with a few other related books in the Time Machine and Which Way series. The copy of The Cave of Time I got (the first in the series) appears to be a first printing and in pretty decent condition. When I heard that Edward Packard (one of the two writers that wrote the bulk of the books) was doing an appearance in the area (see more below), I went and asked him to sign it. He was cool about it, but when he signed, he slammed back the front cover and signed inside. (I might be exaggerating a little here, but I was having a minor heart attack when he did so.)

The appearance he was at was in promotion of a documentary about the series called Choose Your Own Documentary, being made by someone who was a fan of the series when he was a kid and got nostalgic about them as an adult. He was actually a lot more interesting than Packard; reminded me a bit of Jon Oliver. More about that here: www.cyod.co.uk

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:02:10 pm

kjjohanson wrote:I still have some of the original books that I bought when I was a kid. From Fighting Fantasy, I have 1, 3 and 6 (Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Forest of Doom, and Deathtrap Dungeon). I also have two Dragontales books, Sword Daughter's Quest and Runesword!

A few years ago I was getting nostalgic about CYOA books, so I bought a bunch on eBay, which came with a few other related books in the Time Machine and Which Way series. The copy of The Cave of Time I got (the first in the series) appears to be a first printing and in pretty decent condition. When I heard that Edward Packard (one of the two writers that wrote the bulk of the books) was doing an appearance in the area (see more below), I went and asked him to sign it. He was cool about it, but when he signed, he slammed back the front cover and signed inside. (I might be exaggerating a little here, but I was having a minor heart attack when he did so.)

The appearance he was at was in promotion of a documentary about the series called Choose Your Own Documentary, being made by someone who was a fan of the series when he was a kid and got nostalgic about them as an adult. He was actually a lot more interesting than Packard; reminded me a bit of Jon Oliver. More about that here: http://www.cyod.co.uk


Thanks for the link, kj! Jonathan Green (the latest GREAT FF writer- and the only one who besides Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, the founders of the series, saw original material printed for the first time this century) was organising a kickstart thing for a doc about Fighting Fantasy. I remember seeing a bit of it, and was totally geeked out.
I never got around reading Dragontales. Any good?

Also, for anyone interested in the new Lone Wolf books, bad and somewhat-old news: MP no longer publishes them. But here's the newest "gamebook", a stand-alone adventure for iOS and whatever device you use to read stuff.

http://lonewolfthegame.com/

It's a bit too modern for me, I like my gamebooks traditional-way. This is a mix of gamebook and action scenes, from what I can tell.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:38:38 pm

ShadowTuga wrote:I never got around reading Dragontales. Any good?

It's been close to 30 years since I read them. Don't remember what my opinion of them was back then. I flipped through one very quick right now and it looks like it was probably for an age range slightly older than CYOA. That's just based upon them being slightly longer reads. But the setup it the same as CYOA, just picking a new page, rather than any sort of hit points and more involved gaming like the FF books.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:19:09 pm

kjjohanson wrote:
ShadowTuga wrote:I never got around reading Dragontales. Any good?

It's been close to 30 years since I read them. Don't remember what my opinion of them was back then. I flipped through one very quick right now and it looks like it was probably for an age range slightly older than CYOA. That's just based upon them being slightly longer reads. But the setup it the same as CYOA, just picking a new page, rather than any sort of hit points and more involved gaming like the FF books.


Yeah, I have this idea that these were more adolescent oriented (both boys and girls), rather than your reg 11 year old avid for monsters. :?

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:18:24 pm

http://www.fightingfantazine.co.uk/

Forgot to tell you guys about this, a free pdf fanzine (ah!) solely focused on Gb's- this is a fan-made thing and it looks like a billion dollars. Since issue 1, this has been a knockout every time it has a new ish. Check out the fan poll article in 2011, great stuff in there.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:15:14 am

Been slowly collecting them for 10 years now. Mostly I find CYOA books. But lucked out a few years back found 3 of the TSR Marvel Superhero gamebooks. The Batman which way adventure and one of the Lone Wolf books.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:08:51 pm

newt138 wrote:Been slowly collecting them for 10 years now. Mostly I find CYOA books. But lucked out a few years back found 3 of the TSR Marvel Superhero gamebooks. The Batman which way adventure and one of the Lone Wolf books.


I've been trying to find one of those (TSR Superhero line) but to no luck so far. I really want to try the Bats and Supes one (they were all by TSR, I assume). Would love to hear your thoughts on it, since I have no idea about the quality of the writing and/or the Game System.

As you surely know, Lone Wolf is awesome and again, I can not recommend it enough to anyone who enjoys these. One of my short-term goals geek-wise, is to replay the whole saga again, without EVER dying (which implies some "knowledge of the road ahead" from the player's perspective- book 9 can be a punishment if you are an honest person :wink: ). I kinda miss the series for other reasons beyond the books, since the friendliest internetz community (excluding this one) I ever met, was the one situated at the Tower of The Sun site. Lots of cool, kind and creative people hung out there for many years, then it kinda died a little. Even Joe Dever was a member.
But I've many great memories of reading awesome fan-fic and being surrounded by an extraordinary sense of community.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:53:16 am

I grew up reading the CYOA books, and eventually graduated up to the Lone Wolf books which I loved even more. Being able to 'level up' each book and take some equipment with you was awesome! I've managed to collect all the D&D based CYOA books as well as books 1-20 of the Lone Wolf series in their original 80's black covers. I'm also overly proud of my 8.5x11 one page character sheet design that covers the whole series from start to finish. Maybe I can take a pic of it later and post it in case anybody is interested.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:25:14 am

Cyanide and Happiness has made several adult "choose your own adventures" that are out of this world hilarious! A few of them are on their website. I do believe there is one in the back of "The Punching Zoo" as well, which I have done once. I don't believe there is a positive outcome, it's about dating and all roads lead to absolute failure!

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:42:22 am

Phoenix8008 wrote:I grew up reading the CYOA books, and eventually graduated up to the Lone Wolf books which I loved even more. Being able to 'level up' each book and take some equipment with you was awesome! I've managed to collect all the D&D based CYOA books as well as books 1-20 of the Lone Wolf series in their original 80's black covers. I'm also overly proud of my 8.5x11 one page character sheet design that covers the whole series from start to finish. Maybe I can take a pic of it later and post it in case anybody is interested.


:thumb: I can also scan some of my adventure sheets AND FF maps.
Are your Lone Wolf books the american editions? I never came across one in RL, only saw pictures. I have 1st print UK editions of books 01-21, still have to complete a set, but the books after 20 are very expensive/rare.

TBM: I heard about those, they sound fun. :D

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:06:11 am

Loved FF gamebooks when I was a kid!!

Forest Of Doom, man... I read the hell out of that one. I only had a few others, but I can't really recall which other ones I had anymore (was there one called Shamutanti Hills?). I think I still have a couple of them... and I definitely still have the "Out Of The Pit" monster sourcebook with the Christos Achilleos cover! My favourite thing about them was always the really cool art throughout. Strange creatures in creepy settings... the best!

I also had a huge oversized Dragonlance gamebook at one point, that was definitely one of the coolest game books out there. Chock full of great art.

Also had two Tolkien Quest books - Legend Of Weathertop & Night Of The Nazgul. Man, the maps that came with the Weathertop book led me to obsessively drawing my own fortress maps for endless hours. So much fun!

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:08:02 am

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Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:08:45 am

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Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:11:12 am

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*This* map... this was the one. I drew SO MANY dungeons in this style;

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Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:15:56 am

Also had a ton of Choose Your Own Adventure books too - loved the cover art on most of those! Did anyone else have any of the Time Machine series? I recall having one or two of those as well.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:25:57 pm

choose your own adventure :clap:

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:32:04 pm

grendeljd wrote:Loved FF gamebooks when I was a kid!!

Forest Of Doom, man... I read the hell out of that one. I only had a few others, but I can't really recall which other ones I had anymore (was there one called Shamutanti Hills?). I think I still have a couple of them... and I definitely still have the "Out Of The Pit" monster sourcebook with the Christos Achilleos cover! My favourite thing about them was always the really cool art throughout. Strange creatures in creepy settings... the best!

I also had a huge oversized Dragonlance gamebook at one point, that was definitely one of the coolest game books out there. Chock full of great art.

Also had two Tolkien Quest books - Legend Of Weathertop & Night Of The Nazgul. Man, the maps that came with the Weathertop book led me to obsessively drawing my own fortress maps for endless hours. So much fun!


The Shamutanti Hills is the 1st book of the Sorcery series. As good as FF gets this mini epic of 4 books. Learning spells and having to memorize them... oh man, just amazing fun.
I have the 2 oversized guidebooks: Out of The Pit and Titan-The Fighting Fantasy World (which has an even cooler Achilleos cover :thumb: ) Both were recently reprinted by a 3rd publisher, and there's even a new update book on OotP, Beyond the Pit.
Ian McCaig and Russ Nicholson - and John Blanche, of course- are some of the artists I came to idolize since I was a kid. That Forest cover by McCaig is one of my absolute favorites of the series- love that Shapechanger dudes! :lol:

Man, those Tolkien Quest books look fantastic- I never tried them but the gang used to say lots of great stuff about them.

Yeah, I had totally forgot that Canada was a huge market, also. Specially Lone Wolf, among my dudes from the Tower of The Sun boards, it was THE series.

Next week I'll scan some of my maps. Beware, this is serious hardcore geek stuff. 8-)

EDIT - That CA cover I mentioned:
Image

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:42:23 pm

ShadowTuga wrote:
grendeljd wrote:Loved FF gamebooks when I was a kid!!

Forest Of Doom, man... I read the hell out of that one. I only had a few others, but I can't really recall which other ones I had anymore (was there one called Shamutanti Hills?). I think I still have a couple of them... and I definitely still have the "Out Of The Pit" monster sourcebook with the Christos Achilleos cover! My favourite thing about them was always the really cool art throughout. Strange creatures in creepy settings... the best!

I also had a huge oversized Dragonlance gamebook at one point, that was definitely one of the coolest game books out there. Chock full of great art.

Also had two Tolkien Quest books - Legend Of Weathertop & Night Of The Nazgul. Man, the maps that came with the Weathertop book led me to obsessively drawing my own fortress maps for endless hours. So much fun!


The Shamutanti Hills is the 1st book of the Sorcery series. As good as FF gets this mini epic of 4 books. Learning spells and having to memorize them... oh man, just amazing fun.
I have the 2 oversized guidebooks: Out of The Pit and Titan-The Fighting Fantasy World (which has an even cooler Achilleos cover :thumb: ) Both were recently reprinted by a 3rd publisher, and there's even a new update book on OotP, Beyond the Pit.
Ian McCaig and Russ Nicholson - and John Blanche, of course- are some of the artists I came to idolize since I was a kid. That Forest cover by McCaig is one of my absolute favorites of the series- love that Shapechanger dudes! :lol:

Man, those Tolkien Quest books look fantastic- I never tried them but the gang used to say lots of great stuff about them.

Yeah, I had totally forgot that Canada was a huge market, also. Specially Lone Wolf, among my dudes from the Tower of The Sun boards, it was THE series.

Next week I'll scan some of my maps. Beware, this is serious hardcore geek stuff. 8-)

EDIT - That CA cover I mentioned:
Image


Sweet cover! I might be tempted to track down a copy of that :thumb:

I looked through my paperbacks the other day, and found that the only FF book I still have (besides the Out Of The Pit sourcebook) is that Shamutanti Hills. Glad to know it's the first book of that Sorcery set - seems to me that I had another one of those at some point.

I couldn't resist looking into a copy of Forest Of Doom on eBay. Prices weren't bad for copies that were a little used, so I nabbed one! Looking forward to having that again.

The Tolkien Quest books were pretty cool as I recall - I had a look at them on eBay as well, but they are significantly more expensive there. I guess it really was a popular series, though I think there were only 5 of them?

A couple of other gamebook series that I am now remembering are TORG and ZORK. Silly names, Haha! But I remember seeing them everywhere back in the day. Never had a TORG book, but I'm pretty sure I had one of the ZORK series.

Re: The Gamebooks Thread

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:43:30 pm

I don't remember ever seeing a series called Lone Wolf though...
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