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Choose Your Own Adventure is a series of children’s gamebooks, writes Julie Bosman in the NY Times. The series was published by Bantam Books between 1979-1998. Currently it is being re-published by Chooseco, and also by Simon and Schuster as iPhone and iPad apps.
Each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist, making choices that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plot and its outcome.
For example: after an introduction to the story, the reader is asked to determine the protagonist’s next course of action. The first decision offered in The Cave of Time is:
- If you decide to start back home, turn to page 4.
- If you decide to wait, turn to page 5.
After the reader makes a decision, the plot branches and unfolds, leading to further decisions. Eventually there are multiple possible endings.
Choose Your Own Adventure was one of the most popular children’s series during the 1980s and 1990s. Over 250 million copies were sold during that period. They were translated into at least 38 languages.
But Edward Packard, one of the authors of the classic series, has set out to create modern interactive books based on them, published by Simon and Schuster.
The Packard/Simon and Schuster versions had to be renamed “U-Ventures,” since Chooseco owns the rights to the name of the original series.
The basic concept of the books remains the same — there is a suspenseful plot, and dozens of possible outcomes. But of course some changes are necessary. For a single example — pay phones must become cell phones.
Mr. Packard has adapted three of the books, beginning with “Return to the Cave of Time,” a story about time travel, as mobile applications for iPhone or iPad.
The first story was released in June.
A second story, “Through the Black Hole,” and a third, “The Forbidden Castle,” will be available later in the summer and fall.
The cost is $3.99 on iTunes.
While the new versions of the books incorporate all the original tests, they are expanded to include more choices and endings. Instead of flipping back and forth as you would in a printed book, with U-Venture you remember secret passwords and tap a screen to make choices.
And making the wrong decision will prompt the screen to fade to black, and buzz or shake violently — with appropriate sound effects and music!
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