You Chose Wrong: a choose-your-own-adventure failblog


#1

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#2

This project is an animated diagraming of the page flipping choices in the first 13 CYOA books.

http://samizdat.cc/cyoa/#/anim

The books are back in print, incidentally.


#3

Even in the days of CYOA, I was a save scummer.

Never made a decision without at least the last couple of moves saved with fingers.


#4

These aren't just from the "Choose Your Own Adventure" brand; any connoisseur of cellulose-based hypertext literature will recognize the first two illustrations as being from the "Be an Interplanetary Spy" series.


#5

This was the first book of this type that I played.


#6

What I always hated about the books is that what they described often seemed to be inconsistent, making your choices meaningless in many cases. For example, I remember one where you hear a noise and you can either go investigate or hide. Investigating it turns out to be the wrong choice, as it was a lethal monster. Okay, fine. But if you choose to hide, it turns out that the noise was something harmless! Either it is a monster or it isn't!


#7

Here's my first:


#8

The charming new Hamlet CYOA (previously on BoingBoing) includes a clever multi-pronged bookmark designed specifically to save you the trouble of having to stab multiple fingers between the pages. Image

(...Also, what happened to scaled-down previews for image links?)


#9

Clearly, it was Schrodinger's cat.


#10

If Kryptonians never need to sleep (since when?) how would Supergirl recognize the feeling of tiredness?


#11

This would be fantastic randomly selected content for an error 404 page.


#12

In a certain sense, I think we lived several lives and endured many different deaths. It was certainly a quick and painless way, but I think these bitter epilogues somehow questioned our childish minds about the meaning of things.


#13

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Maylee-Todd-Do-Right-Music-/200953404993?pt=FR_GW_CDMUSIQUE_CD&hash=item2ec9c19e41


#14

I don't know what my first was - but I loved CYOA. Later I found the D&D books and read as many as I could. Eventually I found books where you played the character and did battles. Actually kept track of stats and rolled dice.

My favorite book like this was Space Assassin by Steve Jackson Games. There is a mad scientist orbiting your planet with a diabolical plan to kill or mutate everyone on the planet. You sneak aboard with the mission to take him out before he dooms your world.


#15

Yeah, I had a number of these. Some were better than others. It's worth pointing out that the Fighting Fantasy books were devised by the UK Steve Jackson, which made things a little confusing, especially as the US Steve Jackson also wrote a number of books in the FF series!


#16

One thing that stinks is I loaned out this book, and I never got it back. The above cover I think was a UK release, because most of the copies I've seen of this book have another cover. But I do need to get it again - with this cover - some day.


#17

As I recall, it was rarely the case that a decision was actually connected to its result in any meaningful way, so it never felt like I was actually participating in constructing the narrative.

In one CYOA, in which you were abducted by aliens, you kept hearing that the aliens were actually searching for some sort of paradise, but you could never find it "by making a decision or by following directions". Instead, there were a couple of pages describing arriving at this paradise, in the middle of the book, disconnected from the linked pages.

My least favorite decision in a CYOA-style narrative, though, was in a sword-and-sorcery style narrative. You get a message of some kind written in a cipher. If you (the reader) choose to decipher it yourself, you get to read it and directions to the pages for the conclusion of the narrative. Otherwise, you read a description of a friend of the main character deciphering the message, and then telling you what to do, which leads to a different conclusion. As I recall, the conclusion which required doing the work of actually solving a puzzle was a "bad" ending, and the one in which you don't do the work was a "good" ending, which took all the fun out of having worked out how to decipher a Caesar cipher.


#18

One of my favorite CYOA books, and one of the ones I started with, was The Cave of Time. And I will never forget that one of the threads didn't end with a terrible death, but did end with you settling down and living happily in the past. And it ended with the words, "You die a few years before you are born."

That still gives me chills.


#19

In one CYOA, in which you were abducted by aliens, you kept hearing that the aliens were actually searching for some sort of paradise, but you could never find it "by making a decision or by following directions". Instead, there were a couple of pages describing arriving at this paradise, in the middle of the book, disconnected from the linked pages.

Oh my god, I was going to mention that very book. I went through the entire thing page-by-page and there was indeed, no choice that would lead you to the pages about Paradise.

It made me mad, because one, the book broke the rules; and two, because deciding to break the rules yourself to get there was making a decision.


#20

It's frightening how my memory works sometimes. The book was Inside UFO 54-40, and the paradise was called Ultima. I must have read that one thirty times trying to figure out what decisions would lead me there, until a friend said, "You get there by flipping through the pages to the center of the book."

I did like that there was often not a clear "right" or "wrong" decision in the CYOA books. Sometimes your untimely death was not the result of a single "bad" decision, but rather part of a sequence of events. Sort of like life itself.