I was fond of choose-your-own-adventure books as a kid. And when my son was younger, I remember finding some of the classic titles from my childhood at a secondhand bookstore. I introduced him to the genre -- he loved it too. I'm not sure we had any illusion that these books are "great literature." Nevertheless they can be pretty fun to read and control the narrative.

It makes sense, I think, that choose-your-own-adventures would make great games and great interactive e-books, and there have been a couple of titles of note released recently:

Return to the Cave of Time

Written as a sequel to one of the very first in that classic Seventies series, The Cave of Time, U-Ventures has an iPhone app - "Return to the Cave of Time." Author of the original book and of the iPhone app, Edward Packard appeared on Talk of the Nation, where he described the ability with a digital version to add additional pages and features. The $3.99 iPhone app has sound effects, but thats about it for bells and whistles.

Packard does describe some of the changes he made to the narrative POV. When writing the original books, the publishers said "we have to represent it with somebody as you, the reader. And this somebody turned out to be a white boy, looking like sort of a junior James Bond. And this didn't sit too well with a lot of people, especially girls. And so we decided, with these apps, we're not going to have that problem. We're going to make it point-of-view, the reader. And as you go through your adventures, all the illustrations show things as you see them with your own eyes."

Choice of Romance

Choice of Games, who have long been making choose-your-own-adventure stories that challenge some of the gender stereotypes, not just about the reader but within the text itself, announced the release of its latest app today: Choice of Romance. It's available on the web, iPhone, or Android. (The Android and web versions are free. The iPhone app is $1.99.)

I've blogged about Choice of Games, as the company maintains a great blog examining some of the internal processes for developing a good choose-your-own-adventure narrative. Choice of Games also make available the source code for ChoiceScript, the language used to make the multiple choice story program.

Audrey Watters


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