In news that would shock no one who has ever seen my garage, I have books that I read as a child that I have been saving for my kids to read. Mason, who recently started third grade, has turned into a voracious reader. In fact, yesterday he met his first nine-weeks reading goal only three-weeks into the school year. A few at a time, I’ve been pulling out some of my old books and adding them to his collection. One genre he’s really been enjoying lately are my old Choose Your Own Adventure books.
If you’re my age I’m sure you remember these books, which offered readers choices as they read their way through each story. Readers would receive a page or two of story, followed by a choice and subsequent pages to turn to. For example, in a book a reader might be presented with the option of turning left or right. If you chose to turn left you would turn to one page; if you chose to turn right, you would turn to another. Decidedly low-tech, but fun nonetheless.
The most common brand of these types of books were the actual Choose Your Own Adventure brand — however, there were lots of knock-offs released around that same time. A couple of competing brands included Twist-A-Plot and Which Way books, both of which used the same page-flipping methodology. While they weren’t as popular at the time, TSR also released several Choose Your Own Adventure-style books as well.
Although they are branded “Dungeons and Dragons”, these books share nothing in common with the actual role playing game, other than perhaps the magical settings that the stories take place in. Like traditional CYOA books, readers can flip through them, make choices, and see what happens. (And, if you’re like me, you’ll keep a finger in the old page, just in case picking a fight with a Red Dragon wasn’t a wise decision …) One of the books boasts 20 different endings, and I think Mason’s read it at least that many times.
I wish I had kept more of these old CYOA books. Of course there’s always eBay …
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