Choose Your Own Adventure books were fucking awesome, name your favourites

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#1
So I've been preparing all my stuff in order to move to a new place and I noticed that I still have a good number of these little books carefully packed since God knows when. For those younglings who didn't live or don't remember the 80's and the first half of the 90's, Choose Your Own Adventure was a series of children's gamebooks that allowed you to craft your own story by picking a decision for your character at the end of each mini-episode and moving to a designated page. That shit was basically the printed equivalent of graphic adventures and it was AWESOME.

Although aimed at kids, a number of those books were pretty rich in terms of storytelling and even dared to slip some basic scientific knowledge. Plus, some the deaths were gruesome as fuck. Like, seriously unsettling, to the point that I actually had nightmares with a couple of them and even refused to look at one of the covers out of sheer terror. I think I was 8 years old when I got my first CYOA book and continued to devour them for the following two years or so before moving onto conventional novels for young adults (I was a rather precocious reader), but those books left an incredible mark on me and now that I've found my stash I can't help but remember the immense joy (and despair) the brought me. Apparently some company purchased the rights a few years ago and reprinted a good chunk of the originals with new and fugly covers, but honestly, they don't feel the same without the original (and sometimes deeply unsettling) art.

Anyway, I'm sure that a good number of gaffers are familiar with the series, so feel free to point your favourite books. These are mine:

Treasure Diver
I believe this was my first CYOA book and also one of the most disturbing. It was basically a more adventurous version of Jessica Alba's Into the Blue mixed with pirates and ancient galleons loaded with Spanish gold and untold dangers. Some of the highlights included being bitten by a moray eel, dying in a gruesome accident with a suction device used to clean the sand from shipwrecks and experiencing nitrogen sickness after a botched ascend, which basically blew my fucking mind.

The Mystery of Chimney Rock
Gamebook's summary: "While visiting your cousins Michael and Jane in Connecticut, you end up exploring a supposedly cursed house which is said to be occupied only by the cat of a dead woman". So yeah, it's basically your run off the mill haunted house story with some strange and rather oniric elements in between. I can't remember much of it other than I had good fun with it and that the half retarded janitor in the cover creeped the shit out of me. Nonononono.

Inside UFO 54-40
An all-powerful race of aliens have abducted you and placed you into a space zoo. The basic plot is as creepy as it sounds, but it gets even better thanks to the book's deranged artwork (which includes some rather Lovecraftian aliens) and the ship's design. IIRC it also had some time travel/stasis elements, but I'll be damned if I retain the finer details of the book's paths. Also, you could only get the final and good ending if you cheated and jumped straight to the proper page. WHAT THE FUCK.

Lost on the Amazon
"You are a doctor trying to help various tribes living near the Amazon battle tropical diseases. Unfortunately, your expedition disappears before you can do anything, and you have to find and rescue them". And that's about it. This one feel more like an actual book than a gamebook (as in being quite a serious read) and benefited from some actually great artwork in both the cover and the inner pages. The bad endings were pretty fucked up, as in being more realistic than in other books, which caused quite an impression in my young mind. The cover art in the reissue is just... SMH.

The Phantom Submarine
This one was rather weak, but not devoid of charm. As per usual in CYOA books, you are a young kid selected for a very special mission that will probably end in some fucked up and gruesome death. In this case, you have some latent psi abilities that need to be examined in a gorgeous ray-shaped. The book introduced me to the Zener cards (how 80's is that?) and kept creeping me for years with its crazy submarine fauna. Think of it as The Abyss meets Poltergeist.

Anyway, these were my favourites, but there are countless others. Also, I didn't read this one, but the cover is just fit for GAF:

 
#9
My favourite CyoA is actually a single issue of a comic series. The Unwritten #17.
In the previous issue, one of the main characters started suffering a colossal identity crisis and went into a coma. In this issue, the reader is able to choose the method by which she is snapped out of it and brought back. Using this storytelling method is very clever, as it reflects her uncertainty about which of her memories were real and which weren't.

 
#12
Can't remember too many of the goosebumps ones I read off the too of my head but the baby sitter rat one was pre cool.
There's a fair rad ios game called Sorcery! I've been playing the last week that's an old choose your own adventure book and some dice rolls wrapped up with some nice presentation that's definitely worth a checkout for anyone looking for some nostalgia for this kinda stuff
 
#13
Hands down:
There was also one with a similar story where you played a secret agent that was part mystery/puzzle book, part choose your own adventure. It was pretty amazing as a kid, but I can't for the life of me remember much else about it other than an illustration of a gorilla (lol)
 
#15
The Endless Quest books are the ones I remember enjoying the most.I really don't remember if they are actually any good. It was so long ago and I was so young. I absolutely loved them at the time though. I loved fantasy, dragons, and all that jazz so they were right in my wheelhouse.
 

Kelas

The Beastie Boys are the first hip hop group in years to have something to say
#16
I was way into the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks when I was younger (late 90s, so I was late to that particular party). Pretty much cheated my way through the books, fingers holding pages to try all possible avenues, but I still loved them. Awesome, weird artwork and stories. My favourites are probably House of Hell (now available as a mobile app, which is actually really cool and worth checking out), Citadel of Chaos, City of Thieves. I think Talisman of Death was the first one I bought - I still have my collection of about 40 green-spined books that I hope to complete eventually.

Edit: Just remembered, I also found a few Nintendo ones at some stage (I got all my books at used book shops as a kid), though I've no idea where they are now. I owned The Crystal Trap and The Shadow Prince (Zelda/Link), and Doors to Doom and Double Trouble (Mario bros). I remember them being decent.
 
#17
I could never be bothered with the dice and keeping stats, so I just ended up assuming I won the battles. Still lost when I turned round the wrong corner or opened the wrong door though.

My two favourites were from the Fighting Fantasy series:

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain


Starship Traveller
 
#20
Lone Wolf series was good. There was also a series involving combat vehicles in the future with a similar dice roll system.

Good times back then. Would be boring today.
 
#22
They were only in French, but I looooved the Passepeur books:



There was games where you had to flip the pages to see if you went left or right, etc.

I was surprised to see the guy was still making them recently. He even did a serie for 3-5 years old, and another one where there's comics in them.
 
#23
Does anyone have any examples of recent ones?

Here's some in the Warhammer and Warhammer 40K universes.
The forces of Chaos are moving against the Imperium once more, and only YOU can stop them! The first in a new series of Warhammer 40,000 adventure game books, Hive of the Dead casts you in the role of an Imperial Guardsman, fighting for survival upon the plague-ridden world of Subiaco Diablo at the beginning of the Thirteenth Black Crusade. Face all the horrors of Abaddon’s legions, including Death Guard Chaos Space Marines, the walking dead, and foul warp-spawned daemons. Will you make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of mankind, or will your name be forgotten with the rest?
You are a veteran Space Marine of the Imperial Fists Chapter. Equipped with powerful Terminator armour and armed with the deadliest weapons that the Adeptus Astartes wield, you are a symbol of the Emperor's might. Trapped aboard the space hulk Herald of Oblivion and the only survivor of your squad, you must fight your way through the aliens and heretics that infest the star vessel and find a way to escape the horror and return to your Chapter.
Middenheim, City of the White Wolf, where oaths are sworn, throats are slit and a terrifying evil lurks within the mighty rock upon which the city stands.

You are Absalom Kross, a devoted member of the Knights Panther, a sect of fanatical warriors who make up the honour guard of Boris Todbringer, Count of Middenheim. You are dedicated to the Count's protection and the defence of the City of the White Wolf.

While out in the forest surrounding the city, you uncover evidence of a plot to destroy Middenheim from within and are dispatched to bring its perpetrators to justice. Armed only with wits, brawn and your trusty blade, you must battle past some of the fiercest monsters in the Old World to save the city from certain doom.
In Shadows over Sylvania you take on the role of a Vampire thrall of one of the bloodthirsty rulers of the accursed county of Sylvania. Your adventure takes place in the years following Count Vlad von Carstein’s failed attempt to become the first vampire Emperor. There are no Colleges of Magic, Konrad von Carstein is yet to seize control of the realm, and the legendary battles of Grim Moor and Hel Fenn are still in the future.

Throughout the adventure to come, you will be forced to battle numerous enemies who would stand against you, both mortal and Undead. When this occurs, you must fight them using the rules that appear on the following pages. You will also come across weapons and other useful items that may help you progress in your adventure. And then there are the difficult decisions that you will be forced to make which could well have a direct impact on how events play out later in the story.

When you have completed the adventure, you can play it again and again, making different decisions, branching the story in new directions.

Pick up your copy, and begin your battle against the fell fiends of the domain of the dead…
Here are some other ones.
Why does it seem like everyone always does what they want, instead of what you want? You could just wait until you re older and run for president, or ...you could give your grandparents a potion that turns them into zombies. Then they'll do exactly what you say. That will be fun...right?
Inside these pages lies unspeakable horror. Bloodsplattering, brain-impaling, flesh-devouring horror. You’ve probably read your fair share of zombie stories. But this time it’s different. No longer can you sit idle as a bunch of fools make all the wrong moves. All hell is about to break loose—and YOU have a say in humanity’s survival.
 
#25
I had a few of the regular ones and a few of the Goosebumps ones. I remember in the Goosebumps ones there usually wasn't even a 'good' ending to be found, it was just a question of how long you'd last before you had your death described in loving detail.

Those books were messed.
 
#26
Those books were the best. I think I had about 10 of those.

An Argentinean publisher did two satirical books "Choose Your Own Madness", with only 2 books available: "Your Codename is Shindig (or big party)" and "You Are George Bush".




The font type and size are exactly the same, they feel to the book is just like the original ones.
 
#28
Does anyone have any examples of recent ones?
I have this one:



It's actually kind of an open world RPG - by CYOA standards, it's extremely complex. For instance, this is just the first volume. There are, I think, 6 volumes, and each one represents a different part of the world that you can travel to, and you can move freely between the books to accomplish quests.
 
#30
I had a few of the regular ones and a few of the Goosebumps ones. I remember in the Goosebumps ones there usually wasn't even a 'good' ending to be found, it was just a question of how long you'd last before you had your death described in loving detail.

Those books were messed.
I was too old when Goosebumps came out, but one thing that strikes me about CYOA books is how they managed to find new ways to put young kids in the most idiotically dangerous situations and then proceed to slaughter them with unsettling detail. Seriously messed up stuff.
 
#33
Isn't it weird how Edward Packard came up with the CYOA concept, wrote the best books, but has been edited out of the history of the franchise now?



My first CYOA was #21 - Hyperspace. It was seriously fucked up. At some point you start reading a completely separate CYOA book, you could meet the author, you met yourself...

Blew my damn mind when I was a kid.

Also loved The Race Forever since you could keep playing it over again continuously if you did it right.

Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? was also a mind twister since the murderer was different people depending on how you played it. That was the first 'game' that I started thinking about the mechanics behind it and saw how it worked.

My first computer game designs were basically just CYOA rip offs since all I knew when I started was IF-THEN statements. :)
 
#34
I didn't read many books of this type, but I did own a couple of RL Stine's "Give Yourself Goosebumps." "One Night In Payne House" is the one I remember best, because it seemed like no matter what I did I always got a crap ending. Even after paging through it, it turned out there was no happy ending, just one that was slightly less bad.
 
#36
I could never be bothered with the dice and keeping stats, so I just ended up assuming I won the battles. Still lost when I turned round the wrong corner or opened the wrong door though.

My two favourites were from the Fighting Fantasy series:

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain


Starship Traveller
Heh I had about 50 of the fighting fantasy series as a kid, I always preferred the fantasy setting over the sci-fi. I don't remember a favourite though, most of them were pretty awesome.
 

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
#39
Didn't they re-release the old-school CYA line of books shown in the OP like 5-8 years ago or so? Aren't there Kindle versions out as well?
 
#44
I wasn't crazy after all, looks like they were re-released back in 2006:
Yeah, it's all a bit weird. It seems R.A. Mongomery bought the rights to CYOA and is republishing all his old stuff and nothing by anyone else.

Edit: Yep, from Wiki:

When Bantam, now owned by Random House, allowed the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark to lapse, the series was relaunched by Chooseco, which now owns the CYOA trademark. Notably, Chooseco does not reissue titles by Packard, who has started his own imprint, U-Ventures.
 
#46
No ones mentioned the Golden Dragon books yet? Those were some of the best along with Lone Wolf of course (of which I think they started a reboot/new series of).
I've recently been trying to track these down so my kids can experience them growing up and be good little gamer nerds too :p
 

Kelas

The Beastie Boys are the first hip hop group in years to have something to say
#49
Took out my basket of books and took some pictures:

Pretty sure that's my full collection. Missing like 15 books from the main series. There's a lot of books there that I never even opened to read, I was mostly just buying to collect at some point.
 
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