Daily Archives: February 1, 2009

Roll your own

I have a box of books from my mother here, and it’s mostly filled with Choose Your Own Adventure books.  They’re really interesting, mainly because they’re written in the second person.  That is, they always address, “you.”

Which is of course, similar to how Interactive Fiction has to be written.  They are games, in a way, although in book form.  It’s like a puzzle, but really written so that you’ll be encouraged to try different paths.  Of course, being a paperback book, you inevitably end up on the same path every now and again.

There are the straight up, “Choose Your Own Adventure” but I also had a few of the “Time Machine” books where you went back in time to observe or repair the past.  Of course, if you went back to observe, you always ended up having to repair the past anyway.  Looking at the Wikipedia entry I realize now that those books are old.

I know people younger than those books.

But they’re fun reads, and it’s nice to be able to revisit them, although the plots are simplistic and they’re sparse on details.  A lot of the “choices” wind up on the same two or three paths.  Of course, the same complaints can be made about video games today.  No matter what the medium, the ability to give an interactive participant real choices with real consequences is always going to be limited by the story they are trying to tell.

And ultimately the story is what is going to make me put up with these artificial choices.  As long as the story is compelling, I will overlook being railroaded into one or two paths.

Of course with video games, there’s the added impetus of whether or not the game is fun or not.  Books have the equivalent of whether or not it’s fun to read, but considering these have all been written for around the fifth grade reading level, they’re not so engaging anymore.

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