Choose your own adventure for reading together
March 2, 2020 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I recently got a flash of nostalgia from a story about Choose your own adventures-style books. I thought it would by fun to read one of those together with my spouse, but I'm struggling to find the right material. One I tried was about retelling Hamlet, I think, but it was horribly written. And what I remember of the titles from my youth, they had all some kind of combat or inventory managment, which I'm not terribly interested in recreating. We could just win all combats and pass all inventory checks, but I would prefer a book without such gimmicks.

Can you recommend something? As long as it's fun we don't care if it's cheesy or clicheed or whatever. It just should have somewhat tolerable writing...

I'm from Germany, so my fare as a youth will differ from most of you. The only one I can clearly remember was this title: .
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Life's Lottery ? Which is also very very good writing.
posted by plep at 6:34 AM on March 2, 2020

A new zine version: Choose Your Own Dykeventure!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:44 AM on March 2, 2020

How about Choose Your Own Autobiography?
posted by bq at 7:07 AM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

For a firehose of options, see Demian's Gamebook Web Page. It's more about categorization than recommendations, though.

You can drill down to categories like Country: Germany or Complexity Level : Basic (No Game System).
posted by zamboni at 7:32 AM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

One I tried was about retelling Hamlet, I think, but it was horribly written.

OK, no Ryan North, then.
posted by zamboni at 7:56 AM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, any of the actual CYOA-brand are going to be pretty straight up reading and flipping, no systems at all. Damien’s will be good for deciding which ones specifically to track down (do Chimney Rock, at least!) Time Machine would also be a good set to look up. “Good writing” might be more of a challenge, depending on your standards.
posted by curious nu at 8:00 AM on March 2, 2020

A friend wrote a beautiful CYOA book, Oh My Darling, that I recommend all the time. It's quite short but offers interesting choices within a story you might be familiar with.
posted by phlox at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2020

There are two CYOA board games out, where you collaboratively play through a CYOA book. You might like exploring the book together in realtime, vs reading it separately.

My family enjoyed the one we played; I'd describe it as cheesy, funny, and weird. :)

CYOA House of Danger boardgame (we played this one)
CYOA War with the Evil Power Master boardgame
posted by homodachi at 9:10 AM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

The game Mythos Tales is mostly a CYOA for adults with a foldout map and very small amount of record-keeping. You might take a look at this review.

The novel 253 by Geoff Ryman is a heavily hyperlinked / unordered novel available for free online that you might enjoy navigating together. It won a Philip K. Dick Award in the 90s.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you are looking for that authentic experience then I remember the Endless Quest series of books being more complex and written at a higher level that the original CYOA line. They have no combat mechanism and are cheesy as all hell, as befitting their D&D origins.
posted by AndrewStephens at 11:56 AM on March 2, 2020

I don't know if you're up for a digital version of this, but the company Choice of Games has released oodles of text-based choice-driven games for PCs and mobile phones. My favorite was "Choice of Robots." They also have a strictly romance-themed vertical if that's more your speed.
posted by zeusianfog at 1:28 PM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Pretty Little Mistakes is a great one. Lots of creative endings.
posted by Penguin48 at 8:28 PM on March 2, 2020

Caveat that I was a literal child when I read them, but Goosebumps has a decently-sized series in the CYOA fashion. My favorite was Please Don't Feed the Vampire! and it looks like Amazon US has 23 of the books on Kindle. No inventory management that I remember, but they were fun.
posted by lesser weasel at 8:51 PM on March 2, 2020

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