The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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4:23pm on Wednesday, 28th September, 2011:
When I was at school, I wrote my very own Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Solo Dungeon. It became my first professional publication.
A few weeks ago, I was looking for something to give my students so they could study narrative in games, and it occurred to me that a CYOA game would do the trick. I couldn't really give them The Solo Dungeon as it assumes you have a role-playing game combat system you can use to determine if you win fights or not (plus there are bugs in the published version's go-to-paragraph-X directions). I could give them an online hypertext game, but my own The Mystery of the Sightless Sculptor is a demo that only goes up to the end of Act 1. I'd actually have to look for some good ones before finding an appropriate one to give to my students.
I do have a good one in paperback, Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson's Fabled Lands; sadly, though, it's out of print. However, I was emailing Steve Jackson on another matter and it occurred to me that I could use The Warlock of Firetop Mountain as my example, as it's still very much in print. I haven't played this myself, but millions of teenagers did in the 1980s so it's probably got something going for it. I therefore decided to buy a copy to try it out. If it lets me say what I want to say about story and games, I'll order another 30 copies and distribute them to my students.
Well, today my copy arrived.
It's hardback. It looks gorgeous. I'm going to ruin it if I play it. I want to put it back in its box and take it with me to Brunel University next time I go there, to force Steve to sign it.
However, although I may be agonising over whether to open the sealed decks of Chinese playing cards I got yesterday, that's not going to happen here. Games are meant to be played. This is a game, so it's going to get played.
If it works out, though, maybe I'lll try order 30 paperbacks instead of hardbacks, it'll be cheaper. Although if I were to order 30 hardbacks, I could swap my current one for a brand spanking new one and claim that as my own. Then I can push a pristine copy into Steve's hands while pointing a gun at his head demanding that he sign it. (The book, not the gun) (nor the head).
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