Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I: If you've never read a Gamebook

If people are wandering here through the A-Z challenge, it's possible that you've never heard of gamebooks, and never read one before. What is this strange genre? you may be asking yourself. And, where can I get one?

If you've never read a gamebook, I've got good news for you: You've got some fantastic reads ahead.

They come in all shapes and sizes, in all genres, and many of them are available free or inexpensively for your reading enjoyment. Here's a short list of suggestions to get started with:

Classic Fantasy Adventure: See the Lone Wolf series, available for free on Project Aon.

Pulp Fantasy: Check out Temple of the Spider God by gamebook author Jonathan Green, published by Tin Man Games. It's not free, but it's definitely worth it! What's better, play it on your smartphone!

Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction: Try the brilliant Heart of Ice, by Dave Morris, which he is giving away for free on his website. This is his own favorite of the gamebooks he's written; high praise indeed!

Space Opera Science Fiction: See Infinite Universe, the latest gem from Tin Man Games. Try it free on your smartphone!

Romance: Yes, there is gamebook Romance! Check out Getting Dumped by Tawna Fenske, an author who has utterly charmed me with her wit and good humor. This is "Active Fiction" rather than strictly a gamebook, and the choices are few and far between, but personally, I'm delighted to see interactive fiction branching into other genres.

Historical Fiction: Set in the courts of a pseudo-renaissance era Spain, Affairs of Court holds romance, politics, duels and magic. You can also try it free on their website at choiceofgames.com!

Pirates! Take on the role of a young, British naval officer in Choice of Broadsides, as you navigate politics, pirates, betrayal and bad weather to rise to power and glory.

There--hopefully between the options given above, there should be something for everyone. Pick a genre that you like, and give it a try! Then, come back and let me know what you think ;)


  1. I'm looking forward to the release of all the Gamebook Adventures onto Android.

    Curses! Getting Dumped does not seem to be available from UK Amazon.

  2. Too bad!

    It's not a gamebook in the traditional style. You only make a small number of choices in it. (I haven't finished it yet, but I read for over an hour before getting to my first choice.)

    She's doing an interesting thing, though, which I've thought about emulating: instead of writing a gamebook with multiple endings, then considering one 'canon' and going on to write the next as though that's what happened (as most gamebooks and also video games do) she's waiting to write the sequel until seeing which ending of book one is most popular, and then she makes that the canon ending. I *think* this is standard among the Coliloquy 'Active Fiction' books, and it's a great idea. Something I'd definitely like to try.