The RPG Scrollbars: The Game Of The Gamebook

ALERT! ALERT! FILTHY NON-PC GAME DETECTED! DEPLOY DOOMHORACE!

Oh, to be able to talk more about what I’ve been playing this week – the third part of Inkle’s conversion of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! That’s their exclamation mark, by the way, not mine. Unfortunately, it’s not available on PC, so I can’t. I can’t say how ludicrously impressive it is, from the way it’s converted the largely linear gamebook experience to an open world format, to the narrative masochism of then doubling-down and adding time-travel on top of that. Curse thee, thou wretched yet beautiful non-PC game, available right now on iTunes and Google Play. Ahem.

It’s not however the only RPG gamebook in town. This week then, I thought I’d check out a few that are a bit closer to home. Steam, show me what you’ve got in your magic catalogue…

Now, these aren’t going to be full reviews, only impressions. I’m also looking specifically for games with an RPG element to them rather than pure interactive fiction. To Be Or Not To Be for instance, while funny, doesn’t really count. There’s actually quite a few out there that do though, including several other Steve Jackson conversions. I’m also only looking on Steam, but that’s not the only place to get this kind of game. They tend to be mobile games first, but there are some PC exclusive offerings too, not least Seventh Sense, built to play the original Lone Wolf books.

Got that? Splendid. Then let us dive right in with…

Appointment With F.E.A.R.

I always thought that if you played FEAR quickly enough, you should be able to catch Alma mid-way through planning her next scare. Just on a swing or something, going 'Yes, yes, I'll set the walls on fire, and then the blood will drip down, and-'

Excelsior! And other inappropriately screamed words! Appointment With FEAR, as I’m now going to type it, has nothing to do with a certain horror franchise, as you almost certainly know and/or guessed because, well, duh. Instead, it’s superhero time, and hooks don’t come much more fun than that. This interactive version immediately impresses by kicking off with a solid character creation system that lets you pick a power – telekinesis, gadgets, super-strength/flight or energy blasts – and colour-scheme for a couple of suit variants, though sadly not a custom name. You get a few randomly thrown together options to choose from, like “Superior Blanket” and “Unconventional Moth”, but aren’t allowed to spoil the mood by typing something not shit. Well, perhaps over time I shall teach criminals to fear cries of “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…. BOUNCY BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Needless to say, this isn’t exactly Arkham Knight. When told “You have taken an oath to serve in the fight against crime in Titan City,” it’s immediately followed up with Bouncy Birthday Cake declaring “TIME FOR BREAKFAST!” and in this case, getting an Achievement for making porridge using a custom-made robotic laser oat cutter. You then head out to your secret-identity job as a mild-mannered reporter, and yes, the disguise consists entirely of a pair of nerd glasses over your primary coloured spandex. It’s that kind of parody. Still, it’s a cheerfully enjoyable one, backed up with some great punchy background music and a lot of art. I’m reminded of playing through Heroes Rise the other year, a series that definitely suffered from trying to convey a world of fast action and bright colours in nothing but black text on cream. The writing here isn’t particularly sharp, but it doesn’t have to be. This is a world of circus freak supervillains, crime computers and almost seamlessly going from investigating a bank robbery to punching out a giant shark that’s busy attacking a beach.

(Or unleashing an electric gun, frying a kid in the process. Ooof. 8 Hero Points deservedly lost.)

AGE OF ULTRON: ABRIDGED
TONY STARK: 'You're three days old.'
ULTRON: 'Cheers'
THOR: 'That is it? Comrades, this was a most disappointing adventure.'
CAPTAIN AMERICA: 'Not as disappointing as your second movie!'
ALL: 'OH NO HE DIDN'T!'
(Credits play over the ending theme of Short Circuit 2)

What gets in the way is that success and failure always feels pretty random. The goal of the game is to track down a meeting of the titular FEAR, though in practice you spend most of the three days until then just doing Stuff and hoping to stumble across the necessary clues. Go to “Wisneyland” for instance, head for the fun-house, and you’ll get three options for tracking down The Scarlet Prankster – essentially The Joker in Harley Quinn’s hat. There’s no real reason to pick one of the three over the others, but you only get the one shot before being thrown out with nothing particularly accomplished. You’re basically the world’s least committed superhero. Where Batman would see a fearsome foe escape and immediately give chase or deduce something with the Batcomputer, Bouncy Birthday Cake and friends just go “Oh well, can’t win ’em all”, go home and have an early night.

Turns out this is a pretty good way to have the world destroyed by a doom-satellite.

It doesn’t take too long to blitz through Appointment With FEAR, and the tongue in cheek style is pretty amusing if you don’t mind a lot of gags that would have been crusty when the book came out back in 1985. The art and music are solid, and it’s worth a few smiles. The core game though is pretty weak, way too reliant on random luck, and I can’t say I feel any need to keep pushing through the same jokes and pretty lazy pastiches to get to a better ending than everyone dying horribly to an evil cyborg. It was fun while it lasted though, and a decent conversion of an unusual book.

Appointment with FEAR on Steam

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf HD Remastered

As your liege-lord, I demand proper speech marks. None of this laquo/raquo shit.

On the one hand, the easy online availability of the books means that Lone Wolf has to offer something special to stand out. On the other, it’s not as if there’s ever been a good official interactive version. If you were in England during the 80s – probably some other places too, but that’s the only one I can speak of personally – chances are you remember this series very fondly. It’s the story of the last of the Kai, an order of monks otherwise wiped out in the first book, and his battle against the evil Darklords. The evil bit probably goes without saying, but you never know, they might just have been bad at names. Would you assume the best of aliens called the Darlings?

What made Lone Wolf an epic was that the same character continued for book after book, choices rippling through them for players brave enough not to simply stick a finger between pages when making decisions. There were 28 gamebooks in total, split into sub-series, along with spin-off words like the Magnamund Companion for those who wanted to know more about the world, and novelisations. Yes, there were novelisations… of books. That was a thing that happened.

This game version is a whole new story, and goodness, what lovely wrapping it has. It retains a general book style look and feel, though I maintain that any game that begins with a copy of a book on a table bearing its name or logo requires as many vicious cock-punches as it takes to get rid of the pretentiousness, and any that also feature angelic vocals have buried so far into their own anus that no spelunking will find their head. But that’s just me. This is a thing that bugs me. So, on a possibly more general level, are text games that take several seconds to display text on page turning. Lone Wolf opts for a kind of inky-bleed effect each time that looks lovely, but quickly gets irritating. You can click again to just display everything, but there’s no apparent option to just do that automatically. And you also have to precisely click to turn a page without dragging. It’s one of many reminders that this came out on iOS first, where such things would have been less fiddly, and one of a few ways where the look works against it. The typography for instance is fine for description, but becomes a mess when conversations kick in, while the font is so big that by the time you’ve paged through some of the longer bits, you’ve probably forgotten what you were doing in the first place.

When I think of the market for gamebooks, I think of people who really, really want to do lots of quick reaction tests.

But! It does indeed look lovely. Little dust particles and light effects pouring over the words, animated woodcuts spliced in amongst the text, with regular jumps to 3D for actions like lock picking and combat against various monsters. Most of the actions are done with QTEs, from quick clicking to bash something down to sweeping for a sword-strike and clicking to set the accuracy of thrown knives. There’s a pretty good selection of options, using your chosen weapon, magical Kai skills, throwing knives, and super attacks courtesy of the magical Sommerswerd. That said, the amount of time devoted to the combat engine does seem to have pushed the game too far in that direction. There’s a lot of mandatory fighting. A lot. Explore building. Combat. Walk down street. Combat. Sneak into a building. Combat. What would otherwise have been a good inclusion quickly loses its charm through overuse. Even if you turn the difficulty to Easy purely to speed things up a bit.

Overall though, this one just didn’t click. While the story may get awesome later, its opening is piss-weak (walking around a destroyed village where not much is going on), the window through which the story is told looks lovely but isn’t actually that well designed for copious amounts of text, and while the decisions offered some fun uses for chosen skills and moral decisions – free a criminal to spare his life, or leave him trapped and assume the situation will work itself out – the constant QTEs and inevitability of imminent combat soon sapped my will to proceed. To be fair to it, it’s got a good set of fans on Steam and reviewed well over on iOS. Your mileage may vary. It quickly lost my interest though, and largely left me cold. A pity, but hopefully there’ll be a next time.

Lone Wolf on Steam

The Forest of Doom

Dibs on the first Cacodemon!

Now, this is an old-school gamebook reproduced in about as old-school a way as you can get, right down to still listing the page numbers that you would have turned to. Forest of Doom is easily one of the most famous/infamous examples of the style, and this unashamedly copies every bastardly element of it. (Though apparently on the hardest mode, the ending is different just for one final gotcha.) You roll dice to create your character, you roll dice to fight, and if you lose the fight, you have to click on a “If you are killed…” option to be told how much it sucks to be you.

I’m not going to criticise it too much for being a game built on dead-ends and fuck-you encounters, simply because that was the style at the time and Forest of Doom’s retro style works well to keep that in mind. It’s also got a couple of fun ways around it, including a Free Read mode that openly describes itself as “Play Forest of Doom like an old-school cheater!” In this mode you can always step back to make other decisions (unless you are actually killed, but even then, you’ve got to click the button, so…) as well as heal yourself whenever you want. Even more dramatically, you can unlock every option on the screen in a “Sure, I totally won the fight/collected that item/know the password” way and cheese your way through the game like it had a dedicated Gouda Mode.

Let’s face it, this is how 99% of players are going to do it. If not though, this is a pretty good engine for the classic gamebooks – handling the fiddly stuff like remembering to add bonuses to combat rolls and keeping track of inventory items, and mapping out the world one node at a time to offer clearer visual understanding of the space. The core game relies heavily… almost entirely… on nostalgia to still offer a good time, but if you’ve got it, this is a solid way to enjoy it. Not much else to be said, really. It is what it is, but it does an excellent job of being it. Roll a 6 to avoid randomly dying.

The Forest of Doom on Steam

Starship Traveller

Wait, ANY fluorescent green metal? Science Officer, to the paint shop! We shall be rich this day!

Honestly, see previous entry. It’s got a sci-fi skin, but otherwise is the same basic gist. One thing that does make it slightly more fun though is the amount of choice you get – even if that does often translate as ‘chances to absolutely screw yourself over’. You’re the captain of a starship lost in another universe after what can best be described as ‘a bit of an ooopsie’, trying to find a way home. You make choices, you roll dice, you try not to accidentally get everyone killed. On top of the adventure though is an even heavier RPG layer, thanks to being able to create and name your own ship as well as crew, allowing you to be the Captain Janeway of a group of friends, colleagues, or high-ups in the Reptilian conspiracy of which mankind is not yet ready to know. That both adds a sense of fun, and general sadness that such an excellent concept has largely been left on the table by gaming ever since. Imagine such a free-wheeling Mass Effect or roguelike in that more narrative driven mould, ideally without the likelihood of instant death. Just saying, industry…

Starship Traveller on Steam

(Just for completeness’ sake, the same engine is also used for the Judge Dredd game Countdown Sector 106. Which I played up until the point where Dredd politely commandeers a sky-surfboard and “You thank the assistant for their help and assure him you will put it to good use.” So, yeah. Suffice it to say, it feels about as true to the source material as the Rob Schneider comedy bits in the original Stallone movie. I guess it is at least a game where one of the stats is “AUTHORITY”)

There are of course other gamebook conversions out there, not to mention a truckload of awesome interactive fiction. But I think that’ll do for now. Are there any others you’ve found and particularly liked? Or simply classics that you’d like to see make a return trip? Have you written a theatrical version of War With The Evil Power Master? Why? Why would you do such a thing?

32 Comments

  1. Scurra says:

    Of course, Forest of Doom and Starship Traveller were also #3 and #4 of the Fighting Fantasy series (and thus more than 30 years old now) which means that they are also somewhat less polished in terms of the actual story flow – and that’s without saying anything about their actual writing quality given that those early books were clearly being bashed out to meet an unexpected demand. Then again, it’s also reasonable to argue that there was never that much story flow in those books anyway, which is perhaps why the Lone Wolf books were so successful…

    • Neurotic says:

      Fighting Fantasy, absolute classics. Let’s also not forget Deathtrap Dungeon, which Eidos made into a PC/PSX game once upon a long ago (see gog.com)

      • caff says:

        Yes this! Loved Deathtrap Dungeon.

        Or House of Hell. Incredibly hard but great fun nevertheless.

        I never really played them seriously anyway.

  2. RuySan says:

    Since i was a huge fan of Fighting Fantasy back in the day, I’ve been following these conversions closely. Tin Man Games has done a great job so far, but i’m quite sad that Starship Traveller doesn’t have the original artwork like the other conversions.

    Also, some of the best books, like City of Thieves and Deathtrap Dungeon haven’t been converted yet. Also, most of the books (e.g. House of Hell, Caverns of the Snow Witch) are still iOS and Android only.

    • Kefren says:

      I think City of Thieves (FF5) was my favourite too. I have all my FF books still. When I was about 14 I wrote my own, set in Port Blacksand. I should type it up one day, it is currently 500 entries hand-written in a workbook.

      • RuySan says:

        City of Thieves was my first FF book, and i was probably around 7/8 years old. All the gritty artwork and the atmosphere of the book made a huge impression on me. In the cover there were heads on spikes!

        Even though the books were probably mostly aimed at teens and young adults, since that day i started collecting them. They were a huge success here in Portugal.

  3. Philopoemen says:

    It’s probably because I’m looking at it through the rose-coloured nostalgia glasses, but as an 8-yr old in the school library, the Fighting Fantasy books were something amazing. Return to Firetop Mountain sticks in my mind for some reason.

    But I fear what made them so good as the fact I was an 8-yr old in the school library. The canvas was my imagination, before it had been too polluted by movies, games and other. I fear as a pc game, I would be putting way too much emphasis on visuals, and being lazy with my brain.

  4. Andrew says:

    I bounced right off Appointment with FEAR. Too silly, too random. Ultimately boring. I honestly wonder about gamebooks – were they all like this in the 80s? Anyway. Choice of Robots is on Steam, and it’s really good. Doesn’t look like much, but I’ve probably played through it three times. And it’s quite long, so that is saying something. I think the Heroes Rise series has been covered here, and it’s also superior to anything Tin Man has produced, imo. Sorcery! is the best though, I’d agree with that.

    Gamebooks are better on a mobile device anyway. Heresy, but there you go. iPads and similar feel more booky than a laptop or desk monitor.

    • Andrew says:

      Oh, I’ve reread the opening paragraphs. Perhaps my choices are more IF than gamebook. That’s possible.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        Yeah, Choice Of Games isn’t RPG enough for this. At least, not the ones I’ve played. (The likes of Heroes Rise have some mild combat and such in, but it’d be pushing it a bit IMO.)

        • jbd says:

          Of the Choice of Games stuff on Steam, Hero of Kendrickstone is probably the most RPG-ish at the moment.

          None of them have ‘you are now fighting a monster with 20 health, you have 10 health, now roll dice a bunch’ type combat as far as I know.

    • NathanH says:

      I like to play the occasional gamebook casually on mobile, but I don’t think it’s such a huge advantage if you take them seriously, because you need some sort of easy note-taking and mapping tools to really play FF books properly. When I play with my paper copies, I sit at the computer with a spreadsheet open (and a combat-resolution program too…)

      • NathanH says:

        I guess if you are not the sort of person who looks gamebooks for their puzzle/route optimization aspect, then the above doesn’t really matter.

        Give us back the edit function!

  5. TomxJ says:

    The Humble mobile bundle this week has a tonne of tinman gamebooks.

    I recently booted up Forest of Doom for some Nostalgia.

    Its crap.

    I can’t fault Tinman for thier engine, it runs well, its just the source material. Great when I was learning to read 25 years ago, but why anyone would go back to them as an adult escapes me.

    Saying that if thier target audience is younger then I’m glad that the modern format has given the Fighting Fantasy books new life, because my 5 year old self LOVED them.

    Inkles Sorcery! series is great though!

    • RuySan says:

      While i have a soft spot for Forest of Doom, purely out of nostalgia, it isn’t among the top FF books. The map in the conversion is quite handy though.

  6. BlazeL says:

    I would actually prefer if RPS would cover interesting mobile games occasionally.

    Finding stuff I like in the mess of the appstores is pretty impossible and I haven’t managed to find a mobile gaming site thats focus meshes with my interests (like RPS does in pc land). So, I’m usually only trying mobile games i heard about on Idle Thumbs or from friends but I have a feeling that I’m missing out on a lot.

    This site started as a blog where the writers picked themes that interested them, so i don’t think it would be a big departure to have an article about a mobile title once in a while.

    (E.g. It would have been great to hear about Out There when Alec was first playing it on mobile, well before it came to pc.)

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Pockettactics may be what you’re looking for then.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Not quite what you meant, maybe, but RPS did have two posts praising it before the PC version turned up – Sea of Stars with Adam mentioning he was playing Out There, and another where Alec talks about Android emulators. They don’t talk about mobile much – which is fair enough given I get the impression it doesn’t interest most of them much – but they do occasionally mention stuff that’s caught their attention.

  7. NathanH says:

    Someone should do a digital version of Heart of Ice by Dave Morris, that is a seriously good gamebook. You can get his other book (something about Dead Men, pirate book, can’t remember the name exactly) which is OK but not as good. Also it obscures all the gameplay mechanics which is a bad idea in my opinion.

    Hmm, other classic style gamebooks in the digital world?

    The Gamebook Adventures series has absolute bobbins gameplay mechanics, but a couple of the books are good. Assassin in Orlandes, Slaves of Rema, and Wizard of Thingy Thing are worth a play.

    DestinyQuest infinite isn’t finished yet (currently 2/3 of the book Legion of Shadows) but DQ is in my opinion amazing. It’s like a gamebook Diablo.

    I used to play the online gamebook Sryth which used to be awesome (and is huge) but slowly added more and more browser-based mmo syle crap bloat. But if you’ve never played it, it’s worth a go at some point, there is plenty of fun to be had.

    Sadly the digital versions of Fighting Fantasy have had a fairly poor choice of books so far. I haven’t played the Sorceries. You’ve got House of Hell on iThingy, which is a good book. Forest of Doom is pleasant enough, but not really here or there—too random without being too vicious like Deathtrap Dungeon was. Snow Witch is strictly fans-only material; I quite like it but I like this sort of thing. Bloodbones is really good except it’s bloody impossible. Blood of the Zombies is better than the press made me expect but is bloody impossible. Island of the Lizard King is relatively pointless, although the final baddie is cool. Starship Traveller didn’t impress me in book form, it plays a little better digitally though.

    Annoyingly there are lots of much better books that could be released, and most of them aren’t in rights-limbo. Gamebook fans, keep your eyes peeled for Legend of Zagor, Stormslayer, Night of the Necromancer, Howl of the Werewolf. And if you played FF when you were young but only remember the earlier stuff, mybe consider trying to pick up second-hand copies of someof the later FF books like Moonrunner, Dead of Night, Night Dragon, Black Vein Prophecy… these are genuinely good, whereas the earlier books are more nostalgia-bait.

    • DQInfinite says:

      DestinyQuest has a digital version now too – acts 1 and 2 are already out, 3 coming out really soon. (: Check out dqinfinite dot com if you’re interested!

    • Person of Con says:

      Dave Morris’ Heart of Ice is indeed a really great gamebook–probably my favorite when it comes to combining choice with an actually interesting storyworld. The podcast Pod Your Own Adventure just went through another book in the series Heart of Ice was first published in, Coils of Hate, which is a fantasy take on antisemitism. As for how it went, well, there’s probably a reason it isn’t part of the new digital series. I’m less a fan of his Fabled Lands series–they’re a little too easy to exploit, though a really interesting execution of an open world gamebook.

      I agree that the best fighting fantasy books have yet to be adapted. For my money, the height of the series is the books in the 40s (most of the best of which NathanH lists). Dead of Night and Legend of the Shadow Warriors are great books for “microadventures” set in a localized kingdom, Master of Chaos is kind of the same, but for a city, and Spectral Stalkers is wonderful in how creative yet broken it is–not many gamebooks can claim to center their plot around a Borges’ Macguffin. My favorite, though, has got to be Moonrunner, if only for the inclusions of the Friday the 13th homage and Professor Von Heldenghast, who’s basically Miss Marple crossed with Supernatural.

      I *might* be overly obsessed with gamebooks.

  8. Oozo says:

    Not quite sure if this is the right place to mention Dark Scavenger, but then again, what place is NOT the right place to mention Dark Scavenger?
    A game with a very gamebook vibe, with added lunacy, and a surprisingly interesting combat system. Also, it has my favourite weapon in an RPG ever, a telescop dentist drill that gives extra damage to enemies with open mouths.
    So, in short: I’m not quite sure if it’s a gamebook, but it’s close enough that people who like those could like it, too. Especially because it really was highly enjoyable.

  9. klops says:

    Forest of Doom! That Shit!

    I’m sure the book was flawed – or at least the Finnish translation! You just could not advance from some point. Then again I felt the same thing about The Warlock of Firetop Mountain’s labyrinth so it might have something to do with my orienteering in imaginationland skills. No, they wer flawed. They had to be.

    Ekil erif. Ekam erif. Di Maggio.

    • NathanH says:

      One thing I have learned from replaying the FF books is that when I was 10 I was relentlessly bad at gamebooks! I barely won a single one. Admittedly I wasn’t a mapper when I was young, but even so, I was pretty useless and stupid.

      • klops says:

        But I mapped that goddamned labyrinth! Many times! It. Didn’t. Work. Also, one of the first FF books, Wizard’s Tower, Bastion of Evil or something like that, was doable. There wasn’t a faulty maze to trap you forever, you could just proceed towards the tower. And die. And cheat a bit. And a bit more.

  10. Hordriss says:

    My favourite RPG books were the Fabled Lands series – my brother and I spent many school holidays playing the six that were actually published. More like the gamebook equivalent of an MMO than a regular RPG, given the vast area, freedom to roam, ‘quests’ in the various towns/countries.

    Ah, the joy of ending up in Smogmaw with no money to pay for passage on a ship to somewhere else, unable to leave because the rest of the series never made it into print…

  11. clazyniepije says:

    “I maintain that any game that begins with a copy of a book on a table bearing its name or logo requires as many vicious cock-punches as it takes to get rid of the pretentiousness, and any that also feature angelic vocals have buried so far into their own anus that no spelunking will find their head. But that’s just me.”

    I read this and I had to check that I was still on RPS. I think this has to be the worst single sentence I’ve ever read on this website.

  12. malkav11 says:

    Lone Wolf was always my favorite of the old school gamebooks. It seemed a lot more narratively coherent, less arbitrary and better written than the alternatives, and had a pretty rad skill system that let you approach things in a bunch of different ways while building power over the full (enormous) arc. Project Aon’s done great work in making the series digitally accessible and I’m afraid the app implementations aren’t doing nearly as much for me.

    But there’s still a few gamebooks being written and sold today, including Black Chicken Games’ Kickstarted Holdfast, about being a dwarven adventurer reclaiming the tunnels that are your homeland (so far pretty rad), and most relevantly to a PC gaming website, DestinyQuest. The latter is a trio of meaty (600+ page) gamebooks that adopt an unusual and frankly somewhat videogameish structure where you are presented with maps and then can take on various quests in an open-ended fashion, shepherded by color-coded difficulty, with the only penalty for death in the (fairly elaborate) battle system most of the time being restarting the fight. There’s an extensive and detailed inventory system and the writing and setting are quite strong. I think it’s a real shame that the series apparently did not sell well enough to be continued past book three (and I’m not sure if the later books ever got published in the US – I imported all of them from the UK – certainly the Kindle editions did not). However, the reason I say it’s most relevant to PC gaming is that, unlike Holdfast, DestinyQuest has an app version. Or at least, an app version of the first act of three in the first book, available here: link to destinyquestinfinite.com

    The plan is to implement the other two acts of that book and I think eventually do the other two as well. But there you have it. A digital (PC) way to play DestinyQuest. Or a bit of it.

    Holdfast was going to have an app done by Tin Man Games but that fell through (this is why I have a couple of Tin Man apps, as a freebie compensation). Last I heard, they were in talks with someone else to do it, I think. So maybe someday.

    Actually, come to think of it…they’re perhaps a bit off the path for this particular subject, but Black Chicken’s Academagia and Scheherazade games are kind of gamebookish and very much RPG-y. Academagia in particular has quite astonishing scope, if somewhat obtusely and fussily implemented.

    • malkav11 says:

      I should add that I didn’t encounter Fabled Lands until much later, but they’d be a strong contender for a favorite if i weren’t for the fact that it’s a 12 book series with hooks in every book for the other books in which only 6 books got published. They ever finish that thing (and they would like to), it’ll be amazing.

  13. Xander77 says:

    I do wonder whether the 4th Sorcery book is going to tone down the rampant dickishness of the original. I managed to LP the entire series with only 2-3 deaths throughout the first three books – either the Fighting Fantasy reputation for shitty unforseen instant deaths is somewhat exaggerated, or the goon hivemind was particularly adept at spotting traps. The 4th book just killed us like a dozen times over, for no particularly interesting reason.

    What are the chances this is ever going to make the transition to steam?

    (Also, nothing to say about Fabled Lands? The best CYOA series by wide acclaim, and one of the first fan-made interactive java mods, that the original creators support)

  14. jarowdowsky says:

    Can’t help but be disappointed by Appointment with FEAR. The original was one of the truly innovative FF releases but here most of the text has been reduced down to sound effects and comic panels.

    Would have been nice to have released a more authentic version in the vein of their other FF releases.

    Honestly stands up to a reread even now.

  15. Going Bald says:

    I love gamebooks even today and I love Seventh Sense. Makes me wish there was a well polished and cared for engine for other series such as FF, The Way of the Tiger and Fabled Lands…

    What I’d really love ( and REALLY don’t understand why I can’t) is to have all these lovely books on my Kindle. The Kindle is perfect for carrying around all these adventures, it feels more like a book than a monitor screen and has the potential to look after character sheets and roll dice… Why isn’t this a thing!?