RELATED: 4 Books that are well worth the read
What Is A Choose Your Own Adventure?
‘Choose your own adventure’ is a format where the audience (you) take on the role of the main character. You get to make plot-changing choices that take you down a different ‘narrative path’ which each choice – in contrast to most stories where there’s only one ‘narrative’, the one decided by the author.
This can come in a variety of mediums, not just books. There are even choose your own adventure games and movies!
The Best Choose Your Own Adventure Books
Choose Your Own Adventure
Although the format might be familiar to us today, it was Edward Packard’s concept that started it all. The OG choose your own adventure, this book series created by Packard became wildly popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The books target kids ages 7-14 and can have as many as 44 different endings, depending on the choices you make.
As of today, there are almost 200 books under the original run, with dozens more titles in other spin-off series. You can still buy them in box sets on Amazon.
Millennial kids will remember this one. Goosebumps was a popular horror series for children written by R.L. Stine. Shortly after the success of his book series, he began working on the Give Yourself Goosebumps series where readers navigate treacherous, scary, or horrifying scenarios – and hopefully get a good ending.
The books are (mostly) out of print, but you might still be able to find a set online or an e-book version for your Kindle.
To Be Or Not To Be
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’s Ryan North wasn’t always a Marvel writer; in fact, he made his biggest waves with his two Shakespeare-inspired choose your own adventure novels, To Be or Not to Be (based on Hamlet) and Romeo and/or Juliet (based on Romeo and Juliet).
In these novels, readers can ‘retell’ these classic tales or choose to tell it the same way Shakespeare did. North created over 110 endings which are illustrated by popular online comic artists such as Kate Beaton and Christopher Hastings.
Lost In Austen
More of a romance fan? Lost in Austen combines the plotlines of a handful of the British novelist’s books, including Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and of course, Pride and Prejudice. You can interact with characters from each of the books, and choose from Austen’s many leading lads.
My Lady’s Choosing
Another interactive romance novel, My Lady’s Choosing sees you as a 19th-century heroine trying to find true love. Don’t take this one too seriously; it’s not The Greatest Romance Novel Ever Written, but it is delightful, humorous, and surprisingly very progressive with your partner selection!
Other Popular CYA Games, Series, Etc.
The highly popular science fiction anthology series Black Mirror went above and beyond for its debut film entry. Bandersnatch was the first movie in history to combine streaming technology with a choose your own adventure format.
You ‘play’ as Stefan, an aspiring computer programmer who eventually gets the feeling that he’s being watched and controlled by an omniscient being – you. With over 150 minutes of footage, 250 segments, and five ‘main’ endings, you’ll want to watch it again and again. You can stream this relatively new release on Netflix.
The Stanley Parable
Video games are interactive by nature, and a choose your own adventure style isn’t innovative or new by any means. But The Stanley Parable, created by Davey Wreden in 2011, managed to smash expectations and offer a unique and thought-provoking gaming experience never seen before.
The game has a ‘narrator’ that tells the story as you move. When faced with a ‘fork’ in the path, you can choose to either follow the narrator’s voiceover or make a completely different choice. Several choices and broken fourth walls later, the game makes the player question the nature of free will – quite impressive for a video game.
The Walking Dead
Hit zombie TV series The Walking Dead has an equally-popular choose your own adventure game of the same one name. The Walking Dead: The Game eventually went on to win dozens of awards, including Game of the Year, and is considered one of the greatest games of all time. By the end of 2012 alone, the game had sold over 8.5 million units.
The game progresses through a series of dialogue choices and quick-time events. Because of its success, game developer Telltale Games released two more ‘seasons’ that follow the events of the first one. You can even use the same ‘save file’ so that your choices in the first game affect the narrative of the following seasons.
Beyonce Twitter Game
In June 2019, Twitter user ‘Green Chyna’ proved that choose your own adventures can come in any format, including social media posts. In the ‘Beyonce assistant game’, you play assistant to the famous singer. But be careful – make one wrong choice, and you’ll be fired immediately.
The Choice Is Yours!
If you want a new way to experience a story, then a choose your own adventure book is the perfect choice. It gives you the power to control the narrative and get the ending you want – just make the right choices, or else a bad ending awaits.